Monday, August 27, 2007

Part Two: Angers

Next stop: Angers. Seat of the Dukes of Anjou, who once ruled an Empire stretching from the Pyrenees to the Scots border. So this place was once English. Or more accurately, England was once Angevin.

Waiting for the appointed hour of the secret meeting with our contact, we thought we'd check out the castle to kill some time.

Those trees are a medieval security risk, attractive though they may be. As they are as high as the walls, a besieging army could put them to good use. I tried telling them, but nobody was interested.

They say the moat never had any water in it. Never much saw the point of a moat that you couldn't have a swim in during the summer.

Ah, this appears to be the way in.

On top of the ramparts, and unbelievably, they've planted a vinyard up there. Got their priorities right, these French fellows. Those guards manning the walls have to drink something.

Sickly made me take this picture from the walls. He was certain that we were being followed by Hulk Hogan, and wanted to examine the evidence later. Everyone knows the Hulkster works for the CIA, and he had probably been sent to queer our pitch, and ensure the mission was a failure. The USA and Napoleonic France are sort of on the same side, after all.

We also kept seeing what we thought was the same Italian camper van following us through France, and became convinced it was a Special Rendition team ready to leap out, put sacks over our heads and whisk us off to God-Knows-Where.

Do you think we're getting a little paranoid?

Angers cathedral, as seen from the ramparts. Don't you find two spires a little extravagant, even by Catholic standards?

What the Angevins put in their moats instead of water or spikes. A lovely garden. Right. Fine. That's why Anjou is now part of France rather than England. I tried to tell them, but would they listen?

Another lovely garden. This one, like the vinyard, is up on top of the walls. Nice to be in pleasant surroundings while you're being horribly killed by a trebuchet-launched flying-diseased-cow, I always find.

One spire. That's more like it. Or do those two little ones count?

Yet another lovely garden.

Originally the walls looked this this (it's only a model).

But then when cannons came along, some bright spark lopped the top off so guns could be placed up there..

The chapel.

God in his Heaven, clutching a hand grenade and looking a little the worse for wear. I'd put that down to the Reformation, the Age of Reason, Darwinism and the general trend towards a more secular society. But don't worry, old chap. What with the recent rise of religious nutbaggism in both the Eastern and Western hemispheres, you'll soon be back on your feet and as right as rain.

A somewhat violent tapestry depicting some good old-fashioned cruelty to animals.

Speaking of tapestries, Angers castle is home to La Tapisserie de l'Apocalypse, a rather splendid piece of knitwear depicting all the weird shit that happens at the end of the Bible. Regular followers of this blog (or at least the TMP topic relating to it) may recall that when we visited Bayeux, Sickly hated the tapestry there with a passion, got first bored, and then into a foul mood.

Well his reaction to the Apocalypse Tapestry couldn't have been more different. He loved it. Must be something to do with all the many-headed monsters, dragon-slayings, Angels flying about and whatnot. He is much more into Fantasy than Historical gaming, after all.

Didn't take any pictures of it. Either we weren't allowed, or I couldn't be bothered to. Can't remember. Anyway, I've found you a nice website with lots of pics of it, if you're interested:

There was no sign of our contact. He was supposed to meet us in this garden. Hulk Hogan had succeeded in disrupting our mission and had scared him off. We'd have to try again at the next rendevous point.

So we gave Hogan the slip, and crept away through this side gate. On to our next stop...

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