Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Day of Lively Diversion

The ancient abbey is richly appointed.
Today, I learned our farm mistress paints her chickens. Seems the purples and other colors don't bother the chicks, but they keep eagles and falcons at bay, wondering what the hell they're looking at. Jilly says she considered painting her white horse with black stipes, but couldn't find the black paint in the same spray cans that sheep farmers use to mark their stock. Comes in most other colors. Sonya suggested purple.

* * *

Anne Gauchet
I sat on a bench for a while today at the Caunes-Minervois Abbey about half an hour from the farm with Anne Gauchet and talked about ancient Roman archeology and translating highly technical information for organizations like nuclear power companies and IT firms.

Anne is a fascinating woman who is retired and lives in Carcassonne, a sort of capital of this small region. She is French, British and Dutch and caught my ear when she instructed Sonya and me to stand at opposite ends of what she called the "whisper room" and have a quite conversation. Our voices stayed at a whisper, but what we said was clear as if we'd shouted.

She invited us to go see her tomorrow. Hope we can work it in.

The old abby is an interesting place, though churches, especially Catholic churches with all their finery, are not my cup of tea. This one was started in the 8th Century and has been added on to over the years as political infighting and all the other side issues the church has found itself involved in moved past. It is richly appointed, as befits the largest private landowner in the world, and my guess is that most of its worshipers over the years were poor, even destitute.
An ancient bathroom throne.

We drove out through a couple of small villages on the way to the abbey and even stopped at what looked like an American flea market. I was taken aback by the wondrous old tools and the brass and copper items. I was not even tempted to buy anything. I'd have to get it home. And that ain't happening.

What did impress was the width of the streets the the towns. Some were--and this is no exaggeration--narrower than my driveway. But the locals drive them. We drove them. We were not comfy.

I'm still fighting a cold and it's getting late, so I'm going to bed. Toodles.

Even the village streets are decorative.
I will not say "Touchdown, Jesus!" Promise.
Wanna drive this?
Sonya in the Whisper Room at the abbey.

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