On a Cave & Castles Tour you’ll hear a lot about the Ice Age, the incredibly hard conditions people endured then and the amazing art they managed produce despite the difficult conditions.
What you won’t normally hear is that the Ice Age is actually here now! But believe us, it currently feels like we have a mini-Ice Age – and we’re definitely not as tough as our ancestors were. Thank goodness for a wood burning stove, easily available supplies of wood and food and a well insulated home.
If you really want to get an idea how it would have been to live under those conditions, we suggest you read Farley Mowat’s book ‘People of the Deer’ – it’s quite old now (published in 1954) but it is a fascinating read and remarkably well researched. Leaving aside the emotive issues centring around the devastating affects that the white man has had on the lives of the Innuit, it vividly describes just how harsh life was in those climatic conditions,. The hunger – to the point of starvation – and hardships. The struggle just to survive in a desperately harsh environment where the odds are heavily stacked again humanity. However skilful and resourceful as hunters and survival experts, the people knew they were incredibly vulnerable. The caribou (or reindeer) migrated in such seemingly endless numbers, covering the landscape for days, shaking the ground several miles away. But this living torrent could stop or go somewhere else for no apparent reason. If this happened they starved. There was no well stocked freezer to fall back on as there is for us today; no supermarkets to rely on.
How do you gather firewood when the landscape is blanketed under snow and ice? How do you weatherproof your home? (if indeed you are fortunate enough to have one). How do you clothe yourself? Without giving too much of the book away, Mowat comes to the conclusion that it is not the shelters they live in that are the Innuit’s home, but in fact it is their clothing which is so efficient that it insulates and protects them, so if their homes are draughty, it does not matter. They carry their ‘home’ with them!
Reading this book also gives a really good idea of how things were for our Ice Age ancestors and how life would have been back then in the Vezere Valley.
Right now, we have a few inches of snow and temperatures around zero – and we know it won’t last. We can be confident that it is temporary. Spring will soon be here and meanwhile we can admire snow capped Chateau de Losse and fondly remember occasions when we’ve stopped there for a sunny photo call.
And we’re looking forward to the warmer times ahead when we’ll be welcoming more new friends here to join us at Les Rosiers for a Caves & Castles Tour or self catering holiday – it’s not long at all now. It’ll be Spring before we know it!
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