Posts Tagged ‘trees’

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)…

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

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.

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.

Lost in Paris

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Another day wandering aimlessly through Paris – I got slightly lost today (on purpose) and stumbled upon areas that I didn’t know existed. I felt an extreme sense of “I have no idea where I am” and loved it. I found lots of cool cafes and a whole new section of shops to explore with my fellow female travellers at a later date.

Highlights include finding the Movida cook book (a spanish tapas cookbook written by the people who run the restaurant Movida in Melbourne) for the low, low, low price of 5 Euros. It’s a soft cover and has a different image on the front but it is the SAME BOOK. I was stoked. Also, walking through random back streets of Paris in the sunshine wearing just a dress and stockings. No jumpers or jackets required. Most other people on the streets were rugged up for some reason… Couldn’t they see the sunshine?

Lowlights include the intense heating system used in Galleries Lafayette – every time I go into that shop I want to leave immediately due to heat exhaustion. Also, the pathetic scoop of Belgian Chocolate ice cream from Häagen Dazs. I knew it was a bad decision as soon as I walked in there but I was craving ice cream so much and couldn’t find anywhere else. At least the small size means it was a ‘diet ice cream’ and I can eat something else delicious as well!

I had a lovely day today – I went for a seven kilometre run this morning along the canal and to Parc Buttes de Chaumont where I had the lookout and a view towards Sacre Coeur all to myself. Sure, on my way home I may have been somewhat stalked by a Tunisian man who decided we should run together but who just slowed me down, but let’s just forget that.

The sun has been shining all day despite original forecasts for it to be overcast and the park outside my window is blossoming, blooming and bursting with new leaves and flowers. So pretty. The only problem with leaf growth is that our view becomes less and less, but who wouldn’t want to stare at that amazing vibrant, granny-smith green all day?

Park

Look at all the colours!

Magnolias

Look at the flowers! So, who can tell me what these are?

Now I am home after spending the last four hours walking around the city, my back is sore from carrying my bag and my feet are going numb. But Tom just called to ask me what delicious treat I want from the boulangerie for dessert and I am about to whip up something amazing in the kitch (by that I mean I am making up a recipe and am extremely worried about whether or not it will work). Now that’s the good life in Paris.