Saturday, 31 January 2009
Thursday, 29 January 2009
Monday, 26 January 2009
This photo (another of the merry-go-round in Bordeaux) was inspired by the anonymous blog reader who posted a comment last week on da blog re the hit US show, Mad Men. I confess I hadn't heard of this show before reading the comment and watching the YouTube clip- but now I am intrigued. The show is a drama series set in the 1960's in New York and explores the high pressure, high octane world of advertising. It looks HOT, HOT, HOT. I will definitely be watching the new series when it hits our screens in mid-Feb.
Sunday, 25 January 2009
The monument was erected between 1894 and 1902 in memory of the Girondists who fell victim of the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. These sculptures (below) sit around the base of the column in two large basins.
Saturday, 24 January 2009
The Musee Des Arts Decoratifs (Museum of Decorative Arts) is located in the Hôtel de Lalande, a beautiful 18th century building, and houses an exquisite collection of furniture, 18th and 19th century porcelain, glassware, ceramics, silver and wrought iron work. The building was designed by the famous Bordeaux architect, Etienne Laclotte, for the Marquis de Lalande and was completed in 1779.
Hidden in the pretty cobbled courtyard of the Musee Des Arts Decoratifs is an elegant salon de thé - you can take tea sitting at the outside tables during fine weather or tuck yourself away in the tiny tea room if the weather is unbearably chilly.
Plus, and this is very secret squirrel, the courtyard houses a scrupulously clean toilet if you are, umm, caught short and really need to go! If there is one thing I appreciate when travelling, it is a clean toilet with toilet paper that flushes reliably :)
Musée des Arts Décoratifs
39, Rue Bouffard 33000
Tel : 05 56 10 14 00
Chez Karl is a buzzy little cafe in the historic Saint- Pierre District. The food isn't extraordinary but it is a nice airy space which looks out onto a pretty square. I had the "Petit déjeuner du Boulanger" for 5 euro which consisted of a wonderfully crunchy baguette, slices of rye bread, preserves, nutella, butter and a café au lait. The staff are friendly and the servings, plentiful. It would be lovely in summer when the tables are set outside on the square.
A waitress at Chez Karl, Bordeaux (below)
These young chaps were sitting at the next table- they were being mischievous with the pepper grinder and had me and a couple of other patrons in fits of giggles. They were Tae Kwon Do students on tour from Korea and wolfed down a huge cup/bowl each of chocolat viennois.
Thursday, 22 January 2009
The photos below are of some lovely students I met while dreaming my thousand dreams :)
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
For all you Aussie peeps reading da Blog, Little Chef is a roadside cafe chain here in the UK which hasn't had its food or decor updated since, well, errrr, a very long time (but not in a nostalgic good way!)
Brilliant, captivating viewing
Starting a new venture and changing careers (particularly in these uncertain economic times) is scary- there are days when I think of packing it all in and going back to a secure, office job as a lawyer where a nice little paycheck comes in each fortnight, with 4 weeks PAID holiday leave, PAID sick leave, an IT department (oh how I wish I had an IT guru to sit by my side and hold my sweaty little hand when things go awry with my computer), a speaker phone (anyone else get slightly frustrated sitting on hold for any length of time on a land line with no speaker? arghhh, the frustration blog fans, the frustration!), free stationary (not that I would ever advocate using office stationary for personal use 'cos that would be just plain wrong ;), nice office toilets (not that our toilet isn't nice but, well, it is rather lovely to be using somebody else's toilet paper and squirty soap- not to mention the Dyson Airblade hand dryer-instead of my own) and most importantly, other humans readily at hand to listen to my moaning, share a giggle and office gossip (not that I would ever advocate office gossip of course!)
Tuesday, 20 January 2009
Monday, 19 January 2009
These photos are not of Max but of a very friendly cat I came across in Bordeaux.
p.s. Max the meow is actually a girl cat (despite her name). When we picked her up (read: rescued) from her former home, the lady assured us she was a boy cat. Errr... and then Ms Ewah went to the vet- and found out that Max was actually a girl, not a boy! Maxie, the tranny cat.
Sunday, 18 January 2009
The last time I was in Bordeaux was in late 2003 and the city was so tangled and consumed with construction work as part of the urban renewal project that it was difficult (if not impossible) to appreciate its beauty. Roads and footpaths were ripped up, construction safety fences were everywhere, traffic was regularly gridlocked, the noise of jackhammers filled the air, the Notre-Dame Cathedral was covered in scaffolding, facades of buildings were caked in dust and grime, and the city looked, well, just plain messy. Residents and tourists alike lamented the project, and when enquiring about a completion date, locals would give that wonderful very French gesture which involves simultaneously raising the eyebrows, a downturning of the mouth, shrugging the shoulders to ear height and emitting a small "pppppffffffffft" sound-which translates (in this circumstance) to "I don't know, it will take as long as it will take"!
Thankfully, the makeover of Bordeaux is now complete and the results are stunning. It is hard to describe so I will post photographs when I have a chance, but the designers/town planners/architects have managed to redevelop the city centre and quays so that the new high- tech tram line, boulevards, bikeways and pedestrian footpaths are in complete harmony with the classical and neoclassical architecture- a successful marriage between the old and the new perhaps. So successful has the redevelopment been that Bordeaux was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.
If anyone is thinking of heading to Bordeaux this year, I would highly recommend at least a couple of nights in the city centre, or if you are doing a wine tour, perhaps basing yourself here. The charming Hotel Majestic is centrally located and is a superb, relatively inexpensive (although the fall of the pound against the euro makes travelling on a budget difficult) place to lay your head after a long day spent photographing or wine tasting (depending on your particular-but both very expensive-vice!)
Apart from the extremely efficient tram system (1.40 euros a trip) walking is easy as most of the city is flat and the pedestrian walkways are extremely wide. Hiring a bike would also be a great way to spend an afternoon and see more of the city and my understanding is that the Vélib bike hire scheme (similar to that in Paris) will be launched shortly in Bordeaux.
I will continue posting about my adventures in Bordeaux over the next couple of weeks.
p.s Two rather unfortuante things happened to me on return to ye olde London town. 1. my new mobile phone (which replaced my dodgy old mobile phone) dropped in the toilet (don't ask!!!) and drowned on Saturday night :( I have spent the last day feverishly scouring Internet sites on how to revive a soggy mobile. Tips include taking out the battery and sim card and laying the phone on a bed of dry rice, blowdrying it with the hairdryer set on "cool", putting it on top of the TV for a few days, putting it in a sock and resting it on top of the radiator (actually this one was suggested by the ever helpful Mr Messy;-)). All suggestions are clear on one thing- DO NOT get all shouty-cracker-impatient and try to reinsert the battery/SIM card prematurely before it has had a chance to dry out- patience is a must (which is terribly inconvenient for an Aries like moi!)
2. I went to the SWPP&BPPA Convention yesterday at Hammersmith to check out album and framing options for clients. Unfortunately I happened upon the Nikon stand. Unfortunately I spied a D3. Unfortunately I asked to try it out. Unfortunately the sales rep let me.
That camera ROCKS!
In continuous high speed mode it is like a machine gun, pounding out 9 frames per second. The low noise at high ISO's (would have been great in the Notre-dame cathedral in Bordeaux), the full frame, the 51 point auto-focus, the round optical viewfinder- I could go on and on about this camera. The only downside that I can see is the weight (dang, it is heavy with a 12-24mm wide angle lense on it) and the sensor cleaning (full frame cameras are a lot more expensive and difficult to clean apparently), oh, ummm and yeah the price- currently around £2800.
I should never have tried it as now I want one more than ever. Hmmmm Le Plan B- how to get my hands on a Nikon D3....
Wednesday, 14 January 2009
Messy transmission will resume in a few days -hopefully with a lot more photos and some interesting tales to tell :)
Photos are of Valencia, Spain, October 2008
Tuesday, 13 January 2009
The gentleman above had never been on a horse before today! He was lovely enough to pose for me despite probably feeling a bit nervous on his mount. He was such a beautiful horse- that be his rear end (below):
Sunday, 11 January 2009
First up, Polly and Dave from Australia and New Zealand, respectively. I photographed them in Hyde Park near the Pond...they were sitting, quite peacefully, enjoying the sunset until I blithely blundered onto the scene with my camera ;-)
Polly and Dave were travelling the UK (Polly is still here but Dave has returned home) when they met and a romance developed (we love that!!) We had a chat about the state of Cadbury chocolate in the UK (I am not a huge fan of the English variety but apparently the Irish bars are smashing), Flight of the Conchords (as you do!), and coffee in London. They were a lovely, lovely couple and I hope they give me an update when they meet up again back home in Aussieland.
Next up is Issy who I met last week with her friend Heinrich in Soho. I think (and I hope I haven't mixed the story up!) that Issy is the daughter of Gina X, the late 70's, early 80's electro-pop singer. She and Heinrich were filming a clip for an art college project about the song that Gina X wrote about writer/actor Quentin Crisp called "No GDM" (which stands for No Great Dark Man). I couldn't resist a photo of Issy in her 80's-inspired outfit.