Look What They Did – Vandalism


Look what they did to the Bell Tower in Perth. Criminal, vandalism is what I say

When the tower was first constructed it was surrounded by park land and fountains. Was visible from all directions and from along the shore line.

This is what one travel blogger had to say …….

This is the hallmark of Australian tourism located at Barrack Square of Perth. Bell tower has high glass spires and it is the largest musical instrument in the world. Here, you can also try your hand at the art of ringing bells. The bells in this tower include original bells of St. Martin in the Fields Church, the Parish church of Buckingham Palace in London.

Read more at: https://travel.snydle.com/10-stunning-places-to-see-in-perth.html | The Gypsy’s Passport

Well not anymore. I guess developer money has spoken.

The poor old bell tower is now swamped by highrise buildings. Gone are the open spaces and fountains. Should you venture up the tower, the only real view is directly across the river. The bells are still ringing but are only audible when you are close by. The loud music from the nearby bars tends to drown out the lovely chimes.

This is nothing but commercial vandalism. Perth City should be embarrassed and ashamed.

Vacances en France – 2018 – Conques


During our earlier foray to Entraygues-sur-Truyere, whilst stood on the dam watching an otter fishing, I had bumped into a pair of cyclists. British as it happens. We had a chat and about each others holiday destinations etc. During this conversation I had mentioned the light show we had witnessed at Chartres. In response they mentioned visiting Conques and the Abbey, that the town was doing something similar every night until the end of September.

I had filed this piece of information away, as a possible target destination for when our friends joined us. Unfortunately, time and a brief spell of tummy upset conspired against us before it was time for them to head back to dear old Blighty.

So Gerry and I decided we would head off to Conques on our own. The plan was to leave late, spend the afternoon doing that touristy thing, then have an evening meal in Conques before enjoying the light show.

It was, yet another, glorious day and we were soon wending our way through the French countryside. Every turn in the road seems to open up another grand view. At times we would appear to be on top of the world with huge panoramas. At others we would be looking down at small towns or villages, dwarfed by the high tree lined sides of gorges.

Soon we were crossing the border, leaving the Cantal, entering the Aveyron. No passport control, just drive on through. Approximately five kilometers from Conques, we stopped for a beer at Chez Marie in the pretty village of Grand Varbres.

After exploring Grand-Varbres we continued on to Conques.


Conques, listed as one of the most beautiful villages of France, is about 30 kilometres east of Figeac and 35 kilometres north of Rodez, in the Aveyron department in the Massif Central. Conques sits on the edge of the gorge of the River Dourdou, in a beautiful setting surrounded by mountains and forests. The approach from the south is along an especially attractive stretch of river.

https://www.francethisway.com/places/conques.php

Joe Public are not allowed to drive or park inside the town of Conques. There is public parking, for a small fee, just outside the entrance to the town. A gently inclined pathway then takes you up to the centre of town.

That gentle entry is a bit of a con, as deviating to either side results in encounters with steep steps and pathways, all designed to give one a bit of a cardiac workout.

We spent a couple of hours exploring, taking in the quaint streets and houses, as well as the Abbey itself.

It wasn’t long before it was time for another beer. We found a bar and were soon sat, basking in the sunshine, with a glorious view of the Abbey’s twin towers.

At 19:00 we took ourselves off to the restaurant, where previously I had booked a table. We were soon seated at a table on the terrace with a prime view looking down over Conques.

Conques – Where we had our evening meal

The food was superb, a starter which comprised a mixed platter of charcuterie and fromages. Followed by a delicious tender steak with vegetables served in baskets (Yorkshire puds) and aligoo. Then it was time to head out to the Abbey.

Part of the evenings entertainment was a monk explaining the history behind the tympanum. We sat and listened but, as it was only in French, we had no understanding. So the evident humour was lost on us, but not on the rest of the crowd. Similarly, we were not able to make the appropriate responses when prompted by the monk. Still it was an interesting experience.

As for the light show, well we opted not to stay. Gerry was already wilting and I still had over an hours drive back to the gite.

Conques – Abbey Illuminations

It was ten o’clock gone when we left Conques, and with tens of hairpin bends to contend with in the darkness, it made for a fairly intense journey home.

Vacances en France – 2018 – Polminhac


After the previous days travels around Murat, St Flour and Garabit we decided on a gentle start to the day, followed by a short afternoon trip over to Polminhac, where we planned to visit Chateau Pesteills

Chateau Pesteils


Perched on its steep rock, 750m above sea level , the old fortress Polminhac proudly dominates the valley of Cère.
The imposing dungeon symbolizes all the majesty of the castle of Pesteils and evokes the Middle Ages in its harshest expression, glorious testimony of what was to be this stronghold of Cantal. 
Beautiful frescoes of the 15th adorn the interior. 


The seventeenth century enriches the main body with remarkable painted ceilings.
Tapestries, paintings, furniture, parent richly this set. 
Enlarged and restored in the nineteenth century, the castle has been owned since 1608 by  
the family of Cassagne de Beaufort Miramon Pesteils  who still lives today.

https://www.chateau-pesteils-cantal.com/

The chateau is a very interesting place, although the English language printed guides provided were very confusing, mixing information from various rooms and floors with wild abandon.

The rooms are furnished and decorated in line with the history of the chateau.

Moving our of the main chateau we headed up to the “donjon” (keep). Climbing the spiral stairs up through the many floors, of the keep, we were greeted by a bat. On one occasion it flew out of the fireplace on one floor, into and back out of the medaeval loo, back in and up the spiral staircase to the higher floors. At one point it darted out the window on the top floor, out into the bright sunshine. I always thought bats were nocturnal. Obviously this one couldn’t make up its mind if it was a bat or a House Martin. Maybe it’s only the vampire variety that fly at night.

As we climbed, many of the upper rooms were infested with flies, all swarming the windows. Their buzzing was very reminiscent of crime movies when a long dead body is discovered. Thankfully, we did not encounter any bodies.

We ascended to the top of the spiral staircase, which terminated on a walkway under the eaves of the roof of the keep. The walkway consisted of metal grid plates spread across the roof buttressed. You could see all the way down to the ground. Something of a heart stopping, stomach churning sight.

Leaving our two partners, Dave and I stepped out onto the grids to circumnavigate the top of the tower. The views were stunning but we were constantly reminded of the drop below our feet. This uneasy feeling was not diminished by the crumbling state of the stone butresses on which the grids rested.

The following are a few images from around the grounds…..

 

Bloated ?


Just over two weeks ago I set off to France on vacation.

Every time I go away I make several promises to myself. I’m not going to overeat, I’m going to eat lots of salads, I’m going to lay off the bread and I’m going to get some exercise.

Of course I jettison most of those within about two nano-seconds of arrival. Salads are easy and I’ll always eat plenty of salad stuff, box number one ticked. The exercise one is sort of easy too since we are going sight-seeing and maybe swimming so that’s tick number two in the boxes. So that leaves the overeating and the bread.

As it happens I find that I actually pick less, no meals between meals if you see what I mean and when I am sightseeing i.e. busy then I don’t get hungry. So the overeating box is lightly ticked as I will go for the full three courses at the main meal and of course I’ve probably had some kind of breakfast.

Which leads us neatly to box number four.

BREAD

How can one go to France and not eat bread ?

Every morning the ritual was to get up and head down to the nearest boulangerie, just three kilometers. The joy of walking into that shop with the fresh loaves displayed behind the counter and the smell, Wow !!

Getting the still warm loaf back to the gite, cup of tea or coffee and then slicing through that crust unleashing more fresh aromas. Slapping on the local charentaise butter and taste buds all jumping for joy.

I can taste it now.

Now, I failed this promise in a big way. Bread (toast) for breakfast, bread before and during meals. So many different styles of bread. Many times I started of the day full of bread. Full but never bloated.

So why is it that after just two slices of Hovis, I feel both full and bloated ?

I know the style of the bread is different and this Hovis stuff is effectively production line, factory bread. What do they put in it that has this bloating effect.

I am seriously thinking that I must take up bread making again even if I have to do it by hand. No Kenwood Chef and Dough Hook, No Kenwood Bread Maker.

I don’t like this bloated feeling.