I know what you're thinking. It's rural France! What else could there possibly be to do for entertainment? It's not like you can go to Wal-Mart or turn on the television to see reruns of "Friends," so that pretty much only leaves kinky group sex or fishing, right? And given that the van we arrived in lacked the space for fishing poles, that whittled down the pool of available options considerably, right?
As it turns out--and I wouldn't have known this had I not been there--the south of France has "Outdoors," and there are actually some interesting things there. So a few days into our stay, having exhausted (temporarily) my appetite for kinky group sex and looked out the window long enough to realize that the invention of Outdoors had skipped across the pond and made it to Europe, where the French had adopted it enthusiastically, I opted to go poking around it.
Just, you know, to see what it was all about. I didn't expect that the Europeans could make Outdoors to compete with the famed Outdoors factories of the Pacific Northwest, which manufacture such popular classics as Stunning Basalt Cliffs Which Fall Off Dramatically Into The Sea...but I was curious anyway.
The walls of the castle were covered with
The vines were covered with lovely blue flowers that bloomed for about three or four hours in the early afternoon and then closed up again.
There was a path through the woods that partly surrounded the castle, which led down to the water's edge and also to the old ice house built in the side of an outcropping of rock. The old ice house was home to a single solitary
The ice house itself was kind of interesting. I was surprised to observe it was not stocked with cheap beer of inferior quality; my media and advertising overlords had led me to believe that that's what icehouses are for.
At the edge of the river, the path snaked along the riverbank for a while until it met an ancient stone wall, part of some long-forgotten fortification or battlement or something, I reckon. It was interesting to think that this wall was built, stone by stone, by people who lived and died centuries before I existed, ad about whom I know absolutely nothing.
When I discovered the wall, I was joined by a lovely young lady named Emily who was part of the group staying in the castle. She thought that the wall and the river nearby would be a great place for a quick photo shoot, and I agreed.
The result is probably not safe for work, unless you work at Tantus or something.
She is great fun, both as a photographic subject and as a person. And she has this amazing British accent that...
So, yeah. It is a well-known fact, supported by countless brain studies and fMRI scans, that Americans have specific wiring in their brains, specifically in the subcortical circuitry associated with 5-HT serotonin receptors, that responds directly to British accents. These circuits respond to stimuli associated with British accents by creating emotional responses of exhilaration, animal lust, and a short-circuiting of certain higher brain functions. This response appears to vary with variances in the regional dialect of the British accent in question, with rapid falloff as one approaches London's East End. (American accents, by way of contrast, are known to have a much different effect on Brits, usually including but not limited to feelings of mirth, often of the "laughing at" rather than the "laughing with" variety.)
Emily's accent falls precisely in the sweet spot of maximum effect. Ahem.
Apparently, while I was out shooting those pictures, I missed seinneann_ceoil's first muti-orgasmic experience. I heard the story later, when we returned; it involved, I gather, champagne and a cry of "IT FIZZES!" That exclamation became something of a touchstone for the rest of the trip.
It also turned out that ours wasn't the only castle in the area.
A bit later, several folks and I took a walk through the small town where our castle was located. We followed the road through the town and across a bridge, and came upon a much more severe (and much more functional) castle, complete with both living residences and a military fortification.
The whole place is lousy with castles. They just leave 'em lying around everywhere. This particular castle is some dude's private residence. We saw him driving up as we were heading back. He drives a Jaguar. Not one of the classic ones like an XJ-S, but one of the new ones that's basically a Lincoln LS with a different body. Figures, really. He's French.
On the walk back, seinneann_ceoil snapped this picture of emanix and I...talking. Yeah, thats what we'll call it. Talking. I've seen that expression on emanix's face many times, and loved it every time I've seen it.
Back at the castle, I learned that other folks also found things to while away the time that passed between orgies. Like knitting, for example.
I know many people who knit. I still don't quite understand knitting. I mean, you spend six or seven months working, night and day, to produce...a sock. Or a hat.
I've been told the journey is more important than the destination, but when the journey involves making small, precise movements with one's hands, about 47,292,833 times in a row, while dragging bits of yarn all over one's person...well, color me confused.