Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Promenade Plantée

Some time back I mentioned that I'd put up some photos of the Promenade Plantée in Paris.
Well, today's the day. It's a limbo sort of day, C is at home after having a tooth out yesterday.
The Promenade is a linear park, 4.5 km long, starting from the Bastille area along an old disused railway viaduct, and ending up near the Bois de Vincennes. There's some good information about it on Paris Walking Tours

Up some steps and you're in a different world, walking with lovely views over the city and all the greenery to enjoy too. All that green ironwork is just like Les Halles, too.

This next one was where we had come down from the higher levels and were down at ground level (and passing under the road) where cycle and skateboarding tracks were included.

And this one was where we were crossing a street.

Doing this walk had the extra bonus for us that we discovered that the metro station at Bastille was where the Canal St. Martin re-surfaced after its underground stage. We'd walked most of it another year, but stopped where it went underground - this year we picked up again at Bastille and walked the short distance down to the Seine.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Autumn in the Park

I was just about at the stage of turning the lamb tagine down to simmer for an hour and a half when C said it was such a lovely day that a walk in the park would be nice. I said sure, how about we go in 5 minutes. Apparently he was thinking of the afternoon after dinner, but since it's now a solid grey sky, I am glad we went when we did.As it was, it was pretty grey by the time we turned to come back, but it was lovely to be out. No heron on the pond, and we weren't near the deer area, so it's just leaves and bare trees.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

More Botanics...

Today has been mostly grey and often wet with the occasional sunny spell. We are so glad we have yesterday to remember. After I did a batch conversion of my RAW files to jpg, C took a selection to make himself a grass-themed desktop for his work computer; he's just discovered Picasa.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Botanics - and finished sweater

Listening to the wind howling and the rain beating on the window, it's wonderful that this morning we had a lovely trip to the Botanic Gardens. I'd got up at 8, when it was grey and cloudy, so I thought it wasn't likely to happen. I made cookies and cleaned the kitchen windows, and by the time C surfaced at 9.30, it was getting to be bright and sunny, so after breakfast we headed out. For the first while it was beautiful and sunny - later on it clouded over, but it was always mild and dry.
C took the photo of me in my sweater, and didn't point out there was too much light on my face - but it's the sweater you're meant to be looking at. He was also distressed when his shadow filled the foreground of one photo he took - but he's getting a lot more adventurous with his photography these days, and always makes sure I have my little camera along with me for him, if I have my big one.
More pictures to follow tomorrow - right now it's time to go and start cooking the roast beef and Yorkshire puddings which I couldn't do earlier in the week because C was having trouble with a crown...and with an extraction to come on Tuesday, I'm getting my roast in now!

The grassy part of the gardens was amazing - I don't think I've ever seen it looking so good. It helped that the light was so lovely, and all the grasses had flowered and were looking their most beautiful. This photo might even make it into the calendar that C is doing.

We'd seen some crocuses in the Alpine House in pots, but how much lovelier to see these ones growing under one of the trees...

I always forget to bring nuts for the squirrels. Yep, there's a warning not to feed them in the car park, in case you get bitten - but how else are you meant to get close enough for good pictures? When someone else feeds them...

Friday, 23 October 2009

Robin - again

Just a couple of quick pictures. We've had a lot of heavy rain this week, apart from today. Yesterday I was taking a quick photo of a card in a dry spell, and friendly little robin came out to play. I can get pretty close before he takes off - and then he comes back pretty quickly, so he's obviously not too stressed by it. So these photos are the full frame, not cropped at all, and not even with the long zoom, just the 40-150mm.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Past reflections

One night earlier in the week I had to go to bed right after dinner with a bad migraine. Later on when it was more manageable, C came in with his laptop to choose some photos. When he was doing his PhotoShop course last year, two of his projects were based on the Botanic Gardens, and one of them was 6 months of a calendar. He promised his brother in Australia that he'd send him a calendar, and I've been pointing out that if he doesn't get it done soon, I'll just have to buy one as usual.
This isn't one of the photos he's going to use, but I liked it at the time, just never got round to uploading it.

Sunday, 18 October 2009


Just a couple of quick pictures from yesterday. We'd arranged to meet my sister - and were lucky enough to have the lovely sunshine from Friday evening carry over...
Autumn colour by the house:

Autumn colour by the lake:

My sister's two dogs - the one with the blue bandana is her new one, just ten months old. She was so good on the leash - seemed blissfully unaware of all the squirrels that were catching Missie's attention.

A little coal tit on the patio during the week:

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Park Pics

Just a couple of photos from the park last night. After a mostly grey week, except for Monday, the weather took a turn for the sunnier yesterday afternoon. So when C got home from work, as soon as we'd had coffee we headed out to the park. And since he's been telling me all week about how he keeps seeing the deer on his way to work, I stuck the long zoom in my pocket...

Friday, 16 October 2009

The crumble that nearly wasn't...

The railway line runs at the end of our garden - there's a bit of no-man's land between our wall and the railway, and the brambles grow over it. C was leaving cutting them back till after we'd harvested the blackberries, which we did on Monday - it was a lovely sunny evening. We had a friend for dinner on Tuesday, so the berries stayed sitting out in the cold porch. But that meant that I really had to use them on down to the vegetable shop. I reached the little local shopping centre, and there was no electricity. Luckily the greengrocer was happy to estimate the weight of the apples and I had the right change; I am not sure that I would have thought it was worth driving all the way to the big shopping centre just to get apples, but the berries did need using. Luckily that catch-22 was avoided.
I'm always looking for a good crumble recipe - all suggestions welcome. Sometimes I use the one from the Penguin Cordon Bleu Puddings and Desserts. This time I used one from an old edition of The Joy of Cooking. In the book it's equal measures brown sugar, butter and flour, but my mother had doubled the amount of sugar when she wrote in imperial measurements, and I stuck with that. No matter what recipe I try, they rarely come out as I think they should, but this one was pretty good.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Weekend Photos Continued...

The first two photos are still Mullaghmore...apparently the house with the blue car in front has fresh eggs for sale - you could see the yard with the hens through the gate. I think, although it doesn't seem right to me, that those are Donegal mountains in the background. Slieve League, T said. I must have been totally disorientated, in that case.

These three are from Bundoran, and you can see we did actually get some sunshine. Amazing light through the clouds as we walked south, and beautiful light on the dunes as we walked back. It was a shame we were pressed for time - those dunes reminded me so much of where we used to holiday in Killybegs when I was very young.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Leitrim, Sligo and Donegal.

We were away for the weekend visiting a friend. She lives in County Letrim; on Saturday we drove about 15 minutes to Mullaghmore in County Sligo to walk along the beach and coast there, and on Sunday we drove ten minutes to Bundoran to fit in a VERY short walk along the seafront before heading home again. Made me realise how little coastline Leitrim itself has.
Don't want to put too many photos in one post, so I'll add some now and the rest tomorrow. On the Saturday night we were invited to go along to a 60th birthday party. When we arrived, for some reason a couple of people thought we were foreigners - as in not even Irish, let alone not local. And us in our lovely handknit Aran sweaters - maybe that made us look too much like tourists. Far from being foreigners, it turned out that one of the hostesses brothers is married to a cousin of C's whom he hadn't seen for almost 40 years (and being a kid at the time, he didn't even remember that), and one of her sister's best friends is someone we know quite well and whom C often used to call in to for a cup of coffee if he was driving through her area. Lots of singing and music - shame I didn't know in advance or I'd have tucked my flute in along with C's guitar.

The last time I can remember being on the beach here was when I was in Irish College one summer - and my main memory is that there was such a large amount of jellyfish in the water that swimming was not a very enticing prospect! No jellyfish this time, but though our friend kept hoping the sun would appear, it stayed grey and overcast all afternoon.

The people walking back in from the sea had just been helping to release some seals. We arrived just too late, although we did see one who was reluctant to swim out to sea. In fact, when we were having a cup of coffee later, someone came into the hotel bar to see could he find anyone from the seal sanctuary, as the seal was still there just a few feet from the shore.

A not very good photo of the seal - my zoom lens was in the car because I was only anticipating panorama shots, and C was not inclined to go back for it. I've left the foreground in, because where the water is curling is actually the shoreline - with wellies you could easily have walked out to the seal.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Salambos, profiteroles...and birds

We had a busy weekend - it was C's father's 90th birthday last week, and there was a family meal on Saturday. I was asked to make a dessert, so I thought I'd make profiteroles. And just for a change I made some of them as Salambos à l'Orange. It's the same choux pastry buns, but you used caramel to top them (being careful not to burn your fingers when you're dipping the buns into the hot caramel) and filled with an orange flavoured cream; the finely grated zest of one orange crushed with a couple of spoons of sugar and a bit of orange juice or an orange liqueur like Cointreau or Grand Marnier, folded into stiffly whipped cream. I had more orange cream than I needed, so some of the regular profiteroles had orange filling too - very nice with the chocolate sauce.
Our little robin is still hanging around. These photos were not even with the big zoom, I was able to get quite close. C was amazed one morning when he was out to see how close the little robin will come. Speaking of which, I'd better go and fill up the feeder, I didn't have time to do it this morning.