Château de Castelnaud

Part two

Even more photographs of one of our favourite château’s.

In 1966, the Château de Castelnaud was listed as a Historic Building at the request of its new owners, Philippe and Veronique Rossillon. Today it is owned by their son, who is president of Frances National Federation for the protection of heritage sites.

The well, which is 46 meters deep is protected by the surrounding curtain wall, 15 meters high and topped by a parapet walk for defence purposes.

You can just see my sister looking down into the well; she was shouting that she could not see the bottom.

The well

The well

The trébuchet which were fired by a counterweight were the most powerful machine of its time and remained in use until the 16th century. Despite its slow rate of fire (only one or two per hour) it was regarded with such fear that its presence was enough for the opposition to surrender. The stone balls on display weigh more than 100 kilos.

The trébuchet

The trébuchet

These smaller towers were added to the existing fortifications to counter artillery fire and position the defenders own cannons. Here the walls are five meters thick.

Here the walls are five meters thick.

Here the walls are five meters thick.

This picture of a very relaxed sage was taken at the tavern near the village shops at the foot of the Château.



These are some of the events held at the Château de Castelnaud over the summer period

June-guided visits and firing the trebuchet every weekend.

July-Tuesday to Friday, games played in the medieval period.
Night visits from 14th July- use of weapons from the 7th July to the 29th August

Demonstration of firing the trébuchet -one third model from the 7th July

Château de Castelnaud

Part one

After the “leaks” in the radiator pipe we had a great time visiting the various “tourist” spots of the area with my sister. One of my favourite places is Château de Castelnaud (I have visited the Château about four times) we took a few photographs, so we have split them into two blogs.

Between Beynac and La Rogue-Gageac the D57 crosses the Dordogne to Beynac’s eternal nemesis, the Château de Castelnaud standing high and arrogant on the limestone cliffs. It certainly has the “wow” factor.

It is awesome. From the panoramic views over the Dordogne and the Ceou valleys, you can really understand the sites strategic importance.

Chateau de Castlenaud

Château de Castlenaud

There are quite a lot of dark and steep narrow staircases in Castelnaud but once you reach the several rooms of combat it is well worth the climb.

For example in one of the rooms is a 16th century organ with a 12 gun barrels. This organ could sweep a large sector of the battlefield with lead.

12 barrel gun

12 barrel gun

This is just part of the selection of the artillery tower.

A gun cabinet

A gun cabinet

A very good example of the armoury worn by the knights and their horses. The plated armour completely protected the knight from blows while several pieces of armour called barding covered the horse’s vital parts.

Dressed to kill

Dressed to kill

There are cinemas in some of the rooms where you can sit and watch films demonstrating how they made chain mail, putting the armour on or how the English beat the French and visa versa. My sister and I kept quiet when a group of children started to boo the English.

The “first leak(s) of the year”

Well here it is, “two” leaks from the same radiator.

We had collected my sister from Bergerac airport; this was her first visit so I wanted everything to be running smoothly. We had only been in the house a few hours when a small leak was spotted from a radiator pipe. So the water was switched off and the heating system drained, we phoned the plumber and arranged a visit for the next day. No hot water for the shower or the central heating, it was a catastrophe. However the plumber came as promised and he fixed the leak, replenished the system, checked everything out, the water was back, brilliant. A few minutes after the plumber had left we heard the dreadful sound of gushing water from the same place, the newly soldered joint had given way and within a few minutes we had a large lake in the lounge area and a spout of water squirting up the newly painted wall. The water was switched off once more and the system drained. After the clean up, came various attempts to call the plumber, who was not answering, perhaps on another job. This was followed by running around to friends in the village to ask if anyone could recommend an emergency plumber.

Fabrice and his wife Sam came to the rescue, they phoned various plumbers for us and one came around the following day to fix the leak. A very large thank you to Sam and Fabrice, they were there for us and it was so appreciated. It is times like this when you really appreciate the community spirit of the village. And also a special thanks to M. Valette of Chauffage S.Valette of Cénac-et-Saint-Julien. It is these situations that really reinforce the need to improve our French. We have asked our tutor to cover emergency services with us, especially how to phone a plumber when you have an indoor swimming pool! She is going to cover these all to common situations this week – I hope.

Leaking radiator

The offending radiator, the leak sprang from the pipe where it entered the thermostat

On a positive note, before the leaks we did manage to put up a new shelves in the kitchen.

Kitchen shelves

Paul says it was a DIY task of epic proportions.

The kitchen is getting there slowly, gone are the orange walls and we have new shelves, we only need new cupboard doors and the worktop replacing. The worktop is a job for next month.

All For Socks a new novel from Adam Vickerstaff our Son!

A quick review of our son’s book which you can buy on Amazon, its great, I read it twice!

Click here for the Amazon page

It is also in the Kindle edition.

The book deals with the problems of a young boy, his parents break up, moving home and of course the disappearing socks from his bedroom, deep under his bed. This mix of reality and fantasy, intertwined with the excellent characterisation make for a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Check out the illustrations, Adam got his inspiration for the buildings from the many Perigord hamlets in the Perigord Noir. I particularly like the creatures in the book.

Here is one of them


And here is a picture of our copy!


And here is the blurb

Since the invention of the sock mankind has wondered where they all disappear. That is until Thomas discovers the disappearing sock epidemic. Following his last sock with his sidekick Teddy, they are flung on an adventure through a secret hidden trap door deep under the bed. In a place few children have seen and torn between his own courage and humility, he must pit his wits against the single mindedness of the Sock Herders. But then… “if it don’t know you’re scared of it, it will be scared of you…” Or so they say.

All for Socks

All for Socks

Paul’s opinion. Adam has been writing this book for a few years but has not let me read any pre-publication work so that I would get my first impression just as any reader would. When the book arrived the struggle for who would read it first was won by Chris and not until a few days later was it was my turn. From the very first page the excitement and emotion is vivid. The characters are mysterious, meaningful and often humorous, the artwork is very good throughout and the story is a believable fantasy.

Adam has woven a story based on his childhood ideas of an under bed realm which has expanded to depths far below any child’s bed. A good read for any age but for younger children, be advised, there are some dark elements.

The Orange has gone!

I do not know why but every room in our home in Daglan was painted orange. Orange is in fashion this year but no we could not keep it, the walls were a dirty orange which made the rooms seem dark and to be honest uninviting, so the colour needed to change.

Below is the lounge area, before we started to decorate the walls. The ceiling was painted last year in white.



We had bought a new sofa and chair last February that we are going to take with us when we move to Daglan, so armed with a small swatch of fabric; we commenced the hunt for the duck egg blue paint in the DIY stores.

The new sofa

The new sofa

One wall and the chimney breast would be in duck egg blue and the rest of the walls in cream. First, we painted the cream walls in the lounge, dinning area and kitchen, it looked great but took days to complete. Then it was the blue, at first I was unsure of the colour, the one on the left (of the picture below) could be too dark so we tried the paler colour on the right, no too pale. In the end we tried painting the entire chimney breast in the darker blue, it looked good. So we continued with painting the chimney breast and the far wall.

Which one?

Which one?

In the picture below you can see Paul working on a plank suspended above the stairwell, it did not look safe, so I was very helpful, I got the camera.

the joy of decorating, scary

The joy of decorating… scary

This is the lounge area now, almost finished, I need to paint the window frame and door on one wall and the window and the back door in the kitchen. Plus, Paul is going to work on the rest of the kitchen, worktops, etc. on our next visit.

the finished lounge area

The finished lounge area