nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

walls, fences and gates 5-7

with 10 comments


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hedge in Le Treuil Arnaudeau

hedge in Le Treuil Arnaudeau (image from Street View)

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Day 5-7 1 Logbook

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Day 5-7 1 map

map showing distance travelled (map from Google Maps)

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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 …

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5-7 l

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

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

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5-7 new brunswick

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

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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 …

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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)

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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

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

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church in Montroy

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

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

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walled spaces

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

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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.

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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 …

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'corner stones'

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

May 27, 2013 at 7:09 am

10 Responses

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  1. Interesting observations, Jane. I am uncomfortable with opening other people’s gates, too. It’s not something I’m used to, and on the few occasions I’ve done it, I felt as if I were invading their privacy.

    Like

    Robin

    June 10, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    • Hi Robin. I often think about how many strange gates I opened and strange doors I tapped on when selling for various school campaigns. Fortunately, I met only nice people and many of them bought the cookies, magazine subscriptions, etc. Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      June 12, 2013 at 6:36 pm

  2. It’s actually quite a common thing in Australia too. I think people like to feel secure. It’s like their own piece of land, closed-in and private. I love that last property!

    Like

    Gemma Hawdon

    May 27, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    • Hi. I like that property too. Lots of private space to call your own and enjoy. I wonder if there are black flies and mosquitos to claim some of that space?? Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      May 27, 2013 at 8:08 pm

  3. I wonder if the need for fences came about because so many homes are practically on top of the roads. I like living here in a property with many trees and a couple hedges, as we are bordered on two sides by streets. In the winter months, our house feels quite naked and vulnerable without the shelter and privacy of the leaves.

    Like

    Carol Steel

    May 27, 2013 at 8:47 am

    • Hi Carol. I think you are right. It must be hard living so close to the road, traffic noise and so on. It is probably also the reason for shutters. Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      May 27, 2013 at 7:48 pm

  4. love to hear more reflections on private versus public space!

    Like

    Sigrun

    May 27, 2013 at 7:40 am

    • Hi. I find this an interesting topic. The walls and gates I see in France must be very expensive to establish and maintain. This adds to the evidence that people are very motivated to maintain their private space in France. It may have something to do with the nearness of the road to dwelling-space. Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      May 27, 2013 at 8:18 am

      • I’ve always imagined the French to be very social – but maybe they reserve social activities for their villages, keeping private property private?

        Like

        Sigrun

        May 28, 2013 at 5:00 am

      • Hi. I agree … when I imagine life in France, I think of social situations, eating, drinking and talking. It may be that barriers like gates are not seen as intimidating. Jane

        Like

        jane tims

        May 30, 2013 at 7:20 am


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