commanderie near the town of Arville, about 150km southwest of Paris, eight centuries ago. I spent one of my college summers there, volunteering at what I thought was a dig but was really a chantier, a construction site. As properly trained folks fixed up the 12th century pigeónnier,
I manned a 20th century bétonnière. Mostly I remember the satisfied exhaustion at the end of a day hauling bucket after bucket of sand, water and cement. (Sated by manual labor, a single novel lasted me the whole time, Anthony Burgess' Earthly Powers.) What else? I got to know yellow cherries, and the link between cérise and cérisier. At our final lunch I learned that yummy cervelles were in fact pig brains. Medieval!