Posts Tagged ‘walks’

Yet another walk

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

but no photos this time… I’d set up a little photo of my bag, drink, biscuit and map, a sort of “this is where I had my “drink-and-a-biscuit” pause” shot and then discovered the battery in the camera needed charging! Pooh! Especially as there was a lovely view of (the bottom of) Puy de Dome. The slopes were covered in a sprinkling of snow (SNOW! she shrieks in disgust. Two weeks ago I was too hot in short sleeves and now we have snow again. Grrrr!) and the top was hidden in cloud. Never mind, you’ll just have to imagine it.

It was a pleasant walk, quite short, only about 2.5 km, but through the woods above Royat. There was a golf course to one side and “Charade Aventure” to the other. In fact at one stage, not realising that I had strayed into Charade Aventure territory, I was rather confused by hearing voices coming from directly overhead! The views were lovely, both over the city and out towards the mountains.

I’ll have to do a walk around here on Thursday – I’m cancelling my one lesson as it’s only for 1.5 hours. At the rate I get paid, it actually costs me more money (petrol, motorway tolls) to get to the lesson than I get paid for teaching it!! I think this month is going to be a bit lean on the salary front – two weeks off collège for the holidays, people taking holiday from work because of the school holidays, plus one or two being cancelled for other reasons. Oh well, I shall simply enjoy having time for myself to catch up on things I need to do, and things I want to do.

One of those things is “serviettage”, which I have recently discovered… Using a pre-made wooden box/frame etc, and paper serviettes (with pictures/motifs) or rice paper and Marvin Medium glue, you cover them to make delightfully (I think) rustic looking things.

Here are photos of the 3 things I’ve made so far: I particularly like the fish box, as instead of sticking the paper randomly I cut out scale shapes and stuck them in rows. If you like them and would like me to make something similar for you, let me know (am I allowed to advertise? Sorry in advance if not!)

Picture frame in purples - rather funky, I think!

This is my first attempt, using serviettes. I'm really rather pleased with it.

Here's the inside of the "apple box"

This is my favourite so far - a fish box

The fish box open

So – what do you think?!

The Real Asterix the Gaul

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

This Thursday’s walk was on the plateau of Gergovie to the south of Clermont Ferrand. It is, as the name suggests, a plateau 744m high, above Clermont. Very flat. Here is the web page showing the plateau from the air. It is where, in 52 BC, Vercingétorix led the Gauls to a famous victory against the Romans

Five days later Caesar reached Gergovia and, realising its mountainous location made a frontal assault risky, relied on his superior siege tactics. He ordered a double trench, 12 feet wide, to be constructed between a captured hill and his main camp. Intending to completely encircle Gergovia and starve the Gauls inside, Caesar was interrupted by betrayal from his Gallic allies the Aedui, led by Litaviccus whom he fought and defeated after a desperate struggle.

Caesar then went back to Gergovia and realised that his siege would fail. His only chance now of victory was to get Vercingetorix off the high ground. He used a legion as a decoy and moved onto better ground, capturing three Gallic camps in the process. He then ordered a general retreat to fool Vercingetorix and pull him off the high ground. However, the retreat was not heard by most of Caesar’s force. Instead, spurred on by the ease with which they captured the camps, they pressed on toward the town and mounted a direct assault on it. The noise of the assault drew Vercingetorix back into the town. 46 centurions and 700 legionaries died in the resulting engagement, and over 6,000 were wounded on the Roman side, compared to the several hundred Gauls killed and wounded. In the wake of the battle, Caesar lifted his siege and advanced instead into Aedui territory.

Thanks to Wikipedia for this. I hope I don’t get done for copyright…

I believe that Vercingetorix was the inspiration for Asterix, although I may just be making this up…

Anyway, the walk was lovely. I started off walking in the woods which were obviously used for mountain biking and off roading, as there were several tracks. I followed them, fairly randomly, leaving boy scout twiggy arrows in case I had to retrace my steps. I didn’t though, and fortuitously (as my sense of direction is rubbish) emerged from the trees very close to the car. I ate my lunch, perched on a log, in the midst of the trees, surrounded by birds singing. The only ones I recognised were cuckoos and wood pigeons, but there were lots of others too.

Then I went on to the end of the plateau where Vercingetorix and his crew hung out. There are views all round – including, bien sur, the obligatory view of Puy de DomePuy de Dome.

I followed a path which took me along the edge of the plateau, and seemed to be somehow part of the route to Santiago de Compostella, judging by the little placards on some of the trees.

Sorry it's another lie-on-your-side photo!

I’m not quite sure why the route would take you onto the plateau – it seems to me that there’s one way on and the same way off, but maybe the path climbs the rather steep sides of the plateau and then heads off towards le Puy en Velay and thence on to Santiago.

Some of the other photos I took didn’t come out too well. I will take them again when I go up for another walk some other time. memorialThis one isn’t good, but I wanted to include it. I wonder why there was a Groupe Gergovie from the University of Strasbourg (nowhere near Clermont Ferrand) during the war. I’m guessing it was a Resistance group, although the website I linked to mentions “fouilles” which translates as “excavations” – but would students still be doing archaeological excavations during the war? And also the names carved on the stone, some of which you can see, all mention how the students died.

It appears, as far as I can understand from scanning sites in French, that  Vercingetorix, with his heroic stand against the Romans, became a bit of a symbol during the War, and there was indeed an incident/battle/call it what you will that occurred around Gergovie. As archaeology students from Strasbourg had been working there before the war, maybe they felt some kinship to the place – or maybe it was the fact that it was here that Vercingetorix made his stand that was the attraction. Maybe I’ll visit the Museum of the Resistance in Clermont one day and see if I can find anything more out.

At the risk of sounding I’m-not-sure-what (patronising?) I find that I want to explore more about the history of every day people during the invasion of France by the Nazis . I think because it really makes me wonder what I would have done, how I would have behaved. Here in St Just there is a direct link to my musings. Scroll down to 20th Century on this page (site created by Mr D) to see why. Maybe one day I’ll use it all in a novel… 😉