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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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Plastic Fantastic…or how to see the world a little differently!

Plastic Fantastic…or how to see the world a little differently!

This is fun! Taking photos not through glass but through plastic. Years ago, I photographed a table of diners in a Menton restaurant through the plastic protection of a restaurant terrace and was surprised (pleasantly surprised) at the distortion this gives to the image. Often, the eye doesn’t see it at the time of taking the photo but once home, and on the computer, it can have the feel of an impressionist painting. And it is just one click. It’s important though to focus ‘through’ the plastic and onto a person or object and not on the plastic itself.
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New Year in a French village

New Year in a French village

When I was young, really young, New Year’s Eve was a big deal. Major dressing up to impress the boyfriend of the day and then, at midnight, would he kiss me first? How important it was that I got the first kiss of the year and if I didn’t – well it seemed the end of the world had arrived. Since living in France, sometimes I celebrate with a few friends or stay at home with my dogs – which suits me fine. That way at least, I know I’ll get my midnight kiss, so long as I stay awake, that is. This year though, I went up to the village to celebrate in the bar, so come and re-live with me a fabulous New Year’s Eve – or Reveillon, as it’s called in French.
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Gorbio – My Village, My Family…

Gorbio – My Village, My Family…

It’s been 26 years since I moved from Australia, where I lived for 6 years, to the south of France.  First a year in the Pyrenées Orientales, which is in the south-west of France, and then 7 years in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, near to Monaco.  Eventually,  19 years ago I was lucky enough to find a house in Gorbio.  Gorbio is a medieval hill village above Menton.   I live just below the village – not far, as the crow flies but two and half kilometres by car as it’s a long and winding road but it’s only a 10 minute walk up the ancient and steep donkey track which was once the only access to the village. As I don’t have a donkey (now there’s a thought!) I normally drive.
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Love and Father Christmas…

Love and Father Christmas…

Wishing you a Merry Christmas Day filled with love and good things amongst family and friends and your beloved animals, of course! Thank you so much for your love and comments throughout the year on this blog, on Facebook and on Instagram – it has meant SO much to me. With all the fear and negativity in the world, one of the things we can do is love our family, friends and animals and be loved back. So have a wonderful day today. This is little ‘Indy’ posing for you. I rather think she wants it over and done with so she can get back to her sunbathing.

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