And Summer’s back again – briefly?

None of the normal oranges and yellows of Autumn in this post. Instead it’s straight back to Summer with magenta, pink and crimson.

This has been the best year so far for chestnuts! There’s a 20 cent coin there for scale – about the size of a 5p.

Zinnia California Giants. This has been the first year I’ve grown them. Everything says they need a good summer to succeed. And this has probably been the best Summer since 2006. They have been amazing.


Asters continue to impress…

This apple variety is ‘Florina’. Still not ready (quite) to eat. But it’s one that is best eaten straight from the tree and so I don’t try to keep it. Juicy, crisp and a beautiful colour.

And yesterday I went down to the Atlantic Coast to the Bay of Audierne. And found a complete contrast to the gentle tides that characterise my local beach of Plestin, still in the Channel, with its rock pools and shallow waters.

This was strong currents, big surf, dunes, pebbles made round by the tumbling action of the seas being launched at my ankles by the waves as they came onto shore and then receded. A vast expanse of fine, pale yellow sand, an intense raking light and an immense blue sky.

And the reason for the trip… la Chapelle de Notre Dame de Tronoen. Not so much for the chapel – which was locked. But for the Calvaire next to it. Dating from the fifteenth century, it’s the oldest in Brittany. Despite restoration it’s not in that great condition. But having spent several hundred years in the wind, salt and rain that’s hardly surprising.

Originally the characters in the frieze would have been quite brightly painted. Now it’s the lichens and weathering that create the texture and shadowing on the granite, or ‘Kersanton’  – a stone particularly linked with the geology of Brittany and much used in the religious sculpture during the sixteenth century. Apparently it’s easily carved when newly quarried, but ‘sets’ as hard and resistant and impermeable as granite as it ages; and fifteenth century is pretty old!

This postcard shows how it looked in the 50’s/60’s:

Here’s how it looks now:

The Calvaire’s function was to act as a kind of visual aid or illustration of the life of Christ, and other Biblical stories. So, for example on the bottom row of this side is Joseph presenting Jesus at the Temple and the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. The upper tier has Jesus carrying his cross on the way to his Crucifixion, followed by the two felons.

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