Thursday, August 12, 2010

7:30am Wednesday August 11, 2010

I am sitting in the courtyard of St Briavel’s castle where we spent the night last night. I t is cool but the sky is blue with wisps of white clouds; a nice change from the rain yesterday. The weather hasn’t been that warm since we got here and it has rained off an on each day. Evenings are usually the best.

St Briavel’s castle is a youth hostel. It was built in the 1200’s as a hunting lodge for King John. He was the one nobody liked because he wanted more power and money than his subjects wanted to give him. The Magna Carta was signed by him. His castle is in ruins now and the only areas still intact are the Royal apartments. We are staying in a room on the bottom floor of the east tower called the Oubliette. It is a hexagonal shaped room with a fire place and two charming recessed windows.

We arrived last night in time to join in the castle’s Medieval feast. Tom, Rhys and I dug up costumes from the chapel. Julia declined a costume. Almost everyone at the feast was dressed for the part. We were served gruel, (a pureed soup, thank goodness) sausages, roast beef, roast chicken and several interesting roasted veggies. For dessert we had a baked apple with custard sauce. We were the evening’s entertainment. Throughout the evening, two guests who sat at the head table would pull a number that corresponded to one at your place and you had to rise and entertain the group. This horrified Rhys and Julia. Julia managed to tell a riddle. I rescued Rhys as he looked like he was going to throw up if he had to stand. There were several families there and all in all it was a fun time.

After the meal, the kids ran off and the couple next to us told us about our room. Apparently, they had been staying in our room the night before and had moved. They story already sounds good, doesn’t it? You see, Oubliette means “Forgetting”. It turns out that under the carpet of our room (we haven’t checked yet) there is a trap door. After the Magna Carta the king could not indiscriminately kill people he didn’t like so he created a “forgetting” place. Under the trapdoor is a very deep cellar where the king would throw people away and “forget” them. Isn’t that lovely? They found out because there was a light left on and one of the kids noticed it. They knelt down to look and saw a foot! Apparently, there is a fake skeleton down there or so they were told when they politely inquired as to the contents of the room beneath the Oubliette. They asked to move as the kids couldn’t sleep after that. We decided NOT to tell the children until we were leaving. I slept rather lightly last night.


Deanne said...

I just knew you'd find a way to put on a costume!! Also, good to see you taking part in your blog. Seems that there have been more posts from other members - hmmm!
Also, a favour for me? A slightly bigger font? Julia's is just perfect for my fading eyesight. Happy trails!

Steve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve said...

Deanne: little tip if you are not digging the smaller font. Hold SHIFT + SCROLL WHEELon your mouse to increase or decrease the font size in your web browser. You can customize the font size as you see fit then!

Holly: Glad no one emerged from the forgetting trap door. At least it was only a foot and not a hand trying to get out : )

Ryan P said...

That sounds creepy yet fun Holly! I would have been terrified and not slept at all!

Sounds like you are all having a great time so far!!