31 July 2009

The Man Who Loves Horses

Copyright 2009 Menton Daily Photo. All rights reserved.

Look at the gentle and sensitive way Gerard presents one of his young horses. In the smaller photograph, you see the fun he had catching him - which actually didn't take long.

Gerard is a fascinating man. He lives in the medieval village of Gorbio and drives up to check on his horses four times a day. Once he has parked, he has a long (and very beautiful) walk to get into the property. But what is interesting to me is that Gerard used to own a nightclub in Monte Carlo, he had a Ferrari and presumably all the boys' toys that go with that life. That was in the past. Now he's doing what he loves more than anything in the world, caring for his horses. He's a happy man, comfortable in his own skin, as the French say.

30 July 2009

The Gorbio Horses

Copyright 2009 Menton Daily Photo. All rights reserved.

It never fails to amaze me that here, on the French Riviera, one can live so many different sorts of lives - a beach life, a town life, a village life, a country life. After all, not everyone wants to live on the coast, with access to Monte Carlo.

Tomorrow we'll meet a man who keeps horses on land way above Gorbio village. He has a three week old foal and so I was invited to take photographs.

The horses live a great life - they have 400 hectares to wander freely. They are never penned and never tied up yet they have accommodation when they need it.

So do come back tomorrow and meet Gerard, who lives for his horses, and I'll tell you his story.

28 July 2009

Gorbio's Elm Tree

Copyright 2009 Menton Daily Photo. All rights reserved.

Reflected in one of the exterior mirrors of the beautiful Restaurant Beausejour in the medieval village of Gorbio, is the trunk of Gorbio's famous Orme (Elm tree) which stands in the main square. The tree was planted in 1713, the trunk is hollow yet the tree flourishes and looks magnificent. The plant cascading down the mirror is Trachlospermum Jasminoides.

The square in Gorbio and the old elm was the setting for a recent UK television commercial promoting a yoghurt drink. Click on the video below - it lasts a minute or less - you see the tree in the very first shot and later two of the children are sitting at its base. (Thanks to Don and Tony for info - The BootBoys.)

Gorbio artist, Eric Brocchi, is featured on Monte Carlo Daily Photo today with a display of his eagle 'Why?' Do click on the link to see the eagle and to see how he created his work.


Copyright 2009 Menton Daily Photo. All rights reserved.

The last rays of the sun, the sea, a good book - what more does one need to nourish the soul?

27 July 2009

Place aux Herbes

Copyright 2009 Menton Daily Photo. All rights reserved.

The Créole Festival is over. There are more photos but it's time to move on. Perhaps, one dull winter day, when we all need cheering up, one will suddenly appear - colour, laughter, Caribbean music.

Meanwhile, here's a typical Menton scene - pale turquoise shutters (the colour most often seen in this region of France) framed by plane trees in Place aux Herbes.

26 July 2009

Fête Créole - Rum!

Photos & Text Copyright 2009 Menton Daily Photo. All rights reserved, including reproduction or republishing.

The Casa de Cuba bar was constantly busy - I wonder why? Several different rum based drinks were available with names like Mojito, Cuba Libra, Planters' Punch and Daiquiri.

The lady in the small photo is preparing (I think?) sugar cane.

Rum, n. Generically, fiery liquors that produce madness in total abstainers

- Ambrose Bierce

25 July 2009

Fête Créole - Beauty

Photos & Text Copyright 2009 Menton Daily Photo. All rights reserved, including reproduction or republishing.

Young, older, slim, not so slim, all the Créole women were fabulous - smiling, laughing, having the best time - and therefore, so did we.

24 July 2009

Fête Créole - the Ice-cream Machine

Wooden barrels are used to make coconut ice cream. Ice is packed around the central container, which holds the ingredients. Then the wheel is turned continually to churn it.

There were six or seven machines on the go at once and still the queues continued.

23 July 2009

Fête Créole - the Moment

This little girl had the best fun playing a sort of a peek-a-boo game with my camera and me.

I love the smaller photo but it's out of focus. I knew at some point she'd turn to face me yet my camera wasn't focused and ready for that moment. I was chatting to a friend at the same time - not a good idea.

Note to Self - be attentive, concentrate and so be ready for 'the moment.' The moment always comes.

In focus, out of focus, isn't she adorable?

22 July 2009

Fête Créole - the Flowers and the Fruit

Small wonder that Créole clothes are so colourful. Just look at the flowers, the fruit and the vegetables.

Here you see Strelitzia (Bird of Paradise) in the main photo and Heliconia (below) and in the smaller photograph - bananas, ginger, yams and carambola (star fruit) and of course, limes.

"If life gives you limes, make margaritas" - Jimmy Buffet

21 July 2009

Fête Créole - Colour!

Colour! The vibrant, exotique colours of the Caribbean stand out against the softer colours of the Old Town, although in the main photo, the sun seems to make a perfect blend of the two.

In the small photograph, you see the steps leading down from the Basilica Saint-Michel, These are known as 'les rampes.'

The photo below shows part of the crowd in the Parvis outside the Basilica, the gorgeous madras dresses sing with colour. The mass, by the way, was celebrated in Créole.

20 July 2009

Fête Créole - the Créole Mass

Summer in Menton means festivals. Last weekend Tango, now the Fête Créole, which is now a regular in the Menton calendar.

Yesterday morning there was a Créole Mass in the Basilica of Saint-Michel.

Let's spend a few days with a great group of people from Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyana, Haiti, Maurice, Réunion, the Seychelles and Rodrigues.

19 July 2009

Wish You Were Here...

Menton has sandy beaches and pebble beaches. One advantage of a pebble beach is that sand doesn't stick to your sun cream.

17 July 2009

The Three Wheeler

So many cities have bikes for hire and now it seems Menton does too. Naturally, we have to be different - ours is a three-wheeler. Probably much easier to ride too.

"Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving" - Albert Einstein

Ma ville est Tango - Ageless Beauty

Waiting to dance, which she did as you see in the small photograph.

I so admire women like this. No longer young but she's not given up. She dresses beautifully, she wears carefully chosen jewellry. She hasn't had a face-lift, she doesn't have dyed hair, she wears a touch of makeup. She is the natural feminine beauty she is.

Of course it would be better if she didn't smoke.

16 July 2009

Ma ville est Tango - the Sandals and the Shorts

Hmmmm...perhaps this guy forgot to dress?

Having said that, much of the fun is that anyone can get up and tango and several guys, wearing shorts and sandals, did just that. This gentleman, in fact, was rather good at it and partnered several ladies.

15 July 2009

Ma ville est Tango - the Shoes

You've arrived in Menton and you've no tango shoes? No problem. Walk over to Esplanade Francis Palmero near the Bastion and you'll find several tents displaying dozens of pairs of shoes, hand-made in Buenos Aires. You'll also find tango CDs, and every sort of tango memorabilia you could wish for.

14 July 2009

Ma ville est Tango - It takes Two...

"What worries?" I'm just here to dance! Tango is one of the great wonders of Argentina"

- Alberto Pajesz

Place du Cap, Menton

13 July 2009

Ma ville est Tango - Apero Time

It's summer, it's festival time and this weekend it's Argentinian Tango! Buenos Aires comes to Menton. This festival gets more and more popular each year. The organisers spend a month in Argentina choosing the dancers and teachers who will come to Menton. And people, from all over the world, take their holiday in Menton to learn, to dance in the streets, to watch the experts. There are concerts, spectacles and lessons.

Every evening (apero time) between 5 and 8 p.m. anyone can come and dance at the Place du Cap.

12 July 2009

Stuck Up

Look left, look right, you'll see something to surprise you on market days in Menton. Here we have two almost life-sized figures, made of papier maché, I presume.

I'd love to know their history. Yes I know, I should have asked but the market was closing and the owner of this stall was busy packing up her van.

They'd not been sold.

11 July 2009

The Wooden Balls

Tiny balls made of wood and perfumed and for sale in the pedestrian street of Menton. Perfect to put in your wardrobe, chest of drawers or in the car. When the aroma disappears, you simply douse them with a few more drops of perfume.

Note the bowls - these are a typical design and colour of this region.

10 July 2009

The Pastis Water Bottles

Sit at a bar in France, order a pastis (anisette is a sweeter version) and it will be served with one of these bottles filled with water.

Pastis is the great aperitif of the south, a delicious - and strong - aniseed flavoured drink, which when mixed with water goes cloudy.

Pastis was first commercialised by Paul Ricard in 1932, 17 years after the ban on absinthe.

At any vide-grenier or bric a brac fair, you'll find these water bottles which are now collector's items.

09 July 2009

Lust for an Oyster

A plate of oysters at Restaurant Le Lido in Places aux Herbes.

08 July 2009

The Photo that Wasn't Meant to Be

Yes, I know it's a rather grainy photo, but I want to tell you its story. I was sitting in a bar at Place du Cap, with a glass of rosé and taking the odd photograph. This man came up to me and asked if I'd taken his picture. I hadn't. I'd noticed him, that's all. I assured him, 'No, I've not taken your photograph, I was photographing something behind you.' And I told him about this blog. Then he said, really rather aggressively, 'If you want to take my photo, then you must ask.' No, no, that's OK, I don't want to take your photo, ' I said.

He went away.

Five minutes later he came back and said, 'You should ask if you want to take my photo,' so we went through it again, I reiterated I hadn't taken it and I didn't want to take it. Then he said, 'Well you can take my photograph if you want.' I nearly fell over and would have done so had I not been sitting down. 'You mean you'd like me to take your photograph?' I said. 'Okay, then,' he said.

And so I did.

I was sitting down, he was standing up leaning over me, the table was shaded by an umbrella and anyway it was dusk - hence a rather grainy photo.

Apologies for lack of comments. I am going thru a lousy bout of flu that seems to be going on forever - and have only been up to posting the blogs. Hope to be back on track soon. Meanwhile, thankyou so much for your comments.

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