Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Le Regard de Saux


The Medici aqueduct, or Rungis aqueduct, was built on the orders of Marie de Médici, to deliver the water from the natural springs at Rungis, on the edge of Paris, into the centre of Paris itself. Commissioned in 1623, the aqueduct is still in operation. It is owned by the City of Paris and managed by Eau de Paris. 

The heavily graffitied Regard de Saux, with the Hôpital La Rochefoucauld behind.
The Regard de Saux, an access point on the Medici aqueduct, Paris. France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Along the course of the aqueduct there are a series of elaborate manhole covers, called les regards, which mark the route it follows.  They are access points to the underground galleries, via a staircase. At each regard, the water passes through a basin whose purpose is to promote the oxygenation of the water and the deposition of impurities. Some of them, originally constructed in what were open fields, have been enclosed in private properties. Most of them, however, are located on the public road. They are supplemented at much closer intervals by 258 more discreet inspection hatches. 

The Regard de Saux, an access point to the Medici aqueduct, Paris. France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

This regard is number 25, in the grounds of La Rochefoucauld Hospital (an aged and palliative care facility), and visible from avenue René-Coty. The architectural style reference is to the Mausoleum of Cyrus at Pasargades.

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For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

We are also on Instagram, so check us out to see a regularly updated selection of our very best photos. 

Monday, 29 June 2020

Apero dinatoire


We took a selection of delicious snacks and nibbles with us to share with our hosts when we went to the Charente-Maritime last week. A spread like this is known as an apéro dînatoire.


Apero dinatoire. France. Made and photographed by Susan Walter.

Clockwise from bottom left: a jar of tapenade; cherry tomatoes; a jar of chutney given to me by a French friend, whose parents had received it as a gift from some English people and it was too weird for them to consider eating; my homemade baba ganoush; my homemade dolmades; my homemade beetroot and walnut hummus; sliced baguette from a bakery in Saint-Agnant; artisanal heart-shaped raspberry flavoured biscuits from near Issoudun; Badoit fizzy mineral water; Charentais melon and strawberries; corn chips; a prize winning Sainte Maure de Touraine goats cheese from Limouzin frères, whose farm is just over the hill from us; rillons (slow cooked cubes of pork belly) from the charcutier in Preuilly; pork rillettes (slow cooked pork belly that is shredded into a paste) from the charcutier in Preuilly; my homemade pickled mini peppers, stuffed faisselle (fresh white cheese) that I had beaten finely chopped herbs into. Out of the picture was a jar of carp rillettes from Fish Brenne; some gherkins and some green olives. The sparkling wine is Milliard d'Etoiles from Domaine de la Garrelière near Richelieu.

Homemade beetroot and walnut hummus, with baba ganoush in the background.
Homemade beetroot and walnut humous, with baba ganoush in the background. Made and photographed by Susan Walter.

 Homemade pickled mini peppers stuffed with fresh cheese and finely chopped herbs.
Homemade pickled mini peppers, stuffed with fresh cheese and finely chopped herbs. Made and photographed by Susan Walter.

Recipes I used:

David Lebovitz's baba ganoush.

Instructions for preparing my own vine leaves on The Spruce Eats.

Ken's dolmades filling and method of cooking.

Clotilde Dusoulier's recipe for Beetroot Hummus, substituting ground walnuts and walnut oil for the tahini.

Instructions for pickling peppers.


The delightful setting for all of this was supplied by the Hays family. This is the table on the terrace by their back door. You may already be familiar with it, as it appears regularly in Susan Hays' blog Our French Oasis.



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For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

We are also on Instagram, so check us out to see a regularly updated selection of our very best photos. 

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Bundanoon Station


Bundanoon railway station, New South Wales, Australia. Photo by Susan Walter.

Heritage listed Bundanoon railway station has been open and operating for more than 150 years. The main building is a very typical early 20th century Australian country railway station.

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Celestine Goes to the Seaside


During the week we ventured out on a mini-break. We stayed with friends Susan and Roddy Hays, in their gîte (holiday accommodation), which they very generously offered to us for free. They live on the edge of the marshes around Rochefort on the Atlantic coast. The area is full of historic interest, and is a birdwatcher's paradise. We are not really birdwatchers, but we saw storks, stilts, sandpipers, purple herons, black kites, marsh harriers and black woodpeckers all without really trying.

Crossing the bridge from the mainland to the Ile d'Oleron.
Crossing the bridge from the mainland to the Ile d'Oleron, Charente-Maritime, France. Photo by Susan Walter.

 Célestine parked with the characteristic Charente-Maritime fishing huts along the foreshore.
Citroen Traction Avant, Charente-Maritime, France. Photo by Susan Walter.

 Two Susan's enjoying champagne and nibbles in front of the holiday cottage.
Enjoying an aperitif at a holiday cottage, Charente-Maritime, France. Photo by Susan Walter.

 Stork watching on the Moëze-Oléron Nature Reserve.
A stork nest, Charente-Maritime, France. Photo by Susan Walter.

Home again.
Preuilly sur Claise, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Susan Walter.

Susan and Roddy also run a property finding and hand holding service, as well as an online French antiques shop. Some of you may already 'know' them because you read Susan's blog Our French Oasis.

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For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

We are also on Instagram, so check us out to see a regularly updated selection of our very best photos. 

Friday, 26 June 2020

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Orchid Walk From Chaumussay


Our friend David is in charge of organising a regular Monday five kilometre walk for a group of us. He asked me to lead one so we could look the orchids at Chaumussay on 15 June. It was a bit late in the season, but of course, we've lost a lot of social walking time. The weather wasn't great, but we avoided getting drenched and finished with a picnic in the excellent sheltered tables at Chaumussay (now with new wheelchair access for two new tables). Here is a selection of photos from the outing.

Charolais beef cows, ready to defend their quite new calves from us.
Cows and calves.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

 Old farm cottage.
Old farm cottage.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

 Sulphur Clover Trifolium ochroleucon (Fr. Trèfle jaunâtre), a plant that is becoming rare because of the loss of flower rich meadow pasture on chalky clay.
Sulphur Clover Trifolium ochroleucon.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

 View down the Claise Valley to Chaumussay.
View up the Claise Valley to Chaumussay.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

 Walking through Chaumussay.
Walking through Chaumussay.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Red Helleborine Cephalanthera rubra (Fr. Céphalanthère rouge).
Red Helleborine Cephalanthera rubra.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Fragrant Orchid Gymnadenia conopsea (Fr. Gymnadénie moucheron).
Fragrant Orchid Gymnadenia conopsea.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Marbled White Melanargia galathea (Fr. le Demi-deuil).
Marbled White Melanargia galathea.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Bee Orchid Ophrys apifera (Fr. Ophrys abeille).
Bee Orchid Ophrys apifera.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

This male Lesser Purple Emperor Apatura ilia (Fr. le Petit Mars Changeant) joined us for our picnic.
Lesser Purple Emperor Apatura ilia. Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Monday, 22 June 2020

Italian Cherry and Walnut Cake


Italian Cherry and Walnut Cake. Made and photographed by Susan Walter.

When she realised it was cherry season here and I was on the hunt for delicious things to do with the cherries from our orchard, our friend Christine sent me an unusual Italian cherry and walnut cake recipe. She said she had just made it for a dinner party (their first since lockdown eased in Australia) and it had been a great success. Since it used not one ingredient that I can grow myself, but two, I was right on it. We enjoyed it and thought it was very Italian with its rather macaronadish texture.

Italian Cherry and Walnut Cake. Made and photographed by Susan Walter.

Ingredients
2 eggs, beaten with a fork
1 cup castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups stoned cherries

Method
  1. Heat the oven to 180C.
  2. Line a 24cm springform tin.
  3. Put the eggs, sugar and vanilla in the mixing bowl and beat for 2 minutes on high speed with the balloon whisk on your stand mixer, so that it is creamy and aerated.
  4. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, then lightly stir in the walnuts.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and incorporate the two on low speed.
  6. Fold in the cherries by hand with a metal spoon.
  7. Bake for about an hour.
  8. Cool in the tin.
  9. Serves 8.
Homegrown cherries. Photographed by Susan Walter.

Homegrown walnuts. Photographed by Susan Walter.

Sunday, 21 June 2020

Burnt Bush


This photo from 2002 shows bushland that has had a fire go through it near Sydney, Australia. Photographed from the car on the highway.

Burnt bushland near Sydney, Australia, 2002. Photographed by Susan Walter.

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Lanyon Quoit


On Saturdays we like to write about places we've been, so today I've decided to go back to 2002 and feature Lanyon Quoit in Cornwall, England. There is a very good website which tells you all about it, so just click on the link. As you can see it's a prehistoric monument, but what you can't tell from the photo is that it didn't always look like this. The website tells you that in the 19th century the stones collapsed, some of them broke and it was 'reconstructed' on a different alignment and on a reduced scale. Still, it is an evocative and photogenic monument.

Lanyon Quoit. Cornwall. England. Photographed by Susan Walter.

Lanyon Quoit. Cornwall. England. Photographed by Susan Walter.

Lanyon Quoit. Cornwall. England. Photographed by Susan Walter.

Friday, 19 June 2020

Not Abandoned



The church in Civray sur Esves is an odd unbalanced building on the outside, but inside it gets even odder, for a different reason. At first I thought I was stepping in to an abandoned and semi-ruined building, but then I realised there were all sorts of clues to it still being in use -- perhaps not officially, but clearly someone uses the space devotionally.


Part of the nave is 12th century according to the Monumentum website, and the choir and stone domed apse were reconstructed in the 15th century. The western end is 19th century. Above the choir is a belltower with a stone spire. Somewhat alarmingly, given the general state of the church, a bell rope in good condition is clearly still attached to a bell, and within easy reach of anyone who walks in. The ceilings are vaulted -- the choir in ribbed stone, the nave plaster over wooden laths.


The church is understandably considered at risk, and from old postcards I have seen, has been in a parlous state for maybe a century. It's listed on the Observatoire du Patrimoine Religieux website and is clearly a fairly well known case. Click on the link for Patrimoine Religieux to see a photo of the exterior -- for some unaccountable reason we failed to take one. I think we were so bemused we failed to take photos of the worst interior deterioration too. Frankly I am rather surprised that the door was unlocked and we were free to just walk in. God is obviously expected to protect the curious.


The church does not have a sanctuary lamp but it is listed on the Parish of Descartes website just like all the other churches in that parish, with no indication that it is any different to Le Grand Pressigny, Marcé sur Esves or Descartes. In the summer of 2018, according to a newspaper report of the time, the locals had raised €5000 towards restoring the church. In the end the money was put towards restoring the altar.





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For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

We are also on Instagram, so check us out to see a regularly updated selection of our very best photos.