I love the river in all of her guises, even when muddy and running in full spate, but la Dordogne is particularly beguiling in the heat of summer. The giver of zephyrs of breeze (even hot air can be better than no air at all), and a cool spot for feet of all types, she is also a home to a wide range of bird life. On Sunday it was time to take the pickle out for a mid-afternoon pee-break. As it was very hot, I was careful to keep her paws in the shade as far as possible. The retaining walls of la Quai de la Breche were perfect for this, providing a luscious retreat from the sun, so we trotted down the steps with a view to a quick splash in the river before returning to a mammoth jam-making session (for me).
Ayalone (That’s the pronunciation, I don’t know the spelling, but I do know that it means “little deer”) and Laura were on the quai, busying themselves in preparation for another trip aboard Rives d’Or II, the little flat-bottomed boat that offers short tours on the river in July and August. It is to my shame that in 7 years of owning Les Terraces we’ve never once taken a ride on the boat and I have no excuse for such a failure. Not one. We exchanged “hellos” and talk of the weather. Brin was the recipient of much attention too. Aya and Laura asked me what I was up to and, in response to my “not much”, suggested that we leap aboard: they had a trip leaving in a few minutes. There was no reason not to, so we did.
It has been a long time since I was last on the water in anything larger than a 3-person canoe, and it was good to feel a deck beneath my feet. Brin settled down quickly, enjoying the shade from the bimini and the extra hint of freshness in the air. We didn’t go far, or for long (an hour), but we enjoyed our trip. The crew have their work cut out for them navigating between canoes heading down-river, the occasional swimmer enjoying the river outside of the designated swim areas (the river has quite a current, and claims a few lives in a bad year), the long river weed that looks like mermaid’s hair and the ever-shifting shoals. But these are challenges that are handled quietly and professionally.
Laura provided an informative history of the old “industrial” use of the Dordogne and was helpful in pointing out some of the river’s avian residents as we travelled. It wasn’t a long trip, but it was enjoyable. The sad thing is that it isn’t better patronised. It ought to be. For more information, you can follow this link.