Monday, 23 August 2010

Normandy Day III – Mont St Michel

Well, this day started as an utter, utter disaster.  In fact, it was possibly one of the WORST days of my ENTIRE LIFE!

We forgot the sandwiches.

Even now, the memory makes me shudder.  We also forgot our cameras as they were both in my rucksack – WITH THE SANDWICHES – and the rucksack was not in the car with us, but on the kitchen table in the Gite, severalty billion miles away.

Much slapping of palms on foreheads followed, but technology being what it is, we had our mobile phones.  And in France, you can always find food.

msm5 Never mind the monastery – where’s the flippin’ cake shop!

Mont St Michel is mighty fine.  It’s a veritable layer of historical slices, like an angel cake (oh Lord, the food trauma is still with me).  From the Norman arches to the 18th Century facade, from the crypt to the cloisters – it is a beautiful, architecturally intricate building.  You would be hard pushed not to find something to appeal.

In a post from many months ago I pointed out (quite correctly, as it happens) that 18th Century history is a complete and utter waste of time, so there are no pictures of the main doors into the monastery. This is because they were no doubt built by bewigged fops and powdered dandies, the sort of wasters who totally failed to turn up and show their support at the Battle of Culloden in 1745 and thus left England in the hands of the wicked Hanoverians. So I have NO TIME FOR THEIR ORNATE DOORS!  I give you, instead, the rather beautiful arches of a previous (and far more interesting) era of history.


I am a Norman Arch and I don’t care who knows it.

And here is St Michael, who seems to be in something of a foul temper.  He has obviously just realised that St Gabriel has raided his rucksack and run off with his sandwiches.  We’ve all been there, believe me.

msm6 I’d put brie in and everything.

For my next blogging installment, I shall describe the lovely and picturesque town of Bayeux, the treasures of the tapesterie, an encounter at the butcher which produced much mirthe and gaiety with the local inhabitants, and a thought provoking and interesting diversion at the war museum.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Please do not put knitting needles in your eyes

Normandy Day Two – Caen.

Caen is lovely.  Really, it is.  You’d never know it was horribly destroyed during WWII because it looks “just so”.  There are the obvious things, like the Norman churches and castle, but aside from that it’s pretty and elegant anyway.  It all fits, and it is all lovely.

But let’s get something out of the way first.  I’m on holiday, right?  And this woman I don’t even know has said that she likes Orangina.  I have a holiday to enjoy here, things to see, people to eat, and what do I do?  I take a photograph of a sexually provocative zebra wearing a swimming costume and drinking from a bottle of Orangina.  I do this because Silverpebble – as I’ve said, a woman I’ve never met – has said that she likes that particular drink.  BLOGGING MAKES YOU DO DEMENTED THINGS. 


How many levels of wrong is this?  Five?  Six?  I’d say about twenty at the very least.

These things are all over the place.  If it’s not a zebra, it’s an antelope, a polar bear or a disgruntled gnu.  Truly I say to you – the French are bonkers.

Their ancestors, however, knew how to build.  My goodness, didn’t they just.


This is Abbeye Aux Hommes, where that big, fat dingbat William the Conqueror is buried.  Or rather, where his femur is buried.  Amazing that the only thing left of him is a slender bone, considering the fact that he literally exploded when they tried to ram him into the space reserved for his cadaver.  I love an exploding monarch.  Henry VIII exploded as well.  It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy, really.


And here is Abbeye Aux Dames where Matilda (remember her?  She of the lovely silver frock, damask corset, emerald encrusted knickers, ruby studded bra and basalt lined 15 denier tights), is buried.  Yes, that’s Matilda, the poor woman forced to marry said big, fat dingbat.  For that selfless act alone she should have a massive church with flashing lights over the bell towers.  But wouldn’t you know it?  She gets a smaller church than he does.  And yet – I prefer hers.  The simplicity and clean lines are less spectacular, but there’s a quietness and calmness about her church which I preferred.


In between these two ecclesiastical delights, we visited the Chateaux where, to my absolute joy, we encountered a man wearing a T-Shirt bearing the legend “I STILL HATE THATCHER”.  Well, frankly, had I not been carrying a camera and a bottle of water, I’d have shaken him firmly by the paw.  But perhaps that’s just me and most normal people have let that one go, moved on, dispensed with any traces of bitterness, gnrrrrrrr…….

Oh, hang on, I forgot the food.  After we left the Abbeye Aux Hommes we ate some delicious sandwiches that MrCat had prepared.  For those of you interested in these things they contained brie and rosette, and, in my case, traces of cucumber.  The bread had been bought fresh that morning from our local boulangerie.  I say OUR local boulangerie but it was MrCat who got up early, went down there and purchased the goods (along with the obligatory pastries), so in truth it was HIS boulangerie, not mine.  But never let it be said that I let facts get in the way of a good sandwich.  We ate them on the side of a busy road, paying no heed to the glances we received.

In the grounds of the Castle, there is an art display.  Several rather disconcerting sculptures were poised on tall wooden poles and suspended over the art gallery.  It was only when you got close that you realised they’d been designed by a LUNATIC!

I mean, what on earth is going on here, I ask you?


To my eyes, that is a pig with a man’s head.  Pardon?  I said, PARDON?  And it’s no good saying it looks a bit like something by Bosch (whom I like, by the way).  That simply makes it more, not less, demented.

And if you WILL insist on doing Fair Isle with small knitting needles then what do you expect?


Either read the pattern more closely or use a knitting machine, I say.