I must be making up for lost time. Having arrived at Albert, a centre for the bloody and senseless Battle of the Somme, yesterday, we needed supplies. It’s only a 10-minute walk from the camping municipal site to a super-U supermarché, so we slung rucksacks on our backs and went in search of lunch and tonight’s dinner.
For the last three weeks it’s been too hot to contemplate cooking inside our caravan so our gas BBQ has been working overtime. I’s still too hot to cook anything substantial in time but Francine and I are both fond of a warm gésier [gizzard] salad. They come in the form of a confit and just need warming through in a skillet so that should work well enough. We got a few lardons to go with them. I’ll give the BBQ a day off.
For lunch, Francine found a prepared salad but I kept looking longingly at an andouillette sausage. Resistance was futile so I bought one. From what I can make out, to make an andouillette, you roughly chop pigs intestines and then stuff them into more pig’s intestines in the form of a sausage skin. Yummy! Ya just gotta love the inventiveness of the French cuisine de terroir. I thought it was very good but it’s not one of Francine’s favourites.
After lunch it was time to go and investigate the Somme, not for the many military graveyards (we’ve done that before) this time but for dragonflies. After failing to find any sign of a few étangs marked on the map we wound up at Vaux-sur-Somme. The main branch of the Somme is navigable at this point but it looks managed, almost canalized. We found what I think must be a related small, well vegetated channel that was noticeably lower than the main river. Here we found a goodly and varied selection of critters including Small Red Damsels (Ceriagrion tenellum) for the first time this trip.
The main river did provide two extra species not seen on the small side waterway but the small habitat was most fun. Here’s the list, a reasonably impressive 15 species:
- Calopteryx splendens (Banded Demoiselle)
- Ischnura elegans (Common Bluetail)
- Coenagrion puella (Azure Bluet)
- Erythromma viridulum (Small Redeye)
- Erythromma lindenii (Blue-eye)
- Ceriagrion tenellum (Small Red Damsel)
- Platycnemis pennipes (Blue Featherleg)
- Anax imperator (Blue Emperor)
- Gomphus pulchellus (Western Clubtail)
- Somatochlora metallica (Brilliant Emerald)
- Orthetrum cancellatum (Black-tailed Skimmer)
- Libellula fulva (Blue Chaser)
- Sympetrum sanguineum (Ruddy Darter)
- Sympetrum striolatum (CommonDarter)
- Crocothemis erythraea (Broad Scarlet)