Following Joan

This holiday is rapidly becoming a search for Joan of Arc. Everywhere we go she appears. This morning I spotted her a number of times in Poitiers because it was here that she was interrogated in 1429.

Relief showing Joan defending herself

The interrogation was conducted by a bunch of Bishops and doctors who wanted to ascertain the validity of her claims about hearing the voices of various saints. After three weeks of intensive questioning they decided she was clearly mad enough to send into battle against the English.

I hope the weather was better for her than it was for us. Wandering around Poitiers could have been quite pleasant had the rain gone somewhere else. Still it was a lovely glimpse of somewhere that I think Mirinda and I would love to visit properly.

Here’s a few photos as a sort of taster…

Adam and Eve outside the church

…for when we return sometime.

The post office

Having split up (John, Anthea, Lorna and Darren went one way while Bev, Jon and I went another) we went straight to a small cafe which specialised in serving coffee in the dripping rain. Not that we had a lot of choice. Poitiers is closed of a Sunday morning.

We did eventually rouse ourselves to go and check out a very interestingly painted church with a superb Joan window in it.

Painted glass window of Joan’s interrogation in Notre Dame la Grande church (Henri Carot c1909)

Jon was rather taken with the ceilings in the church given they didn’t seem to be particularly symmetrical. In fact at one stage they looked positively wavy. I rather liked this bit but the big cracks were a bit of a worry.

Talking about church ceiling cracks, Jon was telling me that there is a book which indicates which cracks in a building are worth worrying about and which others one can ignore. That is an amazingly specialised book if you ask me. Not recommended for bedtime reading.

Which makes a nice segue for our next stop which was a small cafe full of books. Everyone is welcome to take a book and read or buy…or both. It had a very pleasant atmosphere and we enjoyed not just a delightful coffee but also a bit of relief from the rain. It also gave Bev’s fingers a chance to get some feeling back in them. Seriously, I’ve never known someone to have such cold hands.

One more photo of Poitiers. Here’s a very odd, narrow building built in front of the old ones behind.

Finally we met up with the rest of the weasels, bought some lunch and headed back to the hotel to collect our stuff and get back on the road again. And what a long and uneventful road it was. We did stop at the strangely named Red Mill picnic place. I say ‘strangely’ named because there was no mill. Even of any colour. Possibly they pulled it down to build the toilet block but felt they really had to retain the name.

And so on again towards Rouen. Our car was okay but, apparently, there was quite a lot of farting going on in Weasel 2. I’m not going to say who it may have been but rest assured it was noted. I’m thinking of renaming Weasel 2 to FartyCar for the rest of the trip.

Finally the journey that felt like it would never end, ended and we checked into the Alba Hotel. This meant climbing up three floors for me. I felt bad enough but poor Bev and Jon had an extra floor to walk up.

In short time we all gathered and went for a walk in order to have a beer. The drive had instilled a somewhat desperate thirst that only cold beer can quench. We stopped at a Belgian beer bar and sat outside and underneath the big clock that is in the middle of Big Clock Road. And Anthea, Lorna and I saw something very, very odd.

A small dog (slightly bigger than a matchbox) was trotting along, wearing a little light coat when it decided it needed a wee. Rather than squatting or hitching a leg, it approached a wall, stood on it’s front legs and did a headstand, back legs in the air, and peed like that, against the wall. It had us in hysterics. Maybe it was an ex-circus dog. Glad we saw it because the like will probably never be seen again.

Dinner was at a lovely restaurant where Anthea explained how she feels about Calvados.

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One Response to Following Joan

  1. Mum Cook. says:

    Anthea was very funny, shame you had so much rain, but I loved the Joan pictures and why did somebody chop of Eves arms such a shame. Love mum xxxxxxx

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