Thursday, February 28, 2008

I love Loudeac in the springtime...

I am sitting in the CPAM* in Loudeac, next to a woman in a fleecy twinset in a diconcerting shade of lime green, and her teenage daughter with a possibly more disconcerting bubble gum popping habit. The daughter is wearing jeans with a rather magnificent embroidered tiger appliqué all down her left thigh, which reminds me of 'The Life of Pi', which causes me to wish I'd brought that book to read, but it doesn't really matter, because I pass the twenty minutes or so waiting time quite happily craning my neck to look out of the plate glass sliding doors.

Loudeac is a generally unlovely inland town which happens to have administrative jurisdiction for some things over where we live. We had to go there rather a lot when we first moved here, and found the functionaries in the offices we had to deal with often, though not always, unhelpful, defensive and grumpy, so we rather petulantly dubbed it Rudeac, or occasionally, childishly, Poodeac. However, Loudeac does have one grace that I've not taken particular note of before, because I haven't been here at the right moment: it is extensively planted with red-leaved, pale pink-blossomed ornamental crab trees.


The car park opposite, serving this and the tax office, looks like an Arcadian glade, overarched with boughs of the luxuriant blooms, its kerbsides slathered with the drifted petals.

the nondescript slate-clad and concrete modern buildings around seem to be illuminated and bejewelled by the flowery bounty.

What a stroke of town planning genius to make these trees such a theme here, even if they are only so striking for a short few weeks of the year.

I lack the nerve to take the small camera from my bag and try a view from the waiting room, through the plate glass entrance, though it is an interesting one, with the darkening hood of the building's porch accentuating the luminosity of the blossom, and the metal edges and bands of the doors intersecting the scene like rifle sights, and odd clashing scarlet tabs of gaffer tape stuck on the glass to stop people walking into it.

But, with business attended too, I retrieve the other camera from the car, and treat myself to a viewfinder-full, or several, of the feast.

An elderly woman with a clipped blue poodle smiles at me indulgently as I squat down to take a macro of a single fallen flower. I hope the good citizens of Loudeac are all able sometimes to enjoy their pink blossom trees, even when they are having to sort out their tax and health insurance.


( CPAM = Caisse primaire d'assurance maladie, the national body overseeing healthcare funding.)

17 comments:

andy said...

Ah, a lovely taste of things to come - thank you! Being a few degrees further north, spring blossoms have yet to make their appearance here in ol' blighty.

Isabelle said...

Goodness, how very far ahead you are! Lovely pictures.

Rosie said...

who would have thought that so many colours could all be called pink...

Rosie said...

I have always detested Loudeac. It is the pig capital of Brittany and is the largest producer of pig manure in the region. I'm glad it has at least some redeeming features. Our friends wanted to buy a house near there but we wouldn't let them do it!

herhimnbryn said...

Beauty everywhere.

Tall Girl said...

...even in Pigpoodeac!

Lucas said...

I like how the drabness of the place and the intense beauty of the blossom are counterpoint to each other. Your commentary brings out this aspect wonderfully. I like particularly not having the "nerve" to photograph through the plate glass and how your macro was observed. Seek and ye shall find....

Lucy said...

Well there I was moderating my harshness towards Loudeac in case soemone might get back saying 'we live there and think it's lovely...', only to find the Poodeac nickname was more appropriate than we thought... Pigpoodeac is even better and I fear will now stick, well, like pigpoo! However, it must be said that Lamballe, which I like, can be pretty stinky at times Land of Ten Thousand Cows and Two Farmers, as I have heard it called). In it's favour I will say Loudeac has quite a nice Korean-Chinese restaurant, an interesting bead shop and Molly's best Dutch vet, Emy, all situated on the same
boulevard. Noen of which is enough to get us there any more often than we can help.

I had noticed the red-leaved trees before, but not in the blossoming season, which is indeed early. We have some of the same trees around here, but being a bit higher up they are only just coming into flower.

Rosie said...

Lucy , I am sorry but I have tagged you for a meme to make up 7 weird and wonderful facts about yourself...again maybe? I hope not

katydidnot said...

great photos.

Sheila said...

I love the delicate pink of these trees.

Seeing this, I realize I am almost sure to miss the blossoming of the cherry trees here, because of the trip to "over there."

Near our home, Cherry Road is lined with them on either side. It's magical, so I can imagine how a town filled with pink blossoms would be.

Ben said...

Lucy, what perfect trees for the town as you describe it: crabs!

I read the fencepost and top as a little door and low wall when I first glanced at it--seemed very magical, like an Alice-door.

marly said...

Oops--the trials of public computers! That was not a Ben but a Marly who wrote the comment above.

Mike said...

Beautiful photos Lucy, especially since my world is currently covered with snow. Everything is some shade of white or gray.

Rob Hopcott said...

Beautifully described.

The wonderful blossom of the trees counterpoints perfectly the frustration from the functionaires.

I'll be back :-)

Robin Starfish said...

What a heartening preview of our northern future several weeks hence. Is this an early spring or average for your latitude?

meggie said...

Oh Lucy, I love, "it's kerbside slathered with drifted petals". I have seen that often, & marvelled at beauty seemingly wasted.
Not if someone, -you & me, notices such wealth.
Lovely post.
I retreat in awe to your mastery of words.