Murder at Castlenaud!

A trilling murder mystery is to be solved in the dungeon of Castlenaud Castle. Clues will be given to who the murderer might be and of course who the victim was.

So if you fancy investigating a dark and dastardly deed in a medieval castle why not come along and enjoy the experience.

The mystery for investigation will be every Monday to Thursday eve 8.30 to 10.30pm until 27th August. Of course no children under the age of eight years please.
 


 
 

Events :

 
 

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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.

 
 

Rocamadour Part Two

Rocamadour’s first important patron was Henry 11 of England, who endowed much of his treasure to Rocamadour. His eldest son, the Young King Henry Court-Mantel, stole the treasure along with the Black Madonna in 1183 to pay for his routiers in his war against his father: he even so the legion goes, replaced the Durandel with his own sword.

He had not gone very far when the Black Madonna got her revenge, striking young Henry down with a fever. Full of remorse, he asked his father to forgive him, had an alter put on his neck and laid naked in a bed of ashes and died.

The Bishop of Limoges gave him absolution for his sins due to his father promising that he would replace Rocamadour’s treasure.
 

Basilique-St-Sauveur built into the rock face during the 11th and 13th Century’s is truly stunning.
 

Over the alter hangs a painted wooden 16th Century Christ shown crucified on a tree, his right side pierced by a lance instead of the customery left side.
 

St Amadour relic, who’s bones where hacked to bits during the Wars of Religion by the Huguenot Captain Bessonies who desecrated the shrine.
 

Many of the ships on display are from the Breton Sailors who held the Black Madonna in high esteem.
 

Darkened by candle smoke the Magnificent Black Madonna still holds court today. She is carved out of walnut in the 11Century and sits quite stiffly on her throne with the Christ child balanced on her knees.
 

Outside various walls are decorated depicting various scenes from the Annunciation and Visitation. These two skeleton figures are pleading for salvation.
 

Further up an hairpin walk lined with the Stations of the Cross takes you up to the ramparts of the Château, built in the 14th Century to defend the shrines.
 

Engraved tunnel of copied tombstones, and pledges is fascinating to read.
 

In order to see Rocamadour arrive early in the morning in July and August. Better still arrive in the Spring, Autumn or Winter to avoid the tourist season.
 
 

Events:-

Sarlat : Napoleon Bonaparte, with Josephine and some of his army (complete with a cannon) will arrive for the Historic Weekend which starts tomorrow. Lets just hope for fine weather.

Daglan : The 8 à Huit Supermarket will be closed from the 21st September to the 28th September.

Up, Up and away…

…in my beautiful balloon.

Joseph-Michel Montgolfier was born in 1740 and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier was born in 1745, they were paper manufacturers from Annonay in the Ardèche region of France. Both were inventors in their own right but are mostly remembered for their joint collaborations in inventing piloted hot air balloons. They launched the first ascent in 1783 which covered 2km and lasted ten minutes at a maximum altitude of about 2,000m. Success followed success and the Montgolfier hot air balloons were, and still are, a prominent feature in the “skyscape” of France, especially in the Perigord Noir.

 
Down, down over the forest at Castlenaud.

 
Slowly the balloon descended towards the house!

 
Apparently just missing the roof.

 
A companion landing in the field in front of the house and close to the road.

 
These pictures were taken a few weeks ago on our way to Sarlat early one morning. “Champagne breakfast over the forest anyone”?

 
They floated right over our heads and you could see the people inside the baskets. What a superb view they must have, not of us but of the Château’s, the Dordogne River and the surrounding forests and countryside, sight seeing at its best.

 
 
Event – Brocante at La Rock de la Gageac, 3rd September

 
 

French Property News magazine.

Black Diamond.

Towards the end of last year I was asked by the editor of French Property News Magazine to write an article for them about how we found our home, the buying process, the renovation work, Daglan village and the surrounding area. At first nerves took hold and I thought no, then on reading past blogs and our experiences, who could forget the arsenic paint on our toilet door, or the shower that kept me practising Yoga every time that I used it!, I thought yes I can write the article.

The editor loved the article and our pictures and it was published in the March issue of French Property News magazine and now the April issue has been published I can show my article in our blog for you to read. I hope that you like it.

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