Posted by: kathandroger | September 23, 2018

Yes we have no Bananas…and History.

Several years ago we rescued some Banana plants which we cleared out from the Ethni Cite site at our local St Remy sur Creuse village. The plants had become rampant on warm and sheltered gardens there, and needed to be thinned out. As we were looking to adorn our courtyard at the time, we planted three in pots. They have done well, being brought inside for the winter, and are an exotic addition to our garden. And this year one of them has decided to come into flower.IMG_4065 Funny old plants, the banana, the huge bud will grow and then bend over to show the developing fruits. Actually there is no chance of that as it is already mid September and they need up to 100 days to develop. But is was interesting to see the plant have a go and show us what it is capable of in warmer climes.

It is strange how our interests change with the passing of the years. At school I hated history, because it was all about dates and I could never remember them. And Jim Melican who sat near to me always knew them all! But now history fascinates me, although I still cannot remember dates. Our land at the back of the house contains the remains of what I am convinced is an old fortress, possibly from the time of Richard Lionheart, who build a fort just the other side of the hill in St Remy. Our stone walls can still be seen, and the stone is certainly not local. Anyway, it was the “Journee de Patrimoine” on Sunday, an annual event when all the local historical attractions are open at reduced rates. I visited our local little museum at Buxeuil, with the dog. She was not very interested, but to me it was fascinating, particularly the history of our surrounding area. The very helpful curator showed me an old map, the first known of the area, and I hoped I may see some sign of our fortress.IMG_4064 Our property is in the middle and called “Blardiere” and there are some strange symbols around it. I had hoped that they meant “ancient fortress”, but in fact they only mean “hamlet without a church”. These maps are from the first complete mappage of France, commissioned by Louis XV between 1756 and 1789, and were instituted by a chap called Cesar-Francois Cassini. What an interesting man. He followed his father into the trade, and was followed by his son, and began making a name for himself by measuring huge distances and correcting the errors of his predecessors. He was a chum of Isaac Newton, one of my heroes, and internationally lauded. He understood geodesic triangles, which I don’t, and spent his life measuring and charting. He died of smallpox aged 70, a few years before the Revolution, and missed all his measurements being changed into metres. I am only sorry that he missed our fortress in the wood, but I guess 600 years between its construction and his maps is a good enough excuse.


  1. I noticed last time I was there that the remains of Richard’s fortress have been roped off and it was covered in scaffolding.

    • Lots of work has been done over the summer by a team from Poitiers university. They roped off a large area and dug up around the tower. We await the conclusions. Incidentally, I am convinced that our little wood on the hill contains the remnants of an outpost to the fortress.

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