Last Saturday saw the opening of the Point du Jour; a new centre for the arts in Cherbourg, concentrating in particular on photography.
The building itself, situated next to the School of Fine Arts, and on the opposite corner to MacDonalds, is a work of art in itself. Designed by Eric Lapierre, the building is covered with Paxalumin, an alloy of aluminium – the picture from the website does not do it justice, there were better ones in the Presse last weekend. Next to a major road, at the edge of an urban country park, and overlooked by the military fort atop the hill, the building looks closed up from the outside, but has a very light interior – like a “glass pavillion”.
It houses two exhibition halls, plus a library (mainly of photographic works) and offices. As part of the exhibitions, there will be artists in residence and regular lectures and seminars on the subjects covered.
Significantly the first exhibition is of images of urban renewal. Three artists-in-residence (sponsored by the city, and the Ministry of Culture) in Cherbourg since 2001, were charged with producing images of the changing city and are now giving their retrospective in photographs, a video, and paintings.
Further details about Le Point du Jour and the present and future exhibitions and events are available on its website www.lepointdujour.eu
Bob and Marjory
Buffy - testing the waters at Apple Dumpling Bridge
Enfin! – Buffy’s second blood test showed adequate antibodies so we start the countdown. She will be able to return to the UK 6 months from the date of her second – successful – blood test. This was at the beginning of June so the first permissible date for her return would be in the first week in December. This means we will be able to bring her with us on our planned post-Christmas trip to France.
Since our last post, Buffy has had her first “season”. This made for an interesting few weeks particularly when we took her out for her walks, as we had to keep a close eye on other, very interested, dogs (and her too, come to that!) Happily though, there were no mishaps.
As she is such a pretty girl (well we think so) we took her along to a ring craft class to see how she would take to being shown – Crufts here we come! Although we had visions of fame and fortune we soon found out that the whole dog show business bored her rigid. She loved meeting all the other dogs and their owners but when it came to the walking up and down bit she just stood there with her head and tail hanging down. Then when the judge came up to examine her she jumped up to wash him behind his ears, which for some strange reason is frowned on. We had entered her in what would have been her first show but decided that there was no point if she wasn’t enjoying it, so no stardom for Buffy (apart from her venture into the blogosphere that is).
Over the last few months we have been exploring the local open spaces for the best walks. We are lucky living in Gosport as there are various areas along Stokes Bay (opposite the Isle of Wight), and the Alver Valley where she can run free and play with lots of other dogs, as well as a number of local parks. The strangely named Apple Dumpling Bridge (see above) goes over the (once mighty) River Alver linking Alver Meadow to a large area of MOD training land, where we can walk when it’s not in use, and which provides a great viewpoint over the Solent and of the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth. But what we’re really looking forward to of course is letting her run free on the empty beaches of Surtainville….not long now….
Peter & Sue
Yes, this weekend is the festival of scallops (Coquille St. Jacques) at Port en Bessin-Huppain, Calvados. A celebration of these and other fruits de mer; and also of the festival de chants de marins d’Europe.
Lots of manifestations, and degustastions, to celebrate the sea foods so much enjoyed (though not by Marjory) in this area of France. This part of Normandy, better known for the tourist attractions of the World War 2 Landing Beaches, is celebrating its more ancient heritage of sea-foods.
But what of the history of the coquille St. Jacques? What does this tell us of this area?
In the Middle Ages the pilgrim road from Canterbury to Compastella crossed the Channel to Cherbourg and headed south through this area, of which Les Pieux (“The Pious”) was a key resting point. On to St. Michel, then across France to Spain and to the Shrine of the Apostle St. James (St. Jacques) at Compostella.
Pilgrims wore the badge of the scallop shell, and carried one of these with them in which to receive alms from the faithful along the way. The ancient way of the pilgrims is still part of the local heritage, and notes on following the way available from local tourist offices.
Yet another reason to pay a visit to this part of Normandy??
Bob and Marjory