Sunday, June 26, 2016

Through the Market and Up the Bell Tower in Josselin

My excuse for a day out was having to post three paintings, all going to Peru. And I can't say I didn't think of Paddington Bear! Peru? Paddington Bear? You know his origins?

I was aiming to climb the I-don't-know-how-many-steps-up bell tower in Josselin, in time for them to clang the noon bells, and gaze out over the stunning landscape we live in.

To get to the post office on a Saturday morning in Josselin you have to walk through the market ... always a pleasure for me ... and I'm developing a delicious habit of buying a rotisseried chicken for dinner each time I go. They're reasonably priced and saves either of us having to cook on a Saturday night. Very sensible. This time, as I walked away with my treasure of hot chicken, I was tickled to be photo-bombed by a cheerful neighbouring stall holder ....

... lovely when someone takes the time to give you a giggle.
I caught him looking not as cheerful as he actually was though!

Some to-be-expected market scenes as I wandered down to the post office.

 With my strong aversion to heat on hot days I am often amazed
at the tenacity of these hot-food sellers. Fair play to him indeed.
The lady down the hill was selling paella and similar dishes
at €6.50 per container, so I assume this fellow has similar prices.

This is one lady who deserved every cent she made on Saturday
morning! She sells copy-cat perfume and can talk the speed of a jet!
Along with her jet-stream of sales chatter she was piling boxes of
perfume high, one upon the other - had it down to a real art! - and
I watched her sell no less than eight perfumes to a stunned and
wide-eyed mother and daughter unit. She had the perfumes in a bag
and their cheque in her hand faster than I could blink!

It wouldn't be a French market without an onion seller!

At the top of the hill, right in amongst the market stalls, is a sculptor
who has the best-placed shop front in the village. Right slap bang in
the middle of the market, at the top of the hill where folk usually
slow down to catch their breath. Lucky fellow. I'm jealous.

Finally I reached the big church in the centre of the village, 45 minutes before noon, and wandered around to the back where cerise pink roses and white hydrangeas adorn the entrance to the bell tower.

My ankles, knees and I had a little bolstering chat before I began the climb, and they agreed to behave if I agreed to take it slowly and not push them if they started yelling. We all got on just fine, not counting the steps so the weight of the increasing number didn't crush us right from the start. Hopefully Alan will count the steps when he visits the tower next Saturday for his turn!

I wasn't even that out of breath by the time I encountered bird droppings and nesting material on the steps, giving me the happy clue that I was near the top, after passing two signs saying "Bravo! You've climbed 100 steps!" and "Courage, you're halfway there!" (if my French is correct).

There were a couple of interesting landings on the way up, apart from windows looking out and giving you an idea as to how high you had managed to reach. Through locked wooden gates I espied statues-in-waiting ... do churches keep spares I wonder? (ha ha) ... clumped together in a corner like sad prisoners; and then further up a huge bell lurking behind a gate. Another spare?

The spare statues, probably awaiting renovation, are top right and the big bell, if you can make it out is bottom left. Here's another pic of the bell behind the gate ... can you see it? Hanging top left of the image.

Some Bell Tower shots of the near surroundings of Josselin.

I took loads of photographs so have tried to select just a few to
give you an idea of the town and its surroundings.
  A glimpse of a bend in the Nantes to Brest canal which runs through Josselin.
(Above and below)

 Josselin Chateau in all its glory. On a future day out I'll take a walk along
the canal, beneath the high walls of the chateau and give you a view
from that side too. It's really stunning.

 Looking down to the town centre - where some popular
restaurants are located of course!

A village view.

From my lofty perch I spotted a lady enjoying the summer blooms
from her garden ... thank you for the human touch, zoom lens!

 At the edge of the chateau grounds, as the houses of the town
begin, is a quaint church all squished in there.

The Mairie is the equivalent of our municipality ...
and these are our lovely Mairie offices.

La chateau from the bell tower

The noon bells struck and I was expecting to be blasted out of the tower ... but although exciting, vibrating through my body ... they weren't as loud as I had anticipated. Well, it, I think. There seems to be only one. If there hadn't been other folk in the tower with me, I would have done a "Titanic thing" and flung my arms out to feel the full force of the clanging ... but I'm a scaredy cat and was too shy! I settled for standing slap bang in the middle of the tower and grinning like an idiot.

 The tourist information office has recently taken up residence
in this newly-refurbished old building in the centre of town.

 Another lovely old building in the village.

 It's a shame this lovely old well (above and below)
has to have cars parked right up against it.

From Josselin I took the highway to Locemine to suss out a restaurant, where I have been invited to exhibit some paintings sometime soon. I should have taken my camera with me when I got out the car, but I was tired, so missed some good shots of a quaint village centre. Another time.

The rest of my day out was spent with Heather, my Australian artist pal who is just as crazy as I am, in her lovely garden of flowers. She and her son Preach are busy renovating some rambling old farm buildings and creating an absolute haven of peace.

And so we end on a note of beauty ......