Monday, 17 March 2008

Château Biron: 3rd time lucky


On our first visit the Château was supposed to be open but wasn't. On the 2nd visit we got our days mixed up: closed on Samedi. So we returned on Dimanche after our pizza outing in Monpazier. Finally, it was open, nothing like a bit of anticipation.

Château Biron boasts a XIIth-century dungeon, some renaissance apartments and plenty of interesting architecture ranging from the XIIth to the XVIth century. It also has a two-storey chapel, the top chapel was reserved for the gentry and the lower was for the peasants!

The site is at the top of a hill and has 360" views that are pretty impressive.

(This next section of the post is dedicated to Dr Greg Bisset)

It was very interesting: we learnt that even way back in the XIIth century they had chiropractors.

These early practitioners worked down in lower parts of the castles, I suppose that if you had a bad back you wouldn't want to be walking up too many stairs.

work bench
A good quality adjustment table takes centre stage in these ancient treatment rooms. You have to wonder just how many patients had been treated here all those years ago.

The chap who used to work down here certainly had lots of equipment. I did ask if anything was for sale but alias no, but don't worry Greg, I will keep looking.

backrackAbove is a photo of the "Stretch-o-Back": way back in the XIIth century this was the latest innovation in clinical traction and decompression therapy.
Waiting roomAnd here we have the patient's waiting room. Looks a wee bit cramped but they get lots of chance to stretch out after.

Anyway, back to our tour of the castle. While Château Biron isn't nearly as spectacular as Beynac it was still a damn good adventure. We were provided with a very detailed guidebook which was full of interesting facts and stories. This helped to bring the château to life. One example of this was outlining all the sleeping arrangements: the Lord's mistress slept in the attic tower, near the dodgy back staircase which seemed to have no other purpose than to connect to the main stateroom via the roof.

Here are a few photo's to give you a taste of our outing.

image Bironcoutyard don_chappel window seatJack View James Henry stairs


I have been getting slack: no posts for over a week. Anyway, talking to Mum today reminded me that she is checking on this site almost every day for news. Get blogging Don.

I have added a new link to the site which enables readers to get email updates of new posts, not sure how well this works yet. AND I am also working on a map, which will graphically link/show posts where the posts originate from.. it should help put things into perspective... but it is not ready yet. But Wait. If you call now you also get....

So what news:
After a few very full on weeks we have been cutting ourselves some slack. The focus this week has been getting the kids back into their school routine and catching up on some shopping essentials - more on that later. Ange has even been out for a few runs in the rain, I joined her for the first time today after the sun finally presented itself.

Last Wednesday was our first attempt at "Home School Wednesdays". While the kids are managing fine at Le Got, in the short term they will struggle with the language barrier and we need to ensure that they don't fall behind the NZ curriculum. I will expand on this concept in a separate post.

Weather was crap on Saturday so Dad decided to take the family on one of his "well planned" Sunday drives.. Anyway, by "well planned" I really mean navigation without the aid of maps. It was a very successful outing, although Ange may disagree with me on this point. The good bit was that we stumbled across two new castles and a few caves that we didn't know about.

Pizza at Monpazier was back on the menu last Sunday for lunch. Part blackmail and part treat, this outing is now locked in as a family favourite. Only disappointment was that the waiter only spoke English (how did he know? my French pronunciation is perfect!). After lunch we finally managed to see inside Château de Biron, 3rd time lucky....

Monday came around pretty quickly and after dropping the kids at school we headed to Périgueux, the préfecture (capital) of the Dordogne département. It was all about shopping, shopping and more shopping: the day is still a hazy blur in my memory. I was there, I think.

Over the last week, Jack and I have been planning and building a swing in one of the big trees in the back garden.. The initially concept called for a flying fox but this was always going to be a stretch. Anyway.. the swing finally went into commission just before dinner tonight - I am quite proud of this contraption and I am sure a picture or two will slip into a future post somewhere.

aAhh, I should mention we have three confirmed "bookings": Dr Hu, our NZ family doctor is due for a visit in May. Alex.J, the MAD Dutchman, is landing for a flying visit in early June. Jack's buddy, Matthew and family are spending a few days with us in July. My aunt in Dublin and my cousin are very keen but timing is TBC. I need to work on my mum but its a timing thing. I also need to give James and Ash another prod or two.