Monday, May 18, 2009

When I was starting to think that summer was just around the corner, the weather has made an about turn and the past few days have been cold, windy and wet! As it is almost the end of spring I can understand why Brittany is said to have a climate similar to England!
As the weather was miserable we decided not to travel too far to a weekend market as most of them are held in the open air and we did not fancy wandering around in the rain. There was a market in Pontivy which seemed the best prospect as it is just down the road and I know my way around there quite well now. The market was held in the Palais de Congres which sounds grand but is just a modern building used for exhibitions, palais can be translated to mean a palace or 'palate'. On offer were the usual used clothing/toys and some antiques. What did catch my eye were two very beautiful framed pencil sketches of zebras. When I enquired of the stallholder in my best French the price she said "are you English?" So much for my French conversation. She was actually English and the sketches were her artwork. My interest obviously surprised her until I said that I had lived most of my life in Africa. I regretfully decided that I was starting to acquire too much stuff so left without the pictures. I did find some amazing beaded necklaces which I had to have as I have plans to recycle the beads.
The hall was very small and the spacing between the rows of tables extremely narrow. After doing shows in England where they are so strict about fire exits etc this was quite surprising. We wandered across the road to have a good look at the Chateau de Rohan which is literally right in the centre of Pontivy. A beautiful building which is apparently privately owned by the Rohan family and is in the process of being restored, an enormous task I think.
We then took the path less travelled in the direction of Mur-de-Bretagne (translated as Wall of Brittany). This is a fascinating town with lots of lovely old buildings. My best discovery was a beautiful old stone church in a rather sad state of repair. From a stone set into the main wall it is dated 1694, unfortunately the Latin inscription is too worn to read. The church does not seem to be used as a place of worship and some of the glass windows are broken. To feed my soul I found the most ancient oak trees in the churchyard. Enormous trees which have been cut back over the years but I am sure are as old as the Church. Just laying my hand against the trunk of one of these trees gave me a sense of peace and tranquility, the energy was so strong. My apologies to some of you but my friends understand my Celtic background and my odd feelings towards trees! This picture does not do this tree any justice as it is so big I had to cross over the road to try and take a good photograph. The walls are the entrance to the church. One of the walls has actually been built around an enormous tree trunk.

This part of Brittany is very old and there are megaliths and menhirs to explore in the next few months. I had to research to find out more and discovered that megaliths are usually tombs whilst menhirs are standing stones which are thought to have an astronomical function as a marker or foresight and complex alignments of such stones can be found in Carnac, Brittany.
The other thing which I find fascinating is the number of wayside crosses which I have spotted in so many places whilst driving around Brittany. These crosses date from approx 1200 to 1700, one of my photographed crosses dates from 1736. On doing some research I found an extract from a book on Irish Art which indicates that very little research and no complete surveys of the crosses in Europe has been attempted. They are usually carved from local stone and can be quite simple or more ornate with carved faces and small figures. I have seen simple crosses of wood which might not be quite as old. The reason for erecting crosses in Europe was very diverse. Some were set up in towns and the countryside to mark the burial of plague victims, whilst others were erected from protection against demons, witches and devils! I found all this information in an extract from a book called 'Ireland Coming' by Colum Hourihane.
Apologies to readers of my blog I did not intend to make this a history lesson.
Finally on my way home I saw two horses with foals in a field. Young animals always fascinate me and I took a series of wonderful pics, here is just one of them:
The sideways mouth is the foal munching on some grass! As I took over 80 photographs on Sunday I will have to create another album for viewing. This will take a few days as I should be working but there are some interesting pictures to share.
I have several stitched bears which need faces. I have also made some crochet flowers using the wool scraps I bought at one of my flea market visits. Will take some pictures soon for the blog.
Have a great week

A little faith will bring your soul to heaven, but a lot of faith will bring heaven to your soul. ~Author Unknown

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