31 January 2009

Childhood - the Fall

If you want to learn to skate, you'll surely fall.

I doubt any of these children will grow up to be Olympic skaters as Menton has an ice-rink over the Christmas/New Year period only - but one thing is sure, the ice rink has to be in one of the most beautiful positions imaginable - right by the Mediterranean, with the hills of Italy in the distance.

30 January 2009

Childhood - le Foot

Le foot - as football is called in France. Every little boy's dream and more fun than any of the rides on offer at the fair.

In the background of the main photograph you see some of the pots on sale from Tunisia.

(These photographs were taken on the 4th January at the Christmas & New Year Fair)

29 January 2009

Childhood - Walk the walk

We're down from the Big Wheel and walking around the Fair. This adventurous little girl wears a harness and so is supported by the taut wire.

28 January 2009

A Ride on the Big Wheel - Steeples

We're high up on the Big Wheel and looking towards the steeples of the Old Town. Instead of looking up at those palms, they are below us. And notice the arches in the bottom centre - they lead to Place des Herbes.

We see a corner of the beautiful Moorish market building on the left. High up on the left, we see the cemetery - enlarge the photo and we can just see the top of beautiful Russian chapel. And on the right, the autoroute which would put us in Italy in just a few minutes.

27 January 2009

A Ride on the Big Wheel - Up, up & away...

A view for two.

26 January 2009

A Ride on the Big Wheel - Baywatch

We're way up in the Big Wheel and this time looking in the opposite direction to yesterday's photograph. About three quarters of the way along this sweep of bay, Menton becomes Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. Cap Martin is the cape jutting out to sea at the end of the bay. Monaco is beyond.

I'm so used to photographing from ground level, that to me this bay looks so different. And of course more Matchstick Men and Women (see yesterday's post for the YouTube video).

25 January 2009

A Ride on the Big Wheel - Matchstick Men

We are looking down on the ice-rink set up for the Christmas and New Year Fair. You see Italy in the distance. (Photos taken on the 4th January)

Doesn't it remind you of L. S. Lowry's wonderful paintings of matchstick men and women?

Remember the tribute song to Lowry - 'Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs?'

If you don't know Lowry - and even if you do - do click on the YouTube link (above) to see many of his marvellous paintings and hear the tribute song written and sung by Brian & Michael in 1978. Lowry died in 1976. The song was 3 weeks at No. 1 and 19 weeks in the charts.

He painted Salford's smokey tops
On cardboard boxes from the shops
And parts of ancoats where I used to play
I'm sure he once walked down our street
Cause he painted kids who had nowt on their feet
The clothes we wore had all see better days

Now they said his works of art were dull
No room all round the walls are full
But Lowry didn't care much anyway
They said he just paints cats and dogs
And matchstalk men in boots and clogs
And Lowry said that's just the way they'll stay

And he painted matchstalk men and matchstalk cats and dogs
He painted kids on the corner of the street that were sparking clogs
Now he takes his brush and he waits outside them factory gates
To paint his matchstalk men and matchstalk cats and dogs

Now canvas and brushes were wearing thin
When London started calling him
To come on down and wear the old flat cap
They said tell us all about your ways
And all about them Salford days
Is it true you're just an ordinary chap

And he painted matchstalk men and matchstalk cats and dogs
He painted kids on the corner of the street that were sparking clogs
Now he takes his brush and he waits outside them factory gates
To paint his matchstalk men and matchstalk cats and dogs

Now Lowry's hang upon the wall
Beside the greatest of them all
And even the Mona Lisa takes a bow
This tired old man with hair like snow
Told northern folk its time to go
The fever came and the good lord mopped his brow

And he left us matchstalk men and matchstalk cats and dogs
He left us kids on the corner of the street that were sparking clogs
Now he takes his brush and he waits outside them pearly gates
To paint his matchstalk men and matchstalk cats and dogs

23 January 2009

A Ride on the Big Wheel

Come fly with me! We're going up in the big wheel to see Menton from the air.

A couple of years ago we had a bigger and therefore higher wheel in Menton. This one is a replica of an ancient wheel and is only 20 metres high.

It costs 2.5 euros for four rotations and we've got a whole section to ourselves as there aren't many people wanting to ride today. Go on - get in - off we go...

Marilyn at Le Balico

A corner of Le Balico, my favourite restaurant in Menton.

The main photo was taken with a flash - too much bright colour - and so perhaps better in B & W.

The smaller one (a slightly different shot and showing the 'Winter in Monte Carlo' poster), was taken without flash - it's slightly blurry but it has a much softer, gentler look than the flashed photo.

Which do you prefer?

Note: Since posting this, Le Balico has been sold and is now under new management.

22 January 2009

Village Wedding Revisited (49) - the Bride & Groom

Our last day revisiting the village wedding and so we feature the stars of the show - the beautiful bride and the handsome groom.

The first shows off the bride's beautiful dress. And take a look at the second one, a kiss for the bride - and notice the little girl with handfuls of confetti rose petals. She was featured here.

A big thank you to Patricia and Walter and every good wish for long life and happiness together.

21 January 2009

Village Wedding Revisited (48) - the Buttonhole

Not everyone wore a buttonhole so presumably this gentleman is a family member.

'When I walk with you I feel as if I had a flower in my buttonhole'
- William Makepeace Thackeray (1811 - 1863)

Tomorrow...the last day of the wedding.

Nice-Matin's headline today: 'America is Back!'

20 January 2009

Village Wedding Revisited (47) - a Sea of People

A sea of guests celebrating the wedding in Gorbio. Is the man bending over looking through a monocle? Perhaps he's taking a photograph.

And today there will be considerably more than a sea - there'll be an OCEAN - of people in Washington D.C. for the Inauguration of the 44th President of the United States of America.

The great day has finally arrived! Barack Obama, an intelligent, charismatic, charming, thoughtful man brings change and hope to America and so to the rest of the world. Happy Inauguration Day, Mr President.

19 January 2009

Village Wedding Revisited (46) - the Fruit Cup

This couple are spooning something out of tiny glasses. You can see a tray of them in the smaller photograph - they are decorated with flowers. Perhaps a fruit salad? Perhaps a sorbet?

18 January 2009

Village Wedding Revisited (45) - Proud Papa

That's my girl!

You may remember the adorable Laura - click on the link to see another photograph of her.

17 January 2009

Village Wedding Revisited (44) - Style

Two beautiful women, two different ways of dressing - and both stylish.

'Fashions fade, style is eternal' - Yves Saint Laurent

16 January 2009

Village Wedding Revisited (43) - the Tomboy

All the children at the wedding were just delightful. French and Italian children are so much part of life here and are used to eating out with their parents so today was just another day, albeit a special one. Dare I say it, they know how to behave.

The adorable little girl in the middle of the photograph - you see her again on the left - turned up in many photographs. She had so much energy, she never stopped laughing, and she seemed to be everywhere. A little tomboy. Actually she reminded me of myself as a child!

I didn't know if there was a word for 'tomboy' in French and it appears to be garçon manqué but of course in English it can be used for a girl. Whether or not it is in French, I don't know.

And the beautiful child dressed in white - you can see her portrait HERE.

Update on Mama Mia and Mistral - please click on the link.

15 January 2009

Village Wedding Revisited (42) - the Blond

As you probably gather, I just loved taking photographs at this wedding and one of the most interesting things was the diversity in guests. Compare this tanned gentleman, for instance, with his long blond streaked hair and relaxed form of dress and jewellry, with the bronzed gentleman shown four days ago.

14 January 2009

Village Wedding Revisited (41) - the Chewing Gum

This is a tale of a lump of chewing gum.

This young couple - just look at her amazing shoes - are leaving the wedding. He stops (small photo) as he has 'something' on his shoe. That gets sorted and they continue. Kudos to her walking with those high heels on the cobblestones?

13 January 2009

Village Wedding Revisited (40) - the Thoughtful Husband

Do you remember the mother helping her child to drink - a glass in each hand? (see photo on left)

How does such a Maman get something to eat? Easy - along comes the helpful husband, ready to feed his wife a tasty goody - you see this in the B & W pic and also in the last one.

Note the area specially created for the children.

12 January 2009

Village Wedding Revisited (39) - Girl Talk

Two friends catching up - girl talk.

In the smaller photograph, I wonder what fascinating snippet of information is being discussed. You can almost hear this beauty saying - in French, of course - C'est pas vrai! - Oh, no!

11 January 2009

Village Wedding Revisited (38) - Bronzé

Good looking, sun tanned, smartly dressed - a guest at the wedding...but does he bite his fingernails?

10 January 2009

Village Wedding Revisited (37) - the Football

At a village wedding, life goes on around it. Here you see the bride and groom walking up the village to change their clothes for the main reception later. Ahead, a village dog, and on the right, a football is held steady. Outside the church village children play with the rose petal confetti and perhaps dream of the day when it will be their turn.

09 January 2009

Village Wedding Revisited (36) - the Father of the Bride

Everyone is pouring out of the church and then turning to await the appearance of the bride and groom. The gentleman with the buttonhole is the father of the bride. Don't you love his expression? He is positively bursting with pride and justifiably so. And don't you think he could play Hercule Poirot?


Results of the Caption Competition from two days ago. It was so difficult to choose a winner, because all the Captions were good and made me laugh. In the end I chose two different ways of interpreting what the boy might have said.

One is Marley from Cheltenham Daily Photo, who wrote: "Fancy giving that a go?" I liked the brevity of this - just an aside, as it were. It seemed to go with the boy's expression.

The second is Kate from Visual St. Paul, who perhaps got to the essence of what a child would really say with her choice - "Oh, gross."

A postcard of Menton will soon be on its way to Marley and Kate. Thanks so much to everyone who commented.

08 January 2009

Village Wedding Revisited (35) - the Second Onlooker

You can see in the smaller photograph what a marvellous view this man has - see his window very high on the right?

There was another onlooker at the wedding - remember the old lady with the painful hands? Click on the link to view.

Caption Competition from yesterday - results tomorrow.

Update on Mama Mia and Mistral on Postcards from 'Pension Milou' today.

07 January 2009

Village Wedding Revisited (34) - the Kiss + Caption Competition!

The kiss outside the church.

Look at the young man in the white suit just behind the bride and groom. What is he saying to the young lady in the pink dress? A postcard from Menton for the best answer.

You can see another photograph of this young man, who incidentally had a broken foot. Please click on the link.

Results of the Caption Competition. Please click on the link.

06 January 2009

Village Wedding Revisited (33) - Little Girls' Games

Games at the entrance to the village. The bride and groom at about to climb the village to change ready for the main reception later at Cap d'Ail.

Tomorrow - the Kiss

05 January 2009

Village Wedding Revisited (32) - Throwing the Bouquet

Un, deux, trois - wheeeeee - the bride throws a wedding bouquet. In fact, there are two bouquets because her mother (the lady with the hat) is holding the bride's bouquet for a few moments.

In the smaller photograph, everyone looks delighted to see who has caught it. I believe it means the young lady will be the next to be married and I suspect the bride threw her bouquet with great attention as to where it landed!

04 January 2009

Village Wedding Revisited (31) - Flight of the Rose Petals

Meet the bride and groom again - this time deluged with rose petals.

A short time after the wedding they kindly emailed me, saying how much they enjoyed the photographs. I hope you enjoy these too, Patricia and Walter.

03 January 2009

Village Wedding Revisited (30) - Rose Petals, the Mayor & the Cool Guy

In the UK, when a couple are married, they walk down the aisle with 'Here Comes the Bride' blasting out from the organ. They smile at everyone sitting in the pews on either side as they exit the church. In France, all the people leave the church first and just outside the door, they are offered handfuls of rose petals to throw over the bride and groom when they appear.

In the main photo, you see a lady with baskets of rose petals. On the right of the photo, in the dark suit, is the Mayor of Gorbio. I adore our mayor. He's an artist of considerable repute and he does so much for the village, in particular, putting on many cultural events. It's not usual to see him sitting in the bar, his jeans covered in paint, whilst he puts the world to rights with friends.

In the smaller photograph, you see guests ready with rose petals in their hands.

Note the gentleman on left in the main photo wearing the white suit - he's the Cool Guy. Click on the link.

02 January 2009

Village Wedding Revisited (29) - the Handsome Couple

Remember the village wedding in Gorbio? Yesterday's photograph of little Lisa was taken that day and it reminded me I have so many more photographs, not yet shown. As it was, I posted for 28 days - please look at June/July if you missed it.

At the time I thought I'd posted enough but I know it was a well-received series - so let's go back and meet a few more people. Anyway, isn't it a nice way to start the New Year?

Here are a most handsome young couple amongst the crowd outside the church after the ceremony.

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