The heavy rain we had on Monday evening brought out the local population of frogs and toads with a vengeance. I took Tobi out to go through our bedtime ritual of getting her to pee, which can be lengthy. She’s very easily distracted. We know for a fact that the Lego movie title song ‘Everything is Awesome’ plays on a continuous loop in her head. To our puppy, life is a fabulously happy adventure full of amazing things to discover. A blade of grass. Another blade of grass. A moth. A cat. Yay, another blade of grass… and so on. When you’re trying to get her to focus on the task of emptying her bladder before we crawl and she bounces to bed, this perpetual wonderment can be tedious!

toad tobi

Anyway, on Monday evening, out on the lawn her tail wags reached critical stage so I went over to see what she was sniffing at. A frog, or possibly a toad (I’m never quite sure which is which). I very quickly noticed another, and another. I grabbed my camera and a torch and walked a ten yards or so down our drive. There was an amphibian every other stride. Awesome indeed!

toad best

toad puddle back

Now for the fortress/tower part of the blog. In an attempt to redress the work/work balance that has predominated of late, Chris and I are trying to re-introduce the life element into it. This includes clearing our schedules for a spot of geocaching each week, a hobby we love but which the children fail to be massively impressed by.

Our first hunt took us to the fortress at Cluis, a small town in wealthy Indre, near Aigurande. Often it’s tricky to find somewhere to park that allows us to add a decent walk to the cache finding element. Chris hoped we’d be able to find a spot in Cluis itself, meaning we could stroll the kilometre of so from there to the ruins.

It’s safe to say that there’s plenty of parking in Cluis!

cluis carpark

Cluis struck us both as a much busier town than our Boussac, but I checked the stats this morning and Boussac is a positive metropolis in comparison. With its 1,412 inhabitants on 1.48 squared kms, it’s population density is 954.04 per km2. Cluis has only 1035 dwellers spread over 35.32 km2 and has density of a tiny 29.3 inhabitants per squared km. That vast car park must be what skews those figures!

The fortress is a fine ruin.

cluis fortress entrance

It dates back to the Middle Ages and was part of a chain of defences keeping French France and English Aquitaine separate during the Hundred Years War. At one time it had ten towers but only the one remains now.

cluis tower

And did we find our cache? Sadly no. There’d been a do on recently and two blokes were dismantling the framework of a large marquee close to the spot where we’re 99.99% certain the cache was. A cardinal rule of geocaching is that muggles (i.e. the general public) mustn’t see what you’re up to. We tried a little bit of extremely furtive firkling but with no luck. Shame, but we’ll be back.

cluis ruins

I’ll tell you about the second place our geocaching trip took us to in my next blog as it’s a truly fabulous spot and I want to do a bit more research about it first.

And here’s a final frog/toad.

toad front