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Yes, we’re back once more at ‘La Loge’ – a magnificent hunting lodge with all its vast lakes and woodland. An absolute paradise for creatures great and small!
For the last year, or more, this countryside wonderland has lived and prospered without a visit from us, and we have certainly missed its wild embrace.
But during this year’s long Easter week-end we have at last walked its by-ways, breathed its fresh, aromatic air, and floated on its waters, once again.
Spring has arrived now with a vengeance, and the trees and waterside grasses are budding and greening up. Many varieties of waterfowl are also evident, including huge numbers of ducks, mating swans, and moor hens, along with huge herons flying majestically overhead.
Despite the regional water table being hit with the very hot and dry summer of last year, and insufficient rainful during this last winter the persistence of the renowned ‘ragondin’ is ever-present, with tell-tale footprints in the mud and freshly-dug holes in the dried mud of the embankments.
The beaver-like ‘ragondin’ is a big pest in these parts, and needs constant culling. Michel, our good hunter-friend always has his pistol at the ready!
He tells us that during the previous week he shot and killed one which was over 2 metres long!
All part of the rugged, and down-to-earth reality of estate management and the ever-vigilance of the hunter’s life.
Probably, however, a little too bloody and red in tooth and claw for my wife, Lucy!
Ellis, our 9 year-old son, on the other hand, is in a magical world – a real-life adventure kingdom.
Made even more incredible and full of fun this time since Michel gave him some lessons on shooting with both rifle and pistol.
Worryingly, Ellis was exceedingly good at it, and probably a little too enthusiatic about it all for my wife’s liking!
We all had a great traipse through the woodland, and once again, Michel continued to explain about the different plant life around us. There were many tracks of deer and wild boar, too, and although I have experienced a little duck shooting and deer-stalking, I have never had the good fortune of being involved in a wild boar hunt, despite having invitations to do so. Hopefully this year will be the first time!
Michel, Ellis, and I went off in one of the boats across the lake (the English boys doing the paddling (I think this is traditional!), while Michel relaxed in the bows and directed operations.
We got back to the lodge, and sat outside under rough beams and eaves, and finished off with an Easter gateau (made by Lucy), and some refreshing rosé wine ( a taste perhaps, of a long, hot summer to come!)
It was a great day. We’ll be back!
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