Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Vézelay - the Town - Part 2

Lillian :  If we were starring in a movie & there was a scene where we were strolling about a lovely Medieval French town ... well, the ideal sound-track would be someone playing a Celtic Harp. 

Audrey :  Someone like John Garlick.  A lovely sunny day, after eating a lovely lunch eaten under masses of wisteria, strolling around Vézelay ... and a Harpist.  Parfait!

Lillian :  One of the charming things about the little ancient rural towns is their home-made architecture.
Audrey :  Sometimes quite higgledy piggledy.  Sometimes you can guess what is on the inside ... we thought this skinny bit was pwobably a stair-case.
A Staircase?

This circular building was a bake-house ...

But - what about this?

Ancient Scullery?
Lillian :  Our people have been trying to research these round or round-ended jutting out things.  We found other examples in Avallon and Le Puy-en-Velay.  There are never very large & all the ones we saw were on the 1st floor - the level just above the ground floor.  The most likely explanation is that these were, on the inside, the skullery.
Audrey : Skullery?  ergh! that doesn't sound very nice - I hope people didn't have special rooms for their skull collections!
Lillian :  No my dear, the skullery was where the dishes were washed - perhaps the clothes too.  Before modern plumbing with hot&cold running water the skullery was the wet-room with tubs of water, coppers to boil water ... all that sort of thing.  Of course, without plumbing getting rid of the dirty water was a problem most easily solved if you could drain it straight into the lane below but preferably not too close to the walls of your house ...
Audrey :  But that wouldn't have been nice if you were walking underneath!
Lillian :  Ummm no - life was very different then.  Nowadays we turn on a tap and Voila! water ... until recently people (usually the women) had to fetch all the water from a well or pump.
Audrey :  Oh!  we saw an old water pump ...
Cast iron - "Hauts Fourneaux & Fonderies.  Pont a Mousson"
Audrey : And I thought this was another pump, or perhaps a time machine.  But it is a cast iron bollard - must be the pwettiest bollard in the world!


Lillian : Well, Vézelay is on top of a hill - I  think it is the core of an ex-volcano because it juts up out of the landscape and there are parts where you need railings like that to stop you falling off!  The views are stunning.

Audrey :  To Australian dollies like us, that is amazingly green!
Lillian :  But now back to Vézelay itself : Another preventative to rolling down the hill-side was this gorgeous dry-stone wall - tulips growing wild on one side.

Lillian : The building with the bake-house was being restored - this carved bracket looks modern but may have replaced something quite similar.   
Audrey :  Well, I think that person can quite adequately defend herself against the naughty demon!

Lillian :  Every French town has cats - this one was a bit upset that we had seen him!
Audrey :  But what about the little doggy?

Lillian : We were worried that the dog was going to jump out of the window - he wanted to join the UNESCO workers doing maintenance on the tower & portcullis - one of the ancient gates in the old ramparts. 
The Town-side, the dog was in the house on the left

The out-side

The whole town and the Basilica are designated UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Audrey :  Only lacks some Knights in Shining Armour!   Let's see some detail of those towers ...
Audrey : Very large mouse-holes ... I don't think those maintenance people are doing their job very well.
Lillian : No you silly thing.  Those were holes for the soldiers to shoot through.  
Another picture looking back into Vézelay - and a close up of the guard-house over the arch, from the inside.
  Lillian : There are quite a few touristy boutiques in Vézelay which is fair enough - it is such a pretty place that you want a souvenir or two ... in one of those shops our stylist found some gorgeous mohair knitting yarn.

 Audrey : And those are the colours she was completely obsessed about.  "The colours of spring in France, the fresh new leaves on the trees against the freshly washed blue of the sky" ...
 Lillian : Yes, she did go on rather a lot about it all.  But the lady in the shop was the breeder of the mohair goats and even showed our stylist the 'family album' with photos of the animals.  Very sweet.  And the yarn is quite gorgeous - really mo-Hairy and lustrous. 

 Audrey :  Shall we show the people the cowl / scarf our stylist made with the yarn she bought in Vézelay ?

A close-up
Lillian :  Luckily, you don't have to go to Vézelay to get this yarn - they've an on-line shop and a blog - in Frence naturellement but the pictures are in English!

Audrey :  Time for one last photo of lovely Vézelay?

Lillian :  Yes, and this encapsulates just about everything - wisteria, lovely old buildings, hilly cobbled street, an old water well and for that touch of modern France ... a motor scooter!

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