Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Crickets, squirrels and spiders

2004 - During our visit of le ‘Château de la Roche aux Moines’ in Epiré we spent some time walking around the grounds. We came across the ruins of a building that, judging by the elongated and at the end rounded shape of the remaining masonry, had been a church or a chapel, hence probably the name of the property (Castle of the Monks’ rock). In the oblong top part lay some old tombstones. They were weathered and the inscriptions had almost completely disappeared.

Two rows of cypress had been planted inside the walls of the ruins and the ground was covered with long grass. There was a little sign stating the obvious. This was the: ‘Allée des cyprès’.

It was nice walking in the shade of the trees. We sat down on a little stone wall for a while listening to the chirping crickets and watching two red squirrels chase each other in the undergrowth before agilely disappearing in one of the tall cypress. I was wearing 7/8th length jeans and white canvas shoes without socks. Suddenly there was an itching feeling at the back of my right leg halfway between my foot and knee. I looked down but saw nothing. So I assumed that it must have been the high grass brushing against my leg.

After this little intermezzo we went up to the main house and enjoyed our wine tasting session. Afterwards it was almost time for lunch. We drove on in the direction of the town of Savennières, where we crossed the Loire, to the village of Rochefort-sur-Loire – some 4 km further south. Here we found a perfect picnic spot on the banks of the Louet. In the morning we had bought some fresh goat cheese with herbs and a few slices of ‘jambon blanc’ at the weekly market in Bourgueil. This made a perfect lunch!

On our way back to Tours we stopped at La Chapel-sur-Loire for a drink in a little bar near the Loire River. Sitting on the terrace my right leg started to itch again. I ran my hand over the itching spot and felt a small insect sitting there. As soon as I touched it, it fell to the ground. I looked at my leg and saw a little red dot where the creature had bitten or stung me. I put some saliva on it, as I have been told to do when I was a little girl. When my friend asked me what was wrong, I told him that I had been bitten by a tiny spider. “Does it hurt?’ he enquired. “No, it just itches a bit”, I replied. “That’s OK then”, he said and we both forgot about the whole incident … until the next day!


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