Thursday

Reynes 2

Firstly. Rob got into Spain on Thursday 19th August, through heavy rain, up and over the mountain range!! Fantastic acheivement. mum :))

Next job, trees crowding the stream/river, fast growing and straight up. I have a tiny chainsaw and I'm to cut them down! No problem, drop 20/25, straight into the river bed then drag them out and cut them up. 30 foot tall and very slender, an enjoyable day, eating fruit from the orchard trees and padding about in the water, shirt off and loving it !! Saving the ones with a good V shape branch for props for the pear trees, the fruit is weighing the branches down too much, hundreds of pears. Paradise here.
Drive out with Jocelyn to fetch the fencing wire, at a village that's the last one in France, before the sea, right on the border with Spain. Past the old customs post, not used now, no frontier checks. Up into the hills again to a large farmhouse. Yet another amazingly hospitable guy. Shows us around the house, renovated with chestnut wood from his own forest, cut and finished himself, stone, oiled wood, and the smell of linseed and farmyards, excellent. Pick up the wire and the car is down on the springs, with a steep climb out, Interesting !!
Cork trees with their bark trimmed of at 6 feet line the road back, cattle in the fields.
Stop at a tiny village, maybe 3 houses and the mayors office, everything very well finished, timber guard rails along the edge of the road, no cars allowed, details in the paving, spotlessly clean, time taken in the choice and design of everything. Very well done, stopped again to look at a roman fort, none of your "National Trust - keep to the footpaths" just a small sign telling you what you are standing in and a trust that you are responsible enough not to change it, I like that.
Signs and writing on the road "non THT". The government here wants to run High Tension power lines across the mountains to sell electricity to Spain, this mountain pass is their chosen route and the people here are very much against it.
Back to Reynes and unload the car, and meet Julian, Jean Pierre's youngest son. A nice lad, teenage, motorbike, would like to be a mechanic.
Next job, early morning 8 ish, one of the sheep is injured, has a large open sore on its side, need to catch and treat it. Every morning Jean feeds them soaked grain, walking up the mountain with a bucket calling "Margie" and tapping the bucket. These are well trained sheep! they come to the call, and all crowd around to eat. A perfect time to catch the black one. Jean gets it by the head, but I am too busy keeping hold of the dog and watching it to notice by the time he says "come on" and I get hold its too late, the animal is very strong and it breaks free and runs leaving us both flat on the ground and me with a serious amount of egg on my face, feel a complete fool!! let them both down, it still needs treatment. MISTAKE!!
Back again the next day and determined not to do that again, they all come to feed but the black one hangs back, I climb up a terrace above and circle round hoping to drive them to Jean, but, no, they must see me as the easy way out and all come to me! Not going to be foiled again, a rugby tackle later and the sheep is caught, hell these things are strong! Confidence a little restored but still egg to remove from my face yet.
3 sheep been missing for several days, I saw them in the canyon whilst cutting the trees and 2 days later they are back, whilst planning the route for the fence, Ouzanne and Jocelyn spot them from the top of the canyon. Call to Jean, sort a stategy, go up, then into canyon to push them down and find they are already cornered, stuck on a ledge 3 foot wide and narrowing to nothing, unwilling to climb further, a GOOD drop to one side and definately staying put. Wrestling again. Jean takes the largest by the back legs, balancing on the edge of the ledge (!!) but its well braced and he cannot flip it onto its back (strong) takes 2 of us to turn it over, meanwhile the other 2 have scarpered upwards with the commotion (why didn't they do that in the first place?) leaving us with a large, frightened, and unwilling cargo to haul up the scramble to the top, good job it had a collar on, good job I can climb. This is an extremely likeable and capable guy, but I feel the need to teach him some ropework.

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Good luck with your own journey.
Thanks for visiting,
Rob.