Saturday, 5 March 2011

125. Thoughts of spring

5th March 2011. This cartoon pretty much sums up my view of January, February and March. It's been a loong ol' winter down here and we were counting the days only yesterday until I can finally drag the plancha and the table & chairs out of the garage to set out on the terrace so we can have lunch outside again.. Warmer weather to me means living outside in shorts and T-shirt. When did I last wear a tie..? I remember putting one around my neck about 2 years ago and there was an embarrassingly long pause while rusty gears somewhere at the back of my head creaked and groaned until slowly the solution to the tie knotting question popped out. And that was after wearing a tie every day for the best part of forty years..

Did 12km today (Running total: 460km) in a coxed quad sculler on a cold morning (4C according to the car). An interesting sortie that included ramming the bank once and getting stuck, and grazing the bank a couple of times. The river is narrow and has lots of bends and I think it was the cox's first attempt at coxing. We normally have an "apero" after the outing on the first Saturday of the month but Bayonne are playing Stade Toulouse who are the current leaders of the French Top 14.. and a lot of the people from the club are going to the match. Because of the demand for tickets, the game is being played at San Sebastian - which is only 45 minutes from here - at a stadium that I was told holds 30,000. The town there should be lively tonight!! 

6th March 2011. I've been wondering whether or not to share this link - a bottomless pit of hits and music stretching back a long ways.. here's one from it that I'd forgotten.. that must have scarred for life a whole generation of young lads in the early 80s!

7th March 2011. While browsing the Daily Telegraph website I found a well-written review of the Pays Basque that sums up many of the reasons we love it here.. Well worth reading.

Looking outside at burning blue cloudless sky, I think we might just have turned the corner in spring at last. The local forecast is for 18C today as well.. Think I'll pull my shorts out of the winter storage and shake the moths off them!

Forget Bananarama.. this is Gordon Lightfoot's classic track - "If You Could Read My Mind": 

Here's a personal favourite - Gordon Lightfoot's "Canadian Railroad Trilogy":

I once rode the "Rocky Mountaineer" from Vancouver to Banff and that trip should be on your "Top 50 things to do before I die" list..  
There was a time in this fair land when the railroad did not run

When the wild majestic mountains stood alone against the sun
Long before the white man, and long before the wheel
When the green dark forest was too silent to be real

But time has no beginnings and history has no bounds
As to this verdant country they came from all around
They sailed upon her waterways and they walked her forests tall
Built the mines, the mills and the factories for the good of us all

And when the young man's fancy had turned into his brain
The railroad men grew restless for to hear their hammers ring
Their minds were overflowing with the visions of their day
With many a fortune won and lost and many a debt to pay

For they looked in the future and what did they see?
They saw an iron road running from the sea to the sea
Bringing the goods to a young growing land
All up on the seaboards and into their hands

Look away, said they
Across this mighty land
From the eastern shore
To the western strand

Bring in the workers and bring up the rails
We've gotta lay down the tracks and tear up the trails
Open her heart, let the lifeblood flow
Gotta get on our way 'cause we're moving too slow

Bring in the workers and bring up the rails
We've gotta lay down the tracks and tear up the trails
Open her heart, let the lifeblood flow
Gotta get on our way 'cause we're moving too slow
Get on our way 'cause we're moving too slow

Behind the blue Rockies the sun is declining
The stars they come stealing like the blows of the day
Across the wide prairie our loved ones lie sleeping
Beyond the dark oceans in a place far away

We are the navvies who work on the railway
Swinging our hammers in the bright blazing sun
Living on stew and drinkin' bad whiskey
Bending our backs 'til the long days are done

We are the navvies who work upon the railway
Swinging our hammers in the bright blazing sun
Laying down track, and building the bridges
Bending our backs 'til the railroad is done

So over the mountains and over the plains
Into the muskeg and into the rain
Up the St Lawrence all the way to Gaspé
Swinging our hammers and drawin' our pay

Driving 'em in and tying 'em down
Away to the bunkhouse and into the town
A dollar a day and a place for my head
A drink to the living, a toast to the dead

Oh the song, ah the future has been sung
All the battles have been won
On the mountain tops we stand
All the world at our command
We have opened up the soil
With our teardrops and our toil

Oh there was a time in this fair land when the railroad did not run
When the wild majestic mountains stood alone against the sun
Long before the white man, and long before the wheel
When the green dark forest was too silent to be real
When the green dark forest was too silent to be real
And many are the dead men... too silent to be real

Here's a promo film for the Vancouver-Banff train ride:


Finally, for all those who think that stacking logs is just a chore and a fairly mindless activity, take a look at what this Canadian artist does with them:
Now - farewell Canada and back to the Pays Basque! I forgot to mention the result of the Bayonne v Stade Toulouse match last Saturday - shame on me! Here's what happened (Bayonne are in the blue and white):

It's looks like it was an open running passing game - the way they like to play it here - and a look at the Toulouse squad is eye-opening.. see how many current internationals you can spot. In contrast, Bayonne boast just the one international - Huget, the wing who scored the breakaway try.

2 comments:

Conans said...

Interesting read ... recently moved to Biarritz from the UK.

Pipérade said...

Welcome to the area Conans.. France's best kept secret in my view.