We took the motorcaravan deep into France, and returning North we could have gone to Loches, with its concentric defensive walls and Mediaeval citadel- a kind of Tourisme I love- but we had been there on a previous trip, so went to St Aignan, nearby. It too has a château on a hill in the centre, and a striking history. I tripped off for a souvenir. Something to adorn myself, ideally. I found the ceiling-paintings in the crypt beautiful, if faded, and the words deep carved into the East wall of the church brutal. “Republique Francaise”. I dislike the puissant church, and power corrupts in the Catholic church more deeply than anywhere else, but this put-down horrified me. Some of the carving on the capitols of the columns is lovely. But no tourists, and no tat-shops. That half-timbered building- with a bit of sprucing-up I can easily imagine Les Anglais being persuaded it was beautiful- it sells car spares.
No-one would come to S—- as a tourist, and yet it is beautiful. Go down the side of Bewiched, the sandwich shop, onto the open space. To the East is the church, to north and west old stone buildings. In York this square would be full of tourists. How much lovelier to find it here with none, secluded under the trees. A monstrous glass thing on the back of the sandwich shop, so crudely shattering the olde-worlde atmosphere- or is it a bold and beautiful design, creating a light and airy space for relaxation here at any time of year? And as for the college looming in the background- you may think it ugly, but I am glad it exists, for people, here.
Go South and you are in the market, fixed benches with tiny roofs, a concrete space surrounded by soulless concrete 1960s buildings. Such despicable vandalism, such senseless destruction of the mood! But wait. The first floor reading room of the Library, two storeys high, a large, gracious space. Such riches we have built for ourselves, free to anyone at any time.
I cannot remember where I found this line, there is so much wisdom evanescent on facebook and blogs, but- if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, you need never see anything ugly, ever again.
This is LGBT History month.