Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday Saint

Saint-Pierre-Toirac Church
French churches are full of beautiful religious art and statuary. I've become especially fascinated with the many statues of saints. This one is St. Roch, the patron saint of dogs and  falsely accused people. He's invoked for protection against the plague as well. He's always depicted showing his wounded thigh usually holding a walking staff with his faithful dog at his side.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

I'd Rather Be Fishing...

It was a beautiful Indian summer morning here along the Lot. Perfect for an early morning walk to the bridge and back. Perfect, too, for some fishing. Bon chance!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Chapelle des Penitents Noirs

Chapelle des Penitents Noirs
It's hard to believe this plain, rather boxy building holds not only yesterday's Mystery Man, but also a beautiful, jewel-box interior. I took advantage of patrimoine weekend to visit the Chapel of the Black Penitents in Villefranche. Built 1642-1671, it was the home of the Confraternity of the Black Penitents, a popular lay organization during the 16th and 17th centuries. Confraternities spread throughout Europe during this time and were formed by lay men (and eventually women) who wished to live a life of penance and service without the restrictions of clerical rules and regulations. Penances included fasting, self-flagellation, and wearing of a hair shirt among others. The Black Penitents did their community service by ministering to condemned prisoners, accompanying them to their execution and providing them a Christian burial. All Penitents were hooded to prevent their identity being known. There developed some tension between the local parish churches and the Confraternity meeting places as the Penitents held shorter masses, usually without a sermon, and were open to all. It seems many parishioners preferred these services and attended them rather than the Cure's Catholic mass. Wonder why???
All this is pretty irrelevant, though, to the Chapel's gorgeous ornate interior. Rounded and vaulted, it's a surprisingly cozy and intimate space
The room is surrounded with 6 large 18th century paintings depicting, the Annunciation, the birth of Christ and the Crucifixion
.The centerpiece of the Chapel is the crucified Christ under a dome of stars and angels
with it all overlooked by God the Father with the Son.
Beautiful and very difficult to imagine the space filled with black robed and hooded figures!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Mystery Man

Where do you think I ran into this guy??
Not here.
Pottery market on the parvis
nor here
Medieval Villefranche-de-Rouergue
Here's a hint:

Sunday, September 11, 2016


How our world changed fifteen years ago today!

Let us remember and honor those hundreds who lost their lives that day and weep with those who loved them and have carried on always bearing the pain of their loss.

Let us also weep for our world changed forever by that heinous event.

Then let us dry our tears and stand united, a force of love and openness and inclusion is the face of evil.

Let us vow that love will triumph over hate.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Slow Down, Please!

The department is doing a little roadwork in front of my house.
Nothing major, just a little asphalt and some gravel along the edges, but the French are big on signs as you can see.
Normally the speed limit is 90 kph which is okay on the few straight-aways,
 but seems too fast for most of the road which is narrow and curvy.
It's been nice having everyone slow down a bit!

Greg suggested that I snitch the speed signs and keep them posted. Good idea, but I wonder how many years in prison I'd get for that caper?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Inspired by a Tombstone

I just spent this afternoon working on a short story I'm writing that was inspired by this headstone in the ancient village of Calvignac. My friend, Vanessa blogged about our writing group's visit to Calvignac here. She wondered about the story behind this lone tombstone perched on the edge of a cliff. Since I have a friend who lives in Calvignac, I told her I'd see if I could suss out the story. Unfortunately, it's not as romantic a tale as Vanessa imagined. It seems at one time there was an entire cemetery here next to and behind the church. One day the cliff gave way taking all the graves (and the priest's outhouse!) in a massive landslide into the river valley below. The only headstone left was this one. For years, village children playing in the valley below have unearthed various pieces of skeletons...finger and toe bones, an arm bone, a jawbone from a skull. Hope no one's unearthed the priest's privy! short story features the landslide and the missing cemetery. Funny that I've been totally uninspired the past several months to write anything at all. In fact, I've wondered if maybe I'd had a stroke that destroyed the creativity part of my brain and didn't know it! Wonder of wonders...the past two weeks I've written three short stories and a short poem. Guess my Muse has just been on vacation. She's back!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Orange Sherbet Sky

God was up early this morning and
Brushed a feather loaded with orange sherbet
Across the sky.

I shook the sleepy heads and cried,
“Look, look! Quickly before it fades.”
They groaned and pulled the pillows
Over their heads,
Slipping deeper into dreamland.

Pity, that.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Be Gone!

Buddleia, be gone! I have a real love-hate relationship with these plants. I love the bees and hummingbird moths they attract. The myriads of butterflies that visit them are delightful. Their purple blooms are pretty. But...I hate that they grow like a weeds, out of control. I've already trimmed my plants back 4 times this summer before whacking them all down this morning. If I didn't keep them cut back, they would be taller than the house! The flowers, pretty as they are, drive my sensitive nose crazy. I can't have the blooms inside and some afternoons I even have to close the windows on their side of the house because the fragrance bothers me.
So, this morning I was out early and cut all of the plants back for the winter. As my mother would say, I came in looking like 'the grapes of wrath.' Dirty, sweaty and I'd scraped my shin. My eyes were puffy, my nose was running and I was coughing. But the buddleia are done!. Luckily, they're fairly easy to cut down, and the bigger stalks actually break off with some pressure. They may not look pretty, but they will be back in full force around April. And then it all starts again.