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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

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 ?

This is my contribution to a new photography assignment proposed by Scott Thomas:  black-white photography. I find it always interesting to join in,  visit other participants’ blogs, learning more about photography and  seeing each one’s perception of a similar theme. March 20th, 2013, is the deadline to share your pictures.

All details are given here : http://viewsinfinitum.com/2013/03/06/assignment-24-black-white-photography/

Nino, regard, B&W

Ninio, my Beagle, in one of his patient looks, waiting for the photography session to end and go for a walk. I converted this picture  to see how my colourful  dog (black, white and tawny) would look in B/W. I like his somewhat softer look and particularly the expression in his hazel eyes.

magnolia B&WEarly morning in a park of Houston, a flower of magnolia that looked so fresh and brilliant. I felt like heightening this contrast in converting the picture in B/W.

Lyon, B&W, 2Lyon, France, on the deck on a barge. The colours of the boat were a bit dull and I was surprised to see the difference in shades as I converted the picture.

double click, Williamstown, Melbourne

“Here’s to the happy couple !” Williamstown’s harbour, Melbourne. And long live the daring photographer 😉

Winter yes, but…

December 12, 2012

…I still wish to share some of my Fall colours just before snow fell heavily and unexpectedly. Colours from here and there along those past weeks.

Ninio is posing  in a golden forest and probably thinking: “If I were not on a leash, all you could photograph would be just a vague glimpse of one of my white legs running away like a flash or just leaves !”Ninio, Fall 1

I finally finished sewing a small quilt that brings warmth on a wall of our house. Inspiration came from a photo of a Flickr friend and artist, Eglantine.  I tried to find on fabrics the colours and patterns she painted on wood with acrylic and pastel. Thank you, dear Eglantine, for your inspiration and permission to use your picture. Underneath is the photo of my friend’s artwork.

only

More pictures of Eglantine’s Flickr photostream here : http://www.flickr.com/photos/eglantine/

This is the mini-quilt I sewed and embroidered using scraps of colourful  cotton, polyester, organza and gauze ribbons.

quilt Eglantine 1

Colourful too were the images of a beautiful and fascinating movie I saw recently, in particular the thousands of bees’ swarms working diligently and flying in all directions. “More than Honey” by Markus Imhoof  or “What if Bees would disappear ?” in French is a documentary.  Fascinating, I wrote, but I should also say  very worrying and well worth seeing. The present situation of those precious and endangered insects was filmed in various countries of all continents. Our whole planet is concerned with the bees’ disappearance from their hives or new colonies having to be destroyed.

rûches

What are the causes ? Pesticides or medicines used to fight them ? Parasites ? A new virus ? The stress bees are submitted to during their forced long journeys ? Industrialisation and mechanization ? Pollution or damage caused to the environment ? No sure answer is given but the documentary definitely makes you aware of this terrible danger : the bees’ disappearance and with them the absence of cross-pollination. Losing bees, as we all know, would have repercussions throughout the food supply chain.

“More than Honey” should be released abroad at the beginning of 2013. Don’t miss it if you have the opportunity to watch it. The film was presented at the Locarno Film Festival 2012, in Switzerland.

film, abeilles

Winter in October, first snow and warm colours, just nice enough to take a few pictures and then melt away. Fall was still present and so bright! first snow, october 2012

Since October weather has changed. Snow fell heavily in November, temperatures dropped a lot and a Siberian North wind is blowing every second day. I know, Winter is here but…one can still dream of colours, right ?first snow 1

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.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 ?” 😉

Dialog without words

March 7, 2010

Words do not always need to be expressed… So much can be said between four eyes.  Or so I imagined 😉

Oh Isa,  at last you are here! I was waiting for you .

I have a real big problem …

I lost that favourite bone of mine 😦 You know the one, don’t you ?

I searched everywhere for it, inside and outside.

I know it’s here somewhere but it’ll take me ages to find it ! I’m quite desperate 😦

Please Isa, can you help ??

“Sure, little Buddy, we’ll find it. Some day :)”