Sunday, February 28, 2021

Sunday stained glass

I believe this window is in the logis royal (royal residence) at Loches. It's a symbol of the royalty, replete with a crown and the fleur de lys (lily flower), a favorite symbol of the French monarchy. There are also the letter C and the Roman numeral VII, standing for King Charles VII, who frequented the logis in the fifteenth century.

Original or reproduction? I don't know. Logis royal, Loches, May 2006.

I read in Wikipedia that Charles VII was the first French king to reside in the Loire Valley. He also spent significant time at the Château de Chinon and in the city of Bourges. The last French king to reside in logis at Loches was François I, who is well known for building the magnificent Loire Valley château at Chambord (which is the château you see in the banner photo at the top of this blog), about 100 km northeast of Loches.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Une lucarne

There is always a splash of color among the greys and browns of a French city. A bright red pot and some greenery on the sill of this lucarne (dormer window) give this scene a simple but effective punch.

A dormer window in a slate roof. Loches, June 2011.

We're back down to single digits (but above freezing) now that the clouds are gone. And the full moon lights the night.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Simple elegance

There's something quite inviting about these small urban spaces in French cities and towns. They're often not visible to passersby, tucked behind walls, in courtyards. But from up in the Cité royale above Loches, visitors can catch a glimpse of a few of these private spaces.

Access to the street, a respite from town. Loches, September 2003.

A little outdoor space in a crowded town is nice to have, especially if it's separated from the street. An oasis of calm, a little bit of nature, a place to putter around with flower pots. City dwellers seem to have a knack for making simple, seemingly left-over spaces like this beautiful.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Porte royale

This is a sideways view of the Porte royale (Royal Gate) that leads into the upper city at Loches. Only local traffic is allowed inside the gate (residents, workers) so visitors need to park outside and walk up. There are a couple of parking lots just outside the gate, as you can see, but most people have to park farther below.

Looking south toward the Porte royale, Loches, September 2003.

Our nice weather is expected to end after today with a cold and rainy system predicted for Friday. I did get out yesterday to trim the daisy patch. I use a hedge trimmer to cut the dead stems down, then I rake them up and take them to the compost pile. The new daisy plants are already starting to come up. Daffodils around the yard are on the verge of blooming and the forsythia is starting, too. I'll see how the rain affects all that.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

A taste of spring

Tuesday turned out to be a beautiful day after some morning overcast cleared away. Our neighbors from Blois were out (parents, children, grandchildren, and friends) working in their yard all day, mowing, weed whacking, trimming, raking, and who knows what else. I, on the other hand, got two things done: I cleaned up and mowed the oregano patch and pruned our eight grape vines. I could get more done if I had a small army to help. But it's still only February. We have a lot of time.

Fresh spring geraniums on a window ledge. Loches, May 2006.

Today may be the best day of our spring-like spell before it cools off and the rain comes back. I've got one or two more things I might tackle outside today. It feels good to be outdoors and starting the spring cleanup. It doesn't have to be all done at once. As they say in France, petit à petit, l'oiseau fait son nid (little by little, the bird builds its nest).

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Tasha Tuesday -- birthday edition

Today is Natasha's fourth birthday! Notice I used her full name. She was born in an "N" year and, according to French pedigree rules, her name had to begin with an "N." And so it does. In case you were wondering, 2021 is an "S" year. There was no "Q" year.

Tasha on "birthday eve," yesterday.

I wish I had gotten it together to get Tasha groomed, but it hasn't happened yet. So here she is in her scraggly splendor, a little unkempt around the edges, but still beautiful. And since we switched her back to her normal food, she's much more "regular." Thank goodness.

Happy birthday, Tasha! Extra biscuits today!

Monday, February 22, 2021

Laundry day

Sometimes you just have to take advantage of a dry, sunny spring day to get some chores done. Like hanging out the laundry. Or some of it.

Hanging out clothes also adds a little color to the city. Loches, May 2006.

We hang laundry outside during the nice weather in spring, summer, and fall. Otherwise, we hang it indoors or use the dryer. In winter, Ken likes to stretch certain items out on the radiators to dry, taking advantage of the heat to dry them and put some humidity into the air. I don't remember us hanging clothes out before we moved here. We always had and used dryers. I do remember my mother and grandmother using clotheslines when I was a kid. They had dryers, too, but they either liked how clothes dried outside or wanted to save the cost of running the dryer.