Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Old books

This is an old book shop in the historic center of Loches. I think the adjective "old" refers to the books, not the shop. Clearly, the books look old. And the store is called La Mémoire du Temps (Memory of Time). I don't know what Le Crucalire means, although lire means "to read." The rest of it is beyond me. Maybe some of you know. UPDATE! Ken figured it out. It's not a "c" but a "t." So it's Le Trucalire, or le truc à lire... something to read. D'oh!

What was once a door is now part of the display window in the book shop.

You may remember that we were in Loches last week for lunch, especially if you read Ken's blog. We arrived a little early to be sure we could park the car and get to our rendez-vous on time. So we had a few minutes to walk around the old center of town. We haven't been to Loches in a while, especially in the lower town. The big attraction is the old medieval town on the heights, with it's fortified donjon, renaissance château, and historic church. But the lower town is just as impressive, even if it's got a fair share of cute shops geared to us tourists. They also have a very nice street market twice a week.

Monday, September 22, 2014

End of summer sunrise

Today is the last day of summer for the year. The equinox occurs in the wee hours on Tuesday morning and we will officially be in autumn. The weather seems to concur as the forecast for the week includes lower highs and lower lows. The grape harvest is getting under way and the hunting season is beginning. I've noticed leaves dropping at an increasing rate, although it will still be a while before the trees are bare.

That bright narrow streak in the sky is the contrail of a jetliner heading south.

Our firewood has still not been delivered. I should be using dry days to saw logs, but I can't if they're not here. The wood was promised, so it will get here eventually, I'm sure. There's no shortage of outdoor work to do in the meantime.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


Acorns are falling under the oaks now. I can tell because they crunch under foot. And Callie likes to eat one or two when we walk through a patch.

What a couple of nuts! They're just about ready to fall to the ground.

A thunderstorm rumbled by south of us last evening. We got a little rain, but not much. Callie got jumpy when the closest bolt lit up the windows and rattled the roof. That was the worst of it, thankfully.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The bloom is off the rose

Almost. They're still blooming, and probably will through November. But somehow they look different from summer roses. For one thing, the flowers don't seem to last as long with the petals falling off very quickly this time of year. Then, wind and rain take their toll.

End of summer roses in a neighbor's garden. They're still pretty.

We drove through a doozy of a thunderstorm yesterday on our way to lunch with friends in Loches, a town about forty minutes south of us. We could see the dark clouds and crisp lightning bolts ahead of us as we drove, then it began to rain very hard and the car was pelted with small hail stones. It lasted less than ten minutes and the skies turned blue again. We were a little frazzled, but lunch (delicious!) calmed our nerves. The wine helped, too.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Harvest time

I've noticed in the last two days that there is some hand-harvesting going on in select parcels of the vineyards. It's that time of year. I ran into the mayor yesterday and she told me that the machine harvesting will begin today. So, for the next couple of weeks, we will hear the familiar hum of the harvesters as they gather this year's grapes. Let's hope it's a good year!

More sauvignon blanc, just about ripe for the picking.

She also mentioned that there will be a fox hunt out back again this Sunday. All that means for me is that I have to get out with Callie early in the morning to avoid getting tangled up with the hounds and the guys with guns. General small game hunting starts up next weekend, but they only hunt on Sundays, and don't start until nine in the morning, so it's not at all an inconvenience for us.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Throwback Thursday

I'm starting to run low on old photos for this weekly meme. At least on photos that I'm willing to post here. For today, here's one from 1961. I was close to being two years old. It's a studio portrait, but in black and white, although color photography did exist by then. Maybe my parents were nostalgic for the good old days, you know, before Dorothy landed in Oz. At least it's a photo; I would never have been able to hold that pose for a painter.

Baby's first bow-tie. And suspenders.

If I remember correctly, the large framed (yes, really) version of this photo was colorized. Before Ted Turner did it to movies, they used to do it to photographs. I don't know where that version is, but it must be somewhere. This one is wallet-sized. I suppose that now-a-days not many people carry actual paper photos in their wallets. All the pictures they could want can be stored on their mobile phones.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fleur de lys

Many older unreinforced masonry buildings are retrofitted with tie rods to counteract the lateral forces that tend to push their walls apart. Anchor plates on the outsides of opposing walls are connected by a steel rod that runs through the building. The vast majority of anchor plates I've seen are made in the form of an "X", but I've also seen them with a little more flourish. As they're normally visible on a building's exterior, they can add a decorative touch, like this one that I spotted in Ligueil a couple of weeks ago.

This anchor plate is in the form of the fleur de lys, one of the more recognizable icons of France.