Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Biking and Castles

04/15, Sunday
We hope to take advantage of the nice weather today for biking. First step...fix my bike. The bike is a classic 3-speed BSA, maybe 50 years old.

I now understand why bicycle repair men were so well-regarded (remember the Wright brothers). BSA is a British-made bike, very well designed and built to last...and complicated. I like this kind of a challenge, and I wasn't going it get the best of me. After two hours of removing the rear wheel, the chain guard, the gear changer, and all the associated screws, nuts, and parts...not once, but twice...I'm ready to give it a roll. Success!

Mom has been washing a few things, our bed sheets in the machine, and some clothes by hand. Electricity is expensive so the dryer only runs until 2:30, and the wash doesn't finish until about 2:00. With only a half hour of dry time, we need to hang the clothes out to completely dry.

We take a short bike ride together along the river and bluffs to the nearest town. My tire seems a little low on air, and we need to be back at 2:00 for the dryer. It's a short ride. We'll head out again a little later trying a different route.

On our second outing, we walk the bikes up into town before pedaling further. We noticed Fumel has a chateau, now used for town offices. The building and gardens are pretty impressive. We'll have to find out more about it from J&M.

Tonight's movie, "Good Night, and Good Luck", with George Clooney, David Straithorn, and Robert Downey, Jr. About the communist scare promoted by Joe McCarthy in the 50s.

04/16 Monday
It's colder today, partial sun. A morning bike ride by the river and into the country. Very pretty and peaceful. We had our mittens on! The path is flat passing through farm land (canola, wheat, & sapling trees, maybe apple or plum) and nice old stone homes, some of which have been renovated.

In the afternoon, a short drive to Chateau Biron in the Dordogne. We actually remember being there last year, but took the self-tour anyway. It was constructed in phases over a period of four centuries, so it exhibits several architectural styles.

We were up high on the various terraces and all the colors of spring looked great. The audio gave lots of history and many grand rooms (kitchen, dungeon, towers, chapel, terraces, courtyards (Baileys), gardens, royal apartments) were fun to see. Quite a formidable sight driving up to it.

At home early, 6:00, we had pizza and salad while watching an old Agatha Cristie "A Mirror Cracked" with Rock Hudson, Liz Taylor, Kim Novac, Tony Curtis, and Angela Landsbury.

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