After their AGM, members were taken on a tour of the Château de Sainte-Mère by its owner, Piers Killeen (centre stage above). Already widely known by music lovers for the quality of the concerts he arranges every year on the site, Piers is working hard at the restoration of the 13th century building, discouraged less by bad weather than by the seemingly endless and often contradictory hurdles put in his path by bureaucrats. A paradox, when you think of all the fine buildings we admire today and which, over the centuries, have been restored, added to or even completely rebuilt on the foundations of previous ones.
After lunch, a smaller group visited the Bleu de Lectoure, a revival of the medieval technique of producing blue dye from a plant known in the south of France as “pastel”,and in northern climes (including Great Britain) as woad. As a surprise bonus, Chris Boddington gave us a rousing version of The Ancient Britons’ Woad Song.