“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” – Albert Einstein
La belle France. Yet even the most beautiful of gardens have both thorns and weeds. The group Eurocultures invited me to visit Camp Rivesaltes otherwise known as Camp Joffre where we would visit a memorial to some of its darker past. A very short distance from the beautiful waters of the Mediterranean and just the other side of the tracks lies the remnants of a concentration camp.
For nearly eight years I have tried to share with you some of the beauty in my chosen home. However, this scar must not be glossed over nor forgotten.
Testimony to man’s inhumanity to man.
Though the walls are crumbling and little remains of the buildings, many artifacts are carefully preserved in the new climate protected museum.
Rivesaltes Internment Camp – Camp Joffre opened in 1938 and was not to close its doors until 1970. This beautiful Country has had much pain, cruelty, and suffering inflicted on it and its people. Many of those coming through this camp did not originate in France but may have spent their final days here. With the rise of fascism rampant in numerous parts of the world, I felt it imperative to reblog this post.
Free French Kiss!
These brave young men were walking across the plaza in the nearby city of Narbonne with their sign, smiles and three other friends (one female). However, they were the only two willing to be photographed. I suspect they were just grateful that this not so young woman was not going to demand that kiss. This is just a small example of just how friendly the French can be.
Despite the brevity of this post, I do believe the photo says it all.
“My wish is to stay like that, to live quietly in a corner of nature.” – Claude Monet
“Just living is not enough… You have to have the sun, freedom, and a little flower.” – Hans Christian Anderson
“Nature is the source of all true knowledge. It has its own logic, its own laws. It has no effect without cause, and no invention without necessity.” – Leonardo da Vinci
Grass disappears without electric or gas power. The mother and her two children are led to available grazing spots as needed. Their permanent home is located north-east of the village center in a pasture behind the chateau.
How a neighbor’s garden grows and grows. Father and mother on one side of the tiny intersection, son and his family where you see this garden. Together, they maintain this and a small orchard/vineyard across the road. As things ripen, the excess is sold to those who are in search of excellent produce after 5pm in the evenings.
The fledgling orchard they have created may appear small but more than adequate for their needs. The olive trees in the center and a border of vines. In addition to what you see in these to photos, they have several vineyards on the north-east end of the village. If you walk down the road between the orchard and Michel’s house, you will find our village waterfall approximately 200 meters up the path.
These lovely, proud roses greet those who would enter the post office from that direction. The perfume they emit is intoxicating. There is no way I can just walk by. I must stop, inhale and say thank you. Behind the post office is a small area with a bench perfect for escaping that hot Mediterranean sun as the trees are filling out. In the evenings, you can frequently find petanque teams who are determined to bring their game back up to where it was the previous season. In late summer, every village will host tournaments and offer prizes for the winners. Despite the smallness of the area, it is adequate for a game and there is much more space for gaming a short walk down the path.
This photo has been shared in a larger size than the others so that you can see the structure of this plant. The geometric centers and the petals are fingerlike in shape. The bees that hover and lite upon them to feed are huge, noisy and have a reddish, purple glistening back and wings. To the right of center, the photo is one such bee if you can spot it. Between the bees and the wind, I just could not get closer and keep them in focus. If anyone is familiar with the plant, I would appreciate knowing more about it. Directly behind the plant are the tennis courts followed by the swimming pools. Off to the right of the plant is the soccer stadium and beyond that, there is a campground which has some cabins for rent and also room for tents.
Thank you to all for indulging me in my little walkabout. Some may even see a few of the reasons I love it so. When you visit France, please remember that France is more than Paris and while there are similarities among villages, each has its own charms.
While you are out and about enjoying nature, please remember all she has given us, her survival and ours, is in our own hands.
Two days after seeing this poster on my weekly shopping trip to Narbonne, I saw an announcement in the local paper for a demonstration on the 25th of May. There was no question, I had to be there.
It may appear a bit disorganized but it was very early and people were still arriving. I do apologize for the photos I wanted to share but missed. My phone/camera was showing nothing but a blank, dark, screen. I don’t know how much of that was due to the strong Mediterranean sun but I am grateful to have the few photos I managed to get. The drummers were from two groups, one in Narbonne and the second joined us from nearby Carcassonne. They kept us all in beat and let everyone know we were there. There were close to 100 drummers in total. I can’t begin to imagine how many people were there as I couldn’t see past them all.
World March For The Climate / It is time again
And The Sea?
The last two photos are the two sides of the sign I was given to carry. Signs were collected upon our return so that they may be used again. I do wish I could have photographed each and every sign as they all had at least one message that needs to be heard.
Plastic, no thanks / PLASTIC = NO MERCY
Your climate is heating up / You can guard it!
Outside the Narbonne Courthouse, we paused to listen to a few speakers from Les gilets jaunes / The yellow vests. As they have every Saturday for the past several months, been in force. We had paused at each of their locations along our route and they were most supportive. Despite being there for their cause, some of them joined us for part or all of the march.
TAX ON THE MEAT – As a vegan myself, I appreciated how the word meat has blood dripping into the land…
As many of you are aware, livestock is a major contributor to global warming, accounting for at least 18 percent of all global warming gases. For those who have been unaware, it is past time that you educate yourself before it is too late. The meat industry is not going to tell you. We must band together, share what we do know and hold the government and food industry accountable. The internet is rich information, alas there is always misinformation so be wary of your sources. Our responsibility is to know and to act. The children know and in rising numbers, they call on us to account for our neglect and to join them. Greta Thunberg travels Europe by train or with her parents in their electric car to speak to the world on Climate Change and what we all must do. YouTube is filled with her speeches. She has been nominated for the Nobel Prize and has just recently turned sixteen years of age. All over the globe, they are walking out of schools protesting. We are not doing enough and so the children have picked up the gauntlet and are shaming us for we have left them vulnerable with little to no future in sight. Here is a link to Greta addressing the EU and I hope all will listen to this girl’s words. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWsM9-_zrKo
Thank you for bearing with me. I will not apologize for my diatribe. What I would love to know is where you are on this planet and what steps you are taking to save the world that has given us so much and what changes you will make so that our children and grandchildren can survive?
The Choir of the Aude
Created in 2016 by choristers from the departmental choir of Aude, it is composed of about sixty singers and choir directors, from different choirs of the department.
The Choir of the Aude benefits from a high-level training, combining the discovery of new repertoires and the interpretation of works The Choir of Aude
Classic or traditional. It is brilliantly directed by William Hedley, a choral conductor whose reputation is second to none.
For this season 2018/2019, the Choir of Aude has chosen in collaboration with Martine Laure, professor at the Conservatory of Carcassonne to present young pianists of his students, who will express themselves as soloists or accompanies.
They will amaze you with their talent.
A very nice program around the works of Berlioz, Borodin, Chopin, Dvorak, Faure, Janacek, Rachmaninoff, Turina, and Vaughan Williams. Within the first ten minutes of the doors being opened, they began searching for more chairs and my photos were limited as there was no space to maneuver.
Participation au chapeau (Donations accepted)
My sincere appreciation to my neighbors, Francine, and Françoise, for the invitation to join them for this event.
Spring has been gracing us with her vibrant colors for a month. Overnight we began by finding almond trees bursting with buds.
Not to be outdone, flowers began to appear and remind us of their seductive charms. If only I had the ability to share the fragrances that lace the air and cling to my laundry as it dries on the line.
Each day another tree or plant unveils her secrets.
Walking about my village, there are new buds revealing themselves daily. For the last few weeks, the poppies have been showing their scarlet beauty. I don’t include any photos of them at this time as they deserve a special post with a field making an appearance, hopefully soon.
The Mimosa trees are filled with blossoms and fragrant as are many of the other blooms. The frogs are making a racket with their song but they stay hidden during sunlight hours as do the crickets.
The figs are growing rapidly and I can almost taste them. A friend halves them, stuffs them with goat cheese and drizzles them with a balsamic honey mixture then grills them. They are delicious but I just love them right off the tree. No tree, no problem as they are everywhere and plenty that are not on someone’s private property. Bon appetit!
During the night, the face of The City of Lights was changed. For much of the world, Notre Dame symbolizes Paris and indeed, France. As my home is located on the Mediterranean, I relied on the photos in my local morning journal (newspaper).
Like many, I had been forwarned last night by the internet. But seeing what is available on my computer or television cannot compare to the stunned faces I encountered this morning. One neighbor retired barber, extended a near usual morning greeting. However, today, his cheeks were streaked with tears. While this is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this marks a National, European and even World Wide loss. Without a doubt, she has been one of the top visited locations in France.
Having lived here for nearly twelve years, I’ve witnessed loss and mourning in my village. This is different. It is a loss shared by the entire nation and beyond.
Television, radio and the internet will be filled with photos and stories for some time. No doubt, efforts will be made to restore the cathedral as close as possible to its former glory. Lost art and relics have left a space for new treasures that will try to capture some of her past and a glance toward the future.
While the nation is grateful for what was spared and the fact there was no loss of life, there is also the deep sadness for what is gone.
With neighbors and friends, we stood at the War Monument in our small village deep in the south of France and we remembered. Though not born here, I could remember the grandfather I met and the one I didn’t have the opportunity to meet. Peace
Thank you Afzal my friend.