May. 10th, 2012

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Things You Like To See While Heading Off To Site In the Morning:  A rival company's van zooming past us in the fast lane heading to a job.  We were keeping to the speed limit.  They were not.  Ever heard of tortoises and hares, guys???

Things You Don't Like To See While Heading Home From Site In The Afternoon: Two fire engines, with blue lights flashing, flanking a stranded horsebox stuck in the hard shoulder of the opposite carriageway.  Immediate reaction of both of us: OMG!  I hope the horses are alright...

As I'd suspected, I spent the day holding an umbrella, a la Jack Vettriano's The Singing Butler.  The weather was vile.  The total station stayed largely dry, and progress was made.  Not as much progress as I'd hoped, but the bridge we're working on just now is a really substantial (and heavily rusticated!) structure and it's taking a hell of a lot of work to finish it off...

And yes, there was some singing.  Mainly of the Muppets' Phenomena (though we should probably have been properly archaeological and sung instead, very quickly and indistinctly, Phenomenon(ology!)- da-da-da-da-da, etc.

Unfortunately, tomorrow's weather forecast looks equally dire, so there will probably be more Vettriano re-enactment, and more tuneless singing, required to get us through the day...

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Well, I can't seem to sort out my photos for the Church of Saint Vincent, so I'll turn instead to the Cathedral of Saint Michael, which as you can see is currently undergoing some major restoration works:-

The visible remains of the cathedral church date to the late thirteenth century, post-dating the Albigensian Crusade.  But the 'new' church wasn't entirely free from trial and tribulation.  For, like Scotland, this part of France also suffered from the predations of the English, and an Englishman named Edward.  Not Edward I, The Hammer of the Scots, but Edward, The Black Prince, who carved his own impressive swathe of destruction across the region. 

Edward burned La Bastide de Saint Louis pretty much to the ground in 1355: indeed, the levels of destruction were so high that historical records state that only the walls of the churches were left standing.

The buttresses are still ornamented with some very handsome carved beasts, which alternate with cross finials.  The building is quite solid in appearance, with round rose windows in each bay,  Round windows seem to be quite common inclusions in the churches of the area, but those in the Cathedral of Saint Michael are unusually big compared to other examples.

Those of you who are paying attention will of course have said, "Ah!  So this is the place that became the heart of the diocese after the Basilica of Saint Nazaire in the walled city lost its cathedral status following the overthrow of the Trencavel family and the complete regeneration of the walled bourg."  If you haven't been paying attention, that's fine, because now you know!

And tomorrow I'll try and post some photos of the interior... 


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