Monday, 27 October 2008

Yesterday's hike - Cirque de Fer du Cheval

Fog across the lake and an invisible Switzerland encouraged a foray into the mountains towards Samoëns and Sixt. We thought it should be sunny further back into the Chablais and away from Lac Léman, the surface size of it holding the damp cloud close to the French shoreline, and the surrounding villages and up onto the plateau de Gavot. A picnic bought at La Croustillante and we were off...

The sunshine hit the high mountain tops and tree line above us although not often penetrating down into the Dranse valley below Morzine. Les Gets was quiet as we drove through and as we descended down towards the Tanninges/Cluses valley floor we were disappointed to see the mist filling the valley and away towards Samoëns and further on towards the mountains surrounding Chamonix.

The weather of late had meant warm autumn sunshine and over the past few weeks it had been dry mostly with little rain. This suggested the waterfalls in the park would be mostly dry but even then a peaceful almost empty valley in which to walk awaited us.

We met a parapentist who had hiked up to a Col and launched himself off. Once he'd landed and was packing his 'chute we asked if he'd had a good flight and he was almost speechless through the beauty and the wonder of it all.

"Grandiose" was all he could say, smiling and wishing us a good sunday walk.

We sat upon rocks in the midst of what at other times of the year would be a raging torrent, and too dangerous to attempt to cross, but today we sat, ate, greeted a cyclist who was carrying his bike to the end, the height of the valley before setting off to ride down. A few other hikers walked past; otherwise all was quiet. And very beautiful.

A few more still photos taken show one of the many waterfalls; this one still in action. We'll have to return next May or June to catch the splendour of the snow melt.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Pienza, Florence - 4th September 2008

Trattoria - La Chiocciola, Pienza
Cucina Tipica Toscana

Carpaccio della Casa - thinly sliced Turkey with shavings of Truffle and Wild Boar Sausage.

Pappadelle and Wild Boar Sauce.

Ravioli with Ricotta and Sage stuffing with fricassé of Sage leaves in butter.

1/2 bottle of Rosso di Montalcino Vendemmia 2005, Carparzo Montalcino -13%.

Ristretto and square of dark chocolate.

What more could one want for lunch on a warm late summer day in Chianti country?

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Freedom ??

Banksy's CCTV....

There are occasions when I get frustrated with living in France; this large beautiful country with at least three police forces.

However I do not often get angry with it. One of the reasons for that is that La Belle France celebrates its freedom by not watching its people all of the time.

If I were now living in the United Kingdom would I be angry? Would I be just frustrated or would I be frightened? If frightened; then what about?

Perhaps the suggestion, hidden among myriad CCTV cameras all around the country, that a passport would be needed to buy a mobile phone. And it is alleged, all to help fight terrorism and crime.

Britain must get rid of the corrupt Government that is (nu)Labour.

In the last 11 years it has lost freedoms gradually being eroded away in such a manner that many people do not notice.

I read a newspaper piece recently by Anthony Beevor where in a review of a book about the Nazis before and during the war, he suggests the Nazis 'sold' their awful policy to the German people in just such a manner.

If people do not make a stand at a time like this over such a trivial matter when will they stand?

Monday, 20 October 2008

Wiltshire Landscape

Pensive Thoughts From London

I love this bloke's pensive thoughtful regard as he gazes towards the Serpentine and across Hyde park on an overcast day.
The only overcast day during an 8 day visit to England.

Perhaps he was admiring the Frank Gehry pavilion outside the Serpentine Gallery.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Gateway To A Dream...

Some days are spent painting the houses of local people, whether or not they be absentee owners, and although I don't mind the hardship of it all, the white gloss painted ones are somewhat harder to do than the Lasured chalets I prefer...
So at lunchtime after a sandwich, I take a walk and here I found a wooden bridge across the edge of a pond, in the Chablais woods where ice would form in the winter and decades ago be cut and transported down to the grand hotels in the towns below and used to keep the wine chilled, the fish and meats fresh and add to the comforts of the rich guests.
All this was long, long ago. Now though the wooden bridge is used by ramblers and hikers and sometimes just has to be seen resting amongst the reeds blowing in the breeze of an autumn day.
The calm swish of the reeds the only sound.

Last view of the mountains for a while....

Went out for dinner last night with Ruth & Bill; they picked us up at 7.45 pm and off Bill drove up the mountain to a little chalet restaurant and while we tucked into the delicious mountain fodder of beignets des pommes des terre and fondu savoyarde it started to snow. Looking out of the window in the street lamp below standing sentinel amongst the tall pines the snow fell as if it were mid-winter rather than 3rd October...

A few days before it had been like this ...golden leaves and warm autumn days...
but as I'm off to see family and friends in England for the next few days, I thought I might leave these scenes up here for anyone passing ...