nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for March 2013

a stone church

with 16 comments

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Chapelle de Sainte-Macrine

Chapelle de Sainte-Macrine (image from Street View)

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Logbook side trip church

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On March 13,  I strayed from my planned path to take a 3 km side trip to see the Chapelle de Sainte-Macrine.  I have seen very few churches on my virtual bike trip, since Street View follows only the main roads – churches tend to be on side streets.

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map of side trip to Sainte-Macrine

map showing distance travelled (map from Google Maps)

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The first part of my trip was along the Rue des Ouches (meaning garden or orchard).  True to the name, many of the properties had neat gardens…

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garden

one of the gardens along Rue des Ouches (image from Street View)

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The church was of stone, cross-shaped, with buttresses and a large rose window.  The buttresses project from the sides of the church and serve to reinforce its walls.  Saint Macrine was a fourth century Saint who lived in the woods near Niort, France for seven years to escape persecution…

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Chapelle de Saint Macrine

Chapelle de Saint-Macrine (image from Street View)

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Best View: the rose window in the church…

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'Rose Window'

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I have realised that by following a single route, I have missed many features of the countryside.  In Phase 4 of my virtual bike trip, I am going to plan some side trips to see some interesting features of the French countryside.

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Don’t you think that side trips can be the best part of a journey?

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

March 29, 2013 at 7:36 am

flowers and fences

with 6 comments

The beginning of Phase 4 !  My exercise scheme of virtual biking is paying off.  After going 385 minutes (67.8 km) on my stationary bike in Phases 1, 2 and 3, I have lost weight, I feel stronger and I have more walking stamina.  I am looking forward to my progress in Phase 4.  I am also going to try to make my trip more interesting for you, my reader.

Logbook 4-1

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Day 4-1 map

map showing distance travelled (map from Google Maps)

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Interesting views along the route on my first day of Phase 4 included a young hardwood plantation…

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plantation

a plantation of trees (image from Street View)

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and a fence made of woven grasses…

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hay fence

hay fence … appears to be made from grasses ‘sewn’ together (image from Street View)

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Best view:  a pot of blue flowers perched on a fence in Magné…

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'blue flowers'

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

March 27, 2013 at 7:32 am

visiting Town Hall – biking log book Day #12

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I can’t belive it – I have completed the third phase of my virtual bike trip through central France.  In this phase,  I biked (virtually) 36 km in 12 days from Exireuil to Magné just west of Niort.

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Phase 3 map

Phase 3 map (map from MapQuest)

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On March 10, I continued my virtual biking through the pretty town of Bessines and into the river town of Sevreau.  

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day 12 map

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It was pleasant to be back in the rural areas – I appreciated the flat land – biking where there are a lot of hills is not fun!!!

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countryside outside Magne

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The town hall (mairie) in Bessines had red shutters and a big town bulletin board…

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town hall in Bessines

town hall in Bessines – note bulletin boards

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I think the bulletin board must tell people to be on the look-out for a crazy Canadian lady pretending to bike through the French countryside…

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Mairie

Town Hall – not ‘Mairie’ in stone over door

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The final stretch of the trip was in a shaded road called the Rue des Trois Ponts…

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one of three bridges

one of three bridges

Log Book:  March 10, 2013

Area travelled:    ‘outskirts of Magné’ to ‘town of Sevreau’

Distance:  30 minutes      3.0 km

Best view: house with blue shutters along the Place de la Mairie

Notes:    took a shortcut to Sevreau along the stream!

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'Place de la Mairie'

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Total distance in Phase 1 (Jan 30 to Feb 11): 14.0 km (145 minutes of stationary biking)

Total distance in Phase 2 (Feb 12 to Feb 18): 17.8 km (180 minutes of stationary biking)

Total distance in Phase 3 (Feb 21 to March 10):  36.0 km  (360 minutes of stationary biking)

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Total Distance67.8 km  (685 minutes or 11 hours and 25 minutes of stationary biking)

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This ends Phase 3 of my virtual biking adventure.  I plan to continue this virtual bike trip in Phase 4, a 10 day trip from Magné to Ferrières.

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Phase 4 map

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Eventually, I want to reach the west coast of France and see an island called Îsle de Ré.

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Map of Phases

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I hope you will continue to follow me as I travel virtually through central France.  I want to make my posts more interesting, so I would like to know what you would like to see in a posting of my Log Book.

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

March 25, 2013 at 7:31 am

negotiating traffic circles – biking log book Day #11

with 6 comments

Since February 21, I have been in the third phase of my virtual bike trip through central France.  For Phase 3 of my trip, I am biking in 12 days from Exireuil to Magné just west of Niort.

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On March 8, I continued my virtual biking through the city of Niort to a town on the outskirts called Montamisé.  Only 1 more day to go before Phase 3 of my virtual biking adventure is over.

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day 11 map

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I will always remember this as the ‘day of the traffic circle’.

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roundabout sign

completely understandable (%^&#$@$!) traffic circle sign (image from Street View)

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I didn’t get lost because I took some shortcuts … directly across the island in the middle of each traffic circle!

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roundabout

one of a few traffic circles I negotiated – notice my red ‘path’ goes directly through the middle of the circle…I love shortcuts!!!! (image from Street View)

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The traffic was intimidating and I especially worried about the big trucks who couldn’t see me at all (because I wasn’t there)…

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truck traffic

truck traffic

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Log Book:  March 9, 2013

Area travelled:   ‘in the city of Niort’ to ‘town of Montamisé’

Distance:  30 minutes      3.0 km

Best view:  white house on la Rue de la Rochelle

Notes:    in real life, I vow to be more considerate to cyclists!

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'white house'

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Distance Travelled Feb 21 to Mar 9: 33.0 km  (330 minutes of stationary biking)

Total Distance Travelled Jan 30 to Mar 9 :  64.8 km  (655 minutes of stationary biking)

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Do you prefer driving through a traffic circle or a regular intersection?

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

March 23, 2013 at 7:24 am

the mystery of the uniformed man – biking log book Day #10

with 4 comments

Welcome to my report for Day #10 of the third phase of my virtual bike trip through central France.  For Phase 3 of my trip, I am biking in 12 days from Exireuil to Magné just west of Niort.

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On March 6, I continued my virtual biking through the city of Niort.

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Day 10 map

map showing distance travelled (map from Google Earth)

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Niort is a city of older buildings, most 2 or 3 stories in height.  There was lots of traffic but I remembered the sage driving advice … ‘go with the flow’…

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Avenue de Limoges

buildings and traffic on l’Avenue de Limoges (image from Street View)

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There were some interesting architectural surprises…

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narrow office building

narrow building along ramp from highway to city street (image from Street View)

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And beautiful flower gardens…

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flower garden

flower garden along ramp (image from Street View)

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I encountered a mystery as I biked through the streets.  Along the Avenue de Limoges, I saw a man in a uniform and his scooter…

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uniformed man

uniformed man and his scooter to the left (image from Street View)

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But in the next Street View frame, he had disappeared…

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palm tree

where did he go??? (note the palm tree in the yard) (image from Street View)

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I think he must have stepped out to talk to the odd-looking ‘Street View camera car’ and then scooted off before the camera commenced its photography!!

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Log Book:  March 6, 2013

Area travelled:   ‘in the city of Niort’

Distance:  30 minutes      3.0 km

Notes:   I saw an apartment for sale on la Rue de la Rochelle and thought hmmmmm……… 

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a place to buy

a place to buy (image from Street View)

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Distance Travelled Feb 21 to Mar 6: 30.0 km  (300 minutes of stationary biking)

Total Distance Travelled Jan 30 to Mar 6 :  61.8 km  (625 minutes of stationary biking)

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Best view:  a lady buying coffee at a shop in Niort

a coffee in Niort'

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 Do you think I should have bought that apartment on la Rue de la Rochelle ???

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

March 22, 2013 at 7:03 am

a dragon on a wall – biking log book Day #9

with 4 comments

I am continuing with the third phase of my virtual bike trip through central France.  For Phase 3 of my trip, I am biking in 12 days from Exireuil to Magné just west of Niort.

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Log Book:  March 5, 2013

Area travelled:   from ‘outskirts of Niort’ to ‘edge of Niort’

Distance:  30 minutes      3.0 km

Notes:    only three more days to go on my virtual trip to Magné!

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Distance Travelled Feb 21 to Mar 5: 27.0 km  (270 minutes of stationary biking)

Total Distance Travelled Jan 30 to Mar 5 :  58.8 km  (595 minutes of stationary biking)

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Day  9 map

map showing distance travelled (map from Google Earth)

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On March 5, I finally made it off the train track and entered the city of Niort.  It is a neat city with lots of one-way streets, enclosed yards and lots of greenery.

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As in many cities, there were lots of interesting sights to see.  I grabbed a bottle of Perrier to drink as a Perrier truck passed by…

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Perrier truck

Perrier truck (image from Street View)

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I saw a school yard where the children seem to have hung up their artwork to dry on a line between two trees…

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school yard

school yard and art hanging on the line (image from Street View)

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I was able to visit yet another Pâtisserie… yummmmm!

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patisserie

patisserie (image from Street View)

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I also saw what looked like remarkable graffiti on one fence, a rendition of a dragon…

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dragon wall

dragon wall (image from Street View)

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wall dragon

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he peers from under

a fall of vines

growls at the passing cars

ignore him

fueled with their own

bellyfuls

of fossil fire

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dragon

closeup of dragon wall (image from Street View)

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Best View:  a charming enclosed yard in Niort

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'enclosed yard in Niort'

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Do you think the homeowners had the dragon painted on the wall, or was it ‘noncommissioned’?

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

March 20, 2013 at 7:02 am

a name for a novel – biking log book Day #8

with 18 comments

Biking, biking, biking!!!  I am still working on Phase 3 of my virtual bike trip through central France.  For Phase 3 of my trip, I am biking in 12 days from Exireuil to Magné just west of Niort.

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On March 4, for the second biking day in a row, my bike trip was along a railroad track!

Day 8 map

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I had lots of time to think, so I thought about the title of the novel I have been working on.  For those of you who do not know about my novel, it is about a woman who sets out to save an abandoned church.

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On Day #6 of my virtual bike trip, in Chavagné on the Route de la Mothe, I saw an old church…

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old church

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At first, I thought the roof had been removed from this church, leaving it open to the elements.  On closer look, there is a low-pitch roof in place (note the rafters and clay tiles)…

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old church on the Route de la Mothe

old church on the Route de la Mothe

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However, the image reminded me of another abandoned church I had read about in my research for my book:

‘The Old Church of St. Nidan, in Llanidan, North Wales, is a ruin.  All that is left of this medieval church are the four stone walls of the western wing and its central arcade.  The nineteenth century clergyman Harry Longueville Jones wrote that the church had succumbed to a ‘melancholy fate’.  In 1850, church historian Sir Stephen Glynne wrote that most of the church is ‘open to the skies.’  (partly quoted from Wikipedia, ‘Old Church of St Nidan, Llanidan’, January, 2013).

I think I will use the phrase ‘Open to the Skies’ as the title for my novel.  It refers to the fate of an abandoned church, but also to the ability of people to open themselves up to possibilities.  I think it is perfect for my book.

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Log Book:  March 4, 2013

Area travelled:   from ‘field south of Trévins-le-Bas’ to ‘outskirts of Niort’

Distance:  30 minutes      3.0 km

Best view:  no best views today; biking on the railroad is not inspiring

Notes:    after this, I will be careful to plot my bike trip on roads rather than rails!!!! 

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Distance Travelled Feb 21 to Mar 4: 24.0 km  (240 minutes of stationary biking)

Total Distance Travelled Jan 30 to Mar 4 :  55.8 km  (565 minutes of stationary biking)

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What do you think of the title ‘Open to the Skies’  for my book? 

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

March 18, 2013 at 7:02 am

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