Monday, 24 April 2017

Just Because I Can

I like this photo, it's part of an old wine press made by "Pressoirs Colin" of Montreuil. I took the photo at Chateau Gaudrelle where it sits, gently rusting, in the car park.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

St George

This is the Australian Hotel, St George, Queensland, Australia. It was taken at sunrise after a particularly spectacular evening of rock and roll. After playing from 8.00pm to 1.00am we sat on the balcony and had a couple of sociable drinks before heading to bed. After an hour or so I got frustrated chasing the bed around the room so went for a walk instead. We played St George a number of times over the years and always had far too much fun.

Part of the aftermath of that evening may be read about here.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

St Georges Day

Tomorrow is St George's day. He is patron saint of:  Preuilly sur Claise, Aragon, Catalonia, England, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, and Russia, as well as the cities of Amersfoort, Beirut, Fakiha, Bteghrine, Cáceres (Spain), Ferrara, Freiburg, Genoa, Ljubljana, Gozo, Milan, Pomorie, Preston, Qormi, Rio de Janeiro, Lod, Barcelona and Moscow. He is also the patron saint of the Boy Scouts, skin disease sufferers and syphilitic people.

To celebrate that, today Preuilly has its Foire de la St Georges, a fête foraine (a travelling fair, held on fixed dates in different places). There will be a couple of fun fair rides, some brocante stalls, and the local organisations will have displays and stalls selling stuff. The Fete is always held on the 3rd Saturday of April which sometimes brings the date into conflict with fairs in nearby villages, so one can never tell just how populous the event will be.

We will be there anyway, maybe for a lunch of sausage and beer. Which last year was very good.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Games on the Chateau Lawn

Over Easter the chateau at Boussay hosted a large family gathering. The owner, a general in the armed forces who is in charge of the school for officers going into the logistics, supplies and administrative fields, comes from a large and close knit family who have owned the chateau here for a thousand years.

When we visited friends who live opposite on Easter Sunday there was a lively and raucous game of football going on. I was not the only person to photograph the goings on. I noticed two other passers by doing so. The family appeared to be unconcerned by being the object of all this attention. At least, the family members we spoke to did.

We are told that the owner will retire from the military within the next couple of years, and that means he will be at home in Boussay and focusing on how to improve the place. It's a tremendous responsibility, but apparently he has plans. So watch this space...

Thursday, 20 April 2017

From the Air...

Last week our friend Alexis visited. Alexis is a Prulliacien who lives in Brighton (England) with his family, but at school holiday times he and the family visit his mother who still lives just outside Preuilly.

This time, Alexis bought his drone, and suggested we took one of the Grandes Dames for a drive while he filmed. Not being one to miss an opportunity for publicity, we quickly agreed.

This is the result after I edited the footage. The original is in high definition, but I think this gives a really good idea of the area we live in.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

King Alfred's Cakes

On a recent botanical outing we came across the fungus called in English 'King Alfred's Cakes'. The name comes about because it resembles burnt cakes, such as might have been the result of King Alfred's lack of attention when asked to mind the cakes on the griddle in the well-known English legend.

Since this legend has no resonance in French history, the fungus has a much less imaginative French vernacular name -- Daldinie concentrique, merely a Frenchifying of its scientific name Daldinia concentrica.

The species is also very commonly known as Cramp Balls, as well as having several names which refer to its resemblance to coal, such as Coal Fungus and Carbon Balls. It occurs over a wide range and is especially associated with fallen Ash Fraxinus sp (Fr. Frêne) trees or branches.

Dissected to show the concentric rings.

It gets its scientific specific name because of the concentric growth layers, each representing a reproductive season and easily visible if you cut a specimen in half. It seems to be a fungus which copes well with dry situations and less well with too much moisture. It competes vigorously with mosses and algaes in its vicinity to take a large share of the nutrients available from the process of decomposing wood and produces chemicals to eliminate its rivals. It is also one of the fungi that can be used as tinder, smouldering with a distinctive odour and requiring careful attention to keep ignited.