August 12, 2010

The sunset from the plane coming into land at  Bordeaux. Looking forward to participating in a special event and, also, perhaps visiting  some ghosts. On the way to the festivities, caught a glimpse of this opening in a mur de pierre  in Bazens . . .

. . . at Las Bouzigues there are more openings. The château was built  in about 1880 but there were buildings on this site before then. I first came here 45 years and visited occasionally for the following 5 years. I haven’t  been back until now. It’s a strange experience visiting after a long gap of time and I lapse into nostalgia trying to retrace steps around the garden, farm buildings and surrounding landscape.  Necessity has forced changes here but all seems positive and forward looking and there’s a great atmosphere.  Good to catch up with people here too who’ve not changed – good friendships and family ties.

The tabulate plane trees give structure to the front garden and also much needed shade in the summer. We have tea, drinks and breakfast here in front of the château – relaxed and interesting. Lots of discussion –  many memories and many questions after such a long time –  it all feels fine.

This part of Aquitaine is famous for the ancient houses, barns, pigeonniers and churches – the estate of Las Bouzigues contains all these elements with the local church of St Medard just a stroll  away in the of centre of the small village.

Looking from the garden area to the fields through the branches of a tree laden with walnuts – one of many magnificent old fruiting trees here – walnut is used for cabinet making.

Some frescoes have been discovered in the main rooms under many layers of wallpaper. These show some of the buildings on the estate, the agricultural landscape and also bacchanalian figures. Who were these based on?

On to the main event and why many guests had gathered in the village and surrounding area.  Simply and appropriately to wish two people well and celebrate their marriage in the church in St Medard and at the reception  . . .

. . . and then, on the following day, we all gathered again to wish them well in  a more informal place  . . . they were presented with yet another cake – a cone of macaroons – absolutely delicious . . .

. . . wandering back through the village on a hot Sunday afternoon . . . some of the inhabitants were stretched out in patches of shade  . . .

. . . and we took the opportunity to look again at the village fabric and also what lies within . . .

. . . and wandering out of the village looking at what lies beyond. The yarrow showing the calcium rich soil . . .

. . . and for me, fond memories of wrapping and packing quite a few Poire William Rouge ready to be loaded for market . . .

. . . and finally a thank you to Agnès and Ghislain for making it all happen again with a gift of  a poem written by a troubadour in the court of Henri IV. A gift  for a  lovely couple . . .

REJOICING greatly I begin
To love a joy I long to gain,
And since I turn to joy again
I ought to strive the best to win;
And better joy than mine within
The whole world I might seek in vain.

I, you must know, ought not to boast,
Or on my worth myself to plume
— But if a joy may ever bloom,
This should be perfect o’er the host
Of others, and bear fruit the most,
As sunshine brightens winter’s gloom.

No joy could e’er imagined be
In man’s desire, or in his mind,
Or in his thoughts, that I should find
Equal to this that’s come to me.
No man could praise it well, though he
A whole year to the task assigned.

All happiness should bow before
My lady, all her power confess,
Because of her sweet graciousness
And of her beauty’s goodly store.
He’d live a hundred years and more
Who could her love’s great joy possess.

Her charm can cure the sick man’s plight,
Her wrath can make the whole man die,
And make the wise man’s wits to fly;
The fair man’s beauty it can blight,
It makes the rudest boor polite
And makes the courteous rude and shy.

Since none can make a better choice,
Nor mouth describe, nor eyes behold,
I want her for myself to hold,
My heart to gladden with her voice,
And me to strengthen and rejoice,
That I may nevermore grow old.

If my belov’d her love will grant,
I am prepared to thank and take
And to dissemble for her sake,
And say and do whate’er she want;
Of her nobility I’ll chant,
And all my songs for her I’ll make.

To send no message do I dare,
Fearing her anger, nor do I
— So fear I to do wrong — draw nigh
To her, my passion to declare.
Yet she indeed for me should care,
Knowing my cure in her doth lie.

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