Chancre Colore – Friday Fictioneers, March 2018

Her dilapidated lock-side cottage had been shock enough, but the cracked bare banks of the Midi stunned me into silence.

Gone were the colonnades of plane trees, dappling the banks with their restless leafy cover.  Now ugly steel pilings stood where once gnarled, knotted roots had supported the canal as it wound towards the sea.

“Chancre coloré” said grand-mère, “wiped them out from here to Carcassonne.”

In the distance workmen toiled under the blazing  sun, leaving a trail of puny upright saplings.

“A new strain; they say it’s resistant.”

“Ugly though,” I said.

Grand-mère grinned toothlessly.

“Not everything that is young is beautiful, ma chère.  Some things take time.”

 Apologies for being late to my own party here – just saw that this week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt was one of my own photos, taken at the lock which drops down to the port basin at Briare, a town which unites the river Loire and its lateral canal with the Loing and so with the Seine. It seems rude not to participate when it’s your own photo, and as I’m preoccupied with something else right now, I’m afraid it’s only a re-tread.  Those who know me will recall that I’ve been banging on about the demise of the Plane tree for years.  Sorry!  😦  Thanks once again to Rochelle for her endeavours.

About Sandra

I cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and write fiction and poetry. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in Friday Fictioneers, Just Sayin'. Bookmark the permalink.

99 Responses to Chancre Colore – Friday Fictioneers, March 2018

  1. yarnspinnerr says:

    The last line says it all.

    Like

  2. Gorgeous rhythm to this piece, Sandra. Thanks for the photograph, too. Lovely spot.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. subroto says:

    Absolute cracker of a last line. Nicely done.

    Like

  4. Sue says:

    Nicely said in few words, as ever, Sandra!

    Like

  5. Dear Sandra,

    Revisiting anything you’ve written is a treat. No apologies for retreading. Well done, and has been said, that last line says so much. Thank you for the photo. You’re quite the hand with the camera.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Thank you Rochelle. Now that I see the photo, I realise I could have improved on it with a few editing techniques, but I thought the subject matter, or a combination thereof, would give plenty of scope to the Fictioneers.

      Like

  6. ceayr says:

    Highest quality as ever, Sandra.
    Sadly, more than the beautiful plane trees are threatened by disease along this coast now.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Thank you, CE. And I’m sorry to hear that. So much of France has changed in the eight years that we’ve been cruising there. Some for the better, but it’s the parts that haven’t that stick in your mind.

      Like

  7. neilmacdon says:

    I hadn’t read this before, Sandra, so it was a new joy

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Thank you Neil. If I’m offering up a re-tread, as I seem to do more and more these days since my muse deserted me, I try to go as far back in my FF history as possible. I think this was probably around the mid point.

      Like

  8. It’s so tragic about the plane trees. They’ll all go in the end. They’ve chopped down loads in Bordeaux already.

    Like

  9. Anita says:

    Indeed. Time required for saplings to grow.
    Enjoyed writing for your photograph. Thanks 🙂
    Have a great week!

    Like

  10. Rowena says:

    Thanks Sandra for sharing the photograph and I’m pleased to know where it was taken. I echo other comments about the last line…brilliant.
    xx Rowena

    Like

  11. James says:

    I was later and I too liked the last line.

    Like

  12. I find the last line so beautiful and so true. Masterfully done.

    Like

  13. I’m still waiting! A simply delightful piece Sandra.

    Like

  14. EagleAye says:

    It’s so true. Some things need time to reach their potential, like fine wines. So sad to hear about the plane trees. in my hometown, a disease wiped out all the Elm trees. I feel robbed. They were supposed to be everywhere. Lovely story and a great picture, Sandra!

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Thank you. Sorry about your elm trees. We had something similar a while back in the north of England. Everywhere looks so barren once robbed of the trees we’ve become used to.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Dale says:

    What is late? Thank you for the lovely photo, Sandra. And re-tread or not, this was fabulously done, as per usual.

    Like

  16. Iain Kelly says:

    I tell the last line to my wife all the time, but she doesn’t seem to buy it. Expertly done Sandra.

    Like

  17. jillyfunnell says:

    Restless leafy cover. Lovely image. The young ones will, we must trust, be beautiful in time.

    Like

  18. Ugly Ducklings unite! And how I love the word dabbling. It says so much as it rolls off the tongue.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Dappling is such an evocative word. No other word describes so eloquently the effect of sunlight reflecting off the water onto a bridge. Thanks for visiting, Alicia.

      Like

  19. granonine says:

    An important lesson to learn from Grand-mere. Mature beauty is a whole world away from the beauty of youth.

    Like

  20. I had never heard about the plane trees and how they are dying… Here in Sweden the elms are dying, including many who was saved by protests in the 60s… Love the parallel to the old woman who sees the new trees that she will never see. There is a cycle of life there.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      The back story to the demise of the plane trees is that the virus entered France through arms shipments which arrived in Marseille from the USA during WW2. Apparently they were crated up in undetected infected wood from plane trees. That’s why it hit first along the Midi and has gradually been spreading northwards from there. Boaters who tie their boats to infected trees and their roots (which form the banks to the Midi) carry the infection onward on their ropes. And of course, it spreads naturally anyway.

      Like

  21. pennygadd51 says:

    You’ve written that story really beautifully. “Gone were the colonnades of plane trees, dappling the banks with their restless leafy cover.” That’s exactly what plane trees do – wonderful description on your part. And Grandmere’s voice is wonderful; I can hear her very clearly.
    Smashing writing, Sandra!

    Like

  22. Glad you pulled out an old one – a good one – I had not read it before. Thanks for the photo prompt.

    Like

  23. What a powerful last line.

    Like

  24. James McEwan says:

    Fantastic last line.

    Like

  25. Varad says:

    I might be beating a beaten drum, but the last line was just perfect. Expertly done, Sandra.

    Like

  26. Vivian Zems says:

    Sadly, things change over time. A great pic, Sandra!

    Like

  27. Alice Audrey says:

    I adore that last line.

    Like

  28. plaridel says:

    awesome. the story fits the picture very well.

    Like

  29. draliman says:

    I’d not heard of this disease (or indeed plane trees). I hope they can beat it somehow.
    Great last line!

    Like

  30. At the cost of over repeating what has been said countless times in this thread, i will say the last line was simply memorable.

    Like

  31. Moon says:

    Wonderfully written, as always.
    Inspiring last line.

    Like

  32. Sarah Ann says:

    Grand-mèreis wise and beautiful it seems. Such beautiful pictures you paint, even of dilapidation and destruction.

    Like

  33. liz young says:

    Her grandmother is wise. Great story, great photo.

    Like

  34. mumpoet says:

    As has been said, the last line is just beautiful for so many reasons. Truth in one sentence.

    Like

  35. A beautiful name for such an ugly disease.
    Thanks for the prompt.

    Like

  36. Colonnades of trees…. so aptly described. Well the saplings will take time for fruition.

    https://ideasolsi65.blogspot.in/2018/03/the-villa.html

    Like

  37. Dan Bohn says:

    Sandra, I too focused on the weird looking trees. But all that came to mind was Broccoli. Loved your story.

    Like

  38. Wonderfully done, Sandra, and so thoughtful.

    Like

  39. rgayer55 says:

    It’s Monday here, and I’m just now reading and commenting on blogs. Won’t get to all of them, but always make a point to read yours. This is where I learn how to write.

    Like

  40. Lynn Love says:

    You story stands as a memorial to all the tree species we’re losing – Elms, Horse Chestnut, Plane, all sadly falling victim to killers that are so hard to control. I loved Grand Mere’s toothy wisdom – some things do improve with age! Lovely story Sandra

    Like

  41. Jan Vanek says:

    I love Grand-mere’s wisdom. 🙂 Lovely story!

    Like

  42. The last line made me think of fine wine. It’s in the aging that gives it the wonderful taste.
    I enjoyed your photo for this week prompt. You never disappoint with your stories. I’m sure the photo brought back a memory or two.
    Isadora 😎

    Like

  43. athling2001 says:

    Yes, it is sad when the past is torn down for the present, but, as she said, some things take time.

    Like

  44. lisarey1990 says:

    Gorgeous descriptions. And a great message.

    Like

  45. A wise and well told story- evokes the place and the ambience very well. Agree that the last line is brilliant.

    Like

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