23 August 2008

A Burst of Activity

I’m sure watching the Olympics caused it but on Friday lunchtime without any warning to the family I decided we’d get some exercise and have a picnic down at the river. I’d had a ‘boy’s lunch’ planned but it didn’t happen and so the alternative was to try and get the family out in the fresh air.

The usual moans and groans greeted my suggestion but I wasn’t having ‘NO’ for an answer. I started making some sandwiches, threw some drinks into the cool bag, got some pickled onions from the fridge and grabbed some biscuits for Shadow. If the truth be known, this was Shadow’s day out as he badly needed a swim in the river. Although we have a pool, Shadow does not like it at all because there are no steps. If you mention swim, he immediately heads for his basket, lies down and literally covers his eyes with his paws hoping it was a joke. If however, he finds a pool with a shallow end and steps Shadow is there in a flash, indeed we’ve had complaints before with people finding a black dog wallowing in their shallow end, acting like he owned it.

Off we went up the Gorge du Loup, no more than 15 minutes drive. The first few spots we normally go to were busy, either by lovey-dovey couples or canyoners. What a great business canyoning is. You buy some wet suits, get some idiots to climb into them, charge them 40 euros and then throw your customers in the river. Minimal overheads, the river is free and people go in their own transport. You don’t supply any food and your office is a cheap hole in the wall with a telephone number on the side. In the next day or so I will recount the tale of my one and only canyoning trip.

Anyway, the canyoners had just finished. You could tell. They were sitting on the wall beside the road looking utterly exhausted, Some had tried to get out of their wet suits but didn’t have the energy to complete the task and they looked like some sort of mythical creature - half seal, half human. Unfortunately it would be at least an hour before they got the energy back to clear the car park so we continued up the river for another mile or so.

The Loup is just a normal sort of river in his area – quite small in the summer but a raging torrent in the winter and the temperature is never less than ….absolutely freezing. We found a spot which was quite difficult to get to and I hope she doesn’t read this posting but J crossing the river to get to the picnic spot on the other side was a test of patience – the sandwiches had almost gone mouldy by the time she got across. An 85 year old, blind geriatric on a zimmer frame would have got across quicker !

However, once settled we had a great time. We made dams to create our own pool, encouraged Shadow to have a swim in a deep bit, and I completely soaked Guy by throwing huge boulders in the river right beside him. Kitty just wandered about singing to herself and J just did what J does – she couldn’t wait to get home and made it clear that that’s what she wanted to do.

I just sat there looking at the 2000 feet deep gorge through which the Loup runs. It’s amazing to think that this little river has carved its way down through the rocks to create one of the most stunning sights on the Riviera…….and it’s just around the corner. We’re very lucky.

See pictures of canyoning in the River Loup here:


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