Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Turrets and battlements

In less than eight weeks I shall be heading off to France and I must try and work in a visit to this place. It's Merlin's castle here and those of you who are fans of the BBC production will recognise it. Situated somewhere north of Paris. I shall check it out on Google earth. One of the things I adore about France is the vast amount of old castles, churches and things just generally old. Pointy, plasticy new architecture leaves me cold, but show me a turret and battlement and I'm hooked. There's plenty of information about it on the web here and no doubt a lot more if you feel inclined to spend some time checking it all out.

What is it that attracts me? I'm not sure. I wouldn't for a moment want to live in any of them. Great, gaunt stone walled places wth either vast halls or tiny rooms with low ceilings and draughty windows ~ if they had windows at all. Lots of the French castles along the Loire look out over the river, and they are not for those who suffer from vertigo. Sometimes the drop beneath a window can be a couple of hundred feet. Sometimes there are doors opening onto a patch of grass no bigger than a pocket handkerchief and a huge drop on all sides.

And yet...if imagination takes over, and supplies huge log fires with flames leaping high, and rooms full of people in medieval dress...thick wool petticoats, heavy gowns with wide sleeves as good as an extra blanket in some cases... headgear keeping in the heat, neck and throat of the ladies swathed in fine linen...I suppose they'd be warm enough. And in Summer, with the terrific heat outside, they'd be positively cool and comfortable inside.

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