Thursday, July 30, 2015

Place de l'Horloge, Saignon

I am really getting to like the Holga lens on my Olympus OM-D cameras. I have always loved the in and out of focus look of plastic lenses. What I didn't count on was the very different color rendition of a non-coated, two piece, plastic lens. The colors get smeared and the tone range reminds me of color in the 50s and 60s. They make these lenses to fit on Sony full-framed cameras, among others, for a mere 21.90 case anyone wants to have some fun.

Tiny dancer, Paella night

This little girl's parents help run a restaurant in Saignon. He is German and she is English. The child is learning three languages at once. She is as cute as a button and loves to dance.

Paella night, Saignon

Every year, on July 13th, Saignon has a big paella dinner and party. The whole town turns out and a great time is had by all. Ian and I had to watch as this charmer stole our wives away. Luckily, Ian had the way to get them back.........more wine!

Restaurant Ephemere is back!

 Last year this truck based restaurant popped up near the boules courts in Saignon. They are very good cooks and the food was lovely. We looked forward to it this year. Well, for a month there was no sign of it. Apparently they weren't allowed to use the building you see in the back of the top picture, in case of rain. It is owned by the school and they didn't want conflicts. Well, as soon as school got out they were back. What a treat to eat outside with friends in perfect weather and great food.......and a lot of wine.

Superb grilled lamb.

The folly of youth, Saignon

I walked down from Saignon to take pictures of the sunflower fields and a lavandin field. On my way back up I heard this roar from the road. Three boys (It's always boys, girls aren't this stupid.) had put some kind of metal tape on their tricycle's wheels and were off to the races. This is a 2km winding downhill road, steep in parts. They were already having trouble  staying in their lanes. A tricycle going 30km per hour (18mph) steers differently than at pedaling speeds. They also already had two or three cars behind them and many approaching in the other lane. The decision  making part of the brain doesn't develop fully until the twenties. (Janie will say that sometimes it isn't fully developed even at 69) It was a crazy, stupid thing to even think of. But it sure looked like fun. How big do they make tricycles?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Saignon garden may 23rd-July 19th 2015

 The picture above is of a community garden in Saignon on the day after we arrived. The one below is a few days before we left. There were whole crops that had been picked. The soil is very fertile and there are endless, long, hot, sunny days. There do not seem to be many bugs so upkeep is mainly watering and weeding.

A curiosity that I have not figured out. This is a very dry climate. Humidity rarely gets above 30%. There is not a lot of rain from May to August (Two days in the 60 days we were there). The soil dries out very quickly. I have never seen mulch in a garden here, nor for sale in a store. Is there a reason? I use it here in humid (80-90%) Florida, where we get frequent thundershowers, and it works a charm. We have sandy soil but I don't think the soil there is very clay based. It's a mystery. Mulch is magic.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

La Platane, Apt for lunch

La Platane, in Apt is one of our favorite lunch spots. The setting is superb. You are in the middle of Apt and never know it. This is a second story courtyard shaded by a huge mulberry and smaller trees. The whole place is run by a family of three, mother and daughter are the front of the house and the father, a genius with seafood, cooks.

Thanks to a certain Australian smart-aleck the mother greets me as Big Jim when we come in. Such a nice family and such good food. The smoked salmon salad is to die for. I would never think of putting an egg with smoked salmon.....try it! Highly recommended.

Wedding escape cars.

These were the cars that the bride and groom left the church in to go to the reception, If you look at the picture in the post below this you can see the bride is close to six feet tall and the groom is taller. They were put in the back of a VW bug! Then the car didn't start until the 5th try. Those poor people, it must have taken three people to get them out at the party.

The Smart car below was the escape pod for the next wedding. It's the only car they could find that was smaller than the bug. The bride and groom weren't quite as tall.....but just as uncomfortable.

Bridal couple, Saignon

The old church in Saignon is a very popular wedding destination. It is a fine old structure, 12th century, and is across a small square from the mayor's office, which is the only place in France you can be legally married. Also down the hill is a lovely restored Abbey that is a wedding hall. This Saturday there were three weddings in a row.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Washbasin, Saignon

This is where to whole town used to wash their clothes, a century ago. Very cool and dark.

Family of hipsters, Apt

Shoppers, Apt

Artist's shop, Lourmarin

Restaurant, mini-golf, Jardin, Lourmarin

This place has it all.

Listen to your ideas, Lourmarin

Backstreets, Lourmarin

Blue and red, Saignon

I took this picture for the two colors. A young lady in front of her shop.  When I was working on the file I noticed that she had three hands and different shoes on each foot! There was another woman sitting behind her that I didn't see.

Saignon cemetery.

 Cemeteries are like a history lesson. Saignon has a lovely little one. There are a tremendous amount of losses from the two world wars and Algeria. Older grave of very young children and, sadly, more recently, deaths from motorbike accidents. There are family crypts going back centuries, and a lot of those families still live in the village.
 Many of the graves have plaques and ceramic flowers put there by family members. They don't fade and are quite lovely. We brought some of the flowers back one year to put on my mother-in-law's grave in Jacksonville Beach. Unfortunately it was stolen very quickly.

Trompe l'oeil, Apt

I have always liked this painting and I think they touched it up last winter.

Old gate in redone wall, Saignon

As part of the recent work, replacing all of the underground pipes in the village, a couple of beautiful old walls were completely rebuilt. The stonework is beautiful and the original top stones were kept.

Saignon from below.

Old cherry grove, Saignon

This field was totally overgrown when we arrived in May. It must be abandoned. You could barely see the trees. A local shepherd put his flock in here for three days and they took it down to the ground except for the broom and one nasty thorny weed that even a sheep won't eat.

Sunflower field, below Saignon

2CV (deux cheveaux) detail, Saignon.

As I have said before and have seen in even more towns this year, it is the law in Provence that every town and hamlet have at least one Citroen 2CV, the funkier the better. Saignon seems to have 2 or 3. I don't think even one of the production run of these cars has ever been junked. They probably still make them somewhere which explains why you never see old soda cans around, they use them for bodywork.

Roadside weeds, Bonneux bike path.

I'll be darned if Provence doesn't have the prettiest weeds I have ever seen.

Alstromeria, from Le Clerc

Flowers always make a house better.

The third lavender......see post below

This is lavandula plasticus, a very common form sold in household decor shops. It requires almost no care and never outgrows it's container. Sadly, it has no scent.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Lavender and lavandin, Saignon

 Our hosts gave us a lesson in lavender this year. The field above is the classic Provencal lavender. Lovely scent and true lavender color. Rather small plants with smaller flowers. The field below is lavandin, a variety of lavender, probably a hybrid. It has longer flowers and grows much larger. It produces 50% more oil than lavender but contains more camphor, better for colds but a little more medicinal in scent. It is also a bit more towards blue. It is sterile and does not propagate from seed, like it's cousin, only cuttings. It is probably more profitable to grow but produces an inferior oil.

Two purples, Saignon

Provence does color really well. These thistles were electric.

Wheat field, Saignon

Everyone I've shown this to says it's too grainy. (An old film shooter's joke.)

Window, Saignon

Waiting, Saignon

Jane and Janie's hats, Bistrot d'Atelier, Saignon

Silverware, vide grenier, Bonnieux

Outdoor dining set............ with powder room, vide grenier, Bonnieux.

These folks thought of everything.

Vide grenier, Bonnieux

My Japanese flag picture of this trip.

A good laugh.

Angel of the rummage sale, Bonnieux.

In Provence there is a Vide Grenier, or rummage sale in one town every weekend. This week it was Bonnieux's turn. We were lucky because Ian and Jane found two perfect chairs for their dining room table. This little angel was selling mostly lamps.

Wall and hat, Bonnieux


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