Chaotic Granite

We always make the most of any school holidays by fitting in a bit extra geocaching. And this two-week-long mid-term break is no exception. We’re halfway through and have managed to get out most days for an hour or two.

Last Tuesday found us in the forest above Guéret, around the wolf park at Chabrière. A dodgy doggy place to be? Not really. One wolf escaped a year or so ago but only because someone had cut through the fence. He was quickly found trying to get back in! Wolves, being pack animals are like our herd of llamas (apart from them being carnivorous, of course!) in that if they do get separated they’re in a panic to get back with the others.

One of Gueret's wolves

One of Gueret’s wolves

Back to the forest. It was our first visit there ever. It’s only taken us eight years to get round to seeing it. We’ve been to the wolf park a number of times but not investigated the rest of Chabrière’s 1469 hectares. The forest mainly consists of managed pine trees although there are plenty of broadleafed trees too. It is full of paths and mountain bike trails – you’d definitely need a very details map at the least, but a GPS gives you a nice sense of security. You could quite easily get lost.

The geocaching didn’t go too well. It was a multicache trail we were on, but the clue to the first one seemed so convoluted – you had to count how many times each letter appeared on signposts and then magically convert those totals into co-ordinates so we gave up on that. We didn’t have anything to write stuff down on and I had a splitting headache so we’ll have another go when we’re better prepared. Anyway, we decided to go for a potter and visit a few rocks that were signposted. The whole area is one ‘chaotic granite’ with boulders strewn everywhere.

On our way we passed Les Trois Amis. These are two massive oaks and a mighty beech tree that are fused together at the base of the trunk. You’ll be pleased to hear we didn’t add to the carved graffiti on the beech’s trunk.

gueret troisamis2

The first of the pierres we visited was the Casse-Noisette (nutcracker) rock. No obvious similarity in my opinion but a nice rock nonetheless. this anonymous rock Chris was standing on was more impressive.

gueret chris rocks

However, the Pierre Chanbranle was a wonderful discovery. It wobbles! We’d noticed a large branch sticking out from underneath the large stone which is balanced on a smaller one. Rors gave it an idle push and we were astonished to see the big one moving. Quite a lot! We all had a go. Apparently the rock was something of an oracle in the olden days. Druids would ask it questions and interpret its wobbly replies.

gueret chabranle rock

How we’d never heard about this famous rocking rock for eight years is a mystery. But thanks to geocaching we’ve found out about it. This will be somewhere we show off to visitors from now on. Here’s Rors rocking that rock!

I was struck by the similarities between Chabrière and our local Pierres Jaumâtres. The PJs are another chaotic granite area, the remnant of a once-huge volcano that towered 2 km in height. We have a geocache (i.e. one we put there for our fellow geocachers to find) at the PJs and so we nipped out to check that a couple of days after visiting Chabrière. There’s now a fancy new start to the trail with irregular and narrow steps, thereby making a visit by pushchair or wheelchair now totally impossible! It was doable before, admittedly with some effort, but far from making the site more accessible this new addition is doing the opposite, which seems to go against the politically correct grain.

pjoct14 rors stones

But despite that, les Pierres Jaumâtres is somewhere we never get tired of visiting. It’s a fabulous place.

pjoct14 stones view

Not A Good Morning OR Sideways Rain And No Blessings

This morning did not go according to plan.

I’d hoped to be blogging about this year’s Blessing of the Animals at our local church in Nouzerines. We’ve been a couple of times before. I took Brendan the alpaca for a walk yesterday in readiness for trekking down to the church for 9.30, the usual kick-off time. Well, there was sideways rain this morning and I didn’t fancy turning up at St Clair’s with a very large drowned rat, and looking like one myself too. Plus it would not have been pleasant hanging around in the wet and cold outside the church for an hour while the service went on. Whilst all animals are welcome at the service, not all of them are welcome in the church itself for obvious reasons!

So we went to Plan B. Rors chose a couple of his favourite guinea-pigs which we put in a basket and we headed off in the car. I’d tried to get my budgies in, but their cage is so tall it wouldn’t fit through the either the doors or the boot! They would have to remain unblessed.

maple syrup cage

The church was quiet and empty. Either we’d got the time wrong, or it had been cancelled, but nothing was going on. So we went back home. I was going to check online to see if it was scheduled for later in the day, but first I went to find Chris who was checking on the anglers on Alder Lake. I saw him and Tobi coming up the path through the field so called Tobi. Now I was in my bright purple raincoat and had the hood up, and this seemed to totally freak Tobi! She shot off like a startled deer and vanished. So for twenty minutes Chris and I walked around, me now without my scary coat and so getting soaked, calling for Tobi but not finding her. It turned out she’d gone back to the house. What set her off, I don’t know, but she now seems to be OK with that particular coat. Anyway, by now I was soaked to the skin and thoughts of church services receded fast. Instead, since our coffee and milk supplies had reached a dangerously low level, and the morning was already messed up, I went shopping. And as you might now by now, I hate shopping! Not a good morning.

Anyway, the afternoon hasn’t been too bad, apart from the fact that winter seems to have arrived, and I don’t like it. I want the sunshine back! We’ll adapt soon enough but we’ve been spoilt for so long with this lovely sunny late summer and early autumn we’ve been having that it’s a bit of a shock. And it’s probably the end of the swimming season which, for a swimaholic like myself, is a shame. But, on the bright side, we haven’t needed to light the fire yet and we’ve been busy working on the wood supplies this last week – chopping, splitting and stacking – to make sure we’ve got plenty for the cold weather that’s sure to come soon…