Sunday, 30 January 2011

Through a local lens No. 6


This is a place called Fréjo. It's about half a mile upstream from where we live. It's where the Fréjo spring gushes out of the rock at the foot of the cliff into the river Jaur. It's a popular place in summer, but today there was no one else about, and maybe just as well.

There's a cave behind the waterfall. I'm reminded of the Scottish Gaelic practice of taghairm, which means wrapping yourself in a bullock-hide and somehow getting in behind a waterfall. This enables you to see into the future.

I did a very foolish thing at Fréjo. Finding on the river beach a large and very heavy piece of inch-thick white melamine-coated chipboard, which must have been washed up there recently when the river was in spate, I launched it back into the water. I thought it would break up and disperse in the rapids a little further downstream, an easier way of getting rid of such an eyesore than carting it up to the nearest disposal point.

I'm afraid it was so waterlogged that it refused to float. It just slid into the calm water in the photo and came to rest hip-deep on the river bed, a worse eyesore than it was before.

If I'd had a bullock-hide handy and had managed to wade across the river and install myself behind the waterfall I'd have foreseen this, of course. There's never a bullock-hide about when you want one, is there?

16 comments:

Sarah said...

So why didn't you just wade in and retrieve it?

Tim Footman said...

I have a bullock-hide handy. But if I keep changing the dressings, it doesn’t hurt too much.

Christopher said...

a) I was fully clothed

b) The temperature was 4º

c) The current is quite strong

d) It weighed a ton

e) There's a public notice on the path leading to this place that E. coli is present in the water, not in any great strength, but present all the same

f) I would have needed grappling hooks and ropes

g) I would have had to cart the thing - unless I just left it where I found it - up a rocky path, across a field, to a lay-by where the bins would have been too small to accommodate it

h) In addition to having no bullock-hide, I had no axe or sledgehammer with me

i) It was lunch-time.

But thank you for asking, Sah. I know you would have done the right thing.

Christopher said...

Tim, I've sometimes thought there was a certain confidently prophetic quality about your posts. Can you claim for bullock-hides on your expense account?

moreidlethoughts said...

Bullocks! said Christopher in annoyance when he realised his error...

Hector said...

Drat, I might have used that melamine board had it floated down to us.

Christopher said...

MIT: Mmm...maybe, but I'm not really much of an heifer and blinder.

Hector: It's still there. Help yourself. All you need is your waders.

Dave said...

Is a bullock-hide used if you want to take photographs of cattle?

Sarah said...

I can't help thinking C, these are lame excuses. Clearly you went ill prepared on your outing. If you had only thought to take a little rope with you and a wet suit it would have been simples.

Christopher said...

Got it in one, Dave. And a Hi-de-hide for taking cheeky photos of campers or Swiss girls.

Oooh, you're hard, Sah. In any case Hector will have fished it out by now.

Z said...

Around here, if someone loses something, you pick it up so it isn't in the mud and leave it on or by the nearest post for the owner to reclaim it. The owner of the melamine-covered chipboard will be very disappointed when he comes looking for it

Christopher said...

Infamy! Infamy! You girls have all got it in for me!


(Apologies to Kenneth Williams)

Vicus Scurra said...

Ancient Scottish practices indeed. The Scots, a race much to be admired, invent these myths (porridge, haggis, Burns, bagpipes, kilts) to see whether anyone else is daft enough to follow suit. I have never seen a Scot behind a waterfall.
I suggest you give the practice of chipboard hurling a Gaelic name and see if it, too, passes into folklore.

Christopher said...

Having just finished my porridge, Vicus, I now have time to devote to your admirable suggestion. The Irish (same Celtic roots) already have hurling as a folk-pastime, although it's not specified exactly what they hurl and there may well be e.g. a Sligo melamine chipboard league, sponsored by B&Q, say. It's probably spelled 'thuirleadh' just as Vicus would come out as 'Mhichuis', which you might care to adopt to signify your sympathy with Gaelic cultural initiatives.

Hector said...

Maybe it's time to introduce the fine but somewhat dangerous Scottish game of Shinty to the Languedoc. Perhaps we could make some melamine balls - but on second thoughts Moray is losing his on Friday.

Christopher said...

H'm, I see. Perhaps better not throw them in the river. What with melamine coated chipboard and E. coli streptococci (if that's what they are)...