Friday, 2 September 2011

A fantastic Saturday stroll .....

A few days ago I mentioned that we had an invitation to join an organised, guided walk from Paulmy to Le Châtelier. We went along, and had an absolutely fantastic time!

The walk was guided by Jim, and the  French translation supplied by Kath. One of Jim’s neighours, Claudette, who has lived in Le Châtelier all her life provided some important local knowledge. After a round of introductions, handshakes and kisses about 30 intrepid explorers (some of whom we knew, and others we were able to put names to their faces or voices to their words) braved the walk. Jim had also promised us some surprises along the way ……….
This walker was rather stoney faced .....

Jim insisted that we walk with someone we didn’t know, and regularly along the route we were required to change partners. The people we met were interesting, and interested.

The walk took us through the grounds of the Chateau de Paulmy which is a centre de vacances for Paris. The former stables has been converted into a lovely home and gite complex. At the gate, our first surprise was to be beautifully serenaded by Patrice Arnould with his lute. You can read more about Patrice here courtesy of Jim McNeill. Patrice, according to Jim, is the moving spirit behind Le Petit Théâtre des Balcons at Ferrière Larçon. We've heard some excellent reports about this and it's on our ever growing list of places to go and things to do. We are rather limited to activities which take place during school holidays - at the moment!

Patrice Arnould......

Along the way we looked at a couple of oak trees, one of which we measured. The trunk circumference was 6.29 metres making it about 600 years old. The height, at 24 metres, was just a metre shorter than the Donjon at Le Châtelier The other oak was a 'stage 4', so might expect to live only another 100 or so years.

The road block we caused as we measured the tree.....

As we entered the village we took a detour to the home of Claudette and her family, which overlooks Le Châtelier. Here Colin showed us a little bit of magic. It involved razor blades, so definitely NOT something to try at home!

 If you look carefully you can see what is left of the toilet.....

Jim had arranged for us to enter the grounds of Le Châtelier to view the grange which is used for concerts, and also by the looks of it, badminton. The walk was peppered with snippets from the history of the area from the 15th century up to the present day. I'm a self confessed historical ignoramous, so am very keen to learn more. In my day, if you opted for sciences at school you were required to do Latin instead of history, meaning I didn’t study any history after the age of 12.
The roof structure ...

The last leg of the journey was to the lovely home of Jim and Sandra. Sandra, with a little help from her friend Julie, had produced a feast! There was wine (as Jim had promised), but also the most delicious nibbles made with fresh vegetables from their garden.

Boudie was keen to join in the fun as she attempted to sing along .....

To round off a delightful afternoon, Patrice, joined at various times by Callie,  Nev,  Jim and Boudie entertained us.

You can watch a video of  'Jim sings Janis' on my Virtual Jukebox. Apologies for the sound quality of the recording.

Patrice, Nev, Callie and Jim sing Janis Joplin ....
All in all a fantastic way to spend a Saturday afternoon. I'm looking forward to the next one .............


  1. Hello Gaynor:
    You really do seem to have had a very varied and most interesting walk. It is always helpful, on such occasions, to be guided by someone with a wealth of local knowledge for in that way so much more becomes apparent. And the refreshments at the end of the walk sound to have been a welcome added bonus.

  2. Hi Gaynor - So glad that you enjoyed the walk + I'm so pleased that we finally met up in the flesh, as it were. How about a wlak around LGP? Led by yourself?
    Kindest regards,

  3. Jane and Lance,
    It was an enjoyable afternoon.

  4. Hi Jim,
    We are in LP-P so know very little about LG-P,We are happy to lead a walk and provide refreshments. The history and local knowledge/contacts would be a bit 'thin', but we could see some of the area around LP-P.

  5. That looks like a great way to spend a day. I especially like the idea of swapping partners (oooh that didn't come out right did it?!).
    Great fun!

  6. Great singing Jim... shame the Bat Evening was the same day.... especially as the 'animator' tended to swallow words and try and talk through a handkerchief!! Needed your presentation! Also, whereas your walk was organised, the Bat session was Q&A and ofteh you couldn't hear the question.... and he didn't think of repeating it for those sitting behind...
    And thanks Gaynor for putting the video up!!

  7. Such a lovely afternoon! I'm seriously considering moving to the South of France in a year or two. Inshallah! Last year I was thinking of Ecuador. It's such an interesting world. I hope you get your wish and spend more time in France.

  8. What a fantastic way to meet people and learn the history around you. Wonder if they ever organise anything like that around here. Problem is we are not great walkers, the bikes are used a lot though. Diane

  9. Welcome Miss Footloose,
    I hope your wishes also come true!
    Reading your blog you certainly have had an opportunity to see the world ....

  10. Hi Diane,

    We have some friends who live at Dignac, just south of Angouleme. They are quite serious walkers and belong to a local walking group.

    Perhaps there are cycling groups who do a similar thing?

    Best wishes