Thursday, 26 February 2009

Foix castle and night manoeuvres

A beautiful day today, so the washing got done and hung out to dry. Then it was off to Leclerc for the weekly shop, and to pick up some of the wine bargains which we spotted in yesterday’s “pub” literature. More specifically the wine boxes, which have plummeted in price. J P Chenet, which comes in wonky top bottles is one of my favourites, so I bought 3 x 3 litre boxes of red for a total of about £16 or about £1.20 per 75cl bottle. (I think it is usually £4 - £5 per bottle in the UK.) The syrah and the cabernet boxes. They had the white and the rose too, but I’m not greedy.
As it was such a nice day, we had some lunch and then set off for a visit to the medieval castle which dominates the town.
We found ourselves walking into rather a cold wind, but we persevered. It was that or I would be going to my French “lesson”, so it was a toughy.
We climbed up the hill to the castle entrance, paid our entrance fee and then ascended the winding cobble road up to the castle itself.
There are 3 towers. The round one is probably the best, and there are largish rooms in which to stop and draw breath on the way up the spiral, stone steps.

The grey, metal object is a hoist that they use to bring building materials and other heavy objects up to the castle from the bottom of the castle hill.
More of todays photos can be found by clicking right here

At one time in the more recent past than the 13th century I think it was used as a prison.
From the top there are good views of the town and in the distance the Midi Pyrenees mountains glistened with snow in the distance.
The middle tower can also be climbed and has rooms that can be visited on the way up. One appeared to be badged as Henry IV’s bed. I bought a guide book on the way out of the castle but I haven’t read it yet. It had an exhibition about the Cathars and their relation with surrounding towns and villages.
It is a narrower tower and there is no view from the top as the walls are too high to see over.
The third tower houses the bell tower and was not accessible to the public.
This is the bell that we can hear from my house. Unfortunately this is the one we would need to climb to stand a chance of seeing my house.
The wind had died down and the temperatures in the sun must have been well into 60s Fahrenheit, which can’t be bad for February ( unless of course you live somewhere like Australia.
We pottered about town for a bit, and then headed home. As we approached there was one of Bee boy’s friends cars in the parking. There he and Madame were, standing in front of our locked main door.
The young man was carrying a section of honeycomb in its frame. He wanted to leave it for Bee boy to see. I let him in and he came up the stairs and leaned it next to Bee’s door, wedging a note under it.
Before I entered the building however, Madame asked if I had activated the outside light ready for the evening. I told her that I hadn’t yet, but would be doing so very shortly.
I don’t know much about bees, but the slice of hive looks in a pretty bad state. I hope that Bee boy does'nt open a hospital for sick bees during the summer.

In my mind's eye, I can see a queue of people waiting patiently clutching their lidded jam jars, containing sick bees, already forming....

Dusk fell and S and I spent about 20 minutes trying to get the new security light positioned so that it would pick up human traffic, rather than light aircraft or someone standing directly below it.
We managed to get the motion sensor to pick S up before the second flight of stone steps, but it was a brief triumph which we never managed to duplicate.
Now it sometimes activates the light when you reach the 3rd and final set of steps. As Mr Royale from the TV sitcom might say “30 metres my arse!”

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