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Dogs in Bags, Baskets, Bicycles and Baby Carriages

Dogs in Bags, Baskets, Bicycles and Baby Carriages

When I moved to France all those years ago I was more used to big dogs than small ones. So it was a surprise to see little dogs carried in bags everywhere.  I used to breed, exhibit and judge Old English Sheepdogs and they don’t get carried around in bags!  At first my reaction was ‘Oh no, let them be real dogs and run around,’ and I still think that but I do see the sense of putting a tiny dog in a bag in a busy city, a market place, anywhere with lots of people. The dog feels secure.
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When a French village becomes Spanish

When a French village becomes Spanish

Once a year in August, my French village suddenly becomes Spanish!  It’s time for the Festival Flamenco in Gorbio.  Don’t think ‘touristy’ flamenco, this is the real thing, real gitane (gypsy) flamenco with dancers and musicians and singers from all parts of Spain and it’s fabulous!  Not easy to photograph with the fast movement, low light and also constantly changing coloured lights but every year I get a little better at it and love the challenge.    It takes place over three crazy days – we eat paella, we drink sangria, we clap and cheer and during the daytime we meet the dancers in the village bar.
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How do you say ‘sorry’ in ‘woof’ language?

How do you say ‘sorry’ in ‘woof’ language?

It only takes a few weeks and suddenly I find I’ve not posted on this blog – then more weeks go by and I justify this to myself by saying, ‘Oh well, everyone sees my photos on Facebook and Instagram.’ I post an image each day on both of those social media platforms at Jilly Bennett Photography. And then, several of you lovely people wrote concerned for me – was I ill? Is everything alright? How kind and how caring. Thank you! Follow up emails made me realise that not all of you are on Facebook or Instagram, indeed many of you aren’t. So big big apologies and here we go…
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Sanremo – a Day at the Market

Sanremo – a Day at the Market

Sanremo is one of my favourite places to visit and it’s only 40 kilometres from Menton.  Hop a train in Menton – change in Ventimiglia, the first stop in Italy, and from there it’s about 15 minutes. Market day is a good day to go – Saturday or Tuesday, whether it be for the great food on sale – or if you want a bargain. You can even buy Italian viagra in Sanremo market – read on!  The market has always had a reputation as a place where you could buy a fake Chanel or fake anything from some of the 250 stalls which are outside the covered food market. I think the police have tightened up a lot lately on counterfeit goods so that might not be so.  As I only use a camera bag, what would I know…
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How many oranges and lemons to make Mary Poppins?

How many oranges and lemons to make Mary Poppins?

Menton’s celebrated Fête du Citron (Lemon Festival) is in full swing at the moment, which means the town is heaving and it’s impossible to find anywhere to park – but of course it’s all great fun. Each year there is a different theme and this year it’s ‘Broadway!’    Preparations for the floats and static ‘motifs’ began months ago: a metal frame is constructed for each exhibit or float which is then covered in wire netting and each lemon or orange is fixed to the wire with a rubber band. This year 240 tonnes of fruit have been used – that’s over 1 million lemons and oranges. The fruit is not local but comes from Spain (it’s cheaper!) and because the famous Menton lemon has an ‘appelation controle’ – like wine. And it takes 500,000 rubber bands and a lot of man-hours for create these wonders.
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The Ligurian village destroyed in the 1887 earthquake… and now!

The Ligurian village destroyed in the 1887 earthquake… and now!

The tragedy of recent earthquakes in Italy got me thinking about one of my favourite villages in Liguria. Bussana Vecchia is a 9th century Ligurian hill village, not far from San Remo. It’s always on the list of places to visit when friends come to stay. Many people have never heard of it,  for one simple reason. Indeed it wasn’t even shown on a map until relatively recently, because the village was destroyed in the massive earthquake of February 23rd, 1887. 2000 people were killed in the region and those who weren’t killed in Bussana Vecchia, moved into the valley below and so the the village just sat there for decades in all its wrecked glory.  Ancient cobbles, tumbled houses, the church with no roof, frescoes open to the sky and the birds.
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