Saturday, November 29, 2014

Three beautiful things

Two from yesterday, one from today.

1) The way through the woods. This is one of my favourite bits of road to drive through, as I do quite frequently, but most especially in spring or autumn, because the leaves of the beech trees come and go a little earlier than those of the chestnuts they grow amongst, so you have a sense of the first green flames flickering and the last golden ones dying down amongst the not yet kindled or burned out logs of the chestnut trunks. This is one of the things I like about living here where the predominant tree species are chestnut, oak and then, less frequently, beech.

As for the road, it's not so easy to stop on, so I've never really taken photos here. I made the effort this time as it was brighter at last after days and days of rain and fog, and I suddenly realised that autumn would be gone before I knew it. When we first came here, it seemed to me that autumn colour didn't really happen, and I missed it, but in fact what really often happens is that the wet, dull, windy weather of November can whip the last of it away while we huddle indoors and don't see the going of it.

So I got out of the car at the parking spot and and walked back some way to photograph the vista I admire so often while driving.

Typically, however, I found my eyes straying downward to the leaf litter.

The parking spot is under a big stone cross which, I think, marks the boundary between Quessoy and Hénon. Soize's husband, the erudite local historian and master crêpier Quercus (the town's name, Quessoy, coming originally from the Latin for oak, in which the place abounded), tells of how when he was a nipper, the children of the two communes would appoint a time to meet under the stone cross for a battle, a ritualised and generally bloodless affair, I think, superseded in adolescence by a rivalry centring on the differing types of scooter they rode according to the franchises held by the two towns' garages. 

For me, the spot was for a long time one of the Stations of the Mol, one of those places where, however sound asleep she appeared to be on the back seat, Molly would mysteriously know that we were approaching, and sit up and bark for a walk. As she grew older, the walk wasn't much of a walk, at least not for me, as all she really wanted to do was get out of the car and walk round and round in circle sniffing at things; but even a very little time before she left us, I stopped here and opened the windows for her and she lifted her head and took in the the smells with recognition.

There are more photos on a web album.


2) A box of light at Quai de Rêves. We, the both of us unusually, met up with Iso and Princeling and, unusually, Pascal their paterfamilias, to take in a dance show in Lamballe. A combination of one-woman dance and a fairly uniquely conceived form of digital art, a kind of cube of translucent membrane on which were projected forms and patterns of light, abstract, figurative and ... whatever letters and numbers are, not calligraphic, ummm, typographic? Anyway. These seemed to respond to her movement, but I'm still not certain they did, I think perhaps she followed them, since after the performance the audience were invited to come and play in the box themselves, but it didn't seem quite evident how to make it respond. It was fun trying anyway. Tom was entranced by the dancer (he either is by contemporary dance or hates it) and sought her out afterwards to express a tongue-tied thanks and shake her hand, Iso was moderately pleased, but as a dancer and performer herself said she wasn't entirely satisfied by the dancer's 'vocabulary of movement'. Princeling was only somewhat entertained and started to fidget (the chairs were a bit uncomfortable and it was a bit late) but he had been to a proper restaurant beforehand without a kids' menu and had eaten pintâde and café gourmand without the café, and most amazing of all his teacher was at the show (that one's primary teacher might exist beyond the classroom is a fact fairly bouleversant to a seven-year-old) so it wasn't a bad evening for him overall. I don't know what Pascal thought, he and Iso always seem to get caught up in a bit of networking at these events so I guess that's a positive for them, but for myself I was just happy that everyone was doing OK and the performance was interesting enough and not too long. I didn't take any pictures of it as I'm not sure that's good form and anyway I wanted to watch it, but here are some I took afterwards during the audience participation bit:

The last one is Princeling, with his face blurred because it was dark and I wasn't using flash.

It wasn't a long show, so there was time for a very light meal and yesterday's blog post before we left, the drive there and back (oddly, my eyes, not great with night vision, seemed much better adapted to the road after watching the show than before), a bit of time to socialise, the show itself, then cheese and wine and telly and knitting when we got back, so it seemed a really very long and full and satisfying evening.


3) The chimney sweep's dog.  Having the chimney swept is indeed a beautiful thing in itself; the fire burns clean and bright afterwards and there's that good feeling that something cleansing that needs to be done has been done.  The young chap who does it is calm and careful and hard-working and has some powerful kit for the job. But an unlooked for bonus was this fellow who he had in the cab of his van:

An American cocker spaniel puppy. 

You can bring him in, I said, trying not to sound too desperately eager.  But he said no, he was fine, and in fact the vacuum cleaner he operates from the van is very noisy in the house but the cab is well insulated, and anyway I think he's learning to be a good road companion, and we know from Molly experience that you need to be consistent and not give them mixed messages about when  they do and don't come out of the vehicle. But he took him out afterwards and let us all say hello. He's only two and a half months old, so he's doing very well coming out and about to work with his boss and waiting and so on, though I did notice there was a thick protective sheet on the seat!

We agreed that the most important thing for them is to be with you, not to be alone and to be taken along. The sweep was clearly very besotted with him and very proud - his mum and dad were both champions, he told us. As before, it was rather dark for the photos, and as with Princeling, he didn't care to keep still.

What's his name? - I asked.
Joe, - said the sweep, and grinned - Cocker!


Final day of daily posting tomorrow. 


Zhoen said...

A trio of fine stories, smell, vision and sound.

the polish chick said...

perfect vignettes. thank you.

Soize said...

haha ! Joe cocker :-)

Rouchswalwe said...

I found myself squealing with delight ... Joe Cocker reminds me of our Misti, who attached herself to my shoestrings when she was about two-and-half and thus got an audience with my mother, who finally melted after years without a dog.

Love the camouflaged mushroom shot!