Images of here and there

August 31, 2017

July and August went by very quickly and were quite busy, it seems. Nicely though. When in the morning I opened the shutters and saw the top of a mountain under a blue sky, I knew the clouds would eventually disappear and leave room for another sunny and hot day.DSC03978One day, as I went  to a small town down in the valley, I had the surprise of finding some marmots (groundhogs) very far away from their alpine territories. Mom and her girls. Those were local marble sculptures made by a great uncle of mine who passed away a long time ago. He had sculpted many  animals (foxes, squirrels, weasels, cats, owls, eagles and more) that were exhibited here and there in our area.  Often in parks, on fountains or bridges, in front of some schools too. What a happy and touching discovery!DSC03959Up in the mountains wild flowers cover our pastures with varied and beautiful shades. This is just one of the many bouquets I picked during Summertime. Not two were alike and I just loved their delicate simplicity.DSC03982A few minutes before a loud Summer storm, I spotted a complex agricultural machinery, a kind of rural art, don’t you think ? And a lovely splash of vibrant colors when the sky got real dark.DSC04044Shopping one day in a dairy shop, I smiled as I read the wooden sign : “”Eggs from happy hens”. They must have tasted good because there were none left for sale. Too bad.DSC03964At a multicultural family reunion around a little baby, Mady,  his Senegalese Dad had invited several members of his African family and friends and before long an exotic music was in the air for everyone’s pleasure.DSC04093

DSC04089

Ninio loved our sunny Summer  but sometimes he enjoyed some shade too…going zebra- like !DSC03814

I did not quilt much during these past months but just started an experiment with two or three plain materials that I cut  and assembled randomly. An improvisation without too much thinking or planning. The very hot days seemed to have slowed down my imagination… Let’s see where this will lead me to !DSC04047I hope you will enjoy these few images taken during the last months. There was more to be thankful for or to feel sad about but we have to take days as they come and make the best of them, don’t we ?

DSC04057Before long those little birds will stop their “chat on line” and leave for another Summer somewhere else while we will stay here with the happy memory of their cheerful singing.

Advertisements

Happiness is…

June 22, 2016

… GETTING unexpected news from friends you thought had all forgotten about you. But they did not ! An SMS on your cellphone, a letter with lots of pictures, a telephone call, all of it on your birthday.DSC02708

… LISTENING to a song from years ago by a lady who was famous as an actress, a singer, an activist and a politician (Minister for Culture in her country). A beautiful unforgettable human being, MELINA MERCOURI, from Greece.DSC02167_2

<a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSz4heSSNYM&#8221; rel=”nofollow”>www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSz4heSSNYM</a

… WALKING to the woods just after the rain has fallen, droplets of water still trembling on the branches and leaves.DSC02700

I am listening to the rain whose drops are falling one by one.

I am listening to the rain whose noise is calming my heart.

Lys Gauty

… HEARING the birds sing in the morning as you wake upDSCN1261

… EXPLORING the countryside with a determined buddy as a guideDSCN1440

… BEING MOVED by the tenderness and protection shown to a childDSC02143

… LOOKING FORWARD to the Season of strawberries

strawberries

… IMAGINING things in the sky, like a large lost feather… or an angel’s wing ?DSCN0802

… PLAYING SCRABBLE just for the pleasure of finding words and not for counting  pointsDSC02113

…  And last but not least ENJOYING POSTING AGAIN,  reading you, finding inspiration, energy and time to write to you !

immigration museum 1

I feel sure there are many other reasons to define what HAPPINESS is. Those are just the thoughts that came to mind as I started writing about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warmth in Winter

March 6, 2016

When the weather is not exactly bright, when rain and snow compete with a tempestuous wind to remind you that Winter is not  gone yet, what do you do ? I am not sure about you but today I feel like sharing pictures of a place in a warmer climate. Will you follow me to Italy ? DSC01277Arrival in Verona in the early evening. No Juliet on the balcony nor Romeo waiting on the alley below. A  light is on though, someone must be in. The mystery will remain…

hanging gardensA brilliant  morning !  a  joy to discover Verona and its hanging gardens along the Adige river.DSC01297Let’s cross one of the many bridges in Verona. This  one, constructed with red bricks, has been partially restored and will lead us to the ancient part of the city. A picturesque link between epochs and styles.

DSC01280What a treat to sit in an old church (San Domenico), listening to the melodious  voices of  those young  and talented American singers ! They belonged to a choir and were on a musical tour in Italy. Sacred, classical and folk music from all around the world.  How lucky we were to walk into this church !DSC01314After a long guided visit through the old town of Verona, walking on uneven paved alleys on a hot morning, a pause was definitely needed. Remember the   cool pasticceria (cake shop) with so many pastries and cakes to choose from ? My choice went to a small  “Romeo” cake (chocolate/moka)  and  a strawberry tartlet with vanilla cream. With three drops of this strong Italian coffee. And a big glass of water. This was an exquisite moment.DSC01318

This was the “Flego” pasticerria. Remember ? A stylish blending of modern and old decor.

DSC01320

Weren’t we happy to be back on Garda Lake in the evening ?  just in time to see the last rays of sun and its reflections on the water. Peacefulness and beauty. This was a busy and very enjoyable day.

DSC01336

A few more sights of the lakeside as the sun went down.

DSC01367There was this terrace almost floating on the lake where people sat and enjoyed quiet moments or animated talks. A place for everyone and “gelati” (ice cream) for all.

DSC01365

Back to the here and now… Looking outside, I see the weather has not changed, stronger rain, snow and wind. As promised to my little buddy, we will go out no matter what. You see, Ninio has been waiting, sleeping with one eye only, not even thinking of renouncing to a “promenade” in search of scents over and under the snow. So here we go, buddy ! It was nice to be back to a warmer climate for a while though. I hope you enjoyed the trip as much as I did.cartes, quilt tree 032.jpg

More information about the ancient city of Verona here :

https://wikipedia.org/wiki/verona

Moments I like to remember

October 17, 2014

On a hot Summer evening under the roof of his attic apartment. my eldest son was busy preparing a Thai meal to celebrate my birthday. Great concentration for adding the many ingredients that were chosen for  this special and delicious meal. Thanks JB !

collage, Thai foodLast June I finished sewing a picnic quilt. Lots of leftover scraps from previous quilts. I was really happy.

DSC00108

The problem was that our Summer was so cold and rainy  that picnics were too rare. Fortunately Autumn has started beautifully and warmly. Sooner or later the colorful blanket will be part of a joyful day in the open.DSC00109

Oh, the great moments I spent reading these books during last Spring and Summer ! Not always cheerful stories  but certainly all different and fascinating in many ways, locations, times, styles and characters.

books, Summer 2014

I remember with emotion the outing my family and I made – as well as many cousins – to an unforgettable place in the Alps. 300 hundred years ago a major rockslide hit a small mountain village, killing many of its inhabitants and their cattle, destroying their rough wooden chalets.

Last August a day of remembrance was celebrated up on those mountain pastures where rocks are still covering much of the landscape. “Emotion”, I wrote because this area is where my mother grew up; she and her siblings used to go up there every Summer looking after the family domestic cattle. Those were hard times but “some of the best of my life”, my mother used to say. All day long I thought of her and how she would have loved to be there with us. She certainly was in my heart.

éboulement

On the road to the pastures, we were welcomed by local musicians playing the Alp horn, a typical musical instrument here.DSC00075

Another moment to remember of  this past Summer was my father’s significant birthday ! Having owned a garage  almost all his life, we thought it would be a nice surprise for him to rent an old Londonian taxi (Austin 1970) to drive him to the place where family and friends were waiting to cheering him. He was hugely surprised and absolutely delighted.

DSCN1549

What a great moment too when I was able to pick the first apples – boscop – in the garden ! Not exactly shiny nor smooth, they are nevertheless tasty and just perfect for pies or compotes.DSC00352Guess what other moments I always like to remember ? The adventurous walks Ninio leads me to. Nature in all its forms. Wild most of the time. Not that he refuses to go to my chosen destinations. But his eyes and slower pace tell me : “Now, how about going on exploration to places that smell interesting ?”

DSC00285

Hints of Spring

April 15, 2014

Did you think Spring had come ? I did too last March. Then one morning I felt everything looked too white, too cold.  Different. A patch of Winter had covered the landscape. Again. Just to give us a fright. It did not last long though.   DSC00321 When snow melted, the soil got warmer by the day and little by little tiny flowers, daisies, appeared in the grass. Some were quicker to open to the sun, others  more shy, stayed asleep. DSC00408 Dialogue between two cotton sheets in the open. “What is Isa thinking to hang us outside today ? Early March is too cold and what a Siberian wind this morning !!”.  “I know, I am freezing. Let’s huddle up together, get warm and dry. Isa will come over, bring us down into her basket and put us back nicely onto our beds”. Spring washing Hiding in the grass ? I saw you, pretty white primrose. You made my day. Thank you. DSC00356 Spring can affect some animals, apparently not these quiet cows grazing along the railway road. As I and other passengers were waiting for the train back in Fribourg, we were told that the train would have an indeterminate delay. We waited as the same message was repeated again and again. Finally we knew what it was all about :  heifers were on the tracks and  all trains from Zurich to Geneva (half of Switzerland, North-South) were delayed. Maybe it was the cows’  first day out in the pastures  after a long stay in the barn ? Such an excitement and joy ! There must have been some serious gap in a fence somewhere  too. Fortunately nothing wrong happened to anybody, the cheerful cattle was driven back home and the train moved on. Missed connections but more time to admire the scenery.DSC00368   Spring can also make you feel more tired. This is my case. I do not seem to be the only one… I was looking for Nino at home, no sign of him. I found him upstairs, dozing lazily on a comfy quilt, eyeing gently at an exotic parrot. Oh well, change of Season, you know.quilt, Nino, KOSince we are in a patchwork mood, let me show you my new Spring project. Something I have been planing to sew for a long time : a picnic blanket for Summertime. All different scrappy squares, economy blocks or diamond in diamond. I really enjoy going through my leftovers boxes. The quilt is far from being finished; I plan to separate each square with a plain fabric, white or green.  Spring has just started and I hope to sit in the open on this blanket next Sumer. How I love picnics ! DSC00448Just a few touches of my Spring that I felt like sharing with you, hoping yours is pleasant too. Any project on the way ?

summertime

August 7, 2011

Summer  is a bouquet of wild violets catching the late afternoon sunrays

Summer is the scent and sweet taste of fresh raspberries just picked in the garden.

Summer is also the colourful sight and sound of laundry drying in a warm breeze.

Summer is the Season when straw hats  bloom under the heat.

Summer is another beautiful opportunity to play “cache-cache” (hide and seek) in the meadows with your friend.

Summer is a time for many celebrations.

In Summer roses of all shades and shapes love to blossom.

 For me, Summer is also a time for living at a different pace, a slower and more relaxed one. This is not always possible, alas. When things become too hectic around me, I remember this view and moment : an old barge anchored along a large river crossing a big French city, Lyon. Its owners had transformed it into a floating house. Its terrace looked inviting and I loved its “hanging gardens”. This is also my idea of Summertime.

What is yours ?

Mail in the letterbox

February 28, 2011

The day started under a cold mist but with a definite hint of a blue sky above. As often at this Season, mornings look dull and grey. Then slowly but surely the fog disappears leaving behind soft layers of this Winter haze.Off I went to the woods for a morning walk with my faithful little companion, as watchful –  and playful –  as ever.

It was a quiet stroll, no encounter of any kind although Nino could confirm you there were some deers around, for sure. Unmistakable tracks and scents tickled his nose.After a pleasant and  lazy walk  through narrow paths and slightly frosted fields, we were back home. One of us decided to take a nap…

… the other went to fetch the daily paper and mail in the letterbox. And then came The Surprise ! A letter from abroad with beautiful stamps that suggested forest,  berries and little visitors creeping under the pine trees. I immediately loved those stamps  and will keep them in a special little booklet. Smalls or inchies 😉

The content of this  letter sent by Gerry in Michigan  http://torchlakeviews.wordpress.com/ was even more appreciated !

An elegant handwriting on a card,  a fine drawing  by Thomas W. Ford : “Queen Ann’s Lace” flower. In Gerry’s  envelope I also found two delightful postcards by artist, printer and naturalist Gwen Frostic. The cards are original block-prints by the artist. I simply love them !  Precious art pieces from an amazing person I learned about on the following site. It is well worth reading about Gwen Frostic’s life and achievements.

http://web.archive.org/web/20010506005958/http://www.freep.com/womenhistory99/qgwen1.htm

Many, many thanks Gerry for this thoughtful letter and gifts. If my day started under the Winter fog, it certainly continued under a bright sun 🙂 This type of “real-mail” is precious indeed.

Long before her death, Gwen Frostic wrote her epitaph:
“Here lies one doubly blessed.
She was happy and she knew it.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Random views of a morning walk

September 13, 2010

As every day, Nino-the-Beagle and I went for our morning walk. It was still raining a little after the violent storm of the night before.Small drops of water were shining on grass and flowers,   the coolness of the air definitely announced a change of  Season.

There are always the usual stopovers on the way. Nino so enjoys following tracks and investigating them further (down). He loves  digging furiously, puffing and digging again with great insistence. Sometimes he lifts his stubborn and cute head and looks at me as if saying “I know “it’s” here, not far, I’ll get it,  just wait !” And on he goes, digging happily and throwing earth into my shoes.

As he was searching underground, I was looking up to the sky, a lovely blue sky washed by the rain. There was this cloud as big as a vessel sailing towards Northern skies. I wondered where it was heading to and what shape it would take on arrival.

I am always fascinated by the shapes and moves of clouds. Endless transformations.  When the sun shines through them…

… clouds seem to take another dimension, they become more alive with shades, transparency and depth.

Later I stopped at the bottom of this tree and sat on a bench. Above in its branches there used to be a sort of small wooden platform. I never knew  if it was meant for hunters or for bird watchers. As I looked up though I saw only pieces of broken wood, the hut had been  destroyed by the storms or by somebody, I don’t know. It looked a bit desolate.

Nino was beside me looking down – again – at something that seemed to interest him a lot. It was a  stone that looked like a nicely wrapped parcel, a small gift of nature. Maybe this is what he thought too ?  and did not know where to start  opening it and chewing at it 😉

It was getting close to lunchtime. I had a risotto in mind. Those mushrooms were tempting but just not safe enough for me to pick and add them to our meal …

Storm was looming again over the forest and the fields. Dark clouds,  a few drops of rain. It was time to get back home at a fast pace. Which we did but not quite fast enough. Half an hour later we arrived home. Soaked.

Just a few thoughts of a morning like many others, yet different, unique in so many ways even if I know this area.  Unique in the way I felt on that particular day and how I looked around trying to be really present during those privileged moments.

“I am at home, I have arrived

There is only here and now.

I feel strong, really free,

I find refuge in myself.

I am at home, I have arrived”

This is what Thich Nhat Hanh calls “the meditative walking”.


Summer heat (1)

July 22, 2010

Inside or outside the house, the Summer heat we are experiencing for  almost a month is almost tangible. Trying to keep it outside is a job starting  early in the morning. I or someone else in the family (but usually it’s me…) open  shutters and windows widely. The  cool air moves around three similar windows and refresh the whole ground floor. A real delight ! Then, as soon as the Eastern sun gets warmer, I half close the shutters and shut the doors. I left them open just to show you the palpable heat trying to sneak in 😉

This second picture was taken in Andalusia, in the Spring of 2009. The sun was so hot already, even at the end of the day. I liked the way the curtain caught sight of the golden disc and of the heat you could feel through the rough textures of the linen.

And well… there are others who feel the heat in spite of their never ending energy ! Our animal friends. Little Ninio is no longer himself… even if he is still  full of mischief and hungry as ever. So thirsty too !  All of  sudden, he gets tired and stops all activity.The only place he enjoys resting on these days are the cool tiles of the ground floor. And even there, he looks like thinking :”When is the snow falling again ?” 😉

A breath of fresh air

July 6, 2010

Shopping in town on  hot days like we are having for the past week is something I rarely do. When I really have to, I always try to take time and visit the botanical garden. One of my favourite places in town.  At this Season the garden is a little paradise of shade and flowers. A real breath of fresh air, a haven of peace if you go there before midday. The arbour that looked so bare early this year is now covered with  pink wild roses. Nothing like natural shade can give you this wonderful feeling of coolness on a hot Summer day.

Even under the brilliant sun, the pond adds some freshness. How peaceful to look at  the water lilies  slightly undulating  in the water, it  quietens body and mind.

There is a particular place where I like to sit near a rosebush. Those tiny rosebuds  are an invitation and inspiration to any painter. And photographer… What I cannot share with you, unfortunately, is their  subtle, delicate scent.

As I sat on the bench enjoying this moment,  lost in my thoughts, I heard a prolonged “miaou”… Looking around I saw a black cat probably feeling a bit lonely and who was lying on the ground not far from me. He stayed there  quietly then followed me when I got up and walked further in the garden.

Young people had arrived near the pond. Some students were working together on a project.  The college of biology is close by and sometimes I see them sitting in the garden having lunch or reading. An extra-mural break…More people arrived and sat around the pond. These  girls were obviously very busy checking their  messages and totally oblivious of their surroundings. They were reading and commenting their sms for everyone to hear : “He writes beautifully, you know and he loves me so ! ”  🙂

Followed by my new friend, the cat,  I strolled all around the garden before driving back home. I  took a few pictures here and there, stopping to read the names of various trees, bushes and flowers, amazed at their origin. A world travel in miniature ! The tropical greenhouse looked inviting… but definitely too warm and humid in Summer. I will visit it on colder, duller days.  As I walked, I took a few photographs; you may recognize some arnica flowers, water lilies, fuchsias, wild roses, flax plants, edelweiss, irises. There were many more… We will leave those for a next visit ! Hope you enjoy this one 🙂

Where flowers bloom so does hope.
–  Lady Bird Johnson, Public Roads: Where Flowers Bloom

Each flower is a soul opening out to nature.
–   Gerald De Nerval

In joy or sadness, flowers are our constant friends.
–  Kozuko Okakura