Sunday 20 April 2014
We walk to Peille on the path that overlooks the quarry at La Grave, and through the woods ringing with cuckoos, and wild boar or stag cries. (Later we read about the uncontrolled rise of a new and ferocious hybrid wild boar known in France as the Sanglochon; a cross between a Sanglier and a Cochon. These are not afraid of humans and are breeding rapidly. There are many groups of people trying to hunt and control them.
The Iron Age pig is a hybrid between a wild boar and a domestic pig meant to recreate the type of pig represented by prehistoric art works of the Iron Age, and is generally more aggressive and harder to handle than pure domestic pigs.
Peille is larger and higher than Peillon, but still has wonderful tunnel streets, narrow alleys and any number of nooks and crannies. Beautiful arches and columns, doorways, which I was photographing when a man called out, this is the best door in the village and started to explain that the whole arch of the door was made of a single enormous piece of marble and the whole doorway comprises only four pieces of stone. It was his house and had been in the family for generations, and this doorway was the only one in the village. He invites us inside to see the work he is doing on the ancient interior, the ancient sewage hole, that still smelt as it should, and he tells us about his family’s connection with the Maquis.
We lunch in a creperie with a fire and wonder about the via ferrata – finding it is a challenging one with overhanging parts, wires to walk on and a Tyrolean traverse. All kinds of specialised equipment is needed to complete it. We decide against and walk back to Peillon on the other more pleasant path that passes beneath the climbing cliffs. For tea I make stuffed tomatoes from left over bread which are rather unpleasant, and later on we walk in the village in the dark, exploring dark alleys, tunnels, steps, nooks ginnels. It is so quiet that we find ourselves whispering to each other in the street.