Saturday, 31 July 2010


If I was clever and literary, I could do a fancy travelogue, but since I am neither, you’ll get pictures, a few words and be grateful for it (as my mother would say).

We stayed in a little village called Clinchamps-sur-Orne, notable for it’s rather excellent boulangerie, which MrCat visited every morning to provide me with numerous delicacies while I waited in bed for my tea and whatever cake it was he brought back. Which makes me sound like some kind of hideous Queen Bee.  Urgh.

Anyway, our first excursion was on the Sunday after our arrival.  We trekked up to Falaise, the birthplace of William of Conqueror, a man I studied at GREAT AND PAINFUL LENGTH as an undergraduate and for whom I developed an utter loathing surpassed only by my dislike of pineapples.


Hi, my name’s Matilda, and as you can see, I am wearing a lovely gown

Things to note and of which I am proud.

1.  I did not bore MrCat with history.

That is the only thing to note of which I am proud.  But that’s pretty good going, since I’m a notorious history bore.  Especially since I had to bite my tongue throughout the rather fatuous audio tour which consisted of illuminating comments such as “Matilda wore a lovely gown and had some pearls in her hair”, while I stood there thinking “yes, yes, but when was the castle built, what materials did they use and – hang on a minute, who CARES if Matilda had a lovely gown, what on earth does that have to do with the price of fromage and it’s impact on the economic development of Norman England and, more to the point, how do we KNOW it was lovely?  Name your sources, or keep your silence, fools”.


View from the donjon of Falaise

The castle has been seriously renovated, with a new glass floor and some rather nice, albeit somewhat pointless, giant sized chess pieces which look like they were made from the origami kit you bought from your local craft shop and actually bothered to open.


Line up your Audio Cassette and Fire at Will – drawing from the exhibition at Falaise

Don’t be put off by this cynicism.  I get a bit killy when history is dumbed down and in a way I was interested to see that the French are as bad as the English for this kind of foolishness.  Falaise itself is lovely, there is some beautiful architecture, lovely churches and at least TWO boulangeries (in case you’re interested we bought a giant sized apricot pastry).  A very pretty place to sit in a town square and while away a half an hour with a beer and a cafe au lait.  And the castle is magnificent.  Ignore me.  I’m just playing it for laughs.

For my next blogging installment, I shall describe many and varied events in the City of Caen, including a trip to the burial place of William the Conqueror, and diverse and colourful passages regarding sculptings of a very interesting and unusual nature.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Swishy flowers an’ ting

I did this.  Oh yes, I did this.  FEAR ME AND MY GARDENING SKILLZ!

I did this

Actually, the picture makes it look better than it actually is, but I’m all for removing double chins in head and shoulder portraits so what the hell.

The garden project is a long and protracted affair and shall be blogged boringly anon.  There’s only a few of you here anyway (as mentioned before, the probation officer, the bailiff, the tax collector and a selection of hangers on from the pub) so I can bore for England unhindered.

As of tomorrow I am off to Normandy with MrCat. I gave him a list of places I’d be happy to go on holiday and left him to it.  At one point I was packing my walking shoes and sou’wester for a trip to the Peak District and was quite surprised by the “right, we’re going to Normandy” email I received about an hour later.

Splendid stuff.  And it was with great joy that I was able to inform MrCat that my first year as a history undergraduate was spent studying “The Norman Conquest”.  This was not, as one might expect, fixated on the year 1066.  It was about the whole Norman thing from the time of Rollo right through to 1066 and beyond – the ecclesiastical, administrative and military revolution that the Normans brought about once they’d booted the Saxons into touch (cue lots of booing from the back of the lecture room – that was me, by the way).

Funny really – his face fell when I told him this.  I thought he’d be delighted by the prospect of listening to me rabbit on ad nauseum about the development of the motte and bailey castle.  I can’t imagine why he wasn’t leaping for joy.

Men.  Huh.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Words fail me



I mean, really, what can one say?  Did people actually MAKE this stuff?  Ever?

Monday, 12 July 2010


It seems that nearly all the blogs I read will, at some point, feature flowers.  This is not a bad thing.  But I’m feeling left out and want to do it too.

So for the benefit of my loyal blog followers (all half dozen of them – 2 cats, a couple of probation officers and the bailiffs), I give you some pictures of my new garden.

The herb patch was, literally, covered in ivy and convolvulus when we moved in.  My sister came round and told me she could see a fuchsia under the carnage.  I didn’t believe her, but I set about the weeds with a hacksaw and a flamethrower and LOOK WHAT I FOUND!!!


And breathe, ladies…..

And look at this here little treasure…

image Ta-da!

I hope you chaps are halfway competent at identifying and naming plants, as I’ve some unidentified flora I’ll need some help with.  Oh, and any tips at garden design will be very, very, very gratefully received.

<gives everyone a hard stare>


This week, I have been mostly trying to look as if I know what I’m doing in the garden.  I have failed valiantly.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Knickers and pies

That got your attention!

It certainly got mine.

Here are some knickers.  What intrigued me about these items is that their existence came to my attention because I know of someone who actually bought – and therefore wears, yes WEARS – these things.  What madness is this?  To be fair, she’s only got the Anne Boleyn ones, but I don’t really want to dwell on the implications of someone wearing a pair of pants with Henry VIII’s bloated face on them.



In case you’re interested – as I’m sure many of you now are – you can get them here - historical knickers

On a more entertaining note, these knitted pies are the best thing ever.  Just – well, click on the link and look at the sad little faces on those poor wee bunnies….

Pork and Bunny Pie

I so, so wish I’d thought of this!

The link says knitted, but they look like crochet to me.  Good old Guardian, getting it wrong!