Judy’s Unquotable Quotes Revealed
“My bum only fell apart in the last 5 kilometres,” Judy at the end of an 87 kilometre ride.
And 30 minutes later while relaxing on a terrace bar, “Gosh I’m vain. Staring at myself in the mirror as I do my hair and enjoying the view.”
“I really like the Queen. She’s a good old stick. I really liked her when she was Helen Mirren.”
A Sense of History
“Do you know
where the word spread-eagled comes from?” asked Bob as we waited for our entrée.
We both looked at him blankly, and he produced that naughty schoolboy grin we
were getting used to.
|Judy with Helen and Bob in their garden near Chinon, France. The New Zealand flag is raised in our honour.|
origins, he said, go back to Viking times when they were a warring lot
terrifying the living daylights out of that corner of France where they saw an
opportunity to plunder and pillage – what is now Normandy. A valiant opponent
defeated in battle was given the opportunity to enter Valhalla, where an
endless supply of virgins and alcohol awaited him.
|Bridge over the River Vienne, at Chinon.|
|Cloister at Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud. |
A glimpse into the 12th century - 1,000 nuns
lived here in huge dormitories. A seperate area
housed a leper colony (now a hotel) and another
building was reserved for "fallen women".
The only catch was that to reach Valhalla you had to be dead, and the Vikings had a particularly gruesome method to make sure you were – split open the opponent’s ribcage while they were still alive, tie back their arms to expose the internal organs and leave the rest of the work to the crows. A slow, horrible death, and you can bet on it that word soon spread that this was what the Vikings had in mind for anyone foolish enough to put up a determined fight. It was psychological warfare in its infancy – demoralising opponents and sending them fleeing.
|Bob - model train enthusiast.|
“Brilliant,” said Bob, relishing the details as the entrée was delivered to the centre of the table and we changed the subject.
We’ve been guests of Bob and his wife Helen at their tranquil, delightful home near Chinon, where they live with their dog, a donkey, a cat, a rooster and some chickens.
|Eleanor of Aquitaine stepped in to ensure there|
was a decent kitchen to provide food for the 100s
who lived at the abbey at Fontevraud. This picture
shows the chimneys above the fireplaces in the kitchen.
|Fontevraud was turned into a prison, |
and some of the inmates helped restore
the buildings. This wall identifies some of
|France's national heroine - Joan of Arc - the peasant girl credited with rallying |
the French to kick out the English. They responded by burning her at the stake.
|Outside loo - pity the poor neighbours who|
walked underneath at the wrong moment.
Hence Bob’s story about the word spread-eagle. He’s a master story teller, and that gruesome titbit at the dinner table was just one of many yarns we’ve heard over the past days.
|With Bob and Helen, May 2012|
One of the regrets of travel is that we pass in and out of people’s lives. On this occasion we met two people we immediately related to and know that under different circumstances we would want to become firm friends. But for now though, the road beckons and we are on our way again – to who knows where exactly.
|Lunchtime picnic spot|
|Heavy rain in the past few weeks has caused |
the Loire to run high and there's been some
flooding. Here a boat on one of the Loire's
tributaries has sunk at its berth.