Brief encounter at Christmas
From Kath and Mike Poulter
Brief Encounter at Christmas.
It was a frosty-bright morning at Restauffret, in Brittany.
The valley below me already resounded with the keening and yelping of hounds and the clarion of horns as I settled to cut firewood in the garden. After a while I laid down my saw and went to fetch logs from our wood, trunks already cut and left there recently by our Tree-Fellers.
As I moved through the trees I half caught a sight, a glimpse of a man hidden behind a tree trunk a few yards away, watching me. He was carrying a rifle, intent with purpose. He had clearly been there for some time.
As I contemplated what he was doing there, on our land, in our wood, he came forward as if to greet me………
So I asked him in my fractured French “Are you with La Chasse ? As he responded pleasantly I asked him what they were hunting – hare, birds or whatever ? His answer was Chevreuil- deer.
The hounds and twenty of his colleagues from St Brieuc ,( 50 miles away) had been out all morning. His post in our wood was that of an Outlier- waiting for any breakaway by deer. He reminisced about his morning. He had really enjoyed being in the wood, watching pheasant, a red squirrel, buzzards, even a kestrel and of course he had watched my woodcutting !
In the valley below as the sound of hounds and the hunt moved closer, I pondered whether to move further into the wood to drag up my logs but decided it might impinge on his field of fire !
Apologising for my execrable accent I, somewhat inanely, said my Italian was much better than my French. He responded by saying that he understood me better than I might have coped with his English !
So, amicably I wished him and La Chasse “Bonne Chance” He wished me, family and friends in Grand Bretagne and elsewhere “Bon Noel “ and I climbed back up to my work in the garden.
When next I looked, twenty minutes later, he had vanished.
Kath and I pass on his ‘ Bon Noel, Joyeuses Fetes et bonne nouvelle annee ‘ to all our family and friends,
Best Wishes for Christmas and the New Year,
Kath and Mike,
Restauffret,Tregornan 22110 Bretagne.