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.