Monday, 30 November 2015

Will we ever learn??


The answer is? Well that depends....

Willingness to learn is essential undoubtedly; but can the teacher understand their pupils struggles; and point of view? Equally vital; but harder to master.

Some things come more naturally to some of us. Other skills we've worked hard to achieve; but we can all too easily forget how hard it was to 'get it' at the beginning.

Ever been frustrated by trying to teach a child to tie their shoelaces? You only have to try doing it back to front.... left first; instead of right; to realise just how awkward it once was....I have a mental block around I.T.; my children are nearly always very patient with me... I very rarely have to remind them that once upon a time; I had to teach them how to use a spoon...

 Even the brightest amongst us can take in, and fully retain, perhaps three things at once? 
That's on a good day; with full attention able to be given; and a mind uncrowded by that endless 'to think about' list.

People will often leave a yoga class saying they feel far more relaxed... That's not because they've spent an hour and a half wafting about; gazing at candles; inhaling incense; and chanting...

 Sorry if that disappoints; but we don't do any of that stuff..We work hard physically; always safely; always within our own capabilities; it's just most folks are capable of a lot more than they imagine...

I believe resulting relaxed mind is far more to do with having to be fully present to what we are physically doing right now; complete attention given to the precision demanded from this form of yoga..

It is almost impossible to think about any of lifes worries whilst you're balancing on one (hopefully very straight) leg; and then doing your best to get the rest of yourself properly aligned and extended, in relation to it.

 Iyengar Yoga appeals not exclusively to the logically minded, systematic type, but there are a lot of scientists, educationalists, and dare I say it? Men; who take it up. 



Ardha Chandrasana.... Top arm should be vertical....

Another oft encountered barrier is the "what we are used to doing" hurdle. The picture above shows Ardha Chandrasana.... Half moon pose...At first appearance considerably trickier than Trikonasana seen below; which is one of the very first postures we teach beginners.


But really the main difference is that in the above pose we're asked to stand on one foot and one hand: rather than our usual two feet. The shape; limb in relation to limb; is really not that different...


The adult brain puts up a bit of resistance at first. But if you can get your grown up 'brainy' brain to shut up for a bit; and let the mind experience; through a step by step methodical approach; what the body can do; it often in turn surprises the brain....And thus builds confidence for the next adventure.


Trikonasana... Triangle posture..Strenghtens; lengthens; opens; and realigns...Puts your bones back where they should be... 

One of my favourite teaching moments, is getting middle aged girls; who claim they couldn't achieve it in the school yard; up into their first ever in their lives hand-stand.... Child-like whoops of joy often emanate....From them...(I try to keep mine on the inside)


Probably best I leave it there... If they cotton on to just how much enjoyment I get out of teaching 'em they might refuse to pay anymore...,,


But no; that's my ridiculous; quasi Calvanistic - 'work should only ever be hard' attitude that kicks in on occasion; something that I definitely need to unlearn.

 This Sundays extra class had the winning combination of being informative and enjoyable for everyone; as well as lucrative for me; and that of course is O.K.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Timely Reminder...


Undertaking what is probably the last big cultivation job of the year...Just quarter of an acre of ground, where the lately departed porkers once rootled. It's very poor practice to leave soil bare over the winter, precipitates loss of nutrients and soil micro life.

So yesterday I hitched up one of my favourite attachments...On the edge of being slightly too heavy for the Ford; Massey discs. The light and sandy conditions here means that even after only a couple of dry days it's acceptable to cultivate carefully; without risking damaging the soil structure; or  becoming bogged down to the point of needing a tow by another local farmer...

The discs lift and turn just the top few inches of soil. Then it's back to highly enjoyable medieval handwork methods; broadcasting the grazing ryecorn seed which will germinate even at this tardy point in the season. This 'green manure' will grow slowly; but protect against erosion; and keep hold of the pigs' contribution to fertility; until the resulting greenery can be worked back into the soil in the spring; prior to next years squash crop being planted.

Cycles and circularity of nutrition and cropping, in some ways ...But not quite a closed system; current legislation requires that pigs cannot be fed on our food waste; of which they are near perfect 
re processors, they have instead to be fed on soya based pellets...
Hopefully before too long this wasteful practice will be reversed, and swine can reclaim their status as most efficient converters of the inedible into the highly comestible.



After casting the grain about; it's off with the discs; and back on with the spring tines; to tickle in the seed; followed by the crumbler bar that firms it in to the tilth.

 I will dig out a picture... There are some as find that particular item of agricultural kit quite visually stimulating.

Then only ten minutes off completion; the sky darkens noticeably ...Nearly four O'clock;  I could have finished; but a figure approaches; I'm needed urgently elsewhere; annoyance turns to relief as only then do I realise, I'm about to run out of fuel; (the tractor; not me; I'm still full of Friday cake). And thereby am serendipitously saved from the very tedious job, of bleeding the diesel system...

By the time I get back up the hill with a jerry can of fuel it is pretty much dark; plus it's now bucketing down; the leaden sky was full of rain as well as duskiness. But I could just refill and get those last few yards done...
Climbing onto the slippery bonnet; funnel in one hand 20 litres of fuel in the other; I finally gather some sense...Hmmm? Rushing these jobs seldom ends well..

 I have a neat little scar on my inner thigh from an incident a few years back where I was saving a few seconds with what I knew at the time was an ill - advised implement manouvre. 
Hydraulic systems are very powerful; even on aged kit; and are no respecters of human flesh....
"One legged yoga teacher / farmer" might be a novelty act too far?

Farming has overtaken deep sea fishing; and construction;  to gain the unenviable pole position, in terms of highest accident rate statistics.

Maybe in part because we are often working by ourselves; racing against time; or the weather; or both; employing perhaps less than state of the art equipment?

Might this be in someway related to the minimal income that can be derived from food production? Or are we all just 'gung ho' idiots who didn't ought to be let out by ourselves? 

I was also mindful of the fact that today I was doing an emergency first aid refresher course. It would have been deeply embarrassing to have to cry off with a work related injury.......And to have missed the opportunity for a good bit of sitting down and tea and biscuits; between bouts of CPR and bandaging. 

So the cheeky jackdaws; that are often on hand to assist with cultivations; will have had a fair portion of that ryecorn by now; and it might not stop raining for a month; so it may be too late to work it in properly. But in the grand scheme of things; not much was lost.


Thursday, 26 November 2015

What no Thursday Custard???

Even a paragon of productivity is allowed an occasional early night...

Maybe she's still recovering from the weekend?.....Those pictures are definitely pay per view...

Still; the fragile feeling custard creator was on hand to help with the all important salad harvest this morning....

A genuine customer accolade...
  "Now that we have a regular Fresh and Green salad bag; our lives are complete"

Hmmn; over-egging it a tad?

Well; who am I to judge?

But it does put a bit of pressure on those of us tasked with producing them.....All year round.



Showing just a few of the varieties that go into the salad bags: - Wild and tame rocket, mizuna. red mustard, joi choi. purple pak choi, moroccan littlecress, cavello nero, red oakleaf lettuce, and in the foreground, chrysanthemum greens.

 I put off growing these for years as personally I can't abide the smell of their flowery counterpart, and naturally assumed they might taste similar. But in addition to producing abundant greenery through the shorter days. they are really very good. Something I only discovered during an impromptu farm tour with a fellow grower. 

Here; hearteningly weed free beds indicate that it has rained here quite a lot recently.
Weeding in the polytunnel being the default job for soggy days. 
Tomorrow might have to be outside work; whatever the weather; the leeks need some attention....It's on the list; so no shirking it. 



Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

The 'stead...

Taken almost exactly a year ago...Yes I am very tall....

Attendees at Landworkers Alliance meeting this weekend were mostly young, clearsighted, intelligent, well educated sorts; all of whom have experienced the joys of endlessly weeding leeks in the rain; and other associated bucolic blissfullness....

Yet they are still keen to get on with realising their ambitions of, making a sustainabiy scaled,  environmentally benign living, from producing decent, affordable food, for folk in their locality.

But the barriers to them achieving those aims; in this age of the ever increasing commodification of land and food production; are possibly even more insurmountable now; than when the pictured plot  was purchased; with the same intentions.

  Back then, nearly ten years ago  it was a featureless pasture field; most likely destined for 'horseyculture' not food growing..

After an amount of work; and some investment of energy, time, and money, it is starting to shape up as a viable small farm...

So it might be time for me to step up; as someone who could be regarded as an 'old hand' (eeek) to join the ranks of those campaigning on behalf of the new generation. 

Those keen; energetic (and crazy) enough to take on the task of feeding the country properly, need encouragement.

Multiple studies have shown that smaller farms are more productive overall per acre. And employ more people...

But policy documents? (gulp) Position papers?(arrghh) European consultations, and lobbying? Well maybe......

Those girls and boys certainly do furnish a decent nosh; and knees up.......And not a knitted knicker; or whittled spoon; in sight...

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Sending Oneself to Coventry...

On Being Quiet...

Today






Today I'm flying low, and I'm
not saying a word.

I'm letting all of the voodoos of ambition
sleep.



The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,

the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten
And so forth.



But I'm taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather

I hardly move though really I'm travelling
a terrific distance



Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple








Mary Oliver

again...

Friday, 20 November 2015

Once you've got a fire going..

"It isn't really work any more"
Words of wisdom from 'Man Friday'
New to some of you..
When he's not gadding about the globe; or off sailing other peoples boats.
He turns up at the end of most weeks through the darker months to keep me on top of the job list...Endlessly enthusiastic; energetic; and relentlessly cheery...
Must be all the veg' and yoga of which he partakes...
Exhausting sometimes; no slacking allowed; except for cake breaks.....
But I did get to cross four things off the to do list...Usually three feels like an epic 'win'.
And no; I didn't do that sneaky; but satisfying cheat of writing down an 'already done' just in order to strike it through.
So a Friday eve' beer to accompany the waste consuming blaze seems like a trifling thing to offer.
Especially as he will be off marketing the vegetables tomorrow morning in town, while chief custard wrangler and I go off for a 'works jolly'...

Broad View; still some work to do...

The view from the hill helpfully hides at least two thirds of the workload behind the windbreak of Italian Alders...Nitrogen fixers plus potential firewood..

But it's starting to feel like a few things are getting under control...

Ha; what a statement to make...

Control is a hopeless word; for a situation where it's far more about keeping the plates spinning; and trusting that natural processes will continue to do their thing.

All we can do, is to encourage natural flows to go towards where we would like them.

"Working with nature" is an much over used; nebulous; means nothing; and yet means everything term...

At least in the world of organics; and general 'Greenery'.

It presupposes that we even know, how nature really does work....Mysterious ways muchly....

Good solid science can tell us a lot. 

But there's still an awful amount of research yet to be done around understanding how something as seemingly mundane; yet complex and life sustaining, as soil, actually fuctions.

In a healthy loam there are a myriad microscopic organisms; plus associated buglets; endlessly interacting; and producing and consuming micronutrients, and minerals.

Then there are multiple soil types; climatic conditions; crops that can be grown..

How do you set up empirical tests for all that? In each and every situation? 

And who is going to fund all that research?

When at the end of it all there is no actual marketable product; or magic bullet to sell to us organic growers...?

And even if a sustainable one were to be found; could we afford to use it?

For now; and I suspect in the longer term;, we just have to trust our instincts; whilst making best use of that experience and knowledge we, and others may have garnered over the years...

And of course keep on larding on the love; and compost....

Thursday, 19 November 2015

It Can't beThursday Again...?


But we have to believe the evidence before our eyes...

Luxuriating 'pon a bed of frilly brassica nonsense; the luscious dish of  nutmeggy wondrousness nourishes and delights in equal measure..

Fewer daylight hours makes it feel as if someone has stolen a couple of days out of the week.
 I guess in days gone by we would have naturally slept more at this time of year; not sat up late writing fatuous nonsense about custard.

But I've personally no nostalgia for the so called 'good old days'. 
Hopelessly over romanticised; and pretty certain it was often colder; harder work; and could be dull and narrow viewed . Modern life may have it's downsides but on the whole I wouldn't swap.

Looking forward to a 'girls on the road' trip with the creator of this confection at the weekend.
Pictured here peeping from 'mongst the Flower Sprouts.

I'm voluntarily 'sending myself to Coventry'.

For The Land Workers Alliance AGM, 

Should be a good bit more fun than might first present.... Proper Shindig; excellent food; bit of a knees up; and the chance (hope?) to be reinvigorated by some like minded folk...

Looking for some portion of camaraderie; inspiration; and encouragement; to help with the oft muddy slog of 'getting through' murky winter days, whilst making a go of earning a smallish living from the land... 

Just need to remember to keep my counsel with the outer fringes of yoghurt weavers; and knicker knitters; who may be present ... They'll grow out of it...Perhaps?

And anyway we have a pitchfork on our logo...So who could resist...??


Still; to my mind at least; all of this farming m'larkey beats going to and from an office in the twilight; and only seeing the sky for a few precious hours at the weekend; if you're lucky..

We may well get a good few crispy, shiny days before long; even snow?
 Will then be able to keep toasty shoveling it all off the veg, pre' harvest... Larks aplenty. 

Hmm; lets see;  just how much genuine chirpiness that extra labour produces; when the time comes...




Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Wide enough skies here too...



Got back just before dusk..
It sneaks up quickly; this time of year...
Was viewing a potential bit of tractor kit..
Which wasn't wide enough...The search continues.

But cycling unloaded feels like flying; even on Devon Hills.

A watery sky and skeletal trees; after recent November gusts, suggests that a bit of hatch battening is called for.
Wild weather can be fun; if you don't have to spend most of the day chasing crop covers all over the field...


Sunnier Times...

Snapped here (no; not in half) By girl Monday #1......I have two of them on occasion; how blessed?
These brassica were just babies when we employed some 'practical yoga -   uttanasana to keep out their weedy competitors.
The hinge is at the hips; thus avoiding bending the back...It does take a bit of consistent; persistent; lifting fronts and backs of legs; to safely get your hamstrings lengthened this much...

But being able to reach the earth; without it hurting your back; is useful for all kinds of tasks...Especially given that most work here does tend to be at ground level.

Sadly; the season for wearing pink socks is over....But these babies have grown up into harvestable cabbages...Crunchy Savoy; with leaves like bright green tripe.

So I'd better go and cut some now for those folks eagerly awaiting this week's delivery..

Waterproof trousers on; yuk; but proper coffee on too...Right-hand Wednesday Girls on their way.
Blessed again.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Still hanging on...

Temporary fix; last featured here 7th August...
Update...A few months have gone by now; and still really no closer to being put right.
 It continues to makes me smile though.... Every time I see it. But how long will it hold....?

Someone will get to it; at some point.
 All in good time...
Devon Time.

And as predicted; some of the red has turned to pink.
Second born son informs me that he used to slide between these railings at his old village primary school; so their child containment function is obviously limited.
He is a good deal taller now; but certain that his expansion widthways has not kept up...Was this damage caused by someones' unsuccessfully reliving their boyhood?
Slow work day at the field?

Quite the contrary; but if it's pictures of girls giving cabbages a darn good weeding that you're after; I'll have to have a rummage; in the archive....
Because it was back to 'wearing mud' not just dressed in muddy colours today; I need to get a lens cover for my phone camera...


Sunday, 15 November 2015

Navigation Pyrenees


Pyrenees.... Can be hard on your Knees.... So for I.T. luddites like me...

To make navigation easier............

 (Don't use a Spanish Map)

And because life is much too short to be scrolling; when you could strolling...

Here are individual links to other Pyrenean postings...In order.

http://broadviewfromasmallfarm.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/pyrenean-perigrination-part-one.html

http://broadviewfromasmallfarm.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/pyrenean-perigrination-part-two.html

http://broadviewfromasmallfarm.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/a-pyrenean-perigrination-part-three.html

http://broadviewfromasmallfarm.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/a-pyrenean-perigrination-part-four.html

http://broadviewfromasmallfarm.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/pyrenean-perigrination-part-five.html

http://broadviewfromasmallfarm.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/perineum-perigrination-part-six.html

Perineum Perigrination part six


So; found a soft tussock to perch atop for lunch.....The needle grass hereabouts has earned its name;
it can get at you through the tent groundsheet; on occasion.

Then onwards; and upwards.



The previous two days rain and snow were brim filling the local streams and waterfalls. To have said it was moist underfoot; would have be an understatement.

Rock hopping required in some places to avoid the squelch....




As it makes it's snakey way up the valley; the path appears to get a wiggle on just for fun.
Until you realise it is making for realistic stream crossing points. Even now late in the season attempting to ford; could give a good soaking..




Perfectly serviceable; but you wonder how often these bridges have to be replaced?
 Every spring; after snow melt?


Muuuuuum!,,,,,Looks like a very young lamb for this time of year....Some extra curricular 'work' undertaken by the Ram pehaps ?
Those poor boys do have a hard life...


There you are...!





The route required that we cross the stream somewhere in this vicinity. Despite best efforts to stay on top of the rocks both feet end up soaked.

My 'Marsh Wiggle*' companion claims he doesn't mind having wet feet; all day; for days on end.
 Its the price you may pay for wearing otherwise eminently sensible, and comfortable lightweight trail running shoes. And anyway once its over the tops; even if you're wearing boots; its in.

But I have come to suspect he actively likes his largeish pedal extremities soggy; he also shares the long limbs and on occasion the pessimistic outlook of C.S. Lewises' kindly intentioned but oft lugubrious character...

* 'google time' for some....



And suspicions confirmed; because, a moment later, just after the involuntary foot bath..... 20 yards further on.....


"Oh look a bridge; that we could have used".... How I laughed...






The afternoons here often bring clouds... Today is no exception...And the streams just keep on streaming..







But we are headed up there; the pass Hourquette de Ossoue might be crossed before days end...






Another 'cascade on head' shot

Well regulated, falling water.


Barrage d'Ossoue. Is it rock precipitate that makes the water so milky?

Getting a tad sardonic about my waterfall snapping?.....Whereas endless tentage depictions?....Perfectly reasonable.

Gaining height, looking back towards the dam..

Permanent 'snow biscuit' straddling the stream suggests the sun doesn't strike here often, and that we are fairly high up...



The path is like this most of the way up; but in some places ; narrower; steeper; crumblier; and more 'edgy'. But after over a week in the hills it feels comfortable enough.

Then; just when you're starting to feel reasonably acclimatised, 'getting on with it' even...

A gentleman saunters past (at twice our pace); pretty much hands in pockets; like he's just nipped out to the shops for a paper.......Maybe he has? He may work in the refuge at the head of the Valley...

Like anything; it's what your used to doing...The 10.000 hours may be a nominal figure but putting the time in; is pretty much the only way; to make something a bit tricky look easy....  

Wet feet, and quite hungry despite snack stops, doesn't make this particular bunny very happy. Pass making ambitions curbed.

Precipitating Pitch; 15 after 14km, 1350 m ascent..




There are very few flat spots up here big enough for a tent. But they are helpfully indicated by low stone windbreaks where patches have been cleared. Soil so thin as to require some pegs be secured by rocks.....
Seem to recall I wasn't much help with this pitch.........Despite having worked outdoors; all year round; all my life; there are temperatures below which I start to be fairly useless. ...Insulated wellies and dry feet get my vote.....




'In camp drill'.... Spare dry socks on....Plastic bags over dry socks....Wet shoes back on....Mmmmm claggy......But preferable to hypothermia.







We had three guests that evening... Little round grey mice...One here just by the water bottle....They obviously know the 'in camp drill' ..
Wait til new residents get settled: then investigate their rations.....
Too cute to resist offering them crumbs of that nights cous cous....Couldn't really spare them any kale though...Had to hang up the food, to prevent rustling from plastic bags......

Clear skies combined with the elevation; meant that it was a chilly night; really didn't regret carrying those extra layers.


I think it was here where 'someone' made one of those petulant 'taking it all a bit for granted complaints'.....

"It's not fair; you can see a mountain out of your side of the tent; I've only got three waterfalls"




Whoever got the best view; there was a convincing enough frost on both sides of the tent in the morning; and a lovely pinky glow coming over the tops...

And in addition; our 'high camp' reward....The nose of an inversion.....


Brrrrr......Hard to leave a down bag in these temperatures but.....


Early birds' catch...

A bit like waterfalls ..... Hard to resist....



The 'gap tooth' slot cut into the skyline two thirds from the left is the 'Breche de Rolande' above Gavarnie....Destined only to be espied from a distance.... This trip.



The point is... You can just stand and stare... Otherwise why make the effort to come here?

But at the same time; one can always envision new horizons. 


Getting closer to the pass, fabulous morning, lucky to be doing it with this much visibilty. If we had gained the pass the night before; we would have missed this.



Still frost on the table top, by the Refuge Bassellance half an hour on, from camping spot..... 

Interesting roof design; good for shedding snow; and almost qualifies as 'wiggly tin'.

Ablutions with a view

Fancy a dip? Me neither...



This could be our last chance to get to the top of something...
Petit Vignemale looks eminently doable; and the weather is playing nicely.


Icy tussocks but plenty of rock for getting a grip...





Its pretty pedestrian to begin with.....


We're fairly close to a very looong drop; but there is no real risk of going over it...And anyhow after a certain height it's fairly academic. It's not will you survive the plunge?

More how thinly spread will you be once landed?....We need to have a thought for those who may be detailed to scrape us up....





There's enough of the white stuff for a snowball fight...The sun is melting it a bit. But..


Then a bit higher up again...... The 'path' or the bit we've chosen to call the path; turns into partially frozen rock shutes. So some times the ground holds; and sometimes it doesn't.
 It's the uncertainty that does your head in...We meet a couple who have turned back because of the conditions...

But we in our dainty shoes and fetching gaiters will be fine...

About two thirds up I have a moment... "Not sure I want to do this"

Our Hero is the epitome of patience...

Not hassling; or trying to shame me into going on..

Nor bustling me down with a "Well; if you're going to be silly about it"

Sometimes; you've just got to give folks time..

To gather; their own resources.

Visually stimulating legwear seems to be catching on........The rocks?


Of course we make it to the top....Not that easily beaten
T'would only be a slight thing; to many.
 Others wouldn't even dream of  trying.

 So; maybe it's about finding your comfort zone...
Then taking one step outside of that...
Then another...

Look where you ended up.






Rose trewed gent obliges us with an 'on top of things shot'.... Him Spanish; but he still understood the importance of not cutting off the feet. Shame mine were in shadow....















I believe these shots were part of a "We'll stitch them together as a panorama" series, taken from the top...How often does that actually get done?


It's an old truism that by getting to the top of a hill you're only half way there... But it was considerably easier getting down again.....Gravity can be our friend




Now this, may only be fully grasped by my British readership but..

Do you know what my foremost fear was; whilst I was having a dither?

It was of suffering the most exquisite embarrassment; in the unlikely event of needing outside help..

"You came up here? In those things?"

Transmitted through the international language of pointing; and falling about laughing....


Nearly every one else we met, was wearing 'proper' big boots and full length trousers... Even on hot days...On lowland paths....... How do they not cook?






Pass; and composure regained. Time to break out the kite for a celebratory 'Fly Past'. 
Could I fit a teeny tiny camera to one? Hmmm fine until it hits the ground... Or the dirty 'Glacier de Oulettes' that just about clings on to the North side of Vignemale.






Don't suppose it'll be long before this is reduced to a snowball in our 'interglacial period'...





Decent enough view for a rest stop....



We decide to hasten the ice melt by burning some meths for essential coffee....



A man who is tired of looking at mountains....Probably has too much in his pack....





This part of the route is where the GR10 and the HRP combine. Heading now towards Oulettes de Gaube.






Who decides where the path goes....?

Looking back towards Vignemale.

Well fed watercourses this side too.





Glacial retreat... Temped to annotate the terminal moraine....Handy base for the Refuge de Gaube.
BTW it wasn't me as chopped that peak off.....


Enjoying the goaty terrain.... Feels like what our 'totally over engineered for modern life' feet were designed to do.....But I know; right pole too wide.......


Had no compunction about drinking the water unfiltered; straight from most of the streams we crossed. Surely we've evolved to deal with a bit of natural 'muck'.... Not 'kills all known germs' biocides...



Gomhukasana in Virasana, for building springy arches, happy ankles and knees, supple upper back and shoulders, and putting your neck back in the right place......Well who; would want any of that?


Oh no! More yoga near our proposed pitch....

But; you spend time, ensuring that the supporting pole of your tent is in the right place?

 How much consideration is given to the centrally supporting pole of yourself?

i.e. Your spine; it's really got to help if its straight and in the middle; non?



Parvatasana in Sukhasana...And reach that top shelf....More lung capacity anyone?

Prob's best if I stop banging on about posture now? .... Cobblers children going unshod an' all that....
Having a tat sort out as there is a bin at nearby refuge....Where also; after very feeble protestations re "But we have one more spaceman meal to eat"
I book us in for a real repast.... 

It was foggy by the time we got the tent up for pitch 16. at Oulettes de Gaube.
7km,  (plus up and back on Petit Vignemale)  600m ascent







So these are morning shots....Kind weather for our last day in the hills...












Making use of the terrace at Refuge for second brew of the day. The previous evenings meal was a bit of a disappointment. But mainly because we had been so very spoiled up til now... 'No salad shocker!'


Nippy that morning; and yesterdays hill brought down to size by his taller cousins.....


Towards Cauterets



I recall from more extended trips as a youngster,,, The longer you're out; the more bizarre clothing combinations become perfectly reasonable choices.... Thermal leggings under running shorts? Well why not?


Lac de Gaube...








Youngster not yet grown into his back legs...



Last look back at Vignemale and its' glacier; after real coffee and pricey sarnie at cafe by the lake. Very fresh baguette; good local cheese, augmented with some sneaky alfalfa sprouts tucked in....



Then skip down the increasingly peopled valley towards Cauteret. trying not to think about the fact that our walk is nearly done...Interesting rocks along the way...



Lots of this

I'll bet the view is good; but you know; I'd really rather not......

Shady confluence







Oh interminable cascades...

Three for the price of one; savouring waterfall; whilst stretching hamstings and undoing dorsal spine....Parsva Utthitta Hasta Padangustasana. 

Then finally Cauterets; to purchase all important Fromage de Brebis for farm sittter.. and sausages for the farm boys....No pitching up; but sadly not much walking left either...14km today but only 400m ascent as mostly down the valley...



And so to catch a bus to Lourdes; then a train back to Pau..
The intention being to camp there the night before our long train home.
But after having walked nearly two miles through the heat and dust of various backstreets we discovered it was shut; had been for over a year by the look of it.... Pau tourist information board this time...

Should have checked with our friendly lady at the office first....Given her the chance to feign incomprehension at the notion; or even pronunciation of 'le camping'...

So plan 'B' then. find a Hostel... But we forget... You don't have to sell a child or a kidney; or both ; to afford a half decent hotel on the continent...
Oh transports of delights.... A bath....Sparing the details; but if I'd had a glass of the very good local wine to hand; I could probably have rested it upon the ring I produced around the tub edge.....Mmmmm nice....TMI ?


And by way of keeping everyone happy; the room didn't have a kettle; so a chance to burn the rest of the meths for morning tea....Custard for scale...Not breakfast.



'Plastic bag toting Hayseed' doesn't want to go home.....

it could at least have tried to drizzle.......

From the terrace here; its claimed you can see a 150km sweep of the Pyrenees.... How cruel...Still I guess they're not going anywhere.....Even getting a smidgen taller every year with the 'uplift?'

Not certain this 'Parks and Gardens' location has the required ruggidity for this bit of product placement?

Doesn't want to go home not neither.... It's all getting a bit 'stampy footy'
What would happen if we didn't go back? Let's not think about that....

Pain au raisin, and them there hills a calling....





Wot no gaiters? No; but 'farmer tan socks' almost as bright.



So tightish but not wholly unrealistic schedule for our return. Pau to Paris. Eurostar to London. last train back to Devon to get there early hours...But...

Sadly, someone elses' torment; anguish; despair; (who really ever knows?) intervened; their 'putting themselves on the line' delayed transportation by two hours.

Missed connection in Paris... Will we be allowed onto the last Eurostar of the day to London? Thankfully yes; they squeezed us on....

But arrived after last train to Whimple..... Great gratitude; as we were rescued by two very sweet and helpful 'Walking Poles' met on the train.

They'd been doing similar trip to us... Only heavier loads had kept them lower and slower.... Well done all you gram shavers!

Karina and Pavel fed; and put us up for the night; and next day saw us to Clapham Junction.......

Where OH was treated to birthday morn breakfast....Yay!

 Finally back home just in time to take the first yoga class of autumn term that evening.... Cutting it a bit fine as per usual.....
And suffering a bit of train wobble too....My yogis? Steady as rocks...





Great trip; thanks for coming along....Where and what next time? Who knows?

"If you know exactly what you're going to do; then what's the point of doing it?"

I think Senor Picasso had painting in mind....

Not crashing about life in a state of semi-preparedness; relying on the kindness of others; and trusting that 'the universe* will provide'.

But you know what? Nearly all of the time I've found that both those things hold true.

*Or is it the benevolent pixies; and the little people......?