The Question Is…

… how do they do it? When a solitary vulture spots lunch, 50 fellow diners are quickly on the spot and they seem to come from nowhere. They must have some method of communication – the avian equivalent of whale song – or eyesight which allows them to detect a pattern of flight that announces ‘dinner’s on the table’.


And whilst on the subject of wildlife, this little fellow hoved into view disguised as an African witch doctor.


The air is so clear here at the foot of the Pyrenees, that it’s hard not to stop by the roadside to take pictures. This track from Saint Palais to Navarrenx with the mountains just beginning to show under the lifting stratus, was a perfect stop.

Pays Basque

And in Navarrenx itself, this gem of a Peugeot was sitting in the square. As I ambled past a bit later on, the owner had the bonnet up to reveal a V6. That was a surprise.


But the weather here so close to the mountains is very similar to home. One day it’s warm and sunny, the next cold and wet. Obviously, as Spring turns to Summer, weather patterns establish themselves but in the evenings we’re often treated to a spectacular show of thunder and lightning, though mostly without the rain. I suppose that’s what makes it interesting; the relentless heat of Provence I would find debilitating; the storms in the Lantabat valley clear the air after a day in the kitchen.


Parked, appropriately enough in front of a bank, was this Cadillac. Not a car you’d want to take to the lanes in; it’s enough to squeeze past an ordinary size car when you’re on the back roads over a col. The verges tend to be 6” below the edge of the road and quite soft and if your car’s full of shopping or people, you could get into trouble very easily if you let yourself be pushed around.


But if you take the trouble to explore, simple scenes reminiscent of I’m not sure when but it was a long time ago, present themselves.


Continuing my exploration of local wild life, this water-boatman sat still long enough for a portrait.

Gave d'Oloron

Which wouldn’t have been the case had he been a resident of the Gave D’Oloron, the main river that runs through Sauveterre. The rivers I’ve come across at home always seem a bit underwhelming when compared to those in France but then we’re a bit short on mountains in Suffolk..


This week, due to an administrative error, transport has been by motorised roller-skate. I have to say that since I last drove a Smart (when in the middle of Bergerac, the engine did its eco stop routine and refused to start again) the marque is considerably improved. This basic model had a very refined and comfortable cockpit and the gearbox (sequential on a centre stick) changed down by itself. Of course, it left me wondering why it didn’t change up as well but I managed.


And when is a flower a weed? That is the question.


2 comments on “The Question Is…

  1. “And in Navarrenx itself, this gem of a Peugeot was sitting in the square. As I ambled past a bit later on, the owner had the bonnet up to reveal a V6. That was a surprise.”
    Ahem, your “Peugeot” is indeed a Renault! The model is a “Frégate”. This particular one from the triangular badge on the bonnet is a “transfluide” which is an automatic transmission. To my knowledge (limited) there was no frégate 6 cylinders so maybe this engine was from another brand?

  2. SimonJ says:

    A friend has a SMART and he says the automatic gearbox is terrible. Never does the right things. He’s hoping the control unit dies one day so he can build his own. I’ve never driven an automatic/semi auto I liked. Even when I have to double de-clutch I prefer a manual box.

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