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The Swamp of former days: return towards the past!

Family Frédéric - assistant base de données et TIC By Frédéric - assistant base de données et TIC, the 21 July 2017

Flash back on an outmoded time period, immortalized on the former postcards, immediate of slices of peasant life telling the Swamp from Poitou when the travel of a maraîchin village in an other one came true by the loan of ditches, conches and laugh until the construction in the years 1950-1960 of footbridges and passable paths harming most of the plots of land contributes to remove this ancestral "custom" which today adopts an other one, that of the green tourism!

Formerly, the maraîchin was a real Swiss army knife; at the same time fisherman, hunter, farmer, breeder and worker in a sawmill or a cooperative dairy. Moreover, the prefect Dupin writes in the XIXth century that " he is rich if he has a batelet, a fishing net and a rifle ". The flat, the flat-bottomed traditional boat, was then the precious good which landed in dowry till the end of the XIXth century. It understands at least four sizes calculated in foot (1 foot = 33 cms) for diverse uses. 
8-12 feet for the hunting. Light, it sneaks everywhere until the closer of the waterfowl. The hunter moves lengthened at the bottom of sound put on the pack saddle, moves forward with the hands or by means of a "shovel" and fires with its canardier.
13-16 feet, the most common, for the small agricultural works (transport of the fertilizer, of the "battelée" of grass, brought in by the harvests, the beans) and the business (transport of the firewood for the ovens of bakeries, goods of the peddlers, collects cans for dairies).
16-18 feet (in two square heads allowing to couple it with one or several other boats) for the transport of “bri” (clay tints feeding potteries, tileries and brickyards) and the remorquable of the wooden trains of poplar.
20-22 feet to take by means of two " pigouilles " (perch from 4 to 7 m. of length ended with a small fork in two fangs named "fingers") the tractor or top-to-tail three or four cows in fields.

It is possible always today to relive these past centuries so well described in the realistic novels of the Goncourt Prize Ernest Pérochon by taking advantage of anecdotes of guides boatmen of the various landing stages maraîchins.
Even the family landing stage "Bardet-Huttiers" of Arçais invites you in a real journey in the time; your hosts being dressed as their forefathers, blouse of blue painting and wide-brimmed hat or woolen hat with a powder puff hanging on the ear.

Photo credits: the landing stage "Bardet-Huttiers" to Arçais and the professional photographer Darri

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