Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Normandy: Monday & Tuesday 6th& 7th April 2009

Mayenne, Lassay-les-Chateaux: Monday 6th April 2009

We had a bit of a mixed day. We visited Mayenne a town which was having its weekly market. It was mainly ugly clothes and shoes.

We then visited Lassay-les-Chateaux. Les Chateaux, as there are 3 castles in a small area – not sure of the history of this. Two are in partial ruins but the 3rd is in very good condition and the drawbridge even still works. Sadly it wasn’t open until the end of May, but we had a good look around the castle and the town. They had a very good rose garden and a council maintained medieval herb garden.

Many of the places we have visited in Normandy we have seen "Lavoirs". These were the public basin for washing clothes.The " Lavoir" was fed with water either from a water source or a running stream, and in general the washing area was under cover. Some of the lavoirs had a fireplace for producing the cinders required for blanching. In many places they only lost favour in the 1950's when washing machines became more affordable/commonplace.

Fosse Arthour: Tuesday 7th April 2009 We went to a local lake area as a base for a 2 hour walk through some farm pathways. We were the only walkers we saw on our expedition. It was agreeable walking, long and short views, farms, beech and oak woods, sun and wonderful fresh air. Fosse Arthour is part of the King Arthur legends; the Breton history alleges this is the allegedly the resting place of King Arthur. And we learnt that the word Fosse = A ditch or moat [Middle English, from Old French, from Latin fossa]

Seen around the farms, simple posts of split tree turnks
Somedays there are Abbeys and some days it is just Fenceposts!

On the way back to the cottage we visited the Manoir de la Saucerie. At the end of the 12th century Eleanor of Aquitaine, the then Queen of England, gave her servant, Robert le Saucier, vast tracts of land, where he built a house. In the late 16th century the upper parts of the manor were replaced by the present wooden frames. It sits on a little moat.

The lower buildings are 12th century, the additions 16th

The disused grain mills that are seen everywhere here

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