Sunday, 28 February 2010

47. Wind in the Willows

28th February 2010. An Alerte Rouge for 60-odd departements in France last night.. Strong winds swept the country overnight - the storm crossed the Bay of Biscay from Spain and coasted in around La Rochelle and devastated some low-lying villages when a high tide, whipped up by the strong south-westerly winds, breached a dyke and flooded villages and farmland. So far around 45 dead have been reported with many being drowned in their homes.

The idea of drowning during the night in one's own house is far from our thoughts when we go to bed and so the unimaginable shock of waking up in the wee small hours with the house flooding and no lighting must have been appalling for those involved, especially the elderly and infirm. Many houses were flooded to a depth of 1m 80.. (almost 6 feet) It doesn't bear thinking about..

I now feel somewhat guilty about my reactions during the storm because I was lying in bed, listening to the noise outside and feeling content that, with the new windows fitted, things were now much quieter.

2nd March 2010.
We were on the beach at Anglet this afternoon and I heard some unfamiliar honking sounds coming from above.. Looking up, I spotted several great straggling broadly vee-shaped formations of cranes beating their way back to their northern European summer retreats (from Africa?). There were a good few hundred of them. My next question is what is the difference between a stork and butter oops, a crane..? I’m no ornithologist as you can guess.. This must be a sign that spring is on the way.. The car thermometer registered 22C yesterday at 3pm on the way to the beach.

This film was made in November in the Ardennes region of France as the birds flew south for the winter. What I saw today was the return journey as they flew north back to Scandinavia and northern Europe.
Our pooch (9 this summer) met another English cocker spaniel, a 10 months old bitch, down there and the two of them started racing about like a coupla eejits.. (“Wow, another dog!”) It was so funny to watch.. Would have been hard pressed to say which one was the 8 year old.. Strange, isn’t it, how dogs never lose their fascination with each other.

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