Friday, 26 July 2013

Day 207 : Les beaux tournesols

I've transferred my obsession about poppies to sunflowers. I've only see one slightly bedraggled looking poppy but fields of sunflowers lie enticingly out if camera’s sight through the coach windows or just too far from the canal side. But that's part of the hunt. Even if they are close I'm thwarted by them pointing in the wrong direction. There is a misconception that sunflowers follow the sun during the day, hence the French name tournesols, but even if they do rotate as they grow when they are young the mature flowers face east. Which is really infuriating when you're due west of them on a gently drifting barge.

But after taking every opportunity to seek my prey we hit pay dirt in our night’s mooring location.

We’ve been aboard all day, several of us decamped to the jacuzzi, well it has the best view after all. Wearing a big hat, a camera in one hand, a glass of chilled rosé in the other, this really is the life. Today is the day of the many locks so we get to see Julien, our capitaine in action. Many of the locks need some vigorous winching to open the gates and let the water rush through and the whole exercise is fascinating to watch.

Our only excursion today was to visit Alain in his lock-keeper’s cottage. He has a museum chock-full of curios, odd souvenirs, found objects and frankly weird things. Apparently most have been donated by visiting ’bargees’ but it’s hard to understand why anyone would have some of those items casually about their person. I donated a penguin, he seemed to be lacking one in his acquired hoard. Though he did seem to have a mountain lion on a much greater scale. I'm not sure where the penguin would fit in though!

After our browse through Alain’s bizarre collection, we went for a meander around the secluded area. We’re not near a town tonight, there's little apart from a few cottages, an empty towpath as far as the eye can see and many fields. And one of these fields contains sunflowers Hooray I can walk round to the other side of the shy flowers I might be able to get the shots I crave.

It also seems appropriate after abandoning one of my diminutive penguins to a new life being the toy thing of an angry looking mountain lion I should create a cavorting penguin vs. sunflower image. They don't make my heart sing quite as much as poppies do (but that is a long held, deeply rooted fixation), but they are bright, bold and beautiful and I'm delighted to be able immerse myself in some lone sunflower time!


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