nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for May 2013

restoring an old church 5-9

with 12 comments

~

vine-covered arch

vine-covered arch in enclosed garden in Belle Croix (image from Street View)

~

Day 5-9 1 Logbook

~

Day 5-9 1 map

map showing distance travelled (map from Google Maps)

~

On May 7, I took my virtual bike through the area of Dompierre-sur-Mer and saw so many interesting sights.  The gardens were lush and green.  Even the traffic circles were small oases of interesting plants …

~

5-9 o

planted traffic circle in Dompierre-sur-Mer (image from Street View)

~

In the town, I was very interested to see an old church, the Prieuré Saint-Pierre, in the process of restoration.  Thanks to the magic of Street View, I could see a photo of ‘before’ …

~

5-9 tttt

Prieuré Saint-Pierre before restoration in October of 2009 (image from Street View)

~

and ‘during’ …

~

5-9 ttt

Prieuré Saint-Pierre during restoration in September 2010 – the small building at the rear of the church has been demolished and the restoration of the back wall is underway (image from Street View)

~

The Prieuré Saint-Pierre in Dompierre-sur-Mer was founded in the 11th century by the monks of the Abbey of Maillezais.  I ‘visited’ this abbey in the post for April 24, https://nichepoetryandprose.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/a-side-trip-to-an-old-abbey/ .

~

I could see the outside of some of the stained glass windows …

~

5-9 u

~

and the Bell Tower.  From my reading, I learned a spiral staircase provides access to this tower …

~

5-9 uu

~

As I passed the church, I looked back to see a worker restoring the entryway of the church …

~

5-9 uuuuu

~

A description of this entry is found in a short account of the church’s architecture and its long history of collapse and restoration at http://en.patrimoine-de-france.com/charente-maritime/dompierre-sur-mer/prieure-saint-pierre-2.php

~

The account reads, in part: ‘The western façade has a triangular pediment surmounted by a Latin cross. The entrance gate is a double leaf door surmounted by a tympanum in carpentry, highlighted by an arcade basket.  A molded headband short above the door. Above is drilled an oculus …’

~

You can see each of these features in the image above.  A ‘pediment’ is an element of classical architecture, a triangular gable.  A ‘tympanum’ is the decorated element over a door, above the lintel.  An ‘oculus’ is a central opening in a wall, allowing light to enter the building.

~

Best View: the outside of a stained glass window in the Prieuré Saint-Pierre.  The scene in the window depicts the Ascension of Jesus …

~

'window - Prieure Saint-Pierre in Dompierre-sur- Mer'

~

Copyright  Jane Tims  20131

white buildings, white roads 5-8

with 6 comments

~

5-8 zz

houses at the approach to Belle Croix (image from Street View)

~

Day 5-8 1 Logbook

~

Day 5-8 1 map

~

On my virtual bike trip, I am getting closer to the west coast of France and the Bay of Biscay (a Bay of the Atlantic Ocean).  For one thing, my trip on May 6 took me through Dompierre-sur-Mer.  ‘Sur-Mer means ‘on the sea’ although, at the end of my ‘bike trip’, I was still 7 km from the coast.

~

The geology of the area is quite different and reminds me of the coast.  For example, the stonework of older buildings includes white-colored limestone …

~

5-8 j

house built of white stone (image from Street View)

~

 ‘White’ roads, which I assume are made from local calcium-containing rock, are a part of the landscape …

~

5-8 yy

white road near Bourgneuf (image from Street View)

~

A look at the map shows these ‘white’ roads …

~

5-8 map of white roads

map of white roads (map from Google Earth)

~

The best way to see the local geology is at major intersections where the construction has exposed the soil …

~

white intersection

excavation next to highway (image from Street View)

~

Best of all, the air tastes salty and there is a fresh wind across the flat land (I love imagination)!  In the distance are clouds that must hover above the ocean! …

~

5-8 y

road to Belle Croix (image from Street View)

~

Best View:  a memory of all the interesting rocks and stones I have collected in my life …

~

'three stones'

~

Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

May 29, 2013 at 7:05 am

walls, fences and gates 5-7

with 10 comments

~

hedge in Le Treuil Arnaudeau

hedge in Le Treuil Arnaudeau (image from Street View)

~

Day 5-7 1 Logbook

~

Day 5-7 1 map

map showing distance travelled (map from Google Maps)

~

As I continue my virtual cycling through France,  I am thinking about how differently people indicate their property boundaries in New Brunswick and France.  In the Street View images of France, fences, hedges, walls and gates are the norm …

~

5-7 l

various walls, hedges and gates in Le Treuil Arnaudeau (image from Street View)

~

In New Brunswick, there are occasional fences and some hedges, but usually properties are left quite open and accessible …

~

5-7 new brunswick

street in Fredericton Junction, New Brunswick (image from Street View)

~

As I ‘cycle’ along in France, I have the impression that the French must be private people.  I think I would find opening a gate to get to the front door of a house quite intimidating …

~

gates for cars and people

gates for cars and people – note the small shrine in the nook in the stone wall (image from Street View)

~

Barriers serve many purpose, of course:

  • they improve security, creating a barrier to intruders
  • they can be used to keep pets inside, or to keep children away from the road
  • they can keep pests out of gardens (bad bunnies, for example)
  • they usually add visual appeal to a property
  • they mark property boundaries, preventing disputes with neighbors

~

The high wall around the church yard in Montroy encloses a large cemetery ….

~

church in Montroy

wall around the cemetery and church in Montroy (image from Street View)

~

Hedges, fences and walls also limit the visual intrusion of the outside world and create spaces where people can feel comfortable …

~

walled spaces

creating private space with vegetation, walls and gates (image from Street View)

~

I think barriers are an element of culture.  People who are used to seeing fences come to expect them in the landscape.  Fences and walls are also perceived differently by different cultures.  Because I am not used to gates, I might be quite hesitant to open one in order to say hello to the property owner.  However, someone who is familiar with walls and fences would probably open a gate without a second thought.

~

Best View: a stone wall in Fontpatour.  The mason who laid the stones took such care with his work.  The corner stones create a strong framework and the small stones are in groups, interspersed with larger stone …

~

'corner stones'

~

Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

May 27, 2013 at 7:09 am

sunflowers – out of season 5-6

with 6 comments

On my virtual bike trip through the countryside around Fontpatour in east-central France, I saw acres and acres of sunflowers …

~

5-6 g field of sunflowers

field of sunflowers near Fontpatour (image from Street View)

~

Day 5-6 1 Logbook

~

Day 5-6 1 map

map showing distance travellled (map from Google Maps)

~

When I think of sunflowers, I imagine tall plants with yellow heads and sunny dispositions …

~

'sunflower'

‘sunflower’ – watercolor and pencil – by Jane Tims

~

I do not think of the long days after the petals have gone brown, when the seed heads hang low and the smiling faces are quite dour …

~

5-6 h

field of sunflowers – dried and dour (image from Street View)

~

I think the fields must be quite beautiful in the late summer.

~

Best View:  imaginary field of sunflowers – in bloom …

~

IMG615_crop

~

Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

May 24, 2013 at 7:05 am

a quest for poppies 5-5 a

with 6 comments

~

On April 27, I took a short detour on my virtual bike tour, to find a field of poppies.  I love poppies and I’d like to find a field of them on my virtual visit to central France.

~

5 side trip Logbook

~

poppy quest map

map showing red field … could it be a field of blooming poppies? (map from Google Maps)

~

I started by scanning the maps to the south of the area I have been visiting.  And I found what looked like a red field just south of my bike path.  Side trip!!!!

~

poppy quest map two

map showing my quest to find a field of poppies (map from Google maps)

~

At the first of my side trip, I saw a lady, picking flowers along the roadside …

~

poppy quest a

looks like she is picking daisies … (image from Street View)

~

I stopped to ask her if she knew any poppy fields in the area …

~

poppy quest b

the lady stops to talk (image from Street View)

~

Jane to Lady-picking-flowers: Bonjour Madame! (Hello Madame.)

Lady-picking-flowers: Bonjour!  (Hello!)

Jane: Je pense que vous aimez les fleurs! (I think you must like flowers!)

Lady: Oui.  Je trouve un bouquet pour la table!  (Yes.  I am getting a bouquet for the table.)

Jane: Est-ce que vous connaissez s’il y a un champ des coquelicots dans cet territoire?  (Do you know if there are any fields of poppies in this area?)

Lady:  Oui.  Dans le printemps, il y a un grand champ des coquelicots just à côté de cette route.  Il n’est que deux kilomètres vers l’est.   (Yes.  In the spring, there is a big field of poppies just beside this road.  It’s only two kilometers to the east.)

Jane:  Bon!  Merci!  Bonjour!  (Great!  Thanks!  Have a good day!)

~

So off I went, peddling madly between fields of grain and plowed soil on a very narrow dirt road …

~

poppy quest g

the poppy field must be just up ahead (image from street View)

~

It was boring, but I was watching for that gorgeous field of poppies …

~

poppy quest h

it should be just off to the left … (image from Street View)

~

When I got to the area on the map where I was sure there was a poppy field, I saw only plowed field …

~

poppy quest l

I’m sure they should be just over there (image from Street View)

~

As a reward for my search, I saw two poppy blooms in the grass beside the road …

~

two poppies

two poppies beside the road (image from Street View)

~

I realised then, the Google Map and the Street View images were taken at different times of the year.  So sad.

~

Best View: imaginary poppies …

~

'poppies'

~

Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

May 22, 2013 at 7:05 am

cornfields and mushrooms 5-5

with 8 comments

~

5-5 f

field near Fontpatour (image from Street View)

~

Day 5-5 1 Logbook

~

Day 5-5 1 map

map showing distance travelled (map from Google maps)

~

On April 23rd, my virtual bike trip took me along huge cornfields, reminding me of the big cornfields in southern Ontario …

~

huge cornfield

huge cornfield west of Les Grandes Rivieres (image from Street View)

~

I was also excited to see small round white shapes in the plowed fields.  I thought they must be mushrooms …

~

5-5 e mushrooms

what are those small white things in the fields? (image from Street View)

~

I even convinced myself I saw a Chanterelle in one field, even though I know these are usually found in rich woodlands …

~

Jane's Chanterelle

it looks a little like a Chanterelle … (image from Street View)

~

The joke is on me!!!  I knew what I was really seeing when I biked past a pile of small white stones at the edge of one field …

~

5-5 i stones

a pile of white stones (image from Street View)

~

Best View: memories of cornfields in southern Ontario …

~

'ears and teeth'

~

Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

May 20, 2013 at 7:00 am

a roof over your head 5-4

with 10 comments

~

clay tile roof in Les Grandes Rivieres

clay tile roof in Les Grandes Rivieres (image from Street View)

~

Day 5-4 1 Logbook

~

Day 5-4 1 map

map showing distance travelled (map from Google Earth)

~

I am glad and grateful that, in real life, I have a roof over my head.

During my university days, a professor pointed out to our class how variable the humble roof can be.  The design of a roof is a case of ‘form follows function’.  For example, in areas where there is a greater snow load or lots of rain, steeper roof designs prevail.  In areas where there is no snow and little rain, the roof usually has a gentle slope or is flat.

During my virtual ‘travels’ through central France, I am amazed at the roof design, in particular the materials used – clay tiles …

~

clay tiles

clay tiles on both house and outbuilding (image from Street View)

~

The clay tiles must be efficient at repelling water or they would not be used on the newer houses …

~

newer house

newer home with a clay tile roof in La Riviere (image from Street View)

~

Many of the roof-scapes are interesting as well.  Most have chimneys and other vent pipes and stacks.  Some have sky-lights.  In many communities there are satellite dishes, or antennae from almost every house, suggesting no cable service …

~

roof-scape

various elements of roof-scape on a roof in Les Grandes Rivieres (image from Street View)

~

Occasionally, I see a roof needing a lot of repair …

~

broken roof

vegetation has taken over this broken roof in Les Grandes Rivieres (image from Street View)

~

Best View: a picnic site in the village of Les Grandes Rivières.  A place for lunch if you don’t mind having no roof over your head …

~

IMG584_crop

~

Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

May 17, 2013 at 7:01 am

%d bloggers like this: