Sweet chestnuts, wild mushrooms and a red squirrel, 15th October 2010
No, not our latest culinary efforts, although it would fit nicely on the Cobb, but what we saw during our walk from LRB to Arzal on Tuesday, but more on that
The Madame in the Tourist Office here in LRB had given us lots of information, including a leaflet about a chestnut festival taking place on Sunday in the
grounds of a 19th century manor house,
Le Domaine de Bodeuc (now converted into a hotel) just outside the village of Nivillac. It was a very long walk, all of which was
on roads, but well worth it. It turned out to be a festival celebrating the horse chestnut and the ancient way they were cooked to eat. It was a fairly low key
affair, but very Breton, in fact we think we were they only non-Bretons there! Several benches had been placed under a stand of trees in part of the 15ha of
ancient woods around the manor, refreshments in the form of some homemade cakes, coffee and cider were on sale (we tried the cider just to be polite of
course!), and traditional music was played by a duet with guitar and melodeon. The 'elders' or old boys of the village then laid the horse chestnuts in a single
layer on a cleared patch of ground amidst a group of trees, making a big circle of nuts, then covering them with pine needles, which they then lit, subsequently
clearing away the ash and repeating the exercise until the nuts were cooked. Everyone then began helping themselves to the nuts, and a chap who had been sitting
next to us brought some over for us, as we weren't sure of the etiquette. They were charred black, but very tasty. We thought horse chestnuts were poisonous, but
we haven't suffered any ill effects and they haven't effected us in any way what so sldkfjlvbpenbdixslwpr...
Your nuts m'Lord...
Le Domaine de Bodeuc.
Roast beef via the Cobb.
Whilst deliberating over our winter berthing possibilities, we'd posted a query about LRB on the YBW forum and received a very comprehensive and
helpful reply from Dave, who has kept a boat here for a number of years. Just after we arrived, we had the chance to meet Dave and Iris and we've had a couple of
great evenings in their company - as usual with meeting new friends, lots of laughs and too much wine! They've now tucked up their boat on the hard at Arzal for the
winter and have returned home but it was great to meet them not just for the camaraderie, but for the wealth of information they imparted as they know LRB and the
area so well.
The walk we did from LRB to Arzal and back, some 22km, roughly follows the river, meandering from bankside to countryside, mostly through beautiful woodland
filled with oak, ash, pine and sweet chestnut trees. The weather was dry and sunny, although a fresh northerly breeze brought welcomingly cool relief to the
unseasonable warmth. The smell of pine needles accompanied the crunching of leaves, acorns and sweet chestnuts underfoot, with so many nuts on the ground that at
times it was like walking on marbles. Shortly after Andy mentioned that with such quantities of nuts, he expected to see squirrels, one appeared! We watched it
scurry up a tree trunk, and were amazed to see that it was red! We've since found out that red squirrels are not so rare here as they are in Britain, but we were
thrilled all the same to see one not once but twice, as we saw another (or perhaps the same one) on the return walk. We intend to go back into the woodland soon to
gather some sweet chestnuts to eat, but will stick to just photographing, not eating, the exotic range of wild mushrooms (and squirrels...) there.
A green hedgehog...
A few mushroom photos, just because of the amazing variety in such a small area.
A beautiful autumn walk. We are so lucky to have this on the doorstep at LRB. It's a bit like being back in Luckington...
A bit fuzzy, zoomed right in for an action shot...
At Arzal we picked up some information about sail laundry and storage (the other reason for walking to Arzal, apart from the enjoyment of the walk itself) which
we shall investigate this week. In between our excursions and socialising we have enjoyed simply pottering around the boat and LRB in the glorious autumn weather. Although
it's very sheltered here we have also fitted our springy 'QAB' mooring lines in anticipation of any winter blows - those who know will understand...
We have some maps of other walks in the area and are looking forward to further exploring this delightful place over the coming weeks and months. We both
still smile and shake our heads almost in disbelief each time we walk up to the town or back down to the boat as every vista in just so interesting and
picturesque. And the Fowey cockerel has followed us here too...
And finally, in the absence of any branches of Countrywide Farmers over here, Andy is sorted for his supply of checked shirts: