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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“The Envy Of The Whole World”.

This is how President Emmanuel Macron described the French baguette earlier this year when he backed calls to have it listed as a UNESCO cultural treasure.

Intrigued and delighted by this, I just had to find out more information about the baguette, why that shape, how did it become so popular in every corner of France, in short what is the history of the tradition French Baguette.

Delicious.

 

Starting around the 14th and 15th century people had to use a Communal oven to bake their bread, which was mostly round in shape. However, even though they were called Communal they did not belong to the Community. The oven was the property of the local Lord or the Church who would charge the surfs for baking their bread. Following the French Revolution, the ovens became the property of the village; no more fees.

 

Once a week the oven was fired up and the locals would carry the dough they had prepared at home to the oven. Each family would mark the top of the bread with a distinctive cut to distinguish their bread from the other families.

 

The ash created during the baking was collected, mixed with water and used for the laundry.

Baguette’s really took off in the 1920’s after a new law prevented workers starting work before 4am. In older to get the bread baked in time for breakfast, bakers started to make long, thin ‘wand”s of bread. Although the dough at that time was still made at home and then taken to the Boulangerie to bake.

 

Bread oven’s can be seen all over France in the Boulangerie, or in the centre of the village, in the grounds of a property or in the property itself.

So if you are looking for a new home …

 
 

Event:-Le château de Castlenaud celebrates the European Heritage Weekend on the 15th and 16th September with a Medieval Fencing Tournament.
 
 

Just for Monsieur Poirot!

Imagine the scene, Monsieur Poirot boarding the Orient Express and in his luggage was the above case all ready for his moustache preparation that evening.
This was my greatest find at the Brocante at La Rogue-Geanac this morning a Vintage and rare but sadly empty kit by Marcel Rochas. Which originally held three bottles containing cologne for Monsieur.

“Anytime you slip on a sleeveless bustier or slide your hands into your skirt pockets, send a silent thanks to the late fashion designer Marcel Rochas”, (Sophie Rochas 2015).

In the ‘40s and ‘50s, Rochas pioneered such silhouettes and helped define that “je ne sais quoi” of French glamour. During his 30-year career, which began with perfume, Rochas dressed the Duchess of Windsor, Marlene Dietrich and Mae West.
 

“Hold me back”, I found another linen stall.
 

The morning shadows are getting longer but it is still a gorgeous view any time of the year.
 

Paul jokingly asked the stone mason if he started with a large block and it got reduced to the items at the front of the stall. A hearty laugh was the response.
 

I loved this vintage cart. You can imagine it full of gorgeous flowers.
 

Browsing complete, in need of a treat… hot chocolate with cream.
 

Here is my version of a moustache, delicious.

 

 

What? No men in high heels!

Le Fête de la Saint-Louis is a Fantastic Carnival weekend held at the end of August each year in Daglan. It transforms the the usually quiet village of Daglan into a four day Festival. The highlight of which is always the parade on a Sunday afternoon. The costumes and floats are amazing.

I must tell you a little story of what happened a few years ago when the theme of the parade was Carnival. The Familia decided to make the most fantastic float with men and ladies costumes for which they needed high heel shoes but found they were rather expensive in France. So one of the family members was sent over to England to buy the shoes. Once inside the store the person had to try on the shoes! Which was funny to the bemused crowd of onlookers and a little embarrassing for the person and for the store assistant who insisted “they suit you sir”. Having posted the shoes to Daglan he was informed that more shoes were needed. This time he went to the store just before closing time to avoid onlookers. All well and good until his return flight when he had to explain to a customs officer about the contents of his luggage.

No high heels needed this year, the theme was Video Games.

Los Amigos lead the parade through the streets of Daglan.
 

Look I am so strong I can stop the parade with one littler finger.
 

The best floats of the parade were Street Fighterand The Ninja Turtles of the Daglan Mairie.
 

Looking awesome.
 

Super Mario.
 

Impromptu concert in the street.
 

Magnificent guys but you do need to sort out your bra.
 

Cheers Richard and Rosemary enjoying a drink at la Cantine after the parade yesterday.
 

 

Event:- this evening at nine o’clock the village is holding a Bal Musette with music by Los Amigos, entrance is free.
 
 

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.