The bridge and The Belem

This morning there was a lot of animation down on the Garonne. Police speedboats were charging up and down; police cars were doing their best to keep up despite having to use roads and bridges. Most of Bordeaux had turned out to see the President of the Republic inaugurate the new bridge.
It being our quay, our bridge and our river, I hadn’t really given much thought to the festivities, and we trolled upriver as usual. However, the crowds making their way to join the thousands already assembled by the new bridge made Finbar nervous. He stopped, nudged my hand gently with his nose and gestured homeward with his head.
I looked at the heaving crowd, and wondered where François was. I watched the policemen showing off in their speed boats, blocked my ears against the wailing of sirens as their land-bound colleagues raced in a great circuit over the new bridge then back across the old one.
We were about to turn back when I noticed the boat gliding under the bridge. It was The Belem, a Mexican navy training ship, a beautiful three master that always turns up for Bordeaux’s nautical extravaganzas. Don’t ask me why, because I have no idea. Neither what the arrangement Bordeaux has with the Mexican navy, nor why their training ship is over a hundred years old. It’s a lovely sight whatever the reasons, and once again, I didn’t have a camera with me. The one on the picture is similar, slightly smaller, and Russian.

Finbar was not impressed, pulling in the direction of home, and I found myself looking at the scene not as a human being avid for excitement, but through the eyes of a dog who sees only dense crowds and uncharacteristic movement disturbing the river. So what? The new bridge is officially open, but it will still be there tomorrow. So, the President is in the throng, he’s not such an oil painting, is he? The river police might be thrilled to bits with their high-powered boats, but I’d rather watch the gulls fishing.
You go down that way of thinking and you find yourself listening for birdsong rather than your telephone while walking along the roadside. You look at the wildflowers growing at the edge of the pavement rather than the shop windows, and the clouds scudding overhead instead of the gorgeous shoes of the woman walking in front. You find yourself drifting away from what anchors us to society, and longing for something that can’t be bought, that doesn’t need to be photographed to exist, that might be found in the depths of a dog’s eyes, or the patch of moss growing on a stone wall.

Spring is on the way

This morning the weather was beautifully balmy, clear blue sky and the Garonne as smooth as glass. It was one of those days when I wished I’d brought the camera. I have seen the odd cormorant flying by the house, but this morning there was a small crowd watching one fishing quite close to the riverbank. According to one local it was stuffing itself with eels. They stay underwater for an incredibly long time, leaving no trace on the surface, no air bubbles or the slightest ripple. This one seemed completely oblivious of the admiring crowd.

Source=[ Corm
By Mike Baird

A little further on we stopped to see what the gardeners were gathered round. One of them had uncovered the most enormous larva I ever want to see. It was easily 10cms long, as thick as a sausage, and a hideous corpse colour. It was the second of the beasts they had found since they started spreading mulch in the flower beds. They deposited it on the grass away from the flowers, where Finbar who is usually fascinated by crawlies gave it a wide berth.


Just before we turned for home, leaving the Garonne behind, I had my first sight this year of the returning wild geese. I’d heard them several times, but this was the first of the magnificent formations I’d seen across the open sky. This must have been several groups recently joined up, because there were three or four overlapping ‘V’ formations. They make such a tremendous, joyful noise; I know nothing more evocative of the coming spring.

“Photo by Michael Maggs, Wikimedia Commons”.