Posts Tagged ‘sunshine’

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!

New Friends

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

It is a glorious morning in Paris today – crisp, cold and clear skies with the sun glistening off the frosty ground and trees. The birds are loving it, and I have just had some delightful visitors on my windowsill. I had to quickly close my window as one stuck his head inside but these little guys have been busy flittering about in the park and on my rather dead plants.

bird

Bonjour petit oiseau!

I hope they come and visit again soon.

 

Lots of Lycra

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

My presence on the Champs Élysées for the end of the Tour de France has become an annual occurrence – yesterday my friend Brandon and I joined the crowds of British tourists to watch the boys in lycra roll into Paris. It amazes me how easy it is to actually do this – I always imagined pushing and shoving and hordes of people lining the grand rue for the final day. Instead, Brandon and I met 50 minutes before the riders’ expected arrival and managed to find a spot right near the finish line without any problems.

Tour de France

Le Tour

Paris finally brought out the sunshine and it was a glorious day. The atmosphere amongst the crowd was very positive and it is such an exciting experience to watch the bikes zooming past. They go a LOT faster in real life than they do on television. Absolutely amazing.

Tour de France

Allez!

I was particularly thrilled to see Jens Voigt, the craziest and awesomest German bike rider EVER, heading the group for most of the way. He was clearly telling those legs to “shut up and do as I tell you”. Amazing.

Jens Voigt

GO JENS!

There were a few amusing moments, too. Last year I complained about Tina Arena singing the Australian national anthem when Cadel Evans was standing on the podium – this year was even WORSE. Perhaps it was my proximity to one of the speakers, but the opera singing who screeched out God Save the Queen burst a few ear drums amongst the crowd. It made me screw up my face in horror, this then resulting in a girl standing near me laughing. It was truly awful. So I say “Go Tina!”

Then there was Wiggins’ speech, which he made in English and that wasn’t exactly the most inspirational thing I had ever seen. But there was then a French translation for all of the non-english-speakers in the crowd. I’m not sure if this translation was shown on the television but it was absolutely terrible! Firstly, the translator was a girl. This just seemed strange. Secondly, she then ‘beautified’ the rather crude things that Wiggins’ had said, and said that his father’s dream of seeing his son winning the Tour de France had come true, rather than his mother’s dream as Wiggins had stated. Wiggins had also asked the crowd not to get too drunk, which was not translated at all and somehow turned into him thanking the crowd with all of his heart. Good work, translator.

The third amusing element was the overly dramatic music that was pumped through the speakers before the presentation of each of the jerseys. It was all violins and rolling drums. It certainly ‘added’ to the atmosphere. Amazing stuff.

So another year of the Tour is over and next year will be the 100th! Looks like I will have to stay in Paris in order to participate in the festivities.

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.

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

One Year and Counting

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Greetings from sunny Perth! What a difference a 20 hour plane flight makes. I went from sunny yet frosty Paris to even sunnier and oppressively hot Perth and it was certainly a shock to the system. I hadn’t felt the burning sun sensation for over 360 days and as I stepped out of the Perth International Airport and headed into the concrete car park, I reeled back and almost ran into the air conditioning again. The jeans, long sleeves and boots that I had worn for voyage to the Paris airport and the excessively cold plane didn’t quite suit the 38 degrees I found myself in.

Today is a landmark occasion in my life as it is exactly one year since Tom and I arrived in Paris. I’m sure you’ve realised by now that I love anniversaries, count downs and dates of significance and so I am a little bit sad and disappointed that I am in Perth for this event. Really, I would prefer to be in the minus temperatures that Paris is currently experiencing, heading to the stairs of Sacre Coeur to have a ceremonious Nutella crêpe. It is the only way to celebrate this sort of day. I am more just disappointed that I can’t really say that I have lived in Paris for an entire year, because I haven’t. I missed out by three days. Three hundred and sixty two days does not a year make. Anyway, I’ll get over it.

Tom and I had planned on celebrating early on the evening before I left for Perth, however I had managed to give myself quite the impressive upset stomach that I couldn’t actually eat food. This is potentially one of the worst experiences of my life. Usually if I am sick, I’ll still eat something. Dried crackers, rice, bread. This time – nothing. I’m back to normal now but for awhile there I thought my life was over. No more food?? This can’t be true.

I have been to the beach three times since my return to Perth and it has been utterly wonderful. I now realise why people fall over in amazement when they discover Perth beaches – they are truly special. On Monday morning at 7am, I dumped my towel on the sand at North Cottesloe beach and ran into the water like a crazy lady. I feel like I have washed a year’s worth of grime from my skin and my insides are all cleansed and sea-salted. In the past year I swam in Greece and Portugal but nothing compares to the Australian coast.

Returning to Perth hasn’t been so bad. I know I whinged about having to come back, and I will continue to do so as it is becoming a excessive financial drain for something that really could have been done in France, however I am definitely finding the positives of being in Australia. I get to wear skirts and sleeveless tops; I have rediscovered my old clothes and shoes; my mum cooked me chicken and asparagus for dinner; and plums and nectarines are in season! Life is good.

Fun Times Count Down #3

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Yesterday was one of those days in Paris where the beauty of every street corner, every tree, every canal, every cloud, every everything is multiplied by a thousand plus one. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and there were little fluffy white clouds everywhere. Birds were singing and I’m fairly certain I saw Bambi prancing down the street. Mary Poppins would have been pleased.

Riding a bike through this general scene of gloriousness put me in the perfect mood to tackle French crowds at the Paul Klee exhibition. I knew it was going to be busy and I knew there would be too many people trying to look at a picture and then read the little text stuck on the wall next to it. As Ben and I had already attempted to get into the exhibition last Friday with no success, I booked a ticket in advance to avoid waiting in line. It was a great idea and I don’t know why I don’t always do it. I could get in straight away and give looks of pity to those waiting to buy tickets. Les pauvres.

Cité de la Musique

Paul Klee exhibition

Of course no matter how many tickets you buy in advance, there will always be far too many people inside the actual exhibition space and those people you cannot avoid. The exhibition was about Paul Klee (a Swiss artist who worked in the late 19th/early 20th centuries) who I had previously only know (and admired) for his paintings. It turns out both he and his family were highly musical and a large amount of his paintings are inspired or even derive from musical theory and practise.  The exhibition was located within the music museum of Paris and hence the focus was more on how music affected his work than what I have previously seen in other exhibitions. The exhibition wasn’t particularly well laid out and the information provided jumped all over the place and didn’t seem to fit with the images associated in that section. However, Klee’s work was as interesting to see as usual and I was very interested to learn about how music and Klee’s studies into colour theory influenced his choice of colours, patterns and layouts in his paintings. Some of my favourite Klee paintings are made up of series of squares of varying colours, which I had previously taken for granted as just being pretty things. In this exhibition I learnt that Klee developed a mathematical system connected to his favourite classical music to work out what colours would be used next to other colours within the painting. Very interesting indeed.

There was a video which showed some of Klee’s work and then the music that influenced the work was played over the top. Instantly the image changed in meaning and became a significantly more powerful piece.

Generally the exhibition was interesting but I’m not certain why it has become the hit exhibition to see in Paris this month. It seems to be the thing to do for those over the age of 60, plus, as it is school holidays, the gallery was full of children. Yes, yes, I think it is good that kids go and see art and that they’re not stuck in front of their Nintendo Wiis, however I do think they need to be told NOT to run around like maniacs through the gallery. I also think old people need to be told not to talk so loudly, not to stand in the middle of thoroughfares and to watch where they are going so that they don’t walk into you all the time.

So that was my fun activity for the day. I enjoy walking through galleries although I prefer it when I am the only person there. The real highlight was riding to and from the Cité de la Musique along Canal Saint Martin. It was good to be in Paris.

What’s in the Canal Today?

Monday, October 17th, 2011

It was a bright and sunny weekend, so lots of ‘outdoor walking time’ was had. Yesterday we headed north along the canal and spotted a few interesting objects floating in the water along the way. I thought I would share these with you. I saw:

Couch in the canal

A couch.

Cans and bottles in the canal

Various consumed beverages.

Estonian viking boat

An Estonian Viking Boat.

During my run this morning I saw a double mattress in the canal. I contemplated using it as a raft to paddle myself home but wasn’t confident on how it would fare in the locks.