Here little piggy

22 Apr
following in the footsteps

on the trail

When I’m on a roll and doing the right thing by my back (my G.P. freaked when I said I was discovering the merits of beer and wine over prescription pills to ease chronic pain), I get out and walk.

Up and down and around the numerous ‘chemins‘(paths) of our local village after dropping Lilas off at school – or if I’m at home, I lock the door behind me and head out for a wander around ye olde hamlet.  There’s nothing better for head-clearing than getting out and enjoying the sights and smells and sounds from the viewpoint of your feet (I haven’t yet embraced the bike-thing, despite obvious inspiration from the many folk here in Frogsville).

And now more than ever – with the hunting season is officially over, I can walk panic-free.

It sounds crazy but believe me, there’s this dodgy period of the year, from September to the end of February, when delightful shots ring in the air and I freeze and cower behind some vines.  The hunters are out.  Crouching like a ninny, you wonder if your bulk in a huge brown puffa jacket ressembles more wild sanglier (boar) than human.  Especially when you’re not much taller than a wild boar – and on all fours (ooh la la, I won’t start).  Here little piggy.

shells

Lilas likes collecting up the rubbish they leave behind. On you girl!

I’m not joking, accidents happen all over France each year during hunting season.  You can find any number of stats on the net, one of which claims 57 hunting-related deaths in the 2012/2013 season (up from 42 in the 2011/2012 year).  But the stats, depending who is reporting them, vary: the Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage cites for 2011/2012, 131 hunting-related accidents of which only 18 were mortal, for eg.  And don’t forget the 9% concerning ‘non-hunters’…

hunting plaque

It’s a topic charged with anger on both sides of the fence.  I wonder which side this author is hanging on…

Oohla, Bernard has a petit hunting zizi surprise in his pocket

Ooh laa, Bernard’s petit hunting zizi surprise has popped out of its pocket – image courtesy of La Buvette des Alpages
…(AND NO, Bill! – that is not me that circled the goods)

Yes I’m confused, and wary of the propaganda – but when you’re out there enjoying the cacophany of shots whilst stepping over colourful empty shell cases, I wonder what my odds are.  I should maybe don a red beanie and have a plastic red rose held high, a la the travel guides shepherding their groups around the grand squares of Europe.

a tranquil walking path

a tranquil walking path, minus the hunting crowd

On the less extreme end, some groups simply argue for a ban on Sundays (most accidents occur on weekends)…  This leads me to wonder why Wednesday (with Saturday and Sunday) is also nominated as an’open’ hunting day of the week  – when it is, all-over France, the mid-week day-off for children from school?  Can’t say I’m itching to take Lilas out for a walk when you can see the camouflage khakis and gun cocked on a guy strolling not that far from the kitchen door.

But hey, on the whole I have no problems with hunting if regulations are respected.  It’s incredibly popular here in the Minervois and you see a big proportion of the villagers getting involved.  It’s almost like a religion.  And these guys are outside, enjoying the elements (and the odd bottle of red) and providing some of us meat-eaters with food on the table.  Probably better than frozen nuggets, pot and a few hours of Playstation in a dark living room .

dawgs in the back

dawgs in the back…  (I’d been wondering where I’d put this pic)

So onto those walks.  Like I said,  the season has offically ‘closed’ and the hunters are at rest for the next few months at least.  The piggies et al can relax – and me too.

hamlet 8

hamlet 6

hamlet 3

4L hamlet

calam5

hamlet 2

black pusscalam13

hameau

mousse

calam1

hamlet9

hamlet 10

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7 Responses to “Here little piggy”

  1. Marilyne April 22, 2013 at 6:21 pm #

    I remembered walking in the garrigue with my dog as a kid, completely unaware of the danger – for me and my dog!! Now I am wondering a bit more if it was completely safe and if my father was completely sound to let me go as I wished :)!

    It tends to disappear – but in my village, hunters used to nail wild boars feet to their garage doors as a trophy. I love to show that to my Dutch friends and see the disgust on their faces (most on them are vegetarians, it makes the cultural gap even wider! )

    Talking about friends, it’s good to have hunters as friends – you might get a bit of game once in a while!

    PS I hope your back gets better soon – did you try yoga? Not sure you can get lessons in teh Minervois 🙂 but if you can it’s great for a lot of things.

    • The vigneron's wife April 26, 2013 at 1:10 am #

      Hi there Marilyne. Thanks a lot for your message – sounds like you’re lucky to be here, in this day, writing one!! It’s like all those things when we were kids, you wonder how we all got here!… But they have their right to be out there, as long as they keep a good aim.

      And thanks for letting me know about the yoga. You’re right, it’s not that easy to find someone around here who knows about injuries etc (especially in English, which is the language I would prefer to have instructions in!). I did do some sessions with a friend whcih gave me a good feeling for it, but our group stopped. I reckon I should get back onto finding someone again – walking isn’t enough.
      Take care

  2. Bill mcculloch April 22, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

    I cannot believe your photo. Was it your highlighter pen which drew our attention to the little piggy ? Now esconced in St. Chinian , but with a back story too absurd to mention . Keep blogging !

    • The vigneron's wife April 26, 2013 at 1:01 am #

      No Bill, can’t say that was moi and my ink that circled the ‘piggy’… the boys had already gone to work on it, it seems!
      Thanks for your query however! And I’m glad to have found your very funny musings on WP!

  3. midihideaways May 10, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    Hi Kat,

    Love that picture – just shows what crazy guys we have running round with guns 🙂

    • The vigneron's wife May 11, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

      Yep!!
      xo

      • Auntie P June 27, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

        I’m back on line and catching up.Veggies for weekend Sunday night, no little piggys. XX

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