Tuesday, 31 July 2012

One for Kevin?...

On a recent return visit to 'Domaine de de la Croix Melier' in Montlouis for 'supplies'  we came across this rather large excavation on the road leading up to their house. On speaking to Madame we were informed that it is to be a house or perhaps a 'wine house' it is certainly going to have a fine cave! A Grand Design for sure,I'm sure Kevin would love a trip to the Loire Valley...or is it too far gone?.

Monday, 30 July 2012

A walk in the woods...a walk around 'La Rond du Chene'

We returned recently to the forest behind La Guerche/Leugny at 'La Rond du Chene' where we had earler attended a fete to do one of the walks from its centre. Now, I find this place intriguing more for what you don't see than what you do. When you arrive a sign tells you " La Rond du Chene is situated in the middle of the forest of La Guerche within the Leugny boundaries.Ten paths come together at this great intersection which dates back to the Casinni map. At the centre of the roundabout, an old half timbered house has long been used as a meeting place for hunts. On the side of the building there is a lodge for stray hunters and near the guardhouse are the horse stables and dog  kennels."

The building is an odd design for this area and rather large for its claimed usage I feel - stray hunters indeed! - now stray walkers I could understand -more of that later.

It is when you look at the map of the area that it becomes interesting. The almost (I filled in the missing tracks in red) perfect decahedron formed as far back as 1750/1815  - again, why? There is more to this than meets the eye. Any way we came with friends to walk one of the tracks to see what it might tells us - as it happens not a great deal other than confirm a forest has a great many trees and they come in many varieties, shapes and sizes... and that our track following skills hadn't improved.

We chose a route and started to, or so we thought, follow the coloured markings. The fact that the tracks are long and straight, being the 'spokes' of the decahedron, it did not worry us that we had not seen one for a while. We began to get a little concerned however when after quite a bit of time we had only walked in the straight line of said 'spoke' where we had anticipated a detour off it, We had obviously got it wrong again and the idea of reaching the outer circle(?) of this strange shape lead us to finding our own way back to the centre but not by turning straight round,that would have been too easy.No, we turned of the track and headed deeper into the forest.

Where to now?

It was good to eventually see the colour of the lodge in the distance but not the colour of the route markings on the trees only about a couple of hundred yards into the track- too many to miss - we convinced ourselves that someone had obviously painted them on after we started our walk - we were, after all four reasonably intelligent adults with fairly good eyesight so how could we have missed them!

Another friend who had good maps of the area and had done some of the walks before was supposed to have joined us but after giving her 15 minutes grace after our appointed rendezvous time we left her a note as to which route we had taken so as she could perhaps catch us up. Ironically she could not find the road from Le Guerche up to the forest!! Something about two maps,trying to read while driving, lack of a road sign and the fact that where she was looking for was on the joint of the two maps were given as valid excuses.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Church on Sunday...Lureuil

The 19th century church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste in Lureuil is small but perfectly formed.

 The 'stations of the cross' are a delight..

 Where's Joan ?...

You'll  find her as a statue to the right of the alter and in this stained glass window.

The bell-tower is interesting with an unusual roof.

I tried to find more information on the church but without success.

If you go over to eat at the local restaurant 'Auberge du Grebe' you should give it a visit.


Saturday, 28 July 2012

Three steps to recycling...

When they were doing all the works on our street last year I asked if I could have three of the slabs they were digging up with a view to using them in a future project.

I knew that they would just be taking them away to dump as landfill.They gave me the ones from outside our gates which I was pleased about. So, as we have started the 'free' work on our barn project (things I can do myself with existing materials), after the huge cost of the new roof, I got to work...

Step1..clear and level the area that will be our 'sitooterie' (terrace) behind the barn...

Step 2...fit steps

Step 3.. Build surrounding wall.

Wish I had asked for more now as I have another project they would have been perfect for....

Thursday, 26 July 2012

A reminder...

Driving around in this beautiful weather we are reminded of some of the reasons we moved here..

 ..blue skies and sunflowers.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Wheeling and dealing...

At a recent brocante I spied this old wheel for sale and it reminded me of the time when we actually had a stall at our annual event here in Barrou. We shared it with our French neighbours Francois and Dominique - one side of the table with their stuff (don't know why but I love the word stuff!) and ours on the other. We both did rather well selling the biggest percentage of our items. One thing Francois had on display was an old wheel similar to the one above but in a much,,,and I mean much worse condition. I suggested to him that there was no way someone was going to buy such a wheel in such poor condition. Anyway, as the brocante was nearing the end an old gent came over and started to circle the wheel showing more than a modicum of interest.He left but returned a few minutes later and started to negotiate the price - and actually bought it! Astonished, I asked Francois why he would buy such a thing?. His answer was short and straightforward - "he had a barrow without a wheel" - should have expected it really!.

Monday, 23 July 2012

An area full of surprises...

As we have said before our location here in Southern Touraine allows us the advantage of having all the attractions of the Loire Valley on our doorstep plus we have easy access to the neighbouring department of the Vienne. Its principle town of Chatellerault,only 30 minutes from us here in Barrou,has often surprised us with what it has to offer. On a trip back from dropping off a friend at Poitiers airport I remembered that someone had asked (think it might have been Jean and Nick) us if we had visited the 'Lac' in the town. Knowing it is situated near the large Auchan supermarket I decided to check it out.

What a surprise - I was expecting a small lake with perhaps a surrounding park - what I got was a lake to rival that of St, Cyr,a little further south with its beach, set in acres of parkland...

...which is obviously popular with the locals but not really 'sold' to visiting tourists. We will certainly be letting future guests know about it! Great for the warm sunny weather we are having at the moment.

The lake is set in  532 hectares of parkland.

You can check it out  and see map on the tourist board's site here

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Church on Sunday...Montlouis-sur-Loire

Today we are visiting the L'eglise Saint-Laurent in Montlouis-sur-Loire a church that as you are doing the wine trail along the caves on Quai de la Gare and Quai de la Loire in the direction of Amboise, you will see perched high up on your right-hand side

Once you have made your way up to the church you have a splendid view back down over the river Loire.

 The church,which sits on the early religious site (5th century) was built during the late 11th and early 12th century. The current condition is the result of 19th century renovation work

The rather splendid facade of the church surprisingly bears the French republican motto "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity". Depending on what you read it was either done in !905 when the church separated from the state or earlier in 1881. 

As we walked in we were met by the sound of the organ - but it was not 'piped music' set to come on as you enter the church - no, there was the organist, in one of the side chapels, giving it his all !

The central nave and side chapels have well proportioned vaulted ceilings.

The church has its fair share of beautiful stained glass windows...

...with an interesting more recent design remembering the effect the second world war had on the town of Montlouis-sur-Loire.

As we walk around these churches we are always astonished by the skill and craftsmanship that went into their construction - could they be recreated today in such numbers - I don't think so.

Where's Joan? She's not to be found here in Saint-Laurent

The outside of the church as usual provides clues to its changes over the centuries.

Detail of the ornate facade.

The 20th century clock tower.

The oldest parts of the church can be viewed at the rear of the church.