Saturday, 27 June 2015

Postcard 2 from Marseillan: On the Beach with Barney


On the edge of the port of Marseillan is a small beach with a colourful, often deserted,
children’s playground and a café inhabited by the fit and young who come to train and enjoy cable skiing, where they are hauled on a wire out through the shallow, still water of the étang,* creating a satisfying spray before they turn right round and return in an equally dramatic watery fashion.
                Apart from the buoys that protect their path there a few motor boats casually tethered. And dangerously near the shallow shore a small yacht is anchored, its sails folded like the wings of a perching bird.
                A family group in shades of pink and red are picnicking close by on the beach, keeping an eye on their craft. Two lone women, one topless, lie separately, sunbathing and reading for half an hour before packing up and departing.
               A lone man – tall and tough – arrives on a gleaming motorbike in search of a swim. He wades out and, finding the water never reaches above his knees, resorts for a while to floating on his back. Then, towelling his hair, he strides back up the beach, flings himself back on his motorbike and roars off to find a more swimmable beach. 
                
 And here we are:  four people and Barney the Border terrier – for whom paddling up to one’s knees is the ideal thing. Normally placid and very philosophical, Barney comes to life in the water, leaping about, swimming and breasting the shallow waves.        S and D plodge beside him, kept busy throwing his seaweed scented stick. They throw it a hundred times. Barney is sad when the fun stops. He loves the stick and makes quite a business of  burying it safely before he is encouraged to come back up the beach towards us  Once he reaches us this tranquil dog who rarely barks or loses his rag barks loudly, saying to D. ‘Let’s go back, get my stick and play some more! Please.’

              Barney is sad when the fun stops. He loves the stick and makes quite a business of  burying it safely before he is encouraged to come back up the beach towards us  Once he reaches us this tranquil dog who rarely barks or loses his rag barks loudly, saying to D. ‘Let’s go back, get my stick and play some more! Please.’


* Etang de Thau. ‘Is it a lake; is it a sea, was it pioneered by Mother Nature or pioneering ancient  engineers? For centuries historians, scientists, wise men of the south have put forward theories as to the birth of the Etang de Thau. Most agree that the headlands of Sête and Agde are the remnants of two volcanic eruptions that spilt fiery foundations into the Golfe de Lion.’ So says Laurence Phillips in his beautifully written guide How to be very lazy in Marseillan

We Were Here 


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