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Hypnotising the birds, at Gatteville lighthouse

vintage postcard of the lighthouses at Gatteville in the Manche, Normandy

There is a forlorn French poem by Jaques Prévert about a lighthouse keeper who loved birds.  It is based on a terrible fact; birds flying on cloudy nights can become hypnotised by a bright light, and if that light turns endlessly, the birds will follow it. Endlessly. Lighthouse keepers were first to notice this

Rebellion and the epic gallop of William Duke of Normandy, in 1046

vintage postcard old chateau at Ryes, Calvados

Today roads across Cotentin’s marshes are finely mapped and sturdy, when William Duke of Normandy (future Conqueror of England) was 19, it was a very different story.  If he had not known the marshes so well, how different all our histories would be. The child Duke, protected at all costs It is surprising

The Footballers and forgotten château de Tancarville – a story of heritage in danger

Tancarville Le Chateau ruines de la tour Coquesart

An impossible match.... High on the cliffs above the River Seine in Normandy is an imposing old château .  Here history stretches back to the 11th century and the first Dukes of Normandy. Tancarville was home to Raoul I Fitzgerald, trusted friend of Robert, first Duke of Normandy.  Raoul would become William the Conqueror’s

The long rise and the sharp fall of the Houëls of La Pommeraye

Fatouville la Pommeraye gatehouse

The entrance pavilion of Manoir de La Pommeraye is picturesque even on a cold winter’s day. A central archway edged with pale stones is flanked by sturdy stone tower and topped with a balcony and roofs that would look quite at home in a fairy-tale. But for Normandy, this building is

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