Sunday, June 26, 2011

Accordion Talent .



I love accordion music .In Berlin it results in my leaving a train just to hear the players . There's always another train but not always
another musician . Imagine my joy therefore on going to this concert ...getting the green light to film and permission to use , wow , who could ask for more ?

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Hitchhikers Guide .


When public transport is simply not available and the bike too much there is an alternative. Hitchhiking . Something I did a lot of when a student .Yesterday it was with sensible footwear that I set off .Error being I'd forgotton that here in France they take a midday break so the result was no traffic for what seemed an age . Still, walking was an option and my physiotherapist will be proud of what I managed .Then along came a young man in his car . He took me to just outside Evaux les Bains. Our conversation was limited but fine. Another trek took me to a bus waiting point .Only to find that there would be nearly a 50 minute wait. So it was forward march, direction anywhere. Within minutes a young lady stopped and took me to Chambon-sur-Voueize. (Population 1014.)
After viewing an exhibition of water colours it was time for a coffee then to explore the very old church of St Valerie.
On to the rivers which make this place special . My legs said 'time to go back' so it was a happy Ms V when this king of the road stopped his lorry to give me a lift to Evaux. There,yet another coffee, time for a breather and wonder of wonders a lift to Sannat.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lyon A City To Relax In Style .



it is a truth universally acknowledged that Helena Mikas is not a Francophile . However there are parts of this very large country that have an appeal and warrant comment , not to mention even a second visit. Lyon is just such a place. The city has 480,660 inhabitants. Ranked 2nd in France as an economic centre it was in 2010 rated 9th globally plus took second place in France for innovation It dates way back to pre Roman occupation times and if the museum is anything to go back it flourished under them. With the Rhone and the Saone it has a relaxed atmosphere and much in the way of fine architecture plus culture. I walked for miles and enjoyed each minute. The one sad part for me is the tower ( to be seen on this little film of shot by shot images ) Built in 1893 by a private invidual one M.Gay this construction, 80 metres high, had a viewing platform and lift where for a fee one could go. The ground floor housed a restaurant. Then in 1963 it was closed by the authorities. The reason ? To use as a TV mast . My views re this cannot be put in writing . I will however go so far as to say that now , since Lyons ranks so highly in the league for innovation , some one will authorize a mast elsewhere and restore this lovely work in honour of the man who financed it himself all those years ago. M Gay.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Filming the Summer Solstice June 21st 2011





"Solstice" is derived from two Latin words: "sol" meaning sun, and "sistere," meaning to cause to stand still. On this day at noon the sun will rise much higher than the previous day. Why the hype ? Summer Solstice , Winter Solstice are rather mystical days , linked as they are with the planets , ancient religions , calendars and cultures . They provide a spectacle and in many cultures, reason to celebrate. Thus today I had no difficulty getting out of bed at a very early hour to go and film these stills and make some HD movies .Worth it as I got to see the moon , film my 1st ever star, minus a telescope too ! Then watch the sky as it changed from pale pinks and custard yellows to bright orange and red....... it didn't cost a penny .What a 'theatre' we have around us each day - The HD movie has yet to be uploaded and processed, so may I suggest that if you enjoy, take a break , make a ritual of your choice and return for the second part main feature .There's plenty of time as today is the longest day .

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Red Moon,Silver Moon,Let's Fly There


A bit of cheating here on my part .
Yesterday I read how Berlin was to be the best place to view the Blood Red Moon Eclipse .Fine .but where was I ? Well in the middle of France .However, last month in Berlin was pretty spectacular for red moons so I start this short film a shot of one of my shots taken.. The moon being such was every bit as beautiful and a tad elusive at times - Pure silver it rose above the trees and as I began to film you hear PomPom, a donkey (singing donkey vocals to the music of a local guitarist who was clearly lunar ) Both gave their permission to be used ...Please Note..There is a short intermission created by the clouds. Nature's own direction.
Now a little collection of shots which show the final stages ( visible) here .
video

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Toilet You Could Let .


Magdeburg has The Green Citadel with what must be one of the most famous toilets in the world .However deep in the middle of rural France there is a the Resto - Bar La Regent where the toilet is so clean and so large it could make a small flat in a city such as London , commanding no doubt a vast rent . With stained glass windows and a cleanliness to make many a hospital blush I had to film .
These are places we all have to use from time to time and how lovely when the management take a pride . Unlike The Green Citadel toilet this was minus fish. Hence my delight at finding lots of such swimming happily in a river just down the road .
Should you be holidaying in France and passing through La Courtine do try to visit . Excellent coffee too.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Who Needs Airlines ?



Air travel is no longer the pleasure it once was, so praise be for countries with superb, efficient rail networks . A journey from Berlin Germany to France proved comfort plus , civilized , and, adventurous .The night train is excellent both in price and timing. Not to mention it's rather nice being treated as a person . On boarding I was shown my room .. see photograph and given a complimetary bottle of sekt . Showers , no restrictions on luggage and transported almost door to door .A great way to travel. Woken with a lovely breakfast it was sensational .However in my excitement to see the the first daylight glimpses of France, I locked myself out of the cabin clad only in night attire. Help was at hand from a young French man who went for the inspector to bring a duplicate key. Yes I found myself blushing.The couple in the picture are two Australian artists, Andy Townsend and Susie Bleach. They were fascinating .Trains - Planes , vivre la differance .

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Germany is a fantastic country but when it comes to data protection and food scandals it leaves much to be desired .
The Dioxcin affair due to feed supplemented with diesel deratives ( not the 1st such event here ) broke right at Christmas .Since the German word for poison is 'gift', it was not really in the spirit . Cancer can result from eating such damaged produce but as we know is slow to manifest itself . Eggs were not cleared from shelves in Berlin . The attitude was total complacency. Asking where produce came from in the shops brought no joy as they themselves had little information . The source of this awful and unlawful animal feed was Northern Germany .What punishments have been handed out to the firm responsible ? To this date none of us really know what the status quo is and I for one have eaten neither chicken nor eggs here since then .
Now we have ecoli and yes it too is terrible .Unlike Cancer the symptoms are rapid . What's more it has originated in Northern Germany .Fingers were pointed overseas and a ban made . Cucumbers have been blamed, bean sprouts etc .
I ponder the following .
Summer here has been extremely hot for weeks . Lots of ice cream and cream products many of which contain eggs .. Just a thought . Then scoops used in icecream parlours are often put in a container of water .Once this gets warm all sorts can take place .
I hope for the country , the people and the decent food producers that an answer is found soon. Pointing fingers overseas is not the solution. Germany needs to stop the data protection and put producers of dangerous animal feeds behind bars .
note ) last week I went for two filled baguettes .The lady informed me that no salad was allowed . ( this even after Spain was cleared ) I said no problem cheese alone was fine .What did I get ? cheese, yes but in place of any salad - egg ! Dual standards for sure. As for me, I removed the egg.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Ascension Day in Berlin

Today was a religious holiday ie ) Ascension Day. More beautiful weather and a city full of people enjoying a break.So here's a little collage to show some of the events seen .
The group of gentlemen all dressed up and on the town informed me they were reclaiming their power. It seems they are of the opinion that we women have taken over . Hmm,none too certain about that but they were enjoying themselves . Last spotted boarding a BVG bus . A huge loaf had me wondering just how many bacon sarnies it could make. As one who is more than partial to this delicacy I felt hungry. The rather profound words come from inside a lovely top I purchased yesterday. Excellent 'thought for the day' material. Finally a collection of water colours painted whilst in France, framed at last .
The works are entitled 'hässlich' , which is German for ugly . Why so is another story. To round the day off a friend and I went to the best Indian restaurant in Berlin.
Then home to music including a much loved piece , 'Everything Happens To Me '.