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There are things to do in a Medieval castle located in rural southern France other than orgies, kinky group sex, and strap-on gang-bangs, as hard as that might be to believe.

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 ivy vines, which I gather are something of a requirement for quaint picturesque castles in rustic rural settings.

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 fruit insect-eating bat, which I tried to get a picture of but sadly failed.

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.


( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jan. 21st, 2011 03:05 am (UTC)
Knitting explained
It doesn't take that long to make a sock or a hat. A couple weeks at most. And if you or someone you love lives somewhere cold, handknit mittens/socks/hats are nice.

Or you could knit a dildo cozy. :D
Jan. 21st, 2011 05:24 am (UTC)
Re: Knitting explained
Yes, I'm sure I can find a dildo cozy pattern on Ravelry. Also, the knitting process is very Zen, and knitting gives you a good reason to be on Ravelry and an excuse to buy yarn, and you get to make stuff for people you care about.
Jan. 21st, 2011 04:42 am (UTC)
(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.) A good way to solve that is to get the Brits to do their impression of an American accent. They end up sounding like drunken cowboys. :-)
Jan. 21st, 2011 12:08 pm (UTC)
They end up sounding like drunken cowboys. :-)

...and that somehow makes the American accent less> funny?

I seem to have a soft spot for folks from the US though. Currently I find myself romantically entangled with two and a half members of the American species. Of course, it could just be that I enjoy laughing at them up close! :P
(no subject) - nasu_dengaku - Jan. 21st, 2011 11:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - emanix - Jan. 22nd, 2011 11:42 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tacit - Jan. 22nd, 2011 12:46 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tacit - Jan. 21st, 2011 09:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 21st, 2011 08:46 am (UTC)
I'll jump in on the knitting thing, too, since I do it (and stesladoes too). We're math-y nerdy people, and knitting is methodical and mathematical in all sorts of neat ways. But it's also got this really cool emergent behavior thing going on; a particular sequence of stitches, none of them complicated, can yield something results that are surprising in delicacy or texture.

And then there's also that we're both oddly-shaped; I started learning to knit because I wanted some gloves that fit my extra-long fingers without being huge and floppy and completely uninteresting. stesla knit himself a scarf he can wrap around his neck a good four times, and a pair of socks in a merino-silk blend that you'd be hard-pressed to find a pair of men's socks in.

So we get to be math-nerdy and cozy all at once. :) And together! It's a trifecta of awesome.
Jan. 21st, 2011 11:59 am (UTC)
Ah, Emily :) She's such a sweetheart, as well as being so pretty. I don't think I saw her wearing clothes the entire week!

Being pedantic as ever, I must point out that our fuzzy little pal in the cave definitely wasn't a fruit bat (you'd know - they're *massive* and live in much warmer climes), most probably he was a pipistrelle, who munch on insects - check out http://www.bio.bris.ac.uk/research/bats/britishbats/batpages/commonpipi.htm

And I love the way my skirt falls in that picture - I will totally have to get myself a polka dotted loincloth!
Jan. 21st, 2011 12:24 pm (UTC)
Additionally, I just looked back at that snapshot and wondered where my scarf had gone, since I usually wear a polka dot scarf with that sweater... then I remembered that I'd lent it to a certain young lady to use for bondage purposes while we were out and about. Ah, happy days! :)
(no subject) - emanix - Jan. 21st, 2011 12:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - skorpionuk - Jan. 21st, 2011 05:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tacit - Jan. 21st, 2011 09:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - skorpionuk - Jan. 21st, 2011 09:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tacit - Jan. 21st, 2011 10:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - emanix - Jan. 22nd, 2011 11:44 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tacit - Jan. 22nd, 2011 09:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - emanix - Jan. 22nd, 2011 11:48 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tacit - Jan. 21st, 2011 09:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 21st, 2011 09:42 pm (UTC)
Hm. I'm skeptical. know some people for whom a knitting needle can be a pretty formidable weapon...
(no subject) - binks - Jan. 22nd, 2011 06:16 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 21st, 2011 03:12 pm (UTC)
those are beautiful shots of Emily
Jan. 21st, 2011 09:41 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 21st, 2011 09:40 pm (UTC)
Thanks for being there! Happy memories all around. :)
Jan. 21st, 2011 09:02 pm (UTC)
What great photos (and I'm loving these posts, incidentally). The third photo of Emily is a particular beauty, and will be in my January Photo Favourites post in the first week of February.

xx Dee
Jan. 22nd, 2011 09:13 pm (UTC)
Lovely photos of all kinds of loveliness!

Oh and by the way, since no one seems to have mentioned it so far - being distracted by lovely photos of loveliness and knitting - it's morning glory that covers the castle walls, not ivy.

Love the travelogue, and next time I go to Europe, I'll definitely have to find a sexy, kinky group to inhabit a castle with!
Jan. 22nd, 2011 10:46 pm (UTC)
Talking the talk.
It's good that you recognise that there are regional variants of British accents, sometimes rather extreme ones.

I'm Scottish and speak with the accent, but I speak proper English. Here's a recent example of my speech; see what your circuits say:

Jan. 23rd, 2011 08:31 am (UTC)
Awesome photos of Emily! Like, wow.
Jan. 24th, 2011 05:36 pm (UTC)
I so love your travel pictures and stories. Makes me want to travel again even more, and with a group as entertaining and fun as yours!
Jan. 25th, 2011 02:28 am (UTC)
Heh! More on the knitting thing. I tend to like all kinds of fiber arts and my two newest ones are knitting and.... rope bondage! Yep, for me, the two are linked somehow. Lots of wonderful stuff you can do with both. Think of knitting as finger bondage where you keep escaping.
Jan. 26th, 2011 12:02 am (UTC)
It fizzes!
Jan. 31st, 2011 05:37 am (UTC)
Those shots of Emily are better than most professional pr0n shots I've seen.
Feb. 1st, 2011 12:33 am (UTC)
Re: ..
Thanks! :)
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