Tuesday, 30 December 2014

In the true spirit of Christmas...

The three wise men brought each of the boys gifts of Gold, Frankenstein and Murray for Christmas!

Monday, 29 December 2014

Christmas day...

The boys had the company of their gran for a few hours on Christmas Day ...made their Christmas! 

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Winter's break...

Taking a winter's break from blogging...thanks for popping in - made it to 218k plus views - thanks all!

Thursday, 18 December 2014

A little bit of Ayr history...

Pauline's mum had a booklet in the house 'Ayr as it was and as it is now' which showed the above photograph. It is Ayr prison built in 1822 - we didn't even know that the town ever had a prison! Apparently in May 1854 six men were hung from gallows built in front of the wall you see in the background - don't know why? The prison was demolished in 1931 and  replaced by the current county buildings below.

The fountain in the foreground was donated by a Glasgow foundry in 1892 and it sits in the renamed 'Place de St.Germaine-en -Laye' which is the French town Ayr is 'twinned' with.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Setting the scene...

On display in the Maclaurin Galleries yesterday was this view of the 'Heads of Ayr' which wasn't a million miles away from one of my recent pics... 

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Art in the Park...

We took a walk over to Rozelle country park yesterday here in Ayr to view their latest exhibition in the Maclaurin Galleries.

Inside was looking rather festive...

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Church on Sunday... Saint Léonard de Fougères

When we didn't get to see the fortress at Fougeres we were slightly compensated with a visit to the town's hilltop church of  Saint Leonard's. It is another church built in a variety of styles over many centuries.The religious origins for the site date back to the 12th century but today's church is firmly rooted in the 15th and 16th. The Gothic facade was added at the end of the 19th century.

The church has a wide nave flanked by two side aisles...

 ...leading to a fine ornate altar.

Looking back towards its pretty rose window.

There are some fine examples of stained glass, mainly 20th century but the church actually contains the oldest example of stained glass in Brittany (12th century) in a widow (bottom left) in the south chapel that came from the abbey of Saint-Denis near Paris, apparently 'donated' by a parishioner after the Revolution (?) 

Where's Joan?

Did you notice her in the window above?

 Outside the church there are some pretty gardens built into the hillside of its lofty position offering views over towards the castle  - which was closed (did I tell you that?).

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Fougeres the impregnable fortress...

I was trawling my photographs when I came across these pics of the medieval fortress at Fougéres in Brittany and was reminded of one of the few disappointments of or trip up there in October.. 

We had been blessed with exceptional weather during the first few days of our stay but on the Monday turned a bit grey and we asked our host what we might do nearby on such a day. He suggested a visit over to the fortified castle,one of the largest in France,at Fougeres. I had seen photographs of it and it looked interesting. Although an hour from Dinan, he assured us it would be worth the drive.

 On arrival it did impress us with its mighty walls but it was was closed for lunch! We didn't see this as a big problem as we needed some sustenance as well, After an average lunch in the town we headed back just before 2.00 o'clock by which time a small group of eager visitors had gathered around the entrance. By 2.15 however there was still no evidence of any activity and the natives were getting restless. I thought maybe I should check what the information on the door said...just in case. What our enthusiastic host had failed to learn and the people in front of us hadn't noticed was that from October to April it was closed on Mondays, I then had to break the bad news to the other,mainly French, people waiting in anticipation. The children in one of the groups were not at all happy with the outcome whereas we just shrugged!

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Church on Sunday Saint-Samson Cathedral,Dol-de-Bretagne

When we were out and about during our trip up to Dinan in October we literally stumbled upon this carbuncle (on the outside anyway) of a cathedral in the small town of Dol-de-Bretagne. It isn't even finished, apparently they ran out of funds to complete one of its towers! It also seemed an odd place for it to be but its history explains...

The one time religious capital of Brittany this small town, which although now sits 7km from the coast,was once on an island, had an important role in the spreading of Christianity in this part of France. It was apparently all started by a Welsh monk ,Saint Simon, to whom the cathedral is dedicated, who founded a monastery here way back in the 6th century. The monastery was enlarged and rebuilt many times and even burnt down by the English King John (Lackland) in the early 13th century. Fearing that that this might harm his chances at the 'pearly gates' he helped finance its reconstruction but not well enough it seems!. It would be another couple of centuries before it was completed (?) to what we see today

Its stark exterior takes on some forgiveness as you enter into the cathedral's nave... 

and walk towards the main altars choir and apse.

It was really only my flash that brought it out of its dreariness.


Even with their artificial lighting on a grey day like the one on our visit the building struggled to come to life.

I had to add a lot of 'fill light' to this pic to let you see more of the detail.

This is the window above the more ornate west porch which was at one time its main entrance.

Where's Joan?...she was tucked away in a rather gloomy corner but overshadowed by this very unusual 16th century statue of Christ. It was referenced as the "Statue du Christ de Pitié" (Statue of Christ's of Pity) and also "Le Christ aux outrages" (The mocking of Christ).

During this materialistic festival we are now entering I think "Why did I bother" might be more appropriate!

Actually glad to have found this and would highly recommend it to film-makers looking for  an authentic medieval setting.