Burgundy 2014 (Le Retour) – Mont-Saint-Vincent

After our inadvertent detour we made it to the hilltop town of Mont-Saint-Vincent.

It’s a beautiful, little place…

…and the main attraction is the Cluniac church…

…built in the late 11thC and early 12thC.

…which lost its steeple during the French revolution.

The Cluniac monks left the church in 1506…

…after having a community there for over 500 years.

There were more of my favourite capitals.

It was nice to wander around the village…

…there were lots of lovely little details…

…including door furniture…

…hanging signs…


…and doves.

Cornwall 2012 – seen in Flushing

Flushing is a delightful little place. It was very foggy, so the place was curiously silent.

I was intrigued by this little door…

…with good reason.

There were all sorts of interesting things…signs…


…window boxes…


…window displays…

…and swans.

We came back a couple of days later, and found out that Falmouth was opposite! Dr Bones was rather shocked.

Rye Riddles

If you’ve never been to Rye, you’ve missed a treat. It’s a fabulous little place, with beautiful buildings – including Lamb House, where Henry James, E. F. Benson and Rumer Godden lived (but not together, you understand!) . It’s also the settling for the wonderfully bitchy Mapp and Lucia books (and if you haven’t read those, you’ve also missed a treat).

I’ve visited Rye many times, but I’d never noticed this little chap (set on a door round the back of the church). My lily white past (school Head Girl no less) is always with me, so I didn’t lift him up to read the inscription underneath. So if anyone knows more about him, please let me know.

Knocker Envy

I’ve always liked looking at front doors – they are the public face of private spaces. I have a special fondness for door knockers, maybe because my Grandmother has a lovely elephant on her front door (the trunk is the knocker). Here are a selection I found walking round the block in Eynsham.

This one belongs to Larry and June. Larry was in the Royal Navy – although he sailed a desk in Whitehall for most of the time.

This Ancient adds interest to the house next door.

This little lion would be at home in Venice or Florence.

My Ma has always had a soft spot for foxes, so I always keep an eye out for this chap. I like the way he has one paw higher than the other, and seems to be bursting through the door.

This could be Mr Dudley couldn’t it? But I think it’s supposed to be some Greek or other.

Here’s Mr Fox again, but he seems to be stuck in this bilious, yellow door (note no back legs).

I’m sure there’s something Masonic about this one.

Mmmm – I love the blue and the dragonfly. Plus this house has a fig tree with lots of figs!

My fave. I think – I love the delicacy of the hand.

Nearly home – you can find this chap elsewhere in the village, as well as on Durham Cathedral. I rather like the conceit of having a sanctuary knocker on your front door.

Florence – Final Things

I bagged my final door knocker.

Found a splendid dragon.

Iona decided that she must try limocello before we left – the hat is Fr. Rattue’s new summer evening hat (pic by A.)

She didn’t like it one little bit.

So we said goodbye to the tiny little buses.

The funny, little municipal vehicles.

And we headed home…

Florence – Incidental

One of the reasons to go to the Continent is to sit in bars and people watch. I’m glad to say we did plenty of that. BTW – I must point out that alothough Fr. Rattue is posed with beer glasses they were mine and Iona’s (butch girls with those GRANDE beers again).

Virgina – the pillar box does not exist in Italy and the post boxes are very dull, although they are red. However, I though this letterbox was fantastic. having your name carved in marble gives a real sense of permenance not often found nowadays!

I was very intrigued by these ‘torch’ holders, until I realised that they were probably the remains of fittings for gas lamps.

Lots of metal lion door knockers, but this was the only wodden one I saw. I liked the contrast between the two materials.

Now – when you go sight seeing wera proper shoes. or you’ll end up with blisters like me. It appears that the Italian for compede – is il compede. I sat me down in the doorway of Dolchi & Gabbana while A. put the plasters on

A bidet full of cold water is very refreshing -even if your screams do intrigue your flat mates.

Florence – First Impressions

OK – Florence has too many people, too much traffic, the beer is too expensive and the drains stink. It is however, simply amazing. I took 100s of photographs and I can find no way of even sensibly blogging, so see this as a ‘stream of conciousness’ about the place.

If you want to know what the place looks like get a guide book and go!

Our first day was a Sunday, so being a good, Catholic, European country everything was shut. So we had a wander. This is the Piazza Della Signoria.

It’s where Savonarola was burnt – so here is Fr. Rattue posed on the spot. Any resemblance to Kid Creloe is strictly coincidental.

As usual I was taken by the small details like this rather snarly wolf.

And this mournful little lion (lots of lions in Florence as it’s the town symbol).

When you tire of culture, there are always nice dogs to make friends with. Adam took this shot, as Iona and I were busy showing the waiter how macho we were/are by drinking GRANDE beers.

Florence is above all the city of David. Copies of Michaelangelo’s statue crop up everywhere.

A copy is in Piazza della Signoria whre the first staue stood. Here is detail of the posterior for Lorna!

And here is the boy himself – poised for action.

This is Cosimo I – making his own mark on the square (another shot by Adam).

I meanwhile became obcessed with door knockers. This one is splendid. Look how burnished her breasts are. I did a little bit of people watching and it seemed impossiple for any chap to go past without giving her a quick stroke!

This one is down right scary.

And this tortoise (holding up a window grille) looks rather tired!