Cathedrals and shadows

January 4, 2012

Elne – the town – was named after Constantine’s mother the Empress Helen. The cathedral of Ste – Eulalie- et- Ste-Julie constructed at various stage from the  11 C to  15C.  There are magnificent cloisters but there is also an entrance fee – feeling mean on the day so just images of the exterior . . .

At Béziers,  ancienne cathédrale Ste-Nazaire sits somewhat grandly –  like a lady with wide skirts – overlooking the River Or.

Care for thy soul as thing of greatest price,
Made to the end to taste of power divine,
Devoid of guilt, abhorring sin and vice,
Apt by God’s grace to virtue to incline.
Care for it so as by thy retchless train
It be not brought to taste eternal pain.

Care for thy corse, but chiefly for soul’s sake;
Cut off excess, sustaining food is best;
To vanquish pride but comely clothing take;
Seek after skill, deep ignorance detest.
Care so, I say, the flesh to feed and clothe
That thou harm not thy soul and body both.

Care for the world to do thy body right;
Rack not thy wit to win thy wicked ways;
Seek not to oppress the weak by wrongful might;
To pay thy due do banish all delays.
Care to dispend according to thy store,
And in like sort be mindful of the poor.

Care for thy soul, as for thy chiefest stay;
Care for thy body for thy soul’s avail;
Care for the world for body’s help alway;
Care yet but so as virtue may prevail.
Care in such sort that thou be sure of this:
Care keep thee not from heaven and heavenly bliss.  William Byrd

Étang et la plage

January 4, 2012

Étang de Canet is a salt  lagoon with a cluster of fishermen’s huts  made from plaited reeds. The local cat is strangely welcoming viewing from aloft !


This is a  protected environment with 300 species of bird. Today, winds from the north west making walking and certainly photography difficult, but egrets, grebes, one cormorant and black headed gulls were managing the climate better than humans. Atriplex halimus and tamarisk form the scrubby twiggy vegetation with types of samphire covering the ground. Blocks of Juncus  give secondary height and shelter for breeding places. Canigou, the most beautiful backcloth . . .

 To the beach, across the road that splits the two environments . . .

Fishing and installations made from the driftwood of branches, trunks, man made dead wood placed by the waves way back on the beachline. The wood looked like bones – quite elegant and wonderfully organic.

An installation – interesting visually . . .

and a remark, equally evocative: ‘I suppose somewhere across there is Italy’

DIstance does not make you falter

Now, arriving in magic, flying –

And finally, insane foe the light,

You are the butterfly and you are gone.

 And so long as you have not experienced

This: to die, and so to grow,

You are  only a troubled guest

On this dark earth.  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

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