it’s only 10 minutes down the road and it’s been a week already, yeah, I know, so why don’t we just do that? I feel like a quiet day after all and can’t be bothered to drive round for a hour trying to find my way out of a field of withered sunflowers somewhere between the buddhist pagoda and appelation controlée so let’s just take it slowly and we can even saunter if we feel up to it. there’s probably a bench there somewhere where we can sit all afternoon and watch the dutch come and go in their convoys.
rising the steps passing a couple of hopeless prams which probably weren’t designed for the 12th century we passed through the entrance gates and negotiated with a very french woman about the pricing structures which might allow us to have 2 of us and one of them at full but not them 2 as they’re under 7 but it says there famille which should include all of us right but that’s just 4 and there’s 5 of us you see and so should we get one of those and just pay for the extra 1, who is under 7 anyway, like we said, and, oh, right, it doesn’t work like that? pas de famille? deux adultes et trois enfant, mais, erm, les deux sont six ans et, elle, la, oui, la (zoe, come here, she wants to look at you), oui, bon, elle, la, elle a nuef ans, oui, um, c’est une biller de famille? non? deux adultes et trois enfants? pardon? libre? free? tout les enfants? ah! bon! (it’s ok Zoe, you can go away again now, she’s seen you) ok, deux adultes. pardon. et trois enfants? mais…
we handed over some money and she gave us an english guide book which was a photocopied affair in a plastic folder, much like the one we got at Marqueyssac which we put in our backpack and took home by mistake so we said we must not take this one home again which of course we did, adding to our new collection of english language guide folders for local attractions that we would leave behind in the gite so that the next people would take them thinking they are just free handouts and the people on the gate when they tried to pay would ask them where the hell they got that from. once inside it was obvious that they don’t have the same strict health and safety regulations over here as they do it english castles museums and monuments so we tied pieces of string around the children so that when they hung over the 2 foot high parapets we had at least a small chance of slowing their 50 foot drop to the valley below. it was also obvious that they were doing something akin to repointing on the upper courtyard which involved the tallest lorry-mounted contraption I’ve ever seen which was pumping cement about 100 feet up and over the battlements and about 50 feet into the roof area of the upper courtyard where monkeys were dancing around without hard hats and daft punk were playing harder, better, faster, stronger in the scaffolding. the upshot of this is that the upper courtyard was closed this year which didn’t seem so bad until you worked out that that was the very place that they film all the movies you’ve seen that they’ve filmed at this place and so you won’t get to see it and go ‘oh, yeah, that was that bit in les visiteurs II’ or ‘hang on, oh look, remember that bit in that james bond film’ and things like that so I got a bit grumpy and said I want to eat my sandwich NOW and so we stopped in the lower courtyard and took in the view though the very nice arched panorama and calmed down a bit.
there was still loads to see at chateau de biron, however, including a restored oak floor that you had to slide around on on small bits of felt under your feet, although we only realized that because other people were doing it, and there was naturally a nice graphic dungeon which was so dark (health and safety) that you couldn’t even see the small sign warning you about the small step you were about to take a small trip over which everybody did anyway. sam picked out everything ‘you see that that’s a rack that is that’s what they stuck people on and you turn those handles at the end and then that strrreetched people until all their bones broke and they came apart and all their guts flew out and look you see that that thing up there that that metal thing that’s a thing were they put bad people and squashed them in so their bones broke and they hung them out on big stick so they were still alive right and all the birds came and pecked their eyes out and stuff until they were dead and that that right you see that thing that up the back on the wall that right that’s what they used to tie people to you see those hooks at the end they tied their hands up there and then they tied their feet down there right see and so they broke all their bones, probably, I think, and they didn’t have any clothes on and they used to stick big bits of hot metal in them and when they weren’t dead yet they got a big saw and sawed them in half so all their guts flew out everywhere and they were like screaming everywhere and the dogs would come and eats their guts while they were still alive and you see that thing, ooh, listen, right, that thing is like a giant screw like corkscrew that is right but except they didn’t use it for opening bottles and stuff they used to put in on people’s heads and then turn that handle and it would crush their heads and their eyes would like BURST out and their guts flew out probably and all their bones got broken and you see that…’
I don’t know how he knew all that stuff. we don’t do that at home.