Weekly Photo Challenge: Heritage

We live in a very rural part of France, where agriculture remains a crucial element of the local economy.

As most farms remain family businesses, they are typically much smaller than the vast agri-industrial enterprises to be found elsewhere. Modern methods are used, of course (nobody uses a pair of horses for tilling any more, apart from at the annual ploughing competition), but there is still plenty of heritage, in the sense of evidence of the way things used to be done.

In particular, there is the open-air museum of rural life at nearby Montrol-Sénard, which includes this barn, still containing old cattle byres. There were some just like these in our own barn when we bought it, but they were too far gone and disappeared during the restoration process.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Heritage

Weekly Photo Challenge: Earth

WordPress is marking Earth Day this coming Saturday by taking ‘Earth’ as the subject for this week’s Photo Challenge.

In the same spirit, I’m recycling – in this case, an image from a previous post. Admittedly, though, this also has a lot to do with the fact that I’m travelling this week and so don’t have access to my full photo collection.

This field is no more than a few hundred yards from my house in rural France. It rained quite heavily after the crop was harvested, highlighting the lines drawn by the farmer’s plough.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Earth

Thursday Doors: A Vendre

Something a little different this week…À vendre: For Sale.

Here in rural France there are innumerable properties, both residential and commercial, for sale. Many of these – perhaps even the majority – have been up for sale for many years. And they are, frankly, unsaleable.

When it comes to commercial properties – shops – the economic consequences of improved transport links and the spread of car ownership have left many rural communities with little more than the bare essentials available locally. In our village, for example, there is a boulangerie, a pharmacy, a ‘superette’ and – bizarrely – two hairdressers.

There are also plenty of empty shops optimistically displaying ‘À Vendre’ signs – as they have been for many years, to judge from the distinctly dated style of the shopfronts. Here are a couple of examples:

a-vendre-3

a-vendre-2

Of rather more architectural interest is this failed enterprise – hairdresser, parfumerie and purveyor of fishing supplies. Obviously, nothing worked:

Optimistic

Even large towns are proving incapable of supporting smaller local shops, as these two examples from Confolens illustrate:

 

Normal service will be resumed next week, with some reassuringly knackered doors from the cathedral city of Chartres.

Thursday Doors 29 March 2017

Weekly Photo Challenge: Atop

Take a ride in the glass lift that’s now inside the bell-tower of the church and you will find yourself atop the medieval town of Sarlat, in the Dordogne, with matchless views over the tops of the old buildings:

Weekly Photo Challenge: Atop

Thursday Doors: St Junien – decrepit

For the fourth and (I promise) final instalment of doors from St Junien I’ve saved – depending on your point of view – either the best or the worst ’til last. They’re certainly among the tattiest, and that’s fine by me.

Actually, this first one isn’t too bad:

cartevitale

but these next three; oh dear:

st-junien-3-copy

st-junien-2-copy

st-junien-copy-2

Lastly, a double helping of double doors. The second one looks like it’s tipping me the wink:

st-junien-copy

st-junien-4-copy

Thursday Doors 23 February 2017

Thursday Doors: More from Mezieres

Back in November I posted images of some of the doors and gates to be found in our local village of Mézières-sur-Issoire. Those two posts by no means exhausted the local possibilities, however, so here are some more from Mézières.

The local economy is still predominantly agriculture-based and the largest open space within the village is not the statutory place de la Republique, but the Marché des Ovins – the sheep market. These first three doors are to be found there:

mezieres-2

mezieres-4

mezieres-3

This barn is just down the road from the church; you can’t beat a door within a door:

mezieres-6

Although this one is obviously no longer still in use:

mezieres-5

And finally – just to prove that the village does still have such things – an occupied private house:

mezieres-15

Thursday Doors 12 January 2017

Thursday Doors: Tranquility Base

Over the past year or so I’ve posted a number of pictures of doors that are to be found in Tranquility Base, my working title for the little hamlet we live in. Thus you’ve seen Emily’s Henhouse and Bernard’s Barn, amongst others.

Now, I certainly don’t want to give the impression that everything in Tranquility Base is falling down, but here are a few more very local doors, beginning with front and side view of what may once have been a shed that belongs to  our nearest neighbour:

tbase-2

tbase7

Fortunately, this barn is in rather better condition:

tbase5-2

Although it’s a bit dodgier round the back:

tbase3

This one doesn’t see much traffic either:

tbase4

Nor do these doors, which many years ago would have served to keep the pigs shut in:

tbase

Thursday Doors 5 January 2017