Thursday, 19 May 2022

Tulips from Amsterdam

Well - maybe not tulips, and definitely not Max Bygraves*.

Yesterday we took Claudette's seats to the upholsterer in le Blanc. We went early both so that he could get a start on them, and so that we could do the trip in the relative cool of the morning. Because it was early and a very nice day we took the opportunity to visit the centre of town, sit in a café and watch the world go by, something we very rarely do.

While we were on the terrace of the café a very large Dutch truck arrived, effected a very neat 180 degree course around the roundabout (using back wheel steering on the trailer) and parked in front of the florist's.

After we took a turn about the weekly market the truck was still there. As we had to walk past it to get to the pedestrian crossing we took a glance in. WOW! Talk about a professional looking unit. We were so impressed Susan asked if we could take a photo, to which the reply was "yes, but we will hide".




Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Claudette's Seats

We bought Claudette in March 2013. Since then we have done a fair bit of mechanical work, but her interior has remained original. That is about to change. A couple of years ago the fabric on the back of the drivers seat tore. The tear was worsened by the back pocket button on the driver's trousers until we bought the world's cheapest seat cover from NorAuto to tide us over until we could get the work done.

Then, just as we were about to make the move to re-upholster the seats before the 2020 season, covid struck, and seat covers were suddenly either not available or very expensive. Prices have returned to pre-plagues levels so we have bought a set.


Originally we intended to recover the seats ourselves, but they are properly upholstered seats with horsehair and coil springs and webbing straps, and in need of expert attention. So as you are reading this we are taking the seats to le Blanc to be re-upholstered by a professional who happens to also own a Traction Avant. Claudette looks quite empty.



Removing the seats from a Traction Avant is quite easy, as long as you don't factor in 30C heat, sweat in the eyes, and working in direct sunlight in a black car.


Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Orchids in the Claise Valley

Here is a selection of orchids that are flowering now in the Claise Valley. These photos were all taken at Chaumussay or Boussay on Saturday 7 May.

Narrow-leaved Helleborine Cephalanthera longifolia, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Narrow-leaved Helleborine Cephalanthera longifolia (Fr. Céphalanthère à feuilles étroites), earlier flowering than the very similar White Helleborine C. damasonium.

Hybrid Man x Monkey Orchid Orchis x bergonii, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
The rather uncommon Hybrid Man x Monkey Orchid Orchis x bergonii.

Man Orchid Orchis anthropophora, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Man Orchid Orchis anthropophora (Fr. Homme-pendu), growing in the ditch very close to the hybrid.

Early Spider Orchid Ophrys sphegodes, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Early Spider Orchid Ophrys sphegodes (Fr. Ophrys araignée), flowering later than usual this year.

Fly Orchid Ophrys insectifera, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Fly Orchid Ophrys insectifera (Fr. Ophrys mouche), looking, as ever, like Churchill in his velour onesie.

Military Orchid Orchis militaris, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Military Orchid Orchis militaris (Fr. Orchis guerrier), one of our rarest orchids, although it is a bit more abundant in other areas of France.

Hybrid Lady x Military Orchid Orchis purpurea x militaris, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
I think this is probably a hybrid Lady x Military Orchid Orchis purpurea x militaris.

Monkey Orchids Orchis simia, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
A horde of Monkey Orchids Orchis simia (Fr. Orchis singe).

Greater Butterfly Orchid Platanthera chlorantha, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Greater Butterfly Orchid Platanthera chlorantha (Fr. platanthère à fleurs verdâtres).

Monkey x Lady Orchid hybrid Orchis x angusticruris, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Monkey x Lady Orchid hybrid Orchis x angusticruris.

Hypochromatic Monkey Orchid Orchis simia, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Hypochromatic (lacking pigment) Monkey Orchid Orchis simia (Fr. Orchis singe).

Monday, 16 May 2022

La Fuye de la Bouchardiere

I have driven past this structure perced on the ridge leading into Loches many times. Because of its position I have always assumed it was a windmill, because it's in exactly the position a windmill should be in.

A week ago we happened to be in Loches, and while Susan was visiting the chateau with our guests I drove up there to have a look at the information board, only to discover that it was a late medieval dovecot. Susan claims she knew this all along.

We will be driving past the dovecot again this morning, so I will be able to inform our visitors (correctly) what it is.



Saturday, 14 May 2022

Working at Chambord

Usually our posts on Saturday are about somewhere further afield, and although Chambord is in the Loire Valley and one of the chateaux people think they want to see, we very rarely go there. It's an outlier, and adds at least an hour onto the time our visitors spend in the car. Chambord has its points - the exterior is great and it makes an excellent photo op, but now the exterior grandeur is mostly hidden as all six towers are being restored.

We were at Chambord last Thursday with clients. It was nice to visit somewhere that we don't get to that often, but it does make for a long and tiring day behind the wheel - in this case, 280km in Claudette.



Friday, 13 May 2022

Working Again

We were working again yesterday, this time meeting our clients in Amboise and visiting Chambord and Chenonceau. We don't often take clients to Chambord, because it is a fair distance away from the other chateaux people want to visit, and actually we don't really rate it. Especially at the moment, when all six towers are covered in scaffolding.

We met our clients at Manoir les Minimes, newly granted 5 star status. I think they should probably have had that just because of the view from the front door. Of course, it doesn't always have an elegant 66 year old car improving the view, but still...