nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for February 2013

biking log book – virtual bike trip from Sanxay to Exireuil, France #3

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I’ve now completed the second phase of my virtual bike trip through central France!  In this phase, I travelled on my stationary bike from Sanxay to Exireuil, a distance of almost 18 km.

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Phase 2 map

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My bike ride for February 16 started in Fomperron, France.  Imagine my surprise to see a donkey watching me as I biked by an old shed on the outskirts of the town!

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Feb 16 donkey and old shed

a donkey watches near an old shed in Fomperron
(image from Google Earth Street View)

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Feb 16 notebook

Feb 16 notebook showing distance travelled and Street View images

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Log Book:  February 16, 2013

Area travelled:   from ‘Fomperron’ to ‘just north of La Robelière’

Distance:  25 minutes      3.0 km

Best view: old stone shed with a tile and moss-covered roof in Fomperron

Notes:   Took a side road not on the Street View grid, so I travelled ‘blind’ for a day through uncharted countryside. 

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Distance Travelled Feb 12 to Feb 13 : 11.8 km

Total Distance Travelled Jan 30 to Feb 13 : 25.8 km

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 'old shed in Fomperron'

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Log Book:  February 17, 2013

Area travelled:   from ‘field just north of La Robelière’ to ‘intersection of road to La Clavelière’

Distance:  30 minutes      3.0 km

Best view: a lone oak in the middle of a field

Notes:   Travelling ‘blind’ for a day through uncharted countryside. 

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Distance Travelled Feb 12 to Feb 17 : 14.8 km

Total Distance Travelled Jan 30 to Feb 17 : 28.8 km

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'country road'

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Log Book:  February 18, 2013

Area travelled:   from ‘intersection of road to La Clavelière’ to ‘Exireuil’

Distance:  45 minutes      3.0 km

Best view: old stone fence along road

Notes:   Did a lot of walking this trip because I have a bad cold.  Rejoined Street View at intersection and glad to be able to ‘see’ the road.  First time I’ve seen a subdivision or a cemetery. 

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Distance Travelled Feb 12 to Feb 13 : 17.8 km

Total Distance Travelled Jan 30 to Feb 13 : 31.8 km

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'intersection'

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This virtual bike trip has really worked to encourage me to exercise.  I am going to keep going!  For Phase 3 of my trip, I plan to bike in 12 days from Exireuil to Magné just beyond Niort.

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Phase 3 Exireuil to Magne

map showing plan for Phase 3 (12 day virtual bike trip from Exireuil to Magne)

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Follow me in Phase 3 to see more sights in the French countryside, to see some more drawings and to hear about my virtual adventures!

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

February 27, 2013 at 7:58 am

a moment of beautiful – through a stained glass window

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the space: the big maple outside our front door

the beautiful: seeing a squirrel in the tree through the stained glass window in our stairwell

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As I was working at my desk, my husband called to me.  Through our stained glass window, he could see a silhouette of our grey squirrel.  I’m glad the squirrel waited long enough for me to snap his picture!

squirrel through stained glass

Can you see the squirrel through the stained glass?

©  Jane Tims 2013

Written by jane tims

February 25, 2013 at 7:59 am

biking log book – virtual bike trip from Sanxay to Exireuil, France #2

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I am in the second phase of my virtual bike trip through central France.  In this phase, I am travelling on my stationary bike from Sanxay to Exireuil, a distance of about 18 km.

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I began my Feb 13 bike ride in Mènigoute, France, a very neat and lovely town.  I saw many trees in blossom since it is spring in Street View.  Most properties are fenced, or surrounded with hedges, and the streetscape is pristine.  Some of the yards have gardens and very tidy compost bins.

'lilacs in Menigoute'

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In the centre of town were two interesting churches.  One, La Chapelle Bouchard, was in Gothic style, with intricate architectural features.  Across the street from the other church was an interesting house with red and green shutters.  Functioning shutters are common on the houses.

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Feb 13 notebook

Feb 13 notebook showing distance travelled and images from Street View

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Log Book:  February 13, 2013

Area travelled:   from ‘Mènigoute’ to ‘field near Ètang de Bois Pouvreau’

Distance:  25 minutes      3.3 km

Best view: house with red and green shutters in Mènigoute

Notes:   old oak trees line the roadways and dominate the hedgerows.  In the countryside it is autumn, so I got an early glimpse of fall colour! 

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Distance Travelled Feb 12 to Feb 13 : 6.3 km

Total Distance Travelled Jan 30 to Feb 13 : 20.3 km

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'house with red and green shutters'

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Feb 15 notebook

Feb 15 notebook showing distance travelled and Street View images

Log Book:  February 15, 2013

Area travelled:   from ‘field near Ètang de Bois Pouvreau’ to ‘Fomperron’

Distance:  25  minutes     2.5  km

Best view:  mustard field near Fomperron

Notes:   I was stuck behind a haycart for a while!

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Distance Travelled Feb 12 to Feb 15 : 8.8 km

Total Distance Travelled Jan 30 to Feb 15 : 22.8 km

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 'mustard field near Fomperron' 

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

February 22, 2013 at 7:08 am

biking log book – virtual bike trip from Sanxay to Exireuil, France #1

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On February 12, I began the second phase of my virtual bike trip through central France.  In this phase, I plan to travel on my stationary bike from Sanxay to Exireuil, a distance of about 18 km.

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One of the first features I encountered on my trip from Sanxay to the town of Mènigoute were mysterious plantations of trees.  Street View shows lines of mature hardwood trees, leafless since the photos were taken in early spring.  In the branches of the trees were green branchy spheres.

Feb 12 notebook

Feb 12 notebook showing distance travelled and Street View images, including a plantation of hardwoods with strange branchy spheres in the tree tops

I was very puzzled at first, but some thinking solved the mystery.  The spheres are of mistletoe, a hemi-parasitic plant.  Mistletoe is known for its medicinal uses and as a symbol of good luck and fertility.  Kissing under the mistletoe is a familiar Christmas tradition.  To learn more about mistletoe, and to see some photos of mistletoe plantations, see the website http://naturalmedicines.hubpages.com/hub/Mistletoe

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Encountering a mistletoe plantation during my virtual bike trip was truly rewarding!!!!

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Log Book:  February 12, 2013

Area travelled:   from ‘just west of Sanxay’ to ‘Mènigoute’

Distance:  30 minutes      3.0 km

Best view: plantation of hardwood mistletoe!  also, lilacs in bloom in Mènigoute!

Notes:  I also passed an area of archaeological interest… the Gallo-Roman ruins west of Sanxay – these include a Gallo temple, the Sanxay baths and a Roman amphitheatre. 

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Distance Travelled Feb 12 : 3.0 km

Total Distance Travelled Jan 30 to Feb 12 : 17.0 km

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'mistletoe plantation'

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Have you ever seen a plantation of mistletoe??  

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

February 20, 2013 at 7:23 am

Tomato Ware

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One of my favorite collections is my odd set of bright orange-red Tomato Ware dishes.

Tomato Ware

They are usually marked ‘Made in Occupied Japan’ or ‘Made in Japan’ and were made in the late 1940s and the 1950s.  Two of my pieces are marked Maruhon Ware (with a K surrounded by a circle).  Maruhon Ware was made from the 1920s to 1950s.  ‘Made in Occupied Japan’ means the piece was made from 1945 to 1952.

maker's mark

The pieces in my collection are shaped like tomatoes (I have one set of salt and peppers shaped like long peppers).  They are glazed pottery, coloured in an over-bright green and an orangy red.  Most have green leaves as decorations, clasping the base of handles or teapot spouts.  My collection is in good shape, the only flaws being a large chip out of the spout of one teapot and a broken handle on one creamer.

Tomato Ware teapots

three Tomato Ware teapots (the green apples and the larger salt and pepper shakers, 2nd and 3rd from right, are modern pieces)

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I have:

2 jam pots

2 cups/tumblers

3 teapots (one marked with the K surrounded by a circle)

3 pair cream and sugars

1 pair cream and sugar with a tray, and one lone creamer

1 set of salt and peppers

1 set of salt and papers with a tray

1 set of salt and peppers on a tray with a basket handle  (belonged to my mother)

1 lone salt shaker

1 set of pepper-shaped salt and peppers

2 tea cups and saucers (both marked Maruhon Ware)

Mom's salt and pepper shakers

The dishes are very bright and provide an accent color for my very green living room.

Tomato Ware collection a

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Do you have any pieces of Tomato Ware?

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

February 18, 2013 at 7:50 am

biking log book – places I have never seen #4

with 6 comments

Another day of my virtual bike ride from Lusignan to Sanxay, France.   I hope you enjoy my silly comments as I make my way through the French countryside!  I am really enjoying making my drawings of the sights along the way.

As you will see below, on February 11, I completed the virtual bike ride to Sanxay.  The incentive of the virtual bike ride and reporting on my progress has really helped me – I have used my stationary bike more often and for longer sessions!

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Phase 1

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Feb 8 notebook

Feb 8 notebook showing distance travelled and Street View photos

Log Book:  February 8, 2013

Area travelled:   from ‘intersection with A10 Autoroute’ to ‘stream crossing south of Sanxay’

Distance:  25 minutes     2.8 km

Best view:  bridge at crossing of small stream south of Sanxay… the road makes a sharp turn before crossing the bridge

Notes:  Such a brisk day, I got off bike and walked for 5 minutes!

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Total Distance Jan 30 to Feb 8:  10.5 km

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'stream crossing south of Sanxay'

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Feb 11 notebook 2

Feb 11 notebook showing distance travelled and Street View photos

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Log Book:  February 11, 2013

Area travelled:   from ‘stream crossing south of Sanxay’ to ‘country-side just west of Sanxay’

Distance:  30 minutes     3.5 km

Best view:  street-scape in old town of Sanxay – wish I could have had a bite to eat at the Resto/Bistrot La Petite Fringale

Notes:  No wind and a flat country-side made for an easy ride to Sanxay!  I did notice that when I began it was early spring (no leaves on trees) and when I finished my ride today, it was early summer (trees fully in leaf).  The cause is not my slow biking, but different photography months in Street View!

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Total Distance Jan 30 to Feb 11:  14.0 km

'street in Sanxay'

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I have decided to push on, toward the town of Exireuil, about 16 km to the south-west of Sanxay.

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Do you know the way to Sanxay??????

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

February 15, 2013 at 7:56 am

biking log book – places I have never seen #3

with 6 comments

I am continuing to enjoy my new exercise plan – a virtual bike trip from Lusignan, France to Sanxay, France on my stationary bike.  I am also biking further each session.

map Feb 6

Progress from January 30 to February 6 (North is toward the top of the map)

I have also discovered a new tool in Google Earth, a way to ‘pin’ my progress on the map by using ‘placemarks’.

placemarks on Google Earth

placemarks on Google Earth (North is toward the upper left corner of the map) (map from Google Earth)

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Feb 4 notebook

Feb 4 notebook showing distance travelled and Street View photos

Log Book: February 4, 2013

Area travelled:   from ‘ ‘hill beyond Le Breuil’ to ‘Jazeneuil (Eglise Saint-Jean-Baptiste)’

Distance:  20 minutes      1.9 km

Best view:  house with blue shutters in La Mimaudière

Notes:  Every roof is finished with cylindrical clay tiles … remember those tiles in Jurrasic Park III …

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Total distance: 4.7 km

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'house with blue shutters in La Mimaudiere'

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Feb 6 notebook

Feb 6 notebook showing distance travelled and Street View photos

Log Book:  February 6, 2013

Area travelled:   from ‘Jazeneuil’ to ‘intersection with A10 Auto Route’

Distance:  30 minutes      3.0 km

Best view:  streetscape in Jazeneuil – clay tiles and various types of yard fences

Notes:  The traffic on A10 was horrible.  I am glad I decided to bike the back roads!

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Total distance: 7.7 km

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'street-scape in Jazeneuil'

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Have you ever been to this part of France?

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

February 13, 2013 at 7:00 am

writing a novel – results of a weekend workshop

with 8 comments

This weekend, I participated in a weekend writing workshop organised by the University of New Brunswick’s College of Extended Learning as part of the Maritime Writers’ Workshop.  I worked with 11 other writers, the workshop coordinator, and the group leader.  We read one another’s work, making suggestions for revisions and generally learning about editing both prose and poetry.  As I looked around our work table, there were water glasses, pens and pencils, i-pads and laptops, piles of paper, and notebooks for writing.  I loved the beautiful journals some of the writers were using to record their thoughts.

beautiful notebooks

beautiful notebooks

Our leader was Joan Clark.  Joan has published several novels and she read to us from her published work.  I especially appreciated her reading from some of her work-in-progress.  Her book The Victory of Geraldine Gull (1988) was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award and the Books in Canada First Novel Award.  She has also written Swimming Towards the Light (1990) and Latitudes of Melt (2000), among others.

For my own work, I had some very encouraging comments.  I think I most appreciated a comment from Roger Moore, a well-known poet and educator in Fredericton.  He told me about the work of Wolfgang Kayser – his writing puts novels in three types:  ‘action’, ‘character’ and ‘place’.   Roger thinks the focus of my novel is ‘place’.  He also said the creation of place was central to my story and, in the excerpt he read, I was doing this well.  Since I consider all my work to be about place (hence the focus of my Blog), I was very happy about his comment.

writing about place

writing about place

Another writer told me that the story I was telling in my book seemed an allegory for the shifting loyalties of community.  Since I set out to write a book where the community is like a character in its complexity, I was very encouraged by this observation.

glimpses into the character of a community

glimpses into the character of a community

Another well-know New Brunswick writer pointed out to me that while I write excellent, detailed descriptions of the out-of-doors, I tend to neglect other  descriptions …. I appreciate that I need to provide some balance by providing more detailed descriptions of inside spaces and action.

Another knowledgeable writer at the workshop talked to me about the decision-making process toward a church’s deconsecration.  These are details I will have to get right since I want to build credibility with my readers.

A couple of editorial comments stood out for me.  I wish there was a ‘checker’ in the computer for locating words that are repeated in proximity to one another (for example, when I use the phrase ‘across the field’ in two adjacent lines).  Also, in some cases, I should use shorter sentences to increase tension.

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Overall, the weekend was hard work, but also a lot of fun.  I now have material to use toward the fourth draft of my novel.  Also, looking at the work of other writers shows me what to look for when editing my own writing.

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Over the next couple of days, I’ll make some new revisions.  Afterwards, I’ll put my manuscript away for three weeks.  Then, on March 4, I’ll take a fresh look at my draft and see where I think the story-line and writing need more work.

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I would recommend a similar workshop for anyone in the midst of writing a novel, especially if you want to see your own work from other points of view.

Have you ever attended a writers’ workshop and what was your experience?

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

February 11, 2013 at 7:14 am

biking log book – places I have never seen #2

with 8 comments

So far, my exercise plan is working.  I am biking on my stationary bike more often since I began my virtual bike trip from Lusignan, France to Sanxay, France, a total distance of about 14 km.

I have discovered several tools in Google Earth to help me, including a ‘ruler’ under ‘tools’ – this gives me the approximate distance from place to place!

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progress map Feb 2

map showing progress for Feb 2 (map from MapQuest)

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Log Book: February 2, 2013

Area travelled:  from ‘intersection with road to Mangadon’ to ‘hill beyond Le Breuil’    20 minutes      1.6 km

Best view:  fence at entry to a farm road near Le Breuil

Notes: Great to be able to drive on the same side of the road as at home!!!

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Total distance from January 30 to February 2: 2.8 km

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'entry to a farm near Le Breuil'

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

February 8, 2013 at 7:37 am

biking log book – places I have never seen #1

with 20 comments

This will seem a bit strange, but I am trying a new strategy to get myself on my exercise bike at least three times a week.

I am lucky to have a good quality recumbent bike to use.  I have the tiniest exercise room, located in our basement.  It is basically a large open closet that fits my bike and a small table for a clock and other items.  I finished the walls in stucco and have a wall shelf to put photos and art to look at as I bike.

I know biking is good for me, especially in the winter when it is harder to get outside on some days.  However, getting myself down to my exercise room is harder than it sounds.  I invent all kinds of excuses not to go.  Often, the end of the day comes and I ‘discover’ I have skipped yet another day of exercise.

In January, I began to work on a new plan for encouraging biking.  You will quickly note that making the plan and preparing takes a lot more time than doing the actual exercise.  Although this may be another form of procrastination, the time I spend serves other purposes.  I learn about new places, I practice my drawing skills, and I don’t mindlessly watch TV and eat if I am busy working on my plan.

The plan is this.  When I bike, I pretend I am riding my bike through the countryside of some place I have never been.  There are bikes that actually have this feature built-in (just Google ‘exercise bike with google maps’), but I am using an old-fashioned approach.

I select a place and print out a scaled map with a 10 or 15 km distance to travel.  Then I go on Google Earth and ‘travel’ the road on the computer, using Street View to have a look at places along the way.  I print off some of the more interesting views so I will have an idea how the countryside appears.  Then I glue maps and images into a notebook and plot my progress on the map.  Each 10 minutes on my exercise bike equals approximately one kilometer on the map.  I use small stickers to mark my progress.  After I have ridden through an area, I  can use the views as  source material for drawing in my sketch book.

notebook with route outlinedDSCF8696_crop

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My first virtual bike ride has been through the Poitiers area of France.  This is in the Poitou-Charentes Region of western France, south-west of Paris.  I selected this area because a few years ago I worked with a woman from Poitiers and her descriptions of the area made it sound so interesting.  She also gave me some brochures and other tourist materials that featured the beauty of the countryside and some of the local history.  I have never been to Europe, so this is quite a learning for me.  To start, I have selected a road from Lusignan, France to Sanxay, France, a total distance of about 14 km.  At 10 minutes per km, this will take me 140 minutes or more of biking (about seven biking sessions).

from Lusignan to Sanxay, France

‘MapQuest’ map showing route from Lusignan (A), France to Sanxay (B), France

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From Street View, I can tell that this is a very rural area.  The road passes by farms and connects small communities.  Most of the scenes in Street View in this area were taken in the spring, so trees are in blossom but not yet in leaf.  There are sheep in the pastures and the houses are roofed with clay tiles.  Many houses have small kitchen gardens and are bounded by low rock walls.  At the intersection of major roads, there are frequently shrines, including crucifixes and statues of Saints.

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Log Book:  January 30, 2013

Area travelled:  from ‘just north-west of Lusignan’ to ‘intersection with road to Mongadon’

Distance:  20 minutes      1.2 km

Best view:  gate to ‘le Muranit’ near Lusignan

Notes:  It took longer to cover this stretch of road because I kept getting off the bike to see the sights …

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'gate near Lusignan'

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Please come back often, as I plan to update my Log Book each time I bike.

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Copyright Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

February 6, 2013 at 7:29 am

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