Once again on an excursion boat, Laetitia and her group headed south from Rouen. They docked at Les Andelys and toured the village. Then they toured Chateau Gaillard, a castle built by Richard I (Lion Heart) of England in 1196. William the Conquerer and his successors to the English throne often retained lands on the continent. Richard was the son of King Henry II (Plantagenet) and Eleanor of Aquataine. He was born in Oxford but grew up in his mother’s court in what is now France. As king, he was popular in England but spent little time there. When not on crusade, he lived mostly in France and allegedly spoke little English. Shortly after Richard’s death in 1199, his rival, King Phillip of France, besieged and took the castle. Phillip’s army breached the inner defenses by creating a ruse in front while a small party scaled a back wall and entered the chapel through one of the castle’s poop chutes. That tale of bravery above and beyond the call of duty suggested Laetitia’s limerick of the day. The expression, “up shit creek without a paddle” usually means “beyond hope,” but these men were literally in that situation and won.
‘Tis a tale of bold deeds that I tattle
About warriors that weren’t in the saddle
And whose Gaillard success
Put themselves in a mess
Going “up shit creek without a paddle.”