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.


silverpebble said...

What's gan on with Matilda? She has a stripey affliction.

I need more detail on the apricot pastry. I need dimensions. I need height.

This all reminds me of an episode of Peppa Pig. Peppa's French penpal, Delphine Donkey writes her a letter. Daddy Pig opens it (I know! The intrusion!). He looks at it, humphs and snorts for a minute. Then he says:

'It's no good. It's nonsense.'

There lies the root of ancient wars.

Lynn said...

This was delicious. I need more. Much more. See how long you can stretch out the Normandy travelogue, pleeeeze?

(I think Caen is where I stayed in an ultra-modern motel with a bunch of other university students. And bought these crazy stretchy trousers with a huge drape of fabric between the legs. My friend Keiko called them my cow suit. See how much Culture I remember?)