In June this year we went to visit friends in Le Havre, which means “Haven” in French. The weather in Paris was cold and grotty and when we reached Normandy the sun was shining and it was very hot (that in itself was pretty unusual). My wife dropped me at the other end of town and I ran for above 10 miles all the way across parks and forests and hills and town to the seaside. At the end of that path is the gateway to the channel and eventually, the Atlantic Ocean. Running – or mountain biking – is the way I embark on quests out in the open. If only I hadn’t hurt myself a little later in June this year, I’d still be doing it. Posted as a follow-up to Cheri Lucas Rowlands’ Friday challenge piece entitled “Quest.”
I love Normandy. Yet, off-season over there is a bit of an all-year round thing. A wee bit like Summer in Scotland. Well, frankly, it’s hadly any better than Scotland, but it is a beautiful area too. So when we set foot in Orbec on July 14th, 2011 (Bastille Day), we weren’t really surprised that we had to walk around in our waterproofs and the temperature was just above freezing point. Well, almost. Taking pictures was risky. The old Nikon D7000 nearly got drowned but I managed. Bravely. Mind you, I’m a Kelt from Brittany and I have lived for years on end in Britain, so I can take my West country weather like a man. And so could my camera. The light and reflections on the cobblestones was truly amazing. Hence my choice for this week’s “off-season” photo challenge.
Today’s photo challenge is “on the way”. As I founded my company early last year, I have been going through some sort of a tunnel of work for the past 18 months. Yet we have been able to take some time off to recharge the batteries, and we stayed for a while at our house in Normandy. As we tend to walk (and run) a lot, I carry my camera with me all the time, just in case. Above, I spotted that man carrying his son on his shoulders on the beach of Ouistreham Riva Bella (aka Sword Beach in June 44). I loved the symbol. Here, young men from Britain, Canada and a fistful of French soldiers died in droves for our freedom, 70 years ago. Their sacrifice will always be remembered. Thanks to them, young people walk by with their children. Life goes on; let them be thanked and remembered.
A bit further away, I spotted that small blue makeshift – probably illegal – house. A Norman’s house is his castle. I love the “Bichette” sign (literally “my little doe” a term of endearment, probably “Bichette” is the brave Norman’s Partner).
Even further away in Le Havre I spotted that woman watching the sailboats and really liked the symbol of that scene: the blue sails, the red tracksuit and black jersey. And mostly, what I couldn’t see but imagine: that woman’s look towards the Sea, the nostalgia, the longing maybe, and also the peacefulness, the quiet moment spent loitering and watching things go by and doing nothing. Ooh Boy! Doing nothing is really what a busy entrepreneur could do with, every once in a while.
Last Friday’s photo challenge theme, to which I am reacting only now because I was away taking pictures in Berlin (soon to be published) is “enveloped”. A trifle mind-bogling that one I admit. So I went back to the dictionary and chose one of many entries i.e. this one: “to surround entirely”. Fishing nets certainly do that and this reminded me of a day we spent in St Vaast la Hougue (aka Utah Beach in June 1944) in Normandy last year. I found these nets very colourful and picturesque.
As this week’s challenge is about the Orange colour I selected this picture taken on the beach in Riva Bella in Normandy (aka Sword Beach), n°1 in the landing beaches, the first one to be liberated in 1944. Fishermen use old tractors there, which they paint in garish colours. no tampering with the colours or anything. Normandy. August 2014.