Tag Archives: #AngelaWren

…Authoress, Angela Wren invites yeez aboard for a picturesque wend through the French canals…

…some Guest Blog Posts just have a way of truly ‘transporting’ yeez to another place and another time… here’s a delightful piece from my dear friend, Authoress, Angela Wren, whose own blog kicks off a new series of posts beginning today, May 17th and is all about Robert Louis Stevenson and his travels in France…

AEWBlackWhite

 

A Wooden Train to Paris

I have a dilemma to resolve. I’ve been poring over my maps of France for the past three or four weeks now, trying to decide where next to explore. I could re-travel old routes taken before and relive previous adventures or I could try something completely new. That’s my dilemma.

Robert Louis Stevenson has taken me through the Cévennes on a number of occasions and his first published book, An Inland Voyage, has made me think about taking the rivers and canals in northeast France to follow in his sway. But I have a niggling problem with that idea.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Having read Terry Darlington’s book, Narrow Dog to Carcassonne, I’m very much aware that it is possible to navigate a canal barge from the north coast of France through the inter-connecting system of waterways down to the Mediterranean coast. I also realise, from my own wanderings in France, that the waterways within the country were very important in the past and remain so even now.

If you think about it long enough you will realise that, of the 90 plus départements into which the country is divided, around two thirds of them are named after rivers. Along with these rivers there is a system of canals and locks, some of them pre-dating our own once heavily used canal system. So, as I gaze at my maps, I am drawn to an exploration of the waterway that stretches from the Morvan to the heart of Paris. From as early as the 16th century the Morvan was supplying the ovens of Paris with wood through a linking system of rivers and canals – the Nivernais being part of the route.

Nivernais

A favourite haunt of mine, Clamecy (Nièvre), was a major point on the route.

The town sits on the fast flowing river Yonne and everywhere you look in the old town there are reminders of that ancient trade. In the museum there is a large room dedicated to the Flotteurs – the raftsmen, women and children who worked the river and ‘les trains de bois’. The tools they used are on display along with a detailed explanation of their work and their lives. Old faded photographs show these people at work and at play. The trade continued until 1880 when the last ‘train de bois’ made its way to Paris.

So my journey would have to start in the forests of the Morvan. Here the trees were felled and logged – made into ‘bûches’ just over a meter in length and marked to show ownership. The logs were then floated down the river and along its course were families who waited and tended the cargo, making sure no logs were trapped by pushing them back into the mainstream. I feel sure some must have been missed though!

Once at a navigable point in the river, teams of men spliced the logs together to make rafts about 36 metres in length. These rafts were then sailed along the waterways – the river Yonne, being one – and the canals. As they neared Paris and the river widened, the rafts were connected together making vast floating wooden platforms, 72 metres long. Each raft was managed and driven into the heart of the city by only a couple of men and perhaps one of their sons. Some task, I think.

It would take about 10 to 15 days to reach the city and then the men and boys who had sailed ‘les trains’ would walk the 200K back to Clamecy.

ClamecyThe year’s work done there would be a great celebration when the men returned to their hometown. How I would have liked to have been at that party!

So my dilemma and my niggling little problem. Do I take to the road and the Cévennes or do I sail? And if I sail, which route to choose? The niggle is that I can barely swim to save my life. I achieved my swimming proficiency certificate at the age of seven and I haven’t been to a swimming pool since!   I don’t do beaches either, just in case you were wondering. I suppose it will be terra firma for me then.

And the slight mistranslation? Yes I know, but ‘A Wooden Train to Paris’ sounds so much more romantic and intriguing!

Author Bio

Having followed a career in Project and Business Change Management, I now work as an Actor and Director at a local theatre. I’ve been writing, in a serious way, since 2010. My work in project management has always involved drafting, so writing, in its various forms, has been a significant feature throughout my adult life.

I particularly enjoy the challenge of plotting and planning different genres of work. My short stories vary between contemporary romance, memoir, mystery and historical. I also write comic flash-fiction and have drafted two one-act plays that have been recorded for local radio. The majority of my stories are set in France where I like to spend as much time as possible each year.

…m’Lady Angela’s novel, Messandrierre is a cracking read… here’s a wee blurb taster for yeez:

CoverArt

‘Sacrificing his job in investigation following an incident in Paris, Jacques Forêt has only a matter of weeks to solve a series of mysterious disappearances as a Gendarme in the rural French village of Messandrierre.

But, as the number of missing persons rises, his difficult and hectoring boss puts obstacles in his way. Steely and determined, Jacques won’t give up and, when a new Investigating Magistrate is appointed, he becomes the go-to local policeman for all the work on the case.

Will he find the perpetrators before his lover, Beth, becomes a victim?’

Messandrierre – the first in a new crime series featuring investigator, Jacques Forêt.

…thank you, m’Lady, Angela… the rest of yeez Lads and Lassies of Blog Land can catch up with Angela on any of these links:

Amazon

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Website : www.angelawren.co.uk

Blog : www.jamesetmoi.blogspot.com

Facebook : Angela Wren

Goodreads : Angela Wren

…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

11 Comments

Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…Authoress Angela Wren… the allure of France and Claude Monet…

…an undisguisedly entrenched Francophile and devotee of all things Monet, my Guest Post today comes from dear Authoress friend,  Angela Wren, and offers more than a whiff of insight as to how this attraction has become part of her psyche… as an ol’ Jurassic who has never before owned a camera, I particularly applaud her passage about drinking in the sight of the great artist’s WURK sans lens photographie… enjoy:

 

AEWBlackWhite

In Monet’s Footsteps

I’m often asked about my interest in, and fascination with France and the conversation will range through, what has now become fairly familiar territory – the country, the history, the culture and, at some point, the art and my favourite period, the Impressionists. So, it was with great pleasure, some six years ago, that I did not rail against being required in Paris. Someone has to take the pain of being away from home in one of the most beautiful cities in the world! I used this particular opportunity to stay on the outskirts of the city so that I could visit Giverny, the long-time family home of the Hoschedé-Monet family, and subsequently the home of Claude Monet, his wife and children.

RiverSeineatLesAndelysI deliberately planned my trip to Giverny for a Friday afternoon and I made sure I arrived at lunchtime, when all the French would be absent. Despite my strategy to miss the locals, which I did, I hadn’t reckoned on the vast numbers of American and Japanese tourists. So, when I did eventually get access to the famous chocolate-box pink house with green shutters, I found myself on the impressionist version of a trip to Ikea. The body of tourists, moving from room to room, were sandwiched together like a pack of Jack Russell terriers moving in uncharacteristic slow motion accompanied by the constant click of cameras. I decided on an anarchical approach and I broke out and moved around the edges of each room, only joining the throng to pass through doors or up and down narrow stairs.

And, as I wandered through the colours of the house, the sunshine yellow of the dining room, the cool blue and white of the kitchen sharpened by the copper pans, I was very much aware that Monet must have spent almost a lifetime doing the same. The panelled Salon Bleu with its white furniture accented with wedgewood blue led into the much larger combined studio and sitting room. The place where Monet spent many years painting.

As I entered this room my attention was caught immediately by a single picture. The walls of the room were covered almost floor to ceiling with paintings, but I saw only the one. A small canvas, about three feet by two, buried in a sea of blues covered by water lilies.

The Strollers ‘The Strollers’ shows a man and woman walking away from the viewer.  He is wearing a suit and she a late nineteenth century white dress with dark green decoration. I knew instantly that they had just married. They are walking from the shade into the light and the darkness of the shady foliage is echoed in the decoration of the dress. As the viewer, I could not see her face and could only partially see his because of the pose, but I recognised the happiness in the colours and their future together. I had to stand there for some moments to fully take in the meaning of the picture and having done so I was instantly determined to find a copy, a print or something so that I could continue to look at that picture every day.

In the remaining rooms I made a point of standing at the windows. Monet was a great gardener, setting the planting and often buying seeds, bulbs and plants himself. At each window I was able to see the garden as he would have seen it. Of course he had the advantage in that he could see his garden through every season of the year, whereas I was limited to my one visit on a hot afternoon in early September. Nevertheless, the movement of colour through the spectrum, spread across the different beds and the Clos Normande seemed to echo the serenity of the house.

GivernyIn the second garden – separated by a road from the main property and garden – I was able to walk through the bamboo and wisteria that surrounded the lily ponds and it was here that, yet again, I came up against the craze for photographs. As I waited patiently, an American tourist moved this way and that to get her shots. Then she stepped forward so that I could move past her. I shook my head. She assumed I wanted to photograph the same spot. I held up my empty hands.

‘No camera! In this beautiful place?’ There was a look of incredulity on her face. I shrugged and after a few more shots she moved on and I took her place on the bridge, breathed in the scent and gazed at the scene, knowing full well that Monet would have stood in that exact spot at some point in his life.

I don’t know what that American tourist would have told her family and friends when she got back to the states. But when I talk about my visit to Giverny, I know that I can honestly say that I have stood where Monet once stood. And I happen to think that’s awesome, and you can’t photograph that!

Author Bio

Having followed a career in Project and Business Change Management, Angela now works as an Actor and Director at a local theatre. She’s been writing, in a serious way, since 2010. her work in project management has always involved drafting, so writing, in its various forms, has been a significant feature throughout her adult life.

Angela particularly enjoys the challenge of plotting and planning different genres of work. Her short stories vary between contemporary romance, memoir, mystery and historical. She also writes comic flash-fiction and has drafted two one-act plays that have been recorded for local radio. The majority of Angela’s stories are set in France where she like to spend as much time as possible each year.

NOVEL BLURB

 

 

Sacrificing his job in investigation following an incident in Paris, Jacques Forêt has only a matter of weeks to solve a series of mysterious disappearances as a Gendarme in the rural French village of Messandrierre.

But, as the number of missing persons rises, his difficult and hectoring boss puts obstacles in his way. Steely and determined, Jacques won’t give up and, when a new Investigating Magistrate is appointed, he becomes the go-to local policeman for all the work on the case.

Will he find the perpetrators before his lover, Beth, becomes a victim?

Messandrierre – the first in a new crime series featuring investigator, Jacques Forêt.

CoverArt

 

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Smashwords

Website : www.angelawren.co.uk

Blog : www.jamesetmoi.blogspot.com

Facebook : Angela Wren

Goodreads : Angela Wren

…fascinating stuff, m’Lady, Angela… thanks for sharing…

…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

9 Comments

Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff