Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Category archive: France

Tuesday November 22 2016

While searching yesterday for Brittany lighthouses, I came upon this photo of some Brittany sea:

image

Judging by the other photos taken at the same time, this one was grabbed through the window of a moving car.  If that’s right, not bad, although I attempted some straightening, with rather imperfect results.  Those programmes that can rotate in 0.1 degree increments, rather than just in 1.0 degree increments, have a definite edge, in my opinion.

Mostly, when I try to photo very bright light, my camera either tones the bright bit down or it turns everything else far too dark, one way or another trying to balance everything, and the effect is lost.  By which I mean, it is not anything like what I saw.  But sometimes it seems to know exactly what I wanted, and this time was, I think, one of those.

I hope to do something rather more substantial here tomorrow.

Monday November 21 2016

For the last week or two or more, I have been unable to reach the 6k blog, which is one of my favourites.  I’ve been able to reach everything else I wanted to, but not 6k.  Odd.  My computer has been behaving strangely in recent weeks, so it’s almost certainly me rather than him.  Or maybe, as The Guru suggests, it might be my internet provider. Whatever the reason, it’s been a frustration and a worry.

But today, for no reason that I can think of, I clicked on 6k yet again, and back it came, like it had never been away.

To celebrate, here are some more lighthouses, something which 6k likes, and which in a more ignorant and casual way I do too:

image

That’s a crop from the middle of a hastily snatched shop-window shot, full of reflections and general confusion.  Memo to self.  Next time I visit my friends in Brittany: better lighthouse shots.  Of postcards, of toy lighthouses like these ones (I seem to recall entire walls of lighthouses in tourist crap shops), and of actual lighthouses.

image6k likes lighthouses so much that the little square graphic at the top of the window where his blog is windowed, or whatever is the word for that, is a red, white and blue square from a red and white lighthouse picture.

Friday October 21 2016

Friday was the day here for cats, but now I have widened it to all kinds of creatures, cats included.

This week, a snake!  On a vintage car!

I took these pictures in the square next to Quimper Cathedral, in the summer of 2008:

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage

The snake is most clearly to be seen in pictures 1.2, 2.1, 2.2 and 3.3.  I think it must be some sort of air intake, for the engine, or for something.  But what do I know?

Berliet seems to be an enterprise that makes lorries these days.  But if you scroll down through the images you get when you type “berliet” into google images, you start to see vintage cars, in among the more recent lorries.

If you scroll down at this site, you get to something that looks like the above vehicle.  And if it is the same vehicle, or something very similar, then it is a 1907 Berliet C2 Double-Phaeton, or something very similar.

There’s a number plate on the front of my Berliet, which says: 1909 VS 29.  I thought that might be a clue, rather than, you know, a number plate, so I tried “Berliet 1909 VS 29” with google images, and guess what I found.  A Berliet “Double Phaeton” at a car museum in Malaga.

I even found a photo of the car in question, with a ludicrously long internet address attached to it, which I now offer you, in the hope that it works

Well, the link does seem to work, but if it doesn’t, take my word for it.  Although this is not the same car as my one above, it is very similar.  So similar that the car in the Andalusian museum also has, just like my car has, attached to its side, with its mouth wide open, sucking in air, … a snake.  Weird.

Friday October 14 2016

This time last week, it was birds on an aerial.  Today, more birds on another aerial:

image

It been very aerial here of late.  What with yesterdays aerial videoers, and another aerial on Tuesday.

It’s the bright blobs of light on the TV aerial that gets me putting that here.  Taken in Quimper in June 2008.

TV aerials in France appear to be exactly the same as in England.

As with cranes, what I like is the absolute functionality of aerials.  They are as they are because that does the job best.  Aesthetics has nothing to do with it.  Yet, the result looks, to me, aesthetically most pleasing.  See also: pylons.

Sunday October 09 2016

Recently I acquired, in the remainder shop in Lower Marsh (in the basement beneath which Gramex now operates), a copy of a little book by Rod Green called Magna Carta and All That.  This is now going for £0.01 on Amazon, and is well worth £2.81.

It takes the form not of a few longish chapters, but rather of lots of easily digestible chunks of verbiage, many of them biographical, and typically concerning persons I had never heard of.

Eleanor of Aquitaine, mother of Henry II, and more to the point from the Magna Carta point of view, mother of King John, I have most definitely heard of.  (She was played by Katherine Hepburn in The Lion in Winter.) This (p. 22) is what Rod Green says about Eleanor’s immediate antecedents, and in particular about Eleanor’s grandmother:

Born in 1122, in the Duchy of Aquitaine, Eleanor was brought up on spellbinding tales of her family’s adventures, especially those of her grandfather, William IX of Aquitaine. William, a big man with a fiery temper, was a warrior and a renowned poet who loved to scandalize his audiences. He was never one to let tradition, custom or even the law stand in his way. He divorced his first wife, Ermengarde, and married again, his second wife, Philippa, giving him seven children before he fell in love with Dangereuse de l’Isle Bouchard, wife of the Viscount of Chatellerault.

Dangereuse, it seems, had not earned her risky name lightly and was so called because of her beguiling, seductive manner. She appears to have been a willing participant when William decided to kidnap her while visiting the viscount. He spirited Dangereuse off to his palace in Poitiers and installed her in the tower which was the living quarters of his immediate family. This kind of abduction wasn’t unheard of among the nobility in medieval Europe - however, that didn’t mean that William’s wife was best pleased when she returned from a visit to her family in Toulouse to find another woman in her home. Eventually, she left William; later, she was instrumental in getting the pope to excommunicate both William and Dangereuse from the Church.

William, however, was a very rich and powerful man and eventually persuaded the pope to allow him back into the Church. Aenor, Dangereuse’s daughter from her previous marriage ultimately married William’s son, also called William, and it was from this union that Eleanor of Aquitaine came into the world.

Like I say, I long ago heard of Eleanor of Aquitaine, but never, until now, of Dangereuse.  She is all over the internet.  I have no idea if any of these many pictures of Dangereuse are in any way genuine.

Although I promise rien, expect more bits here from this most entertaining book.

Monday October 03 2016

This photo was taken in 2008, in France.  I took it myself, and though I say it myself, I think it’s great.

There’s a particular sort of car you see in France which is old school in its styling, but so beautifully shiny that you suspect it may be a brand new reproduction rather than the genuine old article:

image

Those big buses behind don’t spoil it.  The flowers in front don’t spoil it.  This is my blog, and I decide about such things.

Alas, you can’t tell what sort of car this is, and hence get agoogling about whether it really is a real vintage car or merely a pretend one.  My bet would be: real.  Which only makes its shininess more shiny.

Yes, another quota photo, but this time I’m doing it in the small hours of the morning for tomorrow, rather than for yesterday.

Thursday September 22 2016

Continuing with snaps taken ten years ago, in Quimper and nearby spots, the French love their Harley Davidsons.  Here is one:

image

And moment later, I zeroed in on one of this particular Harley Davidson’s details, a lady wearing a yellow top and blue trousers, listening to music, with evident pleasure:

image

It’s not the first time I have photoed a Harley Davidson in France.  I still recall this photosession fondly, which happened five years later.

Wednesday September 21 2016

The directory with all the snaps I took in Quimper and surrounding places, ten years ago, contains some fine images.

And some rather weird ones:

image

Okay, Citroens made of wood is not that weird.  Certainly not in France.

But those really rather realistic black baby dolls is something we surely don’t do nearly so much over here.  I’m guessing we have too much of a history of what you might call derogatory black dolls, unrealistically racist dolls, and that means that all black dolls are now tainted in our eyes, even much more realistic ones like the ones in that picture.  They evoke a tradition and a way of thinking we would prefer not to be reminded of, or worse, to be thought to be perpetuating.  When the British are being sentimental about black babies, they do it in those (I think) ghastly charity fundraising telly adverts.

But what do I know?  I’m just thinking aloud.  Maybe we do have lots of dolls like these in British shop windows, and I merely haven’t noticed them.  But, my first reaction when I say these black babies was, as I say: weird.  Certainly striking enough to take several photos of.

Wooden Citroens and black baby dolls
Brittany lighthouses
A direct hit
French animals from GodDaughter 2
Modernism now works
A decade of unrecognisable photographers
More South of France bridges
South of France signs
Goodbye PhotoCat – hello PhotoPad
Incoming imagery from Antoine
A bridge in Narbonne
Vendredi
Horizontal French signs
A house in France that is not faceless
Safe cracks in an airplane window
Weather and weather
Wonderful
Mozart’s Requiem in Narbonne
Why I photo postcards
My camera can see through a Ryanairplane window better than I can
Using your crane to protect your cement mixer
The view from the roof
Sports thorts
More drone trouble
A rejected Grand Chose that shouldn’t have been
Footbridges in the sky
Twelve 2015 photos
The culling of the Northern Hemisphere
Blog interrupted
Londres
Trois Citroens (et deux chevaux)
Credit where credit is due (in France)
A new Grand Chose for Paris
Pancake White Van
A forgotten war
A new not very big Thing in Paris
Marc Morris on how the Bayeux Tapestry ought not to exist
Not squash
The Bayeux Tapestry small enough to fit in this blog
Exit Caesar
Triple Chess and a Four Wheeled Pedal Board
Proof that there are a lot of French people in Britain just now
Smartphones and tablets at the Charlie Hebdo demo
Sixty Charlie Hebdo demo signs that say something other than “Je Suis Charlie”
Charlie Hebdo demo in Trafalgar Square
Old Quimper Cathedral
Posting difficulties so see you tomorrow
Cats in Quimper shops
Quimper and its Cathedral
French roof clutter
Touch typing or no typing at all
A French film poster advertising a British film
Tired in France
Quota photo from Paris (also a selfie)
Marginal Eurostar economics
MicheldeMontaigne.fr
Recently on dezeen
Parisian roof clutter gets the Real Photographer treatment
Back from France (plus cat photos)
Cat photo and cat news
I need a new passport but just now passports are a problem
Emmanuel Todd talking in English (about how the Euro is doomed)
The joyful excitement of the Festival lyrique international de Belle-Île-en-Mer
Bennett and Lotus on how Emmanuel Todd’s family provoked his Grand Theory of Everything
Omaha dead
Selfies of me – 2001, 2007 and yesterday
Three more Paris pictures
Eiffel Tower with chimney pots – La Défense ditto
Fat bastard!
Eurostar before St Pancras
Craig Willy on Emmanuel Todd
A Fleet Street lunch
Little Lady Liberty - still in France
Mon chat se tient debout tout seul
I’m Charia Hebdo!
Les Rillettes Henaff
Summer blogging break
Empty tables and empty chairs
Quimper cat on Harley-Davidson
Quota frogs
Infrequent flyer
Signs from the Frenchosphere
Paris signage
Rugby shirts on drugs
Pronouncing on the Six Nations
Another link enema
Great speech by Kevin Dowd in Paris which should be available to listen to soon
France falls in love with Hugh Laurie
Sailing photos – and another bridge for the collection
Happy New year (if possible)
The Fat Man is not alone
French cats
Flat viaduct and spiral bridge
Talking about St Pancras at St Pancras
Millau Viaduct with goats
Australia out! – New Zealand out! – pass forward!
Wildlife news
Antoine Clarke on the French National Assembly elections
Lots of links
Antoine Clarke on Sarkozy
Somebody else photos Billion Monkey photo-ing Notre Dame!
Volte-face
Antoine on Sarko’s win
Serious tax cutting
If they don’t get who they would have preferred then silly them
“What do YOU think?” - “More -isationisation!”
“It’s a shame that copyright was infringed in a thesis about copyright itself”
Other people’s photos (6): More bridges
Other people’s photos (5): Red balloons on a monochrome bridge in Paris
Deceiving the eyes of Paris
Singing Frenchmen in stripey T-shirts
A dangerous development