Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How could they do it?

I live near a château in a building which used to be occupied by their farm manager.

The chateau has extensive grounds, which they use to raise game birds for the hunters who pay to use this area. The local hunting associations lurk on the borders of the chateau grounds, often in my hedge, where they ambush birds that stray out of the chateau’s domain, for free..

This is, as you can imagine, quite annoying, especially when the gun fire really gets going.

On the other hand, it is quite nice not to have through roads near our house, because everyone must go round the chateau estate.

To the north of the chateau, where I rarely need to go, is a magnificent avenue of massive old oaks, a couple of kilometres long. It must be hundreds of years old, judging by the size of the tree trunks. Yesterday, with the weather turning icy, I took this route, trying to find a way to get into town that didn’t involve steep slippery hills and bends in the road.

I came around a corner and gasped. To my right was an enormous bonfire in the middle of a field, sparks flying up into the darkening sky. A funeral pyre.

As far as the eye could see the road was lined with enormous stumps, palely glistening as newly cut wood does…

I admit it.

I cried when I saw it.


Zhoen said...

Stepping back in time. I can barely imagine this as happening anywhere right now.

Frankofile said...

How I'd love to see a thriving National Trust in France. Then maybe that chateau's owners would have found value in keeping those oaks. Is the Revolution to blame for chateaux often being empty shells, or are there other reasons?

I live near what is described as the forest of Brocéliande, land of Arthurian legend. Yet I see surprisingly small pockets ancient woodland and lots of softwood plantation.

marja-leena said...

How truly awful - I'd cry too! Aren't there laws against cutting down ancient trees?

Rosie said...

hmpph, if they are like the laws that should stop farmers ripping up hedgerows, I expect they are just beingt ignored.
Unwisely, I tried to go to work in the snow tonight, but had to turn round as soon as I got there cos the weather was so bad. My new route was much more dangerous because the road was no longer sheltered by the trees.
It took me two hours to drive a 15 minute journey!

Lucy said...

Oh it is criminal. Sometimes I hate living here. There should be a special hell somewhere where certain inhabitants of the French countryside are tortured for all eternity as chained-up, starved and frozen dogs and murdered and mutilated trees, among other things.

So sorry.

Bish Bosh Bash said...

How very very sad. I can empathise with your shock and devastation completely. We live on the edge of the New Forest. To suddenly come across a spartan landscape where there should have been majestic lines of oak tree must have been soul destroying.