Category Archives: Humourous

From AU to the UK to the EU in 5 weeks!

I’m tired just thinking about it — but we have gone from Australia to the UK to France in the very short space of 5 weeks. Seriously — whew!

We don’t bounce back energy-wise as fast as we did 20+ years ago — so we were well into Week 2 in England at Mark’s parents’ house before we started to shed SOME of the jet-lag. But even when we first arrived in France in the 3rd week of November, we were still exhausted.

Once we had the shopping and car insurance and ferry reservations and so forth sorted out, we drove in the wind and rain to Portsmouth to take the night ferry to Caen. I had booked a cabin so we could get some sleep, but the staff hadn’t finished cleaning the rooms when we arrived, so we ended up getting very few hours of shut-eye.

Waiting in a long and very slow line to board the ferry.

Waiting in a long and very slow line to board the ferry.

Waiting for our cabin to be cleaned in the blue-light disco.

Waiting for our cabin to be cleaned in the blue-light disco.

Arriving in France, we drove through persistent rain towards Caen and then south to the town of Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives and onward to the nearby village where we will be living for the next several months as Mark does a large renovation project.

The house was built over several centuries — but the oldest section is from the 1400s. And the part we are living in — the red brick section — is from the 1800s. We even have a resident mouser named (badly!) Caramel who SHOULD be named Rocky because he’s such a sturdy bruiser of a cat. However (ahem!) — he has now adopted Mark and he follows him around like a puppy. So much for the cat’s stand-offish reputation!

The Normandy renovation project.

The Normandy renovation project.

Mark inside the renovation project.

Mark inside the renovation project.

Mark's new playmate -- the cat in residence.

Mark’s new playmate — the cat in residence.

The town of Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives is quite stunning and given the fact that they were occupied by the German army during World War II — a remarkable amount of truly old and lovely buildings are intact.

Every Monday morning, there is a large local market that takes place both inside the medieval market hall (another post about that coming soon!) and in the nearby street and huge parking lot. The range of fresh produce, cheese, wine, meat, seafood, and more was a wonderful surprise.

The packed Monday market in Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives.

The packed Monday market in Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives.

Inside the historic medieval market hall at Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives.

Inside the historic medieval market hall at Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives.

Rooflines show the overlapping time periods of the town.

Rooflines show the overlapping time periods of the town.

Leaning against a wall of the cloister, a statue awaits restoration of the abbey in Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives.

Leaning against a wall of the cloister, a statue awaits restoration of the abbey in Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives.

And finally — a hello from our next door neighbours on ALL sides — the lovely cows of Normandy. I’ll be back with more slices of life-in-France in the next few days. Enjoy!

The pretty cows in the fields next door.

The pretty cows in the fields next door.

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Photo of the Day: The Overwhelming Urge To Sleep!

Giving in to the overwhelming urge for a nap, this older couple simply parked on a street in England, locked the car, and gave in to that urge. They were completely oblivious to the amused pointing and kindly laughter of everyone passing by. Sweet, eh?

 

An older couple in England were apparently overwhelmed by the urge to sleep!

An older couple in England were apparently overwhelmed by the urge to sleep!


 

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Hot Pants and Big Hair

It was such a retro look that my head fairly well snapped when I saw it on ample display in Newcastle Upon Tyne in the north of England. Really ‘Big Hair’ on women of all ages. I don’t think I’ve seen such a generous use of the teasing comb and cans of hairspray to create that sort of back-combed volume since the 1960s.

What was even funnier was that we were in a vintage bookstore at one point during our four weeks up there and there was a book on sale that was a ‘Look Back to 1960s Newcastle’ — and all of the women in that book would have been the mothers or grandmothers of the people we were seeing on the streets. Some of the folks in the North of England seem to have gotten stuck in a time warp!

Regional trends included the messy buns — the sort of teased up and pinned up look that Brigitte Bardot used to do so well — or tight buns — teased up and smoothed into not-a-hair-out-of-place firmness with gel or hairspray. And we saw this look on women from teenagers to senior citizens. We were checking out at the grocery store one afternoon and it was everything I could do to not snap a quick pic with my iPhone of the middle-aged check-out clerk who had a bright red beehive hairdo that was towering above her small face!

Then there was the range of hot pants on display (on some icy days in February?) — thankfully on the really young girls and not on the middle-aged gals who shared their love of Big Hair with a large percentage of the Newcastle demographic. Interesting too that once we returned to London and Norfolk from our month up north, we never saw a beehive, teased bun, or hotpants look down there!

Apologies for the graininess of some of these. I did snap a few of them on my phone!

 

Teased up back-combed hair on young girls in a Newcastle mall going from the most bouffant on the left to the least voluminous on the right.

Teased up back-combed hair on young girls in a Newcastle mall going from the most bouffant on the left to the least voluminous on the right. This was taken on an icy cold day at the end of February.


 
Interesting fashion and hair at the hardware superstore.

Interesting fashion and hair at the hardware superstore.


 
Two young girls with teased chunks of hair sitting on the floor in a shopping mall.

Two young girls with teased chunks of hair sitting on the tile floor in a shopping mall.


 
Hotpants (even on the coldest winter day!) and big teased up hair are very popular amongst the teenagers of Newcastle in the UK.

Hotpants (even on the coldest winter day!) and big teased up hair are very popular amongst many of the teenagers of Newcastle in the UK.


 

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Impromptu Livingroom in the South of France

So your wife has left you and your friend to look after the baby, but it’s a festival day in the South of France and you don’t want to be stuck inside the apartment. What do you do?

You pick up the sofa, a table, and some odds and ends and set up an impromptu livingroom at the edge of all the upcoming action. With the baby safely tucked into a pram, you can sit in the shade and watch the festival unfold.

 
ImpromptuLivingroomSouthOfFranceB&W
 

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Unexpected Things on Rue Gambetta

Still loading photos online for the (fingers crossed!) upcoming launch of the photo website to link to all of our travels for the last 5-ish years.

Unexpected things that have made me smile immensely tonight as I worked…

Went to Google Maps and pulled up our old address in St. Girons and did a quick swish around the neighbourhood and astonishingly, the Google Maps car had come by on a day and time when Mark’s van was parked in our parking lot across the street!

Then I was editing photos in Lightroom and when I was cropping this photo of Rue Gambetta, I noticed a VERY familiar white van (with some rural mud from job sites splashed on the bottom) parked at the end of this section of buildings — and there it was again — Mark’s van. He must have gone into the bank because that’s the building with the curved arches over the covered veranda.

Feeling homesick for France right now because it is too hot to sleep tonight in Ballarat and Christmas feels so very wrong when it isn’t cold!

Ah well…

The curve of Rue Gambetta leading to the market square in St. Girons.

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Toulouse Again And A Funny Street Sign

 

Falling under the ‘you couldn’t make that up’ category, here’s a photo of a street corner in Toulouse, France.

 

Street sign in Toulouse, France

Street sign in Toulouse, France


 

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Cartoon Graphic From a Cafe With A Good Vibe

Directly in the block across the street from the old Union Station in Tacoma is the Renaissance Cafe. We had some hearty salads there and this cartoon graphic was on the wall behind my son Chris. I thought I should share it. Isn’t it nice to go someplace for lunch that does NOT have wifi and people are actually eating and talking amongst themselves?

 

Cartoon graphic from the Renaissance Cafe in Tacoma, Washington

Cartoon graphic from the Renaissance Cafe in Tacoma, Washington


 

P.S. I am posting this from Vancouver, Canada. We are here for a mere 24 hour visit, are hoping that the good weather holds out, and we’ll be winging our way to Australia tomorrow night. If my posts are a little thin for the upcoming days, it’s because I am recovering from jet lag in Sydney!

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