It’s been a very busy couple of days, and that’s a limited excuse for not keeping up with posts, but Life does get in the way.
First Up: This will be our last post for the next 4 months as we return to New Zealand. We’ve got the opportunity to return and sort out some family things that are overdue, and which require us to be there. We’ll be flying to Auckland next Thursday, and, with a bit of luck, we’ll be back in Europe and on the road in the first week in March.
Second: Niki’s had interviews with two schools and, clever girl, got offers from both. As a result we’ll be off to Angola in the new school year, July. That gives us a fixed window to work with … Morocco is still on the cards! Because of the multiple interview schedule we’ve slowed down this past week in order to have Niki focus on these rather than on navigation. We would not have like the resetting of our GPS to reflect schools rather than campsites.
Third: We’ve had a great few days on what was essentially a detour round to St Malo while we made travel arrangements etc. What a great detour it’s been. Mont St Michel was great, St Malo was as enjoyable as before, and, as we’ve skipped toll roads, the drive today has taken us along some secondary roads that really allow you to capture the sense of countryside.
We are currently parked on a forestry road on the way to Versailles. While driving, and a bit spur-of-the-moment, we stopped in Domfront (another town I bet Marthe-Sophie has not visited). Delightful, and provided some context for a book I’m currently reading, The Forge of Christendom by Tom Holland. He writes of the terror spread in the 10th C as the power of the Frankish kings diminished and the centre could not hold. The consequence was that anyone bloodthirsty and wealthy enough built, very rapidly, a small fortification (motte or donjon), staffed it with armoured thugs, then raped, pillaged and extorted the countryside. Doing this successfully meant more money, more armoured thugs (cnights, or knights) etc in a cycle of brutality. The conclusion of the process was an overlord class supported by church and legal system, and a pauper, serf class, herded into villages like pork ready for the slaughter. Looking at the fortified buildings of the chateau, and following its construction history, from wooden fortification to stone, to walls capable of withstanding the new gunpowder technology, one should be cognisant of the terror instilled in the local population, whose history will never, unfortunately, be told.
The Chapel of Saint-Julian was completely unexpected. Built in 1924 in Byzantine style, the church works. The church structure is supported by large semi-circular concrete arches and, lacking supporting columns, creates a great sense of space and proportion. Even the mural of Christ in the rounded nave is in keeping with the theme, even though created in 1928 – hmmm, a lesson for some would-be restorers or innovators, such as my mural friend in Denmark.
Tomorrow we are off to Versailles, but I’m unsure if I’ll be posting from after today. If not – well, hope to see you back in March. For us, 4 months has flown by and we are nowhere close to feeling like we want this to end …
Enjoy NZ. Congrats to Niki on the position.
Am going to miss my daily dose from Europe. Hope that NZ will be warm and restful and filled with valuable family time. Travel safely and enjoy a special southern hemisphere Christmas and New Year. Lloyd
Happy New Year, Richard and Niki! All the best on your continued adventure😉😘
Lovely to hear from you Ems – drop us a line and let us know how you & the family are getting on?