I'm running a bit late on the current batch of writing, not helped by the fact that I seem to have a tendency to drift into a haze after a few hours. Today I did manage to get a good session in before glazing, though still haven't really caught up. This was only possible because I had a day off earlier in the week, first for months. I'd got into the state where I couldn't think straight at all, getting no work done. (I can't think to work right now either, but I sure can ramble… ) It wasn't writer's block, and I certainly wasn't blogbound (I've never had any problem going to the blog). Just an overload of syndication-related material: reading, reading, reading, coding, coding, coding, writing…h nnng. Call it syndispation. So I had a day off.
It was one of Caroline's free days and the sun was shining, so we went up a mountain. The aim was the Vetricia Plateau, some limestone pavements up Panie de la Croce, the geological structure being karst, so Caro informed me. On the way in the car I was amazed how much green there was still around, though Caro reminded me that when it goes it's gone until May. But once we'd walked an hour or so above the chestnut and into the beech it really did seem wintery.
After a couple of hours we arrived - I was flagging a bit, completely out of condition. It was worth it though, amazing landscape, very impressive - not unlike Malham Cove, bits of the Burren or some of the fantastic tops of Majorca (hey, a koinnesseur of karst). Basildog was a bit scaredy at times, not wanting to step over deep cracks. But still he usually managed to find the easiest paths (on this photo he appears to be heading the opposite way to Caroline - I suppose the easiest path isn't necessarily in the right direction).
Limestone is cool.
[PS.] I'd better explain Basil's kit: he has a muzzle because occasionally people are frightened of him, and if they are he barks at them, which really is frightening. Also, if he got it into his head then he could probably bring down something like a small deer - I don't think it's likely, he's pretty soft-natured (he play-bites Sparql, she pads his nose and rabbit-kicks under his chin), but just in case. He wears a cowbell because he often runs off, not usually very far, but the tinkle is reassuring to us humans (and gives cats/birds warning). He wears a brightly-coloured scarf for the benefit of hunters, so they're less likely to mistake him for something wild and tasty. It also makes him look rather dashing.
After 15mins or so pottering about we had the not-unfamiliar thought that we needed to get off the mountain before it got dark. The route back went straight down maybe half a mile of broad and pretty steep scree slope. We went down very slowly and deliberately, not because it was particularly dangerous in a life-threatening way, but the risk of coarsely-grated buttocks demanded caution. It was a CAI (Club Alpismo Italia) path, and I've thought on previous occasions they've got a sense of humour about their track marks (see the red & white stripe on a rock - top middle?).
By the time we got back to the car it was dark, prompting discussion of how many years ago it was we nearly got stuck on Kinder Scout (7ish, we decided). We were all worn out by the time we got home, snuggling up cosywarm as soon as the fire was lit. Sparql was glad to see us - it was the longest she'd been on her own since she moved in.