Agapanthus and holiday traffic

Not being the kind of people who go on annual holidays, we had gone completely over our heads that this weekend is the deepest darkest traffic black spot of the year. It’s known as the ‘chassé-croisé’ when the July holidaymakers hit the road home and the August sunseekers stream south. Most French people holiday within France, mainly along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts. Consequently the motorways going south have huge tailbacks. Not the ideal moment to try getting in and out of Bordeaux and taking the motorway that links both coasts.

So, we’re off tomorrow instead for a couple of days at the country retreat, and have an extra day of sanding and painting here. Finbar and I took our usual walk along the river and through the flowers. Having marvelled at the Agapanthus since they began to flower, it eventually occurred to me to take a few (not very successful) pics. They are massive—some are over my head height. I actually took the pictures four days ago but my phone has only just sent them to me…





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Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

17 thoughts on “Agapanthus and holiday traffic”

  1. Those flowers are amazing! I wouldn’t have known what they are. 🙂

    Friday afternoon/evening rush hour traffic is horrible on the highways around here–plus there’s road construction everywhere. Then in the summer, there’s massive traffic headed toward the beach areas and other vacation spots.

    1. The daft thing about France is that everybody does the same thing at the same time. They know that this happens every year, but nobody asks to take their holidays at a slightly different time.

      1. Here it’s things like Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend–the unofficial start and end of summer. I would never go to the beach then.

  2. We have a park in front of the apartment (which is part of the upstairs of the ancien ècole de ville) in which the campervans can park gratuit. Every commune in France has to provide somewhere for them to take on water and park up. Today I am staring at my lovely lawns (not mine at all but when I am here I am a little proprietorial dispite it being a rented flat) carpeted with vans nose to tail resting on their way south. You agapanthus are a tonic in the circs!

      1. I remember driving to Spain with three friends in the late nineties. We had stopped in la Rochelle the first night and set off (me rather bad-tempered as I was having a bad reaction to dousing myself in duty free perfume on the ferry and was antihisteminqued to the eyeballs) … within an hour we were in the midst of le noir. Ghastly though we managed to find our way across country and headed on back roads into the pyrenees and crossed somewhere entirely unpopulated. Not the planned route but far preferable to sniffing exhaust fumes whilst getting exhausted!

      2. All of the nationales and departementales are hairy to drive on. On the D roads because there’s no overtaking for great stretches motorists get murderous unless you drive at the upper speed limit, which of course drops to 50 if not 30 every tiny commune the route goes through. The concentration just on keeping to the ‘correct’ speed does my nerves in.

      3. I’ve developed an immunity to the bumper sniffing inability to stop pushing the car in front even on the hairiest of mountain roads in our department and a healthy respect for the zero tolerance if you are caught over the speed limit – a close friend of ours was caught twice in his home town at 51kmh – at the time he was in charge of the Gendarmerie for the commune. When in Rome 😉

      4. I just hate driving, but I also hate driving from the passenger seat. I haven’t noticed much of the zero tolerance round our way. We could do with dose of it.

    1. Cheeky. That’s the Bourse Maritime which I am assured translates as the shipping exchange. Not being too clued up on naval vocabulary I’ll take the dico’s word for it.

  3. Lovely photos, Jane. I despise traffic. Where I live, we have weekenders or holiday seekers travelling north from Boston up to the mountains and lakes every Friday night. The same group travels south on Sunday evening. I try to avoid the major highways during those times, but I sometimes forget.

  4. Jane, those agapanthas are ginormous. I have a few struggling to grow out the front. If I showed them photos of these, they’d be picking up roots and rapidly heading for France! I live in a beach community but fortunately the traffic is only bad over the Christmas Summer break. Although there’s a very popular caravan and tourist resort in town, we’re off the main tourist track and benefit from that clone mentality where people head to the same spot. I don’t know why they never think about the glories of the road less traveled? Locals here have a very strong sense that it’s “our beach” because it is.
    xx Rowena

    1. I’ve tried to grow them too and they just rot in the ground. My mum smuggled some out of Malta where they grow like weeds apparently, and they rotted too.
      You’re lucky to have your own beach! People often behave like birds, all flocking to the same place, except that birds usually have a very good reason and it’s never—lets go roost in that tree because every bird in the neighbourhood’s doing it.

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