Wish for an end to this plague of strangers*

*for our futures to remain local and for new road to be totally destroyed.

Edward – The League of Gentlemen

Usually, our walk along the road up through the ‘high’ bit of the hamlet (and also in another commune…) is without incident – hence why we have been doing this route a lot. It’s car-accessible, but in all my walks, about four men have passed in cars, and the only people I’ve ever seen were a rather odd looking non-local couple who I suspect were on holiday, and a man entirely in camouflage who said he was out shooting foxes.

old_route1

It’s a very frequent trot up from my hamlet to the high bit and then along deserted roads. If I’m feeling lazy, I can cut the route from just before D and end up just before G, but it’s my basic, go-to dog walk. It cuts along a little ridge and it’s either spectacular or bleak, depending.

Sometimes, I walk another route through the high bit of the hamlet, past my friend Lise’s house and down the hill. It’s not a bad route, but it’s a little short, at only 2.5 km. A few times, I’ve done a wider loop, that takes you through the village of the barking dogs, a small village where every single house has a barky dog, from the first old Bassett hound who bays at you, to the big mastiff who bays at you, to the tiny Papillons who yip at you. A few times, I’d done this walk with Steve and it takes you eventually to a dead-end path where I had an unfortunate falling incident and sprained my ankle. Unless you were prepared to hack through brambles and trees, it was quite impassible.

old_routeFrom time to time, I’d tried to navigate the bit from G up to the top road but it wasn’t happening and as the years have gone by, it’s got less and less accessible. You could walk from the crossroads just after F, take a right and walk down here, but you end up with a 5km walk home and it’s already a good 5km walk as it is.

Anyway, last week, I noticed a stile kind of thing in a field that used to home cows. I wondered at the marvel of this new path and where it had come from, where it went to and who had put it there. As far as I could tell, it just went into a load of bushes. But no! It leads to the G spot (sorry – but that’s the way it fell) and you can continue to walk down and round. The best thing is that it is a quick route over to the Quatre Vaux forest and that has always been a bit too far (unless you are Heston, as this is where I lost him and he ran home from – a good 7km) and now it’s made it a lot easier to get to. Hoorah!

So to celebrate the arrival of new road, I took the beasts out for a walk along it. It is indeed a marvel of a path, just where you’d want a path to be.

new_road

Now I just need a path from the G spot on this map (you probably think I planned it and I didn’t at all!) to the E spot to cut out the big dog leg up into the village and it’ll be a perfectly acceptable alternative walk. The new path, incidentally, goes from just before the D, where the other tractor trail comes in to make a T with the road, to the K spot.

IMG_0183

And the mystery was solved down through the stile. There’s a massive great big electricity box been put in and ERDF have been so kind as to put a path in. Doesn’t really make up for the mushroom-like wind turbines that are now everywhere round these parts, but hey ho.

Anyway, Edward had cause to be concerned. The first thing I saw when I walked down this new path was a plague of strangers (two) and they were definitely not local…

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2 thoughts on “Wish for an end to this plague of strangers*

    1. They are aren’t they? Usually they are only a few houses and a huge number of barns. Much of the Charente is the same – pockets of houses every kilometre or so, and bigger villages every five or six kilometres. Sometimes, it feels almost crowded! I never see anyone though…

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