A Match Made In Heaven

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A few months back, as I was listening to a local radio station, I heard an announcement about a demonstration of some old locomotives at Paris Gare de Lyon. As it happens, this man above is one of the few French Railways SNCF who decided to organise this gathering. There was no sign posting, the meeting was entirely organised by these people, who welcomed quite a few visitors within their drivers’ compartments. The one above is a 1950s electric locomotive, and it’s still doing the job between Paris and Clermont Ferrand on a regular basis. You can’t see anyone on the photo but the compartment was crammed.


From the same compartment, the locomotive in front was a superb 1930s job, with the great old SNCF art deco logo. Umpteen times nicer than the new one. What was striking about these drivers was their passion and dedication to their job. They weren’t trainspotters but train lovers they surely were and I was impressed with the amount of respect that they have for their passengers and the elders as well, the ones who knew everything about those machines and could repair them on the go. 


I loved that 6549 machine above, squeaky clean and perfectly maintained.


An older locomotive from the 1930s too, with its horns on the rooftop. I thought this would be very apt for the “good match” challenge of today.

Against All Odds, Swimming Outdoors In The Midst of Winter

Piscine Molitor - Swimming in Winter

Against all odds, on Dec 3, 2016, when we paid a visit to the newly rebuilt Piscine Molitor swimming pool building, I wasn’t expecting to find anything else but a 4 star hotel and restaurant and bar. Little did I know that a real open-door pool was there, hidden in the background.

Piscine Molitor - Paris - 2016

And I wasn’t expecting anyone to swim there either, in the open air, in freezing temperatures (0° celsius).

Piscine Molitor - Paris - 2016

I was there with my favourite camera and lens.

Piscine Molitor - Paris - 2016

These people were swimming outdoors and it was freezing out there!

Piscine Molitor - Paris - 2016

Don’t ask me to mimic this guy, don’t even think about it, I need 5 layers in this kind of temperature.


Shadows Challenge

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Shadows is today’s challenge. A very popular theme and judging by the number of responses Cheri got on her post at barely 5PM CET today,  I am not the only one who likes his shadows.I have therefore gathered a list of pictures which are somewhat off the beaten track when it comes to dealing with this mixture of light and darkness. Shadows are often associated with B&W. Here I deiced to choose a few colour pictures too.You may or may not like them, some of them may appear very abstract to you, and rightfully so because they are meant to be. Number one picture is a giant leaf from the Auteuil greenhouses. Take a good look at them as the century-old greenhouses are threatened by the ever expanding, sprawling, French tennis championship playground Roland Garros. The greenhouses are being replaced gradually by tennis courts which are used once a year for about a fortnight. Go figure it out.


Photograph number two is me at the gates at Auteuil. Cast shadows in Winter tend to be very long. Here I decided to place my picture in the frame of what would otherwise be a very abstract and almost incomprehensible picture.


Now a series of three pictures taken from the Père Lachaise churchyard at dusk in autumn.



Chamarande - Richard Orlinksi

My last picture for today is Orlinksi’s howling Wolf in Chamarande.


Solitude, Peace and Beauty


When I think of “solitude“, I think of our beautiful mountains in the Pyrenees. The chair I sit in and from which I look at the top of the mountains where I do mountain biking. There’s no one there. Just bears. And even so.

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The lakes, the vista. Peace. A break from the Big City.

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The stunning landscapes (here from the Spanish side). 

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Peace. Green peace. Pure beauty.

Repurposing Neighbours

Les Grands Voisins - St Vincent de Paul

I’m not too good at repurposing but there are people who are. And as my wife and I are downright against the idea of throwing anything away which could be useful, we often load some stuff in the boot and drive to a nearby hospital (St Vincent de Paul) which has been weirdly renamed “les grands voisins” (our big neighbours, and I have no idea why they are deemed big). There, it’s the entire hospital which has been repurposed. We love this place. I spent last night reformatting and preparing my 7-year old computer so that it can be left at the recycling charity shop there and I’m sure someone will be very happy to have a great computer in full working order. Even though it’s a bit old, it’s still doing the job. 

Les Grands Voisins - St Vincent de Paul

Everything is repurposed there, be it for Art’s sake or for washing the linen. 

Les Grands Voisins - St Vincent de Paul

Now this is Art: a streetlight made of plastic bottles.

Les Grands Voisins - St Vincent de Paul

Sharing (“partagez”) is their motto. A nice one at that.

Les Grands Voisins - St Vincent de Paul

The whole building is about nothing else but repurposing.