The Dark Knight from the Tower of London.

We had a brilliant afternoon last Saturday at Château de Castelnaud where a Medieval Heritage Weekend was being hosted.

There were artisans who make swords and armour, demonstrations of various techniques and moves in sword fighting and the why and when you would perform the moves in medieval combat. With the highlight being James Hester and Stephen Pasker Shellenbean giving their extremely interesting talks and demonstrations of sword fighting from the 13th and 14th Century.

James and Stephen are historical experts in Medieval combat. James was curator of Tower Collections at the Tower of London no less. Both of the men gave talks and demonstrations in English and it was translated into French.

James Hester the Dark knight.
 

Waiting to start the tournament.
 

Stephen and James demonstrating how to win against a larger and stronger opponent.
 

James stated that the swords were extremely light and that every part of the sword could be used in hand to hand combat. Unlike those epic tournaments depicted in movies a typical fight would only last three or four strokes of the blade. While Stephan talked about the education of the Medieval Knight which consisted of geography, sciences, Latin, mathematics and music. For example, mathematics for judging how near the opponent is to you, their arm span, height and weight. Music for timing and movement, so that you strike at the key moment and move quickly out of the way. But first a knight was taught wresting from a young age, which helped to build muscle and agility so that they could use the skills in the practice of sword combat.

The tournament begins with a challenge from Kevin. The score was calculated by how many strokes made contact with the opponent.
 

A presentation of civil fencing in the 12th to 14th centuries by Olivier Gourdon and Franck Cinato.
 

An artisan describing his work producing amazing custom made armour. You could have a complete set made and be armoured head to toe in only two months for a suit of plain armour, somewhat longer if a pattern was introduced.
 

Amazing work.
 

I have always pictured myself as the next Arogorn or Legolas from the Lord of the Rings. Well a girl can dream. This sword was perfect, so light allowing me to give a good swing, it was excellently balanced.
 
 

Event:- Daglan this Saturday evening at 7 o’clock – Soiree Cabaret with Paris-Londres at the Salle Des Fêtes. With an aperitif and nibbles. Ten euro per adult and three euro for children.

 
 

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I Need a White Knight Upon a Mighty Steed!

The beautiful hilltop village of Belves turned back the calender yesterday and presented their Fête Médiévale and it was amazing. Shop owners wore Medieval costumes, musical entertainment in the streets, craft exhibitions, demonstrations of medieval combat, and the incredible mystical woodland sprites. All contributed in making Sunday an incredibly enjoyable day for us and the hundreds of other people that flocked to Belves.

I found my white knight all I need now is a mighty steed!
 

Stunning costume by the Desmodium players.

While the males were mischievous, the female had a pocket full of happiness that she would sprinkle onto the crowds.

The male sprite on the right is teasing people looking out of their window.

 
All of the performance was completed on stilts, up hill and down, they danced around the streets of Belves.

I could have watched them all day, magnificent.
 

The Medieval combat display with sword, knife, axe, spear and club.
Everyone from children to adults were shouting for their favourite to win.

Wow, brilliant combat in extreme heat nearly 40C. It gave you a taste of how brutal Medieval life was.
 

Soukha, music and dance with jugglers and aerial acrobat.
 

Love the detail of the Medieval peasant costume.
 
 

Event:- Daglan Fête this coming weekend.
Not too be missed is the parade on Sunday afternoon and the fireworks in the evening.

 
 

There and back again.

Our regular Sunday morning consists of a trip to St Cyprien market with a stop in
Castelnaud-la-Chapelle for a picnic breakfast on the banks of the River Dordogne.

Last Sunday morning the Montgolfier’s were out in force, rising like smoke over the hills.

It must be such a brilliant view across the Ceou valley from the balloons. But not for me, I’m too afraid of heights to open my eyes and admire the vista of the country side below.
 

Arriving in the car park we noticed a new sculpture being worked.
 

Can just see the dog at its masters feet in front of the figure being sculpted.
 

The Summer bunting provides a little shade.
Spots everywhere, there are over 300,000 of these rosettes covering the streets of St Cyprien.
 

On our return I could not resist a sunflower picture.
The brilliant yellow always reminds me of watching the Tour de France on TV when I lived in England.
 
 

Enjoy the sunshine.

Next blog, the Grand Gastronomie market which will be in Daglan this Sunday.
 
 

Eyrignac Manor Garden

Not far from Sarlat are the gardens of Eyrignac Manor, where the French writer Gauthier de Costes de la Calprenede lived in the 17th Century. It is one of France’s most beautiful gardens and contains over 300 topiary sculptures and 50,000 yew, hornbeam, box and ivy plants and is well worth a visit.

Paul with our friends Hayley and Paul sitting in the shade of the Chinese Pagoda.

 

Manor d’Artaban.

 
It was Antoine de Costes de la Calprenede (1605-1689) councillor at the Presidential Court of Sarlat and appointed first Consul and defender of the town during the battles against royal power, who built the residence on the ruins of a former castle.
 

The Chapel and Dovecote.

 

Formally a smoke house for walnuts and grain.

 

The Washing Place.

 
Fed by one of the seven springs that flow through Eyrignac. It was built to accommodate six washing women. Who completed the laundry with the help from the neighbours twice a year!
 

The Florists Garden.

 
Flowers are cultivated for decoration in the Manor house.
 

Kitchen Garden with an unusual hedge of apple trees.

 

Our favourite the White Garden with its gorgeous frog fountains.

 

Superb private garden for the Manor House.

 
 

Event;- 29th July : not to be missed this Sunday, Daglan Gourmand.
 
 

Le Château De Monbazillac Part Two.

Fist of all, Bravo Les Bleus. I do not usually watch football but I, like millions of others, just had to watch this match.

Wow… you are so awesome.

 

O.K back to Monbazillac.

There is a very interesting room in the Château called Mounet-Sully room. There is only a brief explanation of the person so I just had to find out more. Mounet-Sully (birth name Jean-Sully Mounet was born in 1841 in Bergerac) and he became a famous actor, painter, sculptor and writer. He was a member of the celebrated Comedie Francaise, as was his brother Paul.

His most famous role as an actor was that of Oedipus in L’Oedipe, a French version by Jules Lacroix. He was made Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1889.

A little bit of scandal, his brother Paul was famous not only for his acting but for his affair with Sarah Bernhardt. Who’s picture you can see on the table in the room.

Mounet-Sully caricatures.

 
In the tower room is a gorgeous collection of white porcelain from Limoges which also belonged to Mounet-Sully.
 

The Bedroom of the Viscountess.

A Reconstruction of a lady’s bedroom in the 17th Century.

 

Next to the bedroom is a wonderful room filled with sketches of Ladies fashions from the Edwardian period. I particularly liked this sketch above, the costume looks so elegant and stylish.
 

We had a sneaky peek into this room which is being restored to its former glory.
 
 

Events:-

Saint-Pompon Night market open every Saturday until 18th August.

Celtic night in the village of Saint Andre d’Allas on 21st July.