(Remember, you can click n any picture to embiggen it!)
So after spending the night in the car in front of the hotel, up for a lovely breakfast (Merci, Sandrine) and to the staghounds at Paimpont.
Of course in the local abbey:
Church was actually jammed full, this was as people were leaving.
Of course the focus of it all had a representative:
And there were all sorts and conditions of people. Hunting is really open to anyone interested, and here's an example.
I like it that the French have a proper full service. My faith is no great exemplar, but it seems fair and true to show respect to God, creation, providence, nature, Diana, or whatever you believe made all the things we are and do. And a bit to seek forgiveness, or at least try to obtain and offer an understanding of what the Priest called "practical naturalism".
At least that's what I thought he said. Bit like being some medieval peasant, listening to the service in Latin.
Outside, of course,
Four sides to this, and this town has about forty houses.
Germany is a very lucky place.
Enough philosophy, time to go huntin'!
Lots of one-horses here.
Hunt truck, you can tell by the glint in their eyes that hounds and horses are ready to get rolling!
Good old fashioned hammerhead staff horse!
Shiny, well kept, and came boiling off the trailer ready to go.
Hunters are the same everywhere, smoking food locusts!
Also having a few cigarettes.
A boat of course.
Speaking of hammers, a last minute tune up:
And for the riders too:
Very much a family event, just a few of the youngest.
And very friendly too, the lady with the baby in her arms and I practiced our language skills on one another. She won!
Even coming off the truck, hounds were very well disciplined.
Suiting up. I like this four horse van, very practical.
These looked like serious hunters.
(And during the day I noticed the lady in green always seemed to be on the spot!)
Bicyclists of course!
And their trusty steeds.
Priest came out to bless the pack:
More of the next generation at the Rapport.
Regardez those serious expressions! If I were an Anti I might avoid making them cross.
That's a Chassepot rifle bayonet, 1870 or so.
Friendly au revoirs,
Any kind of voiture!
This will be a pretty short write up. Everyone set off along a road. As all my reader knows, I often like to be clueless on these visits.
I can hear it now, "As opposed to clueless at home as usual."
But this time I was unpiloted. Followed the mass up the road and pulled over- to hear the pack in full cry headed back toward me from this wood!
Then along my left...
I'm turning around! In my- yes, they named my car after a communist wife beater:
So back, past the rendezvous, only this lady (you may see her again too) in front of me.
Managed to get past her, and kept on until I was all alone. And to the perfect spot. Without
another car, velocipede, rider, or anyone in sight I heard those hounds scream! In this part of the wood...
Swinging to my right...
and back again. For the best part of an hour, they never stopped, not for a minute, and I heard it all clear as could be. Lovely horn calls and waves of hound music. Just perfect, like my own private hunt.
But they never dropped over the ridge toward me, so after they headed back past the rendezvous until I was stopped by a lake.
Pretty good fishing shack!
Bore to the right, and what did I tell you?
And all that water was behind us. So I hung with this bit of the crew... And what happened? He reculed, and back everyone barreled. Dishevelment occurred...
but hounds were running! They rolled around behind us...
across the allee back toward the lake. Across the road- into the water?
But Cerfboy swirled right again, another valiant try.
Teams like this are not as often seen in France as in England and the United States. I particularly liked daughter's chic coat, mother's flashily subtle kick rag, and their mutual cheerfully determined bearing.
The Priest made it a point to go along.
I wonder if the Pope lets his men of the cloth hunt? He did seem to be interested and paying attention, and I thought it was good on his part to see it through. His footwear gave me suspicions...
So the stag crossed back, away from the water.
Then silence as they ran out of my hearing.
Although I did not have much of a feel for this hunt, I was at the 50-50 balance point. Hounds had run hard and worked well as far as I could observe, and the stag had put them to their proof.
Would hounds meet their challenge? Would a gallant stag make good his escape?
Maybe not exactly 50-50...
Then I committed a hunting misdemeanor.
Although maybe not, hounds were not actually running...
I LEFT to meet my sister.
Curse you, stupid commitment keeping gene!
At least it wasn't a Felony...
A really good day in which these western hounds showed a visitor good sport.