Posts Tagged ‘summer’

32 Days of Summer Fun

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

Today is 1 August. A culmination of there being exactly one month until my birthday; it being a rainy, drizzle and depressing day despite being summer; and the fact that I don’t have any writing work on at the moment and am therefore looking for things to keep my mind occupied, has resulted in me having the greatest brain wave since my 108 Challenges in 108 Days. For the month of August I will celebrate all things that are good with daily hits of Summer Fun. This fun can transpire in many forms, be it food based, activity based, friend based or other (I’m keeping it open to interpretation.). This month of fun will finish with the funnest of fun days EVER – aka My Birthday. YES.

And so it begins.

Day One.

It’s raining today. My two weeks worth of writing work have dried up. It is quiet in the office and I have to walk home in Manchester Drizzle. Woo. So to keep myself and my co-workers in cheerful dispositions, I bought us Kinder Happy Hippos. You can’t beat a bit of cheap kiddies’ chocolate.

Happy Hippo!

Happy Hippo!

I shall call him Harry.

I shall call him Harry.

To be honest, Harry doesn’t look that happy. I would say he’s more ‘anxious’ or ‘concerned’. But he sure brought joy to our worlds! Cheers, Harry.

Hello August

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

I’m not sure where July went but August has arrived and with it has come a realisation that I have been neglecting my blogging duties. No longer, my friends. I am back. Prepare yourselves for regular news from sunny Manchester.

I am currently listening to the BBC commentary of the Ashes test that is happening at my local sporting oval. I run past Old Trafford at least twice a week and I am quite excited by the prospect of running into (stalking) the Australian cricketers. Honestly, I just want to see Glenn McGrath. And maybe Warnie just for laughs. I had hoped to watch a game but the ticket prices are not minimum-wage friendly so I am making do with the radio.

Speaking of the radio, since moving to Manchester I have been heavily influenced by my extended family members and have become a radio listener. I turn BBC Radio 4 on every morning and listen to whatever interesting discussions are happening about arts, science, politics or general life. I have learnt a lot of random facts about topics I knew nothing about. My mind is being opened by old school technology! Wow.

I have officially passed my server test and am now a fully qualified waitress! I am proud to announce that I am yet to drop food or drinks on any customers (Touch wood! Touch wood!) and had one drunken business man tell me that I was, “The best server he has ever met.” Now that’s a compliment.

Manchester has been suffering from heat exhaustion resulting from the presence of this thing called “The Sun.” With temperatures in the low to mid 20s, the Brits don’t know what to do with themselves, complaining about it being too hot and  humid. I will admit that it is particularly warm inside buildings as air-conditioning is non-existent here and most places have been designed to keep warmth in. Windows that open appear to be a luxury. But thankfully some rain has arrived and everyone is calming down. Life can return to normal.

The sun!

The sun!

Ma Vie à Paris

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

I have realised that I haven’t written about life à Paris for quite some time. My focus has shifted to my experiments in the world of linoleum and paper and I haven’t kept you up to date with the latest and greatest happenings in Gay Paris. Times, they may be a’changin’, but I shall now redeem myself with a longwinded discussion on the ins and outs of the French capital. Vous êtes prêts? On y va!

Weather

Allow me to start with what everyone is talking about – the fact that it is now June, and therefore apparently summer, yet I am wearing pants, a long-sleeved shirt AND a cardigan. Today the sky is covered in varying degrees of grey cloud and the forecast for this afternoon is rain, rain, rain. This is seriously going to disrupt my friends’ and my plans of having a picnic by the canal. Sure, the sun doesn’t set until after 10pm these days, but that’s difficult to enjoy when you can’t actually see the sun anyway. We had a week or so of glorious sunshine and last Saturday I got sunburnt. The following day I was wearing jeans and a jumper. Something is wrong here.

Politics

France has elected its new President, Monsieur Hollande, and he seems to be fitting in just fine. I haven’t really heard much about him, nor have there been any scandals involving him and a younger woman (yet). So really, he’s quite boring and we can tell this just by looking at him. He looks like a maths teacher (or, as I have been informed by my American friends, a MATH teacher). Not that I have anything against maths teachers – they just make for fairly limp Presidents. Maybe Sarkozy will give him some hot tips on how to be a slime-ball.

In the meantime, France is gearing up for the NEXT election where they vote for their local representatives. I really don’t understand how this works because it seems candidates can stick their hand up to be a representative in any area of France that they want. I’m sure there are some rules, but it is probably just as long as you have a friend who lives in that area or you went camping there once then you can be a candidate. This has resulted in the extreme-left candidate from the Presidential election (Melanchon) challenging the extreme-right candidate (Le Pen) in an area in the north-east of France. This is risky business and could result in Melanchon not being elected which would be a DISASTER because really he’s the only candidate with any sort of human sentiment. It would also mean that Le Pen gets in and every foreigner in France will pack their bags in anticipation of their departure. Anyway, we shall see. I believe the first vote is this weekend, with the second round the following week. Exciting times.

Fashion

The latest in summer fashions are in the stores and despite not having been shopping for at least three months, I can report that the style for this season is beige, beige, beige with FLURO PINK or FLURO BLUE or FLURO ORANGE. It is extraordinarily awful. The BoBos have been out in force when the sun does peak its head out from behind the clouds and big, thick-rimmed glasses are still a must.

Food

Weird and disgusting as this may sound, the latest craze in the French food world is… American hotdogs and hamburgers. WHY?? I really don’t know. Actually, I do. While BoBos are proud of their native country and French ways, they also crave the style of New York and therefore a van driving around the city selling over priced hamburgers (on gross sweet ‘hamburger’ buns I might add) is considered to be “trés Brooklyn”. The hamburgers I can manage, but the other day I noticed a new restaurant on Rue du Faubourg St Denis that is a “New Yorkaise” style hot dog restaurant where you can buy a “real American” hot dog for 4 Euros. They even were proud of the fact that you could add fake “mustard” in your sausage in a bun. Needless to say, I haven’t tried these hot dogs and never plan to. I’m happy to stick to good traditional French food that is full of fat and cheese and cream and everything that is delicious and artery-clogging.

Life aux Récollets

Life in the convent is plodding along nicely. The next few weeks will see the departure of some residents who have become good friends. It is a hard aspect of living here – I get to meet so many great people but often they will leave after a short period of time. It is nice to know that I will have people to go and visit in Italy, the US, Canada, Poland, South Korea, Germany, Greece… But still. It would be nicer if they would just stay here.

My electricity still turns off at least once a day and the internet continues to be painfully slow. There hasn’t been much action from the ghost downstairs but I think he/she might come out when summer finally arrives. Becky and my vegie garden is growing like crazy and we will have tomatoes before we know it. We just need to build an anti-rabbit/bird/mouse/snail/monster contraption to save our plants. Something is very, very hungry and likes eating our green-leafed plants. Very annoying.

So I think that is about it. Most of you will have heard or worked out through amazing sleuth-work that I am now a single lady living in Paris. This has both its ups and downs as emotions are still quite raw and so any form of romantic liaison between people on the street can result in floods of tears. This is problem considering Paris is the city of love and sitting on every second bench or lying under every other tree are gross, soppy, lovey-dovey couples kissing and cuddling and doing all sorts of French things. I have considered going over and asking them to stop but I have refrained. Anyway, life is all about changes and growing and discovering new things, new places and new people and that is my plan. I would just like to sun to come out so that I can wear a skirt. I’m bored of pants.

Pique-Nique à Paris

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Yesterday was my friend Jen’s birthday and she decided to have an evening picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower. It was a glorious soon-to-be-summer day and it was lovely to sit with all of the American tourists with our picnic feast. Jen didn’t have a birthday cake and there were no candles but the Eiffel Tower did sparkle for her (twice). I think that’s better than out-of-tune singing.

Eiffel Tower

Happy birthday, Jen.

Glorious

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Owen Wilson once said, with the help of a horrible script by Woody Allen, that Paris is beautiful in the rain. He has clearly never seen it in the sunshine.

I can smell summer.

 

Blue sky

Hello blue sky.

B-O-N-J-O-U-R

Friday, May 11th, 2012

What a wonderful day to be in Paris! The last month has been rain, rain, rain and grey, grey, grey, and then out of the blue came the sunshine. It reached an impressive maximum of 28.7 degrees today, a miracle considering the recent averages temperatures have been hovering around 16 degrees. The only downside was the strong wind that blew pollen and seeds into eyes and down throats – not so much fun when I went for a bike ride in the afternoon and finished with tears streaming down my face as my eyes tried to get rid of evil horse chestnut blossom.

I spent the day with the windows to my apartment wide open, letting in the warming temperatures and the exciting feeling of the approaching summer. It was a good day – I hung a blackboard in my kitchen to act as a creative outlet/shopping list and framed the best version of my lino stencil. I still want to do more prints of that stencil, I just need to go and buy more equipment first.

My main project for the day was to finish off a large piece that I started last week. I have been busy with visitors and being social (it’s a hard life) and so my half-finished project has been sitting on my desk staring at me. Today I had time to get out my sewing machine and work like crazy. Et voilà!

Bonjour material letters

It's almost as if Macgyver is speaking French.

The next step is to iron the letters flat and then attach them to a long string to hang them in my apartment. The other option is to frame them all separately and scatter them throughout the room. But string is cheaper.

Spring Time in Paris

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

As I write this I am sitting next to my window, facing out into the park behind my apartment. I am sitting on my dining/work/extra-space table as it is the only thing in my apartment that puts me at a high enough level to look through the window properly. Today is too beautiful to not appreciate in its full extent.

It is Sunday afternoon and the first official day of Summer Time. Paris is alive. The park is full of families having picnics, children playing on the swings, old people sitting on benches watching others go by. There are also the occasional drug dealer and homeless person but everyone blends together.

Last night Europe moved its clocks forward an hour and there appears to have been an instant effect – people are wearing shorts and tshirts, the new leaves on the trees have burst out of their buds, and everyone is smiling. It is definitely contagious – the only thing keeping me inside is the banana bread that I just took out of the oven. After a slice of cake and a cup of tea, the Parisian sunshine and I are going to get acquainted.

Magnolia

The magnolia (I think that is what we decided it was last year) is back in bloom

Summer in Paris

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

Yesterday it sprinkled for most of the morning and then at about 6pm this arrived –

I haven’t seen that much rain in Paris since being here. It did it again later that evening. At least it was decent rain and not that stupid, useless, drizzle stuff.

That’s Not a Beach

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

I don’t wish to disappoint the French, but they have been severely misinformed about what a beach is. From 21 July until 21 August, the Mairie de Paris has installed, on both the Seine and Canal Saint Martin, the Paris Plages. On Monday Tom and I walked down to the Seine to see what all of the fuss was about and to experience the Parisian tides. It was… well… interesting.

Paris Plage

Riverside beach

Basically a large amount of yellow sand is brought in and dumped into wooden boxes with umbrellas and lounge chairs strategically placed to allow for the best views of the dirty Seine water. There are then showers and mist-makers (I have no idea what you would call one of those things… a vapouriser? That sounds like something that would be used to kill ghosts) to ensure people can stay cool while lying in the middle of Paris in their bikinis getting a tan.

Water fountains

Cooling waters

Monday was a hot day (well, by ‘hot’ I mean it was 27 degrees and I was wearing a sleeveless top) and the sun was beating down quite strongly on that area of the Seine and the Parisians were loving it. Maybe I am half vampire because I shrivel if I stay in the direct sunlight and yet the folk of Paris will hunt out any inch of sunshine that they can, remove most of their clothes and soak up the rays. There was a lot of flesh. While most people had come prepared with their latest bikinis, lots of people were clearly there in their lunch break and underwear was passing as swimwear. Odd.

I will admit that it was an amazing set up. Walking along the Seine there huts selling ice creams and drinks intermittently all the way along the water. Once again it was an example of Europe being cool enough to sell alcoholic beverages in an area full of children. There were fußeball tables, sand sculptures, buskers, a pirate hut for kids to play in – all of this was set up for a month of enjoyment for the folk of Paris. The Mairie de Paris spends a lot of money on ensuring the lives of its residents are as fun and enjoyable as possible. It is very impressive and nice to be living in a ‘city that cares’.

sand castle

That's a big sand castle.

Since seeing an exhibition at the Hotel de Ville a few weeks ago about the history of life on the Seine and discovering that the Paris Plages have been around for quite some time, it was interesting to go and see what it was all about. I don’t think I will be spending any time there and I’m not sure I particularly enjoyed it as a place to visit, however it does bring some sort of bizarre happiness into the lives of the Parisians who don’t run away to the south of France during August. And that’s just nice.

Bikes

These two cool dudes were happy to have somewhere to roll

Summer in Paris

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

All it does is rain…

Rainfall

That evil blue cloud is heading north. So I don't think it is going to stop any time soon...