Legends from our own lunchtimes

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

To Keep the Ducks Out.
Tuesday 21st May - Bergues

It’s not the first time that we have found ourselves moored in a moat, tied to massive fortifications, right beside the entrance to a township, nor is it the first time that it’s quite evident that the hand of one Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban has been involved in their construction.  While much of the five kilometre or so perimeter of Bergues has been fortified since the middle, but it was Vauban who added the extra moats and those distinctive signature pointy bits of rampart, and the holes for a zillion people to stick their guns or whatever instrument of death was fashionable in the seventeenth century, through.  

It’s hard to imagine how he managed to do all he did in just one lifetime, spreading his franchise to all corners of the country without the aid of so much as a fax machine or even a fine felt pen.  One can only imagine all those business lunches and all those table napkins ruined by hasty sketches, as he sought to convince one nobleman after another that his fortifications were exactly right for the times, which they certainly were.

As we walked around and over and through the ramparts and moats today, we couldn’t help but reflect how markedly times have changed.  With the advent of drones and bombs and guided missiles, they would be impotent in the event of any attack today, yet they still serve the town magnificently, keeping the waterfowl at bay, steadfastly unmoved by the by the evening parades and trumpet calls.

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