Fontainebleau – and forest – last November. Just made it before the NEXT lot of travel restrictions kicked in.
After a very different Christmas dodging Covid (unsuccessfully, as it turned out in the end…) I can’t help feeling excited at the prospect of getting back to France again soon. But maybe this is premature. I’m enjoying being back at work but actually I still don’t feel anything like normal, so perhaps I’d better conserve energy for the moment – maybe some gentle spinning is on the cards!
Discovering splendid municipal architecture in Évreux, and castles in Lapalisse and Châteldon (the home town of Pierre Laval, though that doesn’t get much of a mention in the tourist office!)
I am also quite a fan of the N7, but I think this rather large sign in Lapalisse is new:
Likewise this rather alarming roadside cross that has appeared right outside the front gate… I think over the last year European money has restored several of these 19th century calvaires which had disappeared during the late 20th century.
We’ll get used to it!
Reading, walking, eating….and several sessions with the dye pots, mostly sock yarn this time.
I also took some pictures of a corridor my daughter decided to decorate some years ago:
We are holding a memorial event to celebrate her life on Sunday. This is necessary, but not easy. I think I will take my late September tree pictures on the same day – still a really useful prop!
Couldn’t resist a few more pictures of these splendid streets – jigsaw-worthy houses that seem to be scattered through every village in mid Suffolk. Most of these details came from buildings around Lavenham – oh, those doors!
I am fighting my own battles with an historic building, though on nothing like the grand scale of those above. More like Historic Damp, Historic Decay, and Historic Plumbing… After listening to an expert on Regency restoration, I was inspired to reject most modern techniques and return to using traditional materials….but this involves capturing a sympathetic builder who doesn’t fall about laughing….
So far I haven’t got past the email stage, but I’m on it!
Twenty five years ago we were contemplating buying this one. But we couldn’t really justify it and it turned out the owner had no interest in selling anyway. Now it is far too late. Someone clearly did love it once (you can just see the hand stencilled trefoils below the roof and round the windows – unusual decoration for a modest locaterie) Nothing has been done to preserve it, though a few years back the vegetation (jungle) was cleared from the front and I got excited thinking maybe it would be rescued…I make a point of walking past it several times a year but I fear the structure doesn’t have much longer. And it is by no means alone round this area. There are several abandoned farm buildings, casualties of the rural exodus, which even now nobody seems to want. Such a pity.
This building, though, is in great shape – literally! It is part of what was a medieval Guild Hall in Suffolk. It apparently became a Free Grammar School in 1577 and has now morphed into a holiday cottage where we stayed for a peaceful week in September. I spent several days trying to fathom out the original architecture – very confusing and I’m sure I failed but the exposed wood is very exciting – lots of detail, carefully preserved. One of my daughters is in Canada for a year, so I’ll make sure I send her pictures of the timber framed houses we saw all over Suffolk – it seems so weird to me to be in a country where you just can’t see any!
These terrible headings are getting to be a very bad habit…. enough, enough!
The last few weeks are receding fast. They did involve more music and more cathedrals – French ones this time, Rouen and Lyon:
Fabulous, despite all the construction work going on in Rouen.
But don’t let the current (building site) views from BRASSERIE PAUL put you off – even in France you could travel some distance to find a casual restaurant this good. It’s just outside the cathedral and I really recommend it.
Mixed feelings about the above rather sad photos though. When we arrived at the house we found trees down and branches snapped all over the place. The ancient oak on the left WAS an absolutely perfect shape…. and the mixed foliage on the right is typical of the weird arrangements that had been created. The house is on the northern edge of the Auvergne and there had been a freak weather event just after we left in October – 20 cm of snow overnight. The trees were still in leaf and could not take the weight…. So we spent most of our time sawing and chopping!
The lizard was fun though. I lifted a pillow and found it motionless. I took a photo because it is so hard to get close to a live one. Then I called for the Chief Corpse Remover (we do usually find something in the house) who picked it up – at which point it leapt into the air….only hibernating! Not sure who was the more shocked.