Saturday, 30 June 2012

Mostly birds

While all the birds found our feeder quite quickly, and returned within a couple of hours of putting food out after being away for a few days, we also have another less welcome visitor!

The photos of the sparrow and young great-tit were taken while we were spending a few days minding my aunt's dogs. The weather wasn't great - the best day was the afternoon we arrived, and after that there were several grey, wet days.

The robin is on our back wall - they all seem to be moulting at the moment. I had one on the patio this afternoon with no tail.

Thursday, 28 June 2012


We visited the Notre-Dame area on our first evening in Paris. Last time we were there much of it was swathed in scaffolding as they did a clean-up job on it; it was very noticeable which parts hadn't been cleaned. As it was getting to be late in the evening it was also getting a bit dark for many photos. We hadn't had any dinner, so we found a little café with a view of one side of the cathedral and enjoyed some very nice chips and a glass of wine.

The very first time I visited Paris in my teens we climbed one of the towers and were able to walk around part of the roof area. I must see if I can pull out some old slides and scan them.
When I have time...the last two weeks have been far too busy. I hope July calms down a bit!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Eiffel Tower

On the Sunday evening in Paris we got the Metro from Edgar Quinet over to the Trocadero, to get the view of the Eiffel Tower from across the Seine. At that stage it was still quite cloudy, though nothing like as windy as the last time we'd been there. Then we walked across the bridge, and in that short space of time the sun had come out and it was beautifully warm, so we sat on the bank of the river for quite a while and just enjoyed people-watching, and seeing all the boats going up and down.

The bridge is the Pont d'Iéna , the boat going under it is a BatoBus - a hop-on, hop-off water bus. The large eagle is part of the bridge; the man was, like us, also sitting enjoying the evening sun. I guess it would have been around 8 in the evening at this stage, given that it was around 9 by the time we'd walked back into the centre and found an expensive, but very nice, Indian restaurant to have dinner in. The modern tower blocks are looking up from the Eiffel Tower. We saw them far more clearly on the last day, when we got a bus back across the city.

(The first picture was actually taken on Sunday morning, looking through a rather dirty window on the third floor of the Musée des Arts Decoratifs, which gave us great views looking over the Tuilieries and up towards the Eiffel Tower.)




Saturday, 16 June 2012

Happy Days are Here Again

We got back from Paris to discover that our neighbours had cut down their mahonia tree. I'm not at all surprised, it's never recovered from the heavy snows a couple of years back and has been a bit threadbare ever since. And I certainly won't miss stepping on those desperately spiky leaves in my bare feet, or the crushed berries on the patio, or the flowers getting everywhere. BUT, it was where I hung all my bird feeders. So, off to the shops to buy a bird-feeding station. I'll have to get another one some time when I've persuaded C that one isn't enough. The peanut feeder is tied on at the moment as there aren't enough hanging hooks for everything. In any case, it didn't take long for all the birds to find it, and we've been seeing the greenfinches, goldfinches, sparrows and dunnocks and all the varieties of tit. The only missing ones are the redpolls - I hope they'll come back some time. It's been funny to see one goldfinch having a decided preference for sunflower seeds whereas another one goes straight to the niger seeds.
It took a little adjusting to get the seed tray at a suitable height where I could actually see it from the house and the pigeons couldn't use it as a convenient stand to help themselves from the main seed feeder, but once I got it right, the dunnocks and robins are enjoying it. Hopefully the chaffinches, another ground-feeder - will too, when they find it.
A robin has also been visiting the back door again after a break - and today when I was standing there waiting to shut the back gate after C went out, we had a very welcome little visitor.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Jardin du Luxembourg

The Jardin du Luxembourg is only about three minutes walk from the hotel we normally stay in, so we always spend a fair amount of time there, no matter what time of year. Often we sit and watch the tennis, but with the French Open on this time there wasn't a lot of good tennis being played on the courts.
There is a training centre for bee keepers, and it's the first time we've seen them in action - lots of smoke in the air and a small area around the hives roped off. There was an enormous stack of frames in a gazebo, but that photo was a bit blurred.

We often see dogs, too - but it's the first time we've seen a ferret. We wondered if it was a gift for somebody - you can see a single pink rosebud in the pet-carrier, and after he'd let the ferret have a little walk through the undergrowth and given it a drink, he carefully wiped it down with a damp cloth before returning it to the carrier.

This is the Senate building. I know it looks grey - but actually it was 8.30 in the evening and beautifully warm. At lunchtime there hadn't been a single vacant chair. In the dry weather it is very dusty - you can just see it on these park keepers, getting ready to close up and go home,  and after walking through  at lunchtime with our suitcases we were both noticeably dusty!

We had a picnic lunch in the garden on our anniversary - sandwiches and patisserie from the local bakery, strawberries, little coffee desserts and a bottle of sweet Breton cider.

On our last day it was a bit windier - much more fun for all the kids sailing boats on the central pond. The second view looks over towards the Pantheon.

p.s. - the sign with the Eiffel tower in an earlier post - I think it was someone having fun with a no left turn sign, and adding their own spin to it!


Every time we go to Paris we walk down the boulevard St Michel and I look in the window of this shop. The display is always so beautiful to look at. This time we didn't just look, we went in on our last afternoon and  I got an umbrella as the second installment of my birthday present from C. It's the same design as the white and black one in the window with the Eiffel Tower on it, but it's a collapsible compact one. I'd have loved the regular one, but it was just a bit too expensive in our current circumstances. Maybe another time! A bonus of the compact one is that the ribs aren't metal at all, they're some fancy new type of flexible plastic and hopefully will stand up much better to wind.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Thursday, 7 June 2012


We're just back from a short trip to Paris to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. It's going to take a while to go through the photos, but the ones with graffiti in them were easy to pick out...

This one was at the top of Rue Edgar Quinet. We were checking the opening hours of our favourite restaurant and then picking up a metro straight over to the Trocadero. We arrived just before a weekly art market finished - my favourite was a stand with metal sculptures, but we were also attracted by some music-themed paintings. The artist used to be a professional sax teacher and musician, who had taken up painting in his retirement.