Posts Tagged ‘autumn’

As Darkness Descends

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

It is dark outside, it must be dinner time. Oh no, wait a tick, it’s only 4.30pm.

Winter has well and truly arrived in the UK with biting winds, dropping temperatures and an extreme lack of sunlight. The sun set today at 4.12pm, which completely messes with my head and my stomach. For some reason, a lack of sunshine makes my stomach start gurgling and requesting an evening meal. It doesn’t appreciate or realise that it has only just eaten lunch and needs to wait another three hours before being fed. No wonder British supermarkets have such a large supply of snack options.

The leaves on trees throughout the city have been turning over the last few months, creating amazing colour displays in parks and along streets. The soggy accumulated leaves are less pleasant, particularly when they hide large puddles of water that your feet seem to be magnetically drawn to.

Red.

Even trees come in my favourite colour.

My Latest Obsession

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

I have found something much healthier than cake and chocolate to become obsessed about lately – leaves. I can’t get over how magical Autumn leaves can be – the colours, textures, sounds, movements they make as they tumble through the air. I have spent a lot of the past few weeks staring out of my window as bursts of wind carry hundreds of flakes of yellow, orange, red and muted green, flashing through the air.

Autumn Leaves

My front yard is full of pretty leaves.

In the morning when I go for my run, I find sections of footpath that haven’t yet been cleaned up by the road sweepers and that are covered in a bed of leaves. My inner child squeals with delight (ok, it’s not my inner child, it’s just me) and I stomp and jump and skip through them. I love it when the breeze picks up as I pass beneath a group of trees and the leaves start fall around me. It’s a magical fairy land and I look around half expecting to see a prancing deer.

Autumn leaves

So many different colours.

It makes me feel sorry for us poor Australians and our lack of autumn and our fairly ordinary seasonal changes. I think we do summer quite well and Europe could learn a thing or two from us about sunshine and heat, but we really miss out in Autumn and Spring. It is becoming a bit too cold for my liking though, but they forecast potential “neige fondu” (wet snow or gross, awful sleet) for next week which is building up my excitement for a potential white christmas. Surely I can’t spend three Christmases in Europe without building a snowman once? This year I will be in Sheffield for Christmas so COME ON, ENGLAND! Show me how cold and gloomy you can get!

Leaves

My leaf collection from yesterday – sadly I had to put them in the bin as they wrinkled up and died (more)…

It is Coming

Monday, September 24th, 2012

The last week has seen the sudden arrival of Autumn. While there had been small signs that the seasons are changing – yellowing leaves, cooler evenings – it hasn’t been until the last seven or so days that it has become very obvious. Something like being slapped in the face with a wet fish, with just as much pain and wetness.

Last night I was eating dinner with some friends and heard the whistles of the garden-police ordering people to leave the park behind the Récollets. This happens every evening, the time changing throughout the year depending on when the sun sets. At the moment the park closes at 8.30pm and, up until recently, there would still be sunlight. Not last night. It was DARK. Sure, there was rain approaching and it was overcast, but it was also just DARK.

This morning my alarm went off at the usual time of 7.10am and as I opened my eyes my first thought was, “No… surely not… I must have set my alarm to go off an hour early.” But no. It was indeed time to get up but only for stupid humans who feel the need to go running every morning; the sun certainly wasn’t thinking about getting out of bed.

And so Becky and I went running in the dark (well, by 7.30am it was a bit lighter.) The weather today is fantastic – strong winds are pushing fluffy grey clouds through the sky at rapid speed, bringing showers of heavy rain. This did result in us getting wet on our run, but the winds were strong enough to push the clouds along so it didn’t last long. Plus running in the rain is very refreshing, even if you do look like a drowned rat at the end.

It is warm and humid today, which I love – it reminds me of Perth and the tropical storms that drift through on occasion. Every time there is a strong gust of wind, large chestnut shells are falling from the trees in the park and going CLUNK! and THWACK! as they hit the ground or ricochet off the metal fence. A great day to be inside.

Paris autumn sky

The sky earlier this morning.

Autumn Colours

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Paris is well and truly in the midst of Autumn. The trees along the Seine are looking beautiful. It amazes me how colourful Autumn can be – in Australia everything just goes from brown to slightly browner.

Paris is Autumn

Colour.

Before the Paris Sun

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

I have never had that much trouble getting up in the mornings. I am a morning person rather than night – after 9.30pm I am useless, often grumpy and I generally want to be in my pyjamas with a cup of tea and a good book. However, since coming back from Portugal things have changed.

Most mornings my alarm goes off at 7.15am (so not even THAT early) and I go for a run along the canal. During summer this is the perfect time to be out as there is a beautiful golden sun glow on the canal water and most Parisians are lazy and sleep in so it is nice and quiet. This morning when my alarm went off I thought it was a joke. It was pitch black. Even after waiting an extra 15 minutes in the hope that there was just a very thick cloud covering the sun it was still dark. No sun at all.

As I stepped outside, Gare de L’Est was glittering with street lights and neon signs, yet there was so much action. There were people on their way to work, clearly used to this ridiculous lack of light at this time of the day at this time of the year. Running on uneven footpaths, dodging Parisians and avoiding dog poo when there is little light is difficult. But remarkably enjoyable. The lack of light meant I ran further than I had planned, as a bridge covered in a neon “Cabaret Sauvage” pulled me along and encouraged me to do that extra kilometre. It was a bonus that it wasn’t cold – I’m not sure how I will go when winter sets in and the mornings start to become cold as well as dark. Then there’s the rain. And then the snow. I’ve never run in snow before. Not sure how smart an idea that is.

I realise I haven’t told you about my running buddy and my amazing running achievement pre-Portugal. Recently I have been joined on my morning runs by my friend Becky (another resident at the Récollets.) Having someone to run with makes the time go so much faster and stops me from slacking off. We set ourselves the ULTIMATE CHALLENGE of running to the Eiffel Tower one morning. We planned a week in advance – Becky worked out a direct yet scenic route and I just mentally prepared myself for a slow and painful death.

To be honest it was kind of disappointingly easy. We saw the Eiffel Tower after running just two kilometres and we were there within seven. We decided to add a detour in order to make it a decent length run, feeling that tiny Paris had let us down. Our epic run that was supposed to impress and awe the world had turned into being shorter than our usual morning jogs. Still, it sounds impressive and we did get to stand underneath the Eiffel Tower at 8.30am with no tourists around (although they were starting to arrive!)

Run to the Eiffel Tower route

Time: 54mins; Distance: 8.91km; Calories burnt: 635

We contemplated running back home but I had an early morning appointment so instead we caught the metro. It was rather funny riding the metro through Paris stinking out the tiny carriage as poor Parisians looked on in horror and disbelief at our red faces and sweat patches. It definitely isn’t the “done thing” and we broke every rule in the Parisian style manual. We spoke loudly in English to reassure the locals that it was foreigners partaking in this strange act and no one they were associated with.

Anyone For Table Tennis?

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Autumn has arrived in Paris with the trees shedding their leaves at rapid speed. However, the past week has also seen beautiful warm weather – perfect conditions for spending the day outside. A recent visit to GoSport (an awful store selling all your sporting needs) saw Tom and I investing in a table tennis set. We didn’t just choose the cheapest option either – we went for the ultimate in table tennis brands, Dunlop.

There are lots of table tennis tables spread throughout the city in local parks and along the canal, and they are in high demand on a sunny Sunday afternoon. But if you’re lucky enough to score one then much fun can be had. Ben, Tom and I took our new set out for a spin the other Sunday at a table situated next to a lock on the canal and underneath some beautiful chestnut trees. We encountered a few potential dangers – the table wasn’t in the greatest condition and appears to also be used as a beer table, drug exchange hangout and a homeless-person’s bed; the canal/lock was right next to us and any mishit balls would end up in the water (this happened twice); and the chestnut seeds are currently in the habit of bursting open and dropping large cannonball chestnuts onto our heads. They hurt! Trust me.

Table tennis

Table tennis by the canal

We struggled on despite these dangers and discovered a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. This last Saturday, Tom and I headed back out to have a hit and had to walk up and down the canal for over half an hour in order to find a table. There are clearly dedicated table-tennis-ers who concentrate on their game play, as well as families out enjoying themselves, and groups of friends drinking beer and having a friendly game. I think as the weather cools down there will be less competition for the tables but we will also freeze to death playing next to open water. That’s the life of a pro table tennis player.