7th March 2022

[Caen: Abbaye aux Dames interior]

One of the benefits of Anne’s and my birthdays being only two days apart (March 6th & 4th respectively) is that we can usually justify an excellent joint celebration – especially for ‘significant’ birthdays like this year’s. So off we sailed to Caen on March 1st, to stay with some old friends in their delightful old house near the city centre. Our time there was fuelled with stimulating company, liberal quantities of champagne, glorious food – and ‘British’ weather (well, you can’t have it all). Organs did not figure, though as we’d not visited the austere but beautiful Norman Abbaye aux Dames before, we did just that, hence the photograph. It was founded in 1062 by Matilda of Flanders, wife of William the Conqueror, who built the larger Abbaye aux Hommes (1066 – yes, that year) half a mile away. The latter has a famous Cavaillé-Coll in the west gallery, whereas the former nuns’ church makes do now with a more modest Orgue de Chœur. Such a delight to travel abroad again after two years of being under restrictions.

A convivial Caen lunch