Wednesday, 3 November 2010

94. Coast walks

3rd November 2010. It's hard to believe that, as we speak, kids in the UK are putting together small arsenals of fireworks and constructing bonfires ready for the big night on Friday evening - November 5th. I've got the window wide open as I type this and the sun's shining..

This picture shows just how close Biarritz's Grande Plage is to the centre of town. There was a Latin American festival in Biarritz a week or so ago and the Casino was taken over by people selling brightly coloured ponchos, CDs of  flute music, South American chocolate, honey, pots, furniture and all kinds of exotic products.. (in other words, objects that already have one foot in the garage!)

This compelling recording by Incantation from 1982 (already!) was probably the first time that South American music found space for itself in the cultural mainstream:
The other day we went for a blowy walk along the Sentier Littoral - or coastal footpath.
We walked from Bidart to the former whaling village of Guéthary & back - the walk took us along the cliff tops before descending to beach level.
There was a lively sea running with great rollers rearing up in a foamy mass on an offshore reef before surging in to pound the shoreline.. Some of the large houses built on the cliffs were magnificent - but I'm not sure I'd feel 100% secure inside one of them with a strong westerly gale off the Bay of Biscay gusting against those overhanging Basque roofs.
Looking across at Spain from Bidart (St Jean de Luz is off to the left)
6th November 2010. A misty autumnal morning sortie out on a very low river today.. our blades struck bottom several times - 13km (running total = 308km) - and as it was the first Saturday of the month, we had a drink afterwards. Slightly curious choice though - Scotch on ze rocks, or wiz Coca or Tonic, Ricard or port. Not a cold beer in sight! 
If you've ever had a summertime drive down to the south west of France from the Channel ports and listened to French radio on the way down, then - before the gathering gloom of an English winter overwrites all those happy memories - here's something to remind you of those long golden days in the sun. It's Etienne Daho with his classic summer hit 'Duel au Soleil' from 1985 that was the perfect accompaniment to the long drive south:
I know I often drone on & on about Madiran wine.. well, here we go again! This is Château Peyros (English version of the same link) - we were offered this at a friend's house.. Highly recommended.

It's worth digging around your local wine merchant to find a bottle or two of Madiran - it is 'out there'. The one you won't find is Irouleguy.. unless you are lucky enough to live near Guildford or Warminster!

Both of these wines really open up if they are served at room temperature - remembering, of course, that the ambient temperature in SW France is a notch or three above that in the UK. In England I used to park mine in the airing cupboard for a few hours.

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