Sunday, 30 September 2018

We lingered ...

... reluctant to leave.  Our crêpes finished, the wine drunk, the bill paid, the soft, gold lighting casting shadows on the old brick and stone walls, up to the gloom of the ancient beams high above us, we and our friends from Australia stayed to listen.

Giselle spoke of the time when Clairac was "the centre of the world"; when every nationality crossed her threshold, the family from Tasmania, the forty Australians who disembarked from their boats down at the quay and walked up the narrow cobbled street to dine at her crêperie.

At the table next to us the four English boat people spoke with sadness and hope.

Sad that the beautiful Lot is now so little used.  Channels allowed to silt up, pollution contaminating old mill ponds preventing dredging, the Garonne crossing that enabled boats and barges to move from Europe's great network of canals onto this waterway now closed.

Hopeful that, finally, France is beginning to recognise what this beautiful river has to offer.  Not next year, but maybe the year after, the crossing may re-open and, who knows, one day money may be found to reverse the on-going decay and neglect.

Giselle closes her crepêrie at the end of September and this would be our last visit 'til the first of April next year.  There was an extra tinge of nostalgia in our farewells.  She tells us next season will be her last.  Where then will we go to find such evenings of magic?