Saturday, March 5, 2011

Out Rambling Around . . .

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This afternoon I was given orders by my daughter that her immediate happiness depended on being driven quite some distance to a friend's house, so despite the rising gasoline prices of late, I obliged her, as it also gave me a good reason to get out and get some fresh, if somewhat freezing, air visiting some places that I hadn't seen before. Like the church in the village of Versigny.
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Where there was an odd sort of gargoyle with a jester's cap and a pointed nose . . .
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Stepping up close to the base of the tower gave another perspective, and a view of the dark underbelly of another gargoyle.
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The Chateau of Versigny was built back in the 1600's.
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A plaque at the entrance announced the role that it had played in World War One. I wasn't particularly looking for more WWI history sites today, but they were looking for me I guess.
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For the past few weeks I've been remiss, I'm guilty, I've missed a few episodes of Weekend Reflections over at James' place, so am diving back in with a little splash with this scene from the moat around the entrance to a lovely property at Droizelles, just up the road from Versigny.
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Looking the other way along the same stretch of water, another reflection. Weekend Reflections rocks !
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Though I searched the web I could not find any mention of what transpired at or near Droizelles on 9 September, 1914, at the start of the war, though one site had a list of the names 49 men of the 317th Infantery Regiment who died at Droizelles that day very early in the war. Ten of those men and their Captain are buried in the graveyard around the church.
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The broken plaque on Captain Paradis' tomb spoke in eloquent silence of how paradise was lost and "France" was cut in two. He was awarded the Legion of Honor.
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The church in Droizelles has one of the loveliest crucifixion sculptures I've ever come across.
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The textures of aging stone and lichens multiplied the character of the original carving toward the realm of the infinite. Rarely has a religiously oriented work of art moved me like this did.
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Passing through an out of the way and obscure village which we had no good reason to visit, other than that it was visible on the map, we were rewarded by a dream house just waiting for a lover of dream houses to drive by and notice her. What is not to love about this place ? The window pane on the left side of the door was missing, the gauze curtain was blowing in the wind.
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On the way home the sky caught fire . . .
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69 comments:

mythopolis said...

These are simply captivating photos. As for the historicity of it all, it is almost too much to much to wrap the brain around. (But, I try..) Thanks.

Lena said...

That Crucifixion is truly amazing! See? Being a cool parent, pays...
Great shots, Owen!
Warmest hugs!

ρομπερτ said...

young life, ancient one, you caught in the middle, one can only be thankful for your ability to connect both.
thoughtful images indeed. thank you for this exercise during the night.
always a safe road ahead and a good sunday for you all.

Inger-M said...

Thank you for this guided tour of the french countryside, so interesting, and accompanied by great photos! Love the two reflection pictures, the first one very pretty and the second one has great lines and texture. And the final one, the glorious sunset, stunning!
Thanks for your visit and comment on my blog :-)

...louciao... said...

Oh my goodness, there is so much to savour here; I feel like a glutton just gobbling it all down as fast as I can. Thank goodness for demanding daughters, for all the rich rewards they inadvertently bring! I will try to return to this table of visual delights when I have time to linger in the way of a genteel gourmet rather than a greedy gourmand. Meanwhile, I will just drink in that pepto bismol-coloured sky to counteract the glorious burning of my heart.
:-)

Owen said...

Lynne... LOL !

Margaret Pangert said...

Withstanding the test of time... well, it's not Hugo's Notre Dame, this is a fortress! Owen, these photos sre magnificent. That first gargoyle is great; I'm glad you pointed out the nose and cap, plus look at the magenta-colored mosaic wall next to it! The reflection of the chateau and bed of pink flowers is so gorgeous I think you should frame it! I love the patterns in the stream but don't see the reflection? The ancient crucifix is very moving with the upturned face beseeching God. I love the masonry work behind him, touches of pink here and there. The pink and red house is stunning, too. And here we are, at the end of the day, with the glorious burnt orange sunset! Bravo, Owen!

Lily Hydrangea said...

You are such a good dad! & I can see by your photos the trip paid off handsomely too.

Le Journal de Chrys said...

J'ai fait la balade avec toi ce matin.
Je me demande qui est le plus fêlé de nous deux!!!! Héhé.

J'aime la photo de la porte avec ses volets de guingois!!!!!

Bon dimanche Owen

pRiyA said...

Well thank goodness your daughter wanted to visit a friend. Do ramble around some more. My favourite pics are the second last picture with its myriad of textures created by peeling wood and crumbling wall and of course the last one where the sky catches fire.

Wick Daily Photo said...

Love the looking up at the gargoyle especially.

Mary Ann said...

It's seems just, in a cosmic kind of way, that by securing your daughter's happiness you found so much beauty. Thank you for sharing it.

Steve said...

A veritable visual treat as always, Owen. For those of us who cannot see as much of the world as we'd like (at the moment) your blog is a virtual cultural holiday...

Rambling Round said...

Stunning! What a lovely weekend you had to reflect upon.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

I feel as if I made the trip with you on a historical and religious tour of the countryside, a place unexplored and not yet sullied with refrigerator magnets for tourists.

Your photos are magnificent as always and I would be hard-pressed to select a favorite among the jester gargoyle protecting the stained glass window, the moat, the cemetery for brave soldiers, the dream house in ruin... You complete the scene with the unbelievable crucifix and a sunset that promises there will always be a tomorrow.

I wonder, if we are telling a story, if there is significance of the number "12." Bon dimanche.

Crafty Gardener said...

lovely water reflection photo

Stickup Artist said...

How awesome. My personal faves are the one looking up at the gargoyle, the close up of the stone crucifix, and the abandoned house. How wonderful that driving your daughter to visit a friend can yield such discoveries and these treasures. You easily have the makings of a few books hiding away in this blog!

James said...

What can I saw other than I really enjoyed these photos! A few of them were amazing! Excellent reflections.

p.s. I have no idea why they named it bulls Island. Perhaps it was once owned by a guy whose last or nickname was Bull or maybe a bull used to live on it? I'll let you know if I find out.:)

English Rider said...

The dream house looks in imminent danger of cascading down into a pile of rubble. Pretty reflections in the moat photo and great perspective upwards.

Pat Tillett said...

This is my favorite post today! (and I've seen many of them). So many great photos and stories to match. Thanks so much for the photo tour!
Patrick Tillett, Extremely Overdue

Dee Newman said...

Owen, I love this post. Great photos!

Céline said...

Encore une belle ballade avec en plus un magnifique ciel bleu. J'aime bien la gargouille vue d'en dessous, pespective étonnante qui ne la rend pas plus sympathique... Dis-moi, tu vas avoir beaucoup de travail avant d'habiter la maison de tes rêves... Si je peux me pemettre une demande : gardes bien le rideau et les volets de travers !!

Olga said...

I love this post and your photos very much. It is wonderful that you had a chance to take all these photos. Thank you for sharing…always enjoyed!

Marginalia said...

It's the bloody awful weather than does it- creates the stark, fearful beauty. Damp, cold, long winters and to think because of this seemingly inhospitable place hundreds of thousands of souls were ripped away. And so it was: Frighteningly inhospitable.

That broken inscription - rather too clever.

Owen said...

Hey Dan, I appreciate your trying, I'm trying too, and not always succeeding in wrapping the brain around some of these things, or wrapping some of these things around the brain... but the images remain, and if they have the power to captivate, then in some small way, this is good.

Owen said...

Hi Lena, I think Kurt Vonnegut is credited with having said at one point something to the effect that "Invitations to travel are dancing lessons from God". I tend to agree with him, and rarely pass up the opportunity to go see somewhere I haven't been before. In the French countryside one is rarely disappointed, if one goes dancing with open eyes and open heart. Ok, being a cool parent helps, but then again, these were orders...
:-)

Owen said...

Ah, Robert, we will try to keep the nocturnal exercises coming, to keep you on your toes. You also inhabit a place where the ancient history rubs up against the young in surprising ways. I wonder what the gods of Greece long ago would say about our current challenges, the immigration issues, the economy... what myths are we creating today that will be handed down to our childrens' childrens' children ?

Owen said...

Inger, thanks so much for stopping by, I'm very happy if you enjoyed some of these. James' Reflections is a good place to meet fellow photographers. And you're very welcome, I enjoy getting out when I can and looking around the blogosphere, which is an infinite world of many dimensions and full of surprises.

Owen said...

Lynne, may your gluttonously greedy heart keep burning forever, with words like those, you can only contribute to inspiring me to continue to post photos to satisfy your appetite, no matter if you are in glutton mood or more for gourmandise on any given day.

I didn't realize that Pepto-Bismol came in such colors ?!? Don't have any of the stuff here...

Anyway, come back often, back to the banquet table, the feast will go on...

Just don't forget to bring a bottle or two...
:-)

Owen said...

Hi Margaret, I can see you stopped to linger on each of these, I'm happy then if you enjoyed them...

In the second reflection photo, the bars of the grill across the stream go down into the water in the middle, and into the stonework that goes part way across from each side. Below that is reflection, where the bars start to get squiggly...

Owen said...

Lily, a very worthwhile trip... it is unwise to refuse such opportunities... thanks for dropping in here.
:-)

Owen said...

Bonjour Chrys ! J'étais bien content de ta compagnie ce matin, et content que tu avais remis ton sourire à la place de... de... du coté légèrement félé de l'autre jour... tu ne serais pas un peu Dr. Chrys and Mrs. Hyde ? Non, je suis sûr que non.

Et "Guingois" ! J'avoue, il fallait que je sorte le dictionnaire pour "guingois", mais bien content d'apprendre un nouveau mot... un joli mot pas très utilisé je pense. C'est bien de faire vivre des mots... En tout cas, oui, ces volets étaient bien guingois, les pauvres. Et je ne les toucherais pas. Ils sont parfaits comme ça.

Bonne semaine à toi...

Owen said...

Hi Priya, guess I'll keep on rambling around just as long as I am able... hopefully a little longer still... Glad you like the dream house. The sunset was just all natural eye candy.
:-)

Owen said...

Hi Wick, well, when looking up at gargoyles from below, one must beware the gargoyle droppings, but it can otherwise be quite rewarding. Thanks for stopping by !

Owen said...

Hi Mary Ann, I'm a firm believer in the subtle ways of cosmic justice...

Owen said...

Ah Steve, good sir, your kindness is only exceeded by your rapier sharp writing skills. One day, if it is your desire, I hope you will be able to travel at will. As your vicarious virtual cultural servant, I can only hope to continue to whet your appetite until that day comes...

Owen said...

Dear Rambling, well I guess this post was perfectly titled for you ! Ramble on !

Owen said...

Hi Genie, we are fortunate, there are very few refrigerator magnets in these parts, just old stones piled up into churches, chateaux, and calvaires... I have a hard time going by old stone piles without stopping for a closer look... Glad you enjoyed the tour...

Owen said...

Hi Crafty, thanks !

Owen said...

Hi Stickup, well, just don't try looking up from under the gargoyles when it's raining... they tend to pee quite copiously.

Otherwise, just waiting for some crafty editor to come along and discover all the hidden treasures here. I've been busy burying them, like a squirrel...

Happy hunting to you...

Owen said...

Hi James, Many thanks ! Don't know how you manage to do everything you do... and get out to shoot...

Owen said...

Hi ER ! Well I wouldn't want to be standing anywhere near the dream house there when an earthquake hit. I did peek in the front door, someone had braced up the first floor with one of those big metal tubular adjustable pillars. Staving off imminent disaster no doubt... A real fixer-upper, this place, or as you once quipped, maybe a burner-downer.

Owen said...

Hey Pat, A million thanks for that kind word !

Owen said...

Hey Dee, many thanks !

Owen said...

Chère Céline, si tu cliques le lien "dream house" en bas à droit dans la liste des sujets indexés, tu verras que je suis assez friand de telles maisons... un peu de travail pour rendre une âme à ces vieilles maisons, avant qu'elles ne rendent la leur vaudrait la peine, non ? Bon, peut-être certaines sont au delà de toute espérance, mais bon, on peut rever un peu... Et oui, pour le rideau et les volets guingois, je les garderai tels quels... ils sont parfaits comme ça.
:-)

Owen said...

Olga, a giant thank you... !

Owen said...

Hello Marginalia, you are quite right, it is amazing how, even as far back as in Julius Ceasar's time, people were fighting for these lands, where months and months of inhospitable weather reign through the winter. And the mud... let's not forget the mud those hundreds of thousands of souls lived in.

I would like to know how that inscription got broken down the middle like that...

Nevine said...

Oh, Owen! What can I say but this: We are ever so lucky that you have lovely daughters who make demands of you that require you to go out and then take such poetic images. Ouf! That door! You knew I was going to say something about that door!!! And the liquid fire in that sky.

I just came home from doing a midterm... and I chose to come here and chill for a few...

Thank you for the "chilling" experience. It was lovely! ;-)

Nevine

Looking for Siddhartha said...

The church and the really different amazing old cross (the face of Jesus so expressive - sympathetic and compassionate)are so beautiful!
The ancient house is mysterious.
But my favourite photo is your first "reflexion". It is like a picture of paradise!
I enjoy it all!

Have a nice day, dear Owen!

Renée

Maria O. Russell said...

I like your photos very much, M. Owen! Especially that one of the delicious old house at # 12.
Of course you would take your daughters anywhere they want to! Just by reading your older posts,I can tell you're a great dad.

Marginalia said...

Owen, I think it never was broken. It was made in two parts. The broken ends don't match. the screws also look suspiciously modern!

Jimmy said...

If you like browsing auld churches, why not pop over and visit my wee hoose next time you cross the water? You'll be very welcome.

Owen said...

Dear Nevine, so glad you could chill out here for a little while after all that studying... Nothing like a charming dream house to set the mind a'wandering. And it is nigh on impossible for me to refuse my daughters anything that is within my power of giving, within reason...

Be well, am looking forward to the day when we can write, "Dear Doctor Nevine"...

Owen said...

Tag Renée, There was something wonderfully quiet about the stone face up on that cross, nothing tormented about it, like so many crucifixion scenes. One could feel the peace radiating out from it...

Thanks so much for wading into this little corner of paradise then...
:-)

All good things to you...

Owen said...

Maria, thank you ever so much, you are very kind indeed...

Owen said...

Marginalia, that's an interesting thought, I did notice the screws too, but the edges do line up actually quite well, it's just missing a small piece at the top... hard to say what might have happened there...

Owen said...

Jimmy !
Where have ye been, good sir ??? No, you don't have to answer that, let's just say I'm happy, well, thoroughly pleased, to see you out and about ! I'll raise a heavy pint to your health...

There are few things I like better than visiting old churches, auld houses, ancient factories, rusting boats and half sunk ships, graveyards, all sorts of things, and would love to get back to Glasgow one day before too long. Was there quite a while back, but much too fast, was only passing through on the way to Loch Lomond, spent more time in Edinburgh...

But with pleasure, with pleasure would return there, just need a bit of time and thruppence or two...

Joanna said...

What a lovely journey you've taken me on today. Thanks so much.

Alberto Oliver said...

Hi Owen.
Thanks. Big bundles of hope received. Wanted to say hello to a great friend of mine. Yes, there is still a light in the window, I hope soon the whole house to be iluminated as well, like in the old times. Nothing last forever, not even the bad times. One day at a time, yes, that is how the big story of our lives is built.
Keep well dear friend and, you know, I always wish you the best.

Roxana said...

your girls are so blessed to have such a great papa to take care of their 'immediate happiness' :-)

i loved the reflections most, oh and the colours are nectar for my winter-parched soul :-)

Owen said...

Joanna, you are very, very welcome !

Owen said...

Hey Alberto, great to see you out and about. Spring is coming... Spring and long days and Summer sun... all good for the heart...

Owen said...

Roxana, oh parched one, drink deep, drink deep, quench your thirst, plenty of water in the moat there, plenty more colors to come soon... be well !
:-)

Cryingbear said...

j'adore la photo vue d'en bas, avec cette belle perspective!
et ce coucher de soleil..wow, le ciel est en feu!

...louciao... said...

Bring a bottle or two? Of Pepto-Bismol?

Pastelle said...

Merci de nous emmener dans tes promenades, en images et en mots, c'est toujours un immense plaisir.
Merci aussi à ta fille donc. :)

Peter said...

Fascinating!! .. as usual!

I was the neighbour of General Mangin's son for some ten years and as we both had dogs we made a lot of late evening walks together. Now, Mr. Mangin and the dogs are all gone!

Amy said...

That looks like some quality rambling. I need to push myself out of the house to do the same soon.

The images are all lovely, but the lines and patterns in the third image especially caught my attention. It's a dizzying view.

Oakland Daily Photo said...

I'm in awe of photo #3. I love shots that straddle the representational and the abstract.