Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Re-runs: a Vuciata

It's time on TV. And re-run time here at Melanged Magic. In honor of my friend, Vanessa's newly-published novel, The House at Zaronza, I'm re-running a blog post I wrote last summer about a Corsican polyphonic chant group who performed in Villeneuve. Vanessa's novel is set in Corsica during the early part of the 20th century. And to further whet your appetite to read Vanessa's book, I've added a YouTube video at the end of the post of beautiful Corsican scenery. 
It seems like this summer has taken on a! It began with the Fete de la Musique in May and continued with the first guitar concert we attended at Cenevieres. A couple weeks later, our same group of friends decided to attend a second concert there. This time it was a flute, oboe and cello group playing music from the 17th century...quite lovely and very appropriate being played in the old Chateau.

Last evening the venue was St.Sepulcre church in the lovely bastide town of Villeneuve d'Aveyron. The group, a Vuciata, entertained us with haunting Corsican harmonies accompanied by flute, guitar, violin, and the church's stunning pipe organ. It was amazing how only 4 voices filled the vaulted church and captured our souls in the process. Here's a video I put together of the evening...snippets of three songs interspersed with some photos of the beauty surrounding us. In the last piece, the singers walked around the church, still singing in perfect harmony, then gathered again in the center aisle amongst the audience to complete their song. It was absolutely lovely!

Newly added video of Corsica:
Purchase The House at Zaronza:

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Book Launch

Vanessa Couchman
It's official!! My friend, Vanessa's newly-published novel, 'The House at Zaronza' is launched! Our writing group gathered at Vanessa and Per's house, La Lune, to celebrate this afternoon with champagne and nibbles. Being writers, we know just how much blood, sweat and tears have gone into getting this book written, edited and finally published. We toasted Vanessa's success several times! 'The House at Zaronza' is historical fiction inspired by a true life love story. Here's a brief synopsis taken from the Amazon website:
Set in Corsica, this novel is the story that Rachel Swift discovers as she travel there to learn more about her ancestors. She comes across love letters written in the early 20th century during a secret romance between the village schoolteacher and Maria, the daughter of a bourgeois family. It's a romance Maria's family won't allow. Maria's dreams crumble and her life is then played out against the backdrop of beautiful Corsica and the turmoil of WWI.

While I haven't read the entire book yet (I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of my copy), I've heard Vanessa read bits and pieces of it in our writing group. It's marvelous! Trust should buy. If you like historical fiction, I know you'll like this book!
Vanessa entertains us with stories of the trials and tribulations of writing a novel
We raise our glasses to Vanessa!

Thursday, July 24, 2014


I often find myself  taking photos of repeating patterns and multiples. I find these images very appealing. Take these red bicycles stacked along the walking path below St. Cirq-Lapoie for example....

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Notaire Goes Wild!

The local notaire (solicitor or lawyer) bought and built on the big, vacant piece of land between Dr. Vaudin's office and the Center for Contemporary Art in Cajarc. I think business must be good! Nothing very interesting about the structure that went up...pretty straightforward office building. What's interesting, though, is the landscaping. Looks like weeds. But look closer....
It's actually thousands of flowers!
I think the notaire has gone a bit wild!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

From the Archives: Paris 2007

View from the roof of the Musee d'Orsay
Paris 2007
Slow blogging around here lately, so I'll entertain you with a view of Paris from my photo archives.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bonne Fête Nationale

Roussillon France
Whether you call it Bastille Day, Le Quatorze Juillet, or La Fête Nationale, it means a holiday, good times with family and friends and fireworks in France today!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Good Morning, Glory

I have a free-standing metal frame covered with a rattan awning on my terrace that serves as a shady shelter for my outside table and chairs. It's functional, but rather unattractive. So this year I planted morning glory seeds in big pots next to two of its legs.
The vines have twined nicely up the support poles and I actually have a few blooms.
August 2012
This, however, is more the look I was going for. Sigh...maybe next year?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Wine Run

I volunteered to make the wine run, but our trip last week ended in failure. Despite phone calls and two visits to the cave, no one was around to sell us wine. Patrick made a call later and found out the owners were in emergency mode...a hail storm had damaged their vines, and they were busy doing whatever it is you do to rescue a hailed-on vineyard. Yesterday, though, was a different story. We had an appointment to meet the vigneron at 5PM. He wasn't there, but a very nice woman sold us several 10 liter boxes of this lovely rosé which has become everyone's favorite summer drink. With 10 of these big boxes in my car's trunk, I felt a little like a bootlegger carrying the 'goods' and delivering to my 'customers' in the village!
View of Cahors from Mont St. Cyr
An added benefit of the wine run was a short side trip up Mont St. Cyr for this sweeping view of Cahors. It's easy from this vantage point to see how the city sits inside a loop in the Lot River. These big loops in the river are called cingles and occur all along its course. My house in Cadrieu sits on a loop like this. It's also easy to see the outline of the medieval part of the city which would have been surrounded by high walls.
St. Etienne Cathedral
Those walls are mostly gone now and the moat that ran along the far side of them has been filled in to become the main street of the city, rue Gambetta.
Pont Valentre
On the far side of the town, you can see the famous Pont Valentre, a 14th century stone bridge that has become the symbol of the city.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

An Unusual Mary

I haven't posted a "Mary" photo in awhile and thought I'd share this unusual Mary with you today. She stands in front of the St. Julien Church in Cardaillac, a medieval village north of Figeac. The old village is one of the 'plus beaux villages,' but if you're looking for the church, it sits on the outskirts of the more modern part of the village. If you click through this link, you can see Mary with her 'umbrella.' (scroll to the bottom of the photos; it's in the right hand column)
A pretty window in the old village with red geraniums.