Montreal – such fun! Climbing Mont Réal, queuing for Poutine, not to mention the queues de castors….
The main purpose of our recent trip to North America was to visit daughter number 4, currently living in Canada (*waves* – could be some while till we meet again!). We had the choice of March or May. I badly wanted to see a real Winter (and we did!!) – but how lucky was that…we just missed the travel ban, quite by serendipity and my enthusiasm for snow.
A warm welcome from some Canadian relatives in Kingston – fabulous views over Lake Ontario, and three colours of squirrel. This is the black one, which I didn’t know existed. The red and the grey are smaller and kept their distance. I wanted a shot of all three together, but they weren’t up for co-operating.
Mont Tremblant, where SOME of us went skiing. The rest (me) wandered around the Disney-like little winter sports village. All very cute and pretty but not real. I wished I’d brought my Thomas Mann Magic Mountain, which I last read in the Alps – but way too heavy for the plane journey.
Ottawa – frozen rivers and canals, as far as you can see… definitely magic. The second picture was taken outside the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau – beautifully laid out, really interesting and on a manageable human scale.
Finally – no prizes for guessing the last stop! Niagara, on the way back to Toronto airport. Terrifying force – and such a noise of rushing water. You can only stand and stare. Literally awesome. I haven’t upgraded this blog to accept video – so you’re spared that!
This is so striking. We came across it on the way out of the Met. and it caught my eye because it looked like a modern sculpture, down amongst the Greek and Roman exhibits. It turns out it is by Jean-Antoine Houdon, called ‘La Frileuse’ (but known as ‘Winter’) and dates from the late eighteenth century. I can’t believe I had never come across it before – it’s probably famous. We just walked round and round it. Stunningly powerful.
(Much better photos than these on the internet, sorry about mine!)
But this is where the time went – late Autumn in the Auvergne, then a family wedding in the West (with another visit to Salisbury sneaked in). In the photos it all looks rather brown. The picture of the leaves on the black grass has recently evolved into a skein of tweedy speckled handspun – so I have been fitting in a bit of work….
December was much more urban.
Paris, the first week of the French strike….Eurostar cancelled, no metro, no buses – and no **** Opera, which had been booked since September!
The Orangerie was also closed – but they let tourists into the Monet waterlilies – AND they didn’t charge! The dramatic metal figures (outside, along the river) are free to view anyway – such upmarket street art and so French!
Then back to Christmas. Rather traditional this year – family, books, music, puzzles….ridiculous quantities of food…. The decorations have got to be the best bit – I spent a great deal of time staring into the depths of the tree and was fairly gutted to have to take it down!
Some silk dyeing has been going on too – but that is for next time.
We timed an airport pick-up around this museum collection – and it was well worth it. Some stunning posters for anyone interested in ‘Work, Family, Fatherland’ in Vichy France – or indeed just in the history of propaganda as a weapon of war.
Some sobering, some inspiring:
Angeli was a local administrator condemned at the Liberation for having co-operated too enthusiastically with the Nazi regime. Gerlier was Archbishop of Lyon at this period. He seems to have been fearless in speaking out against Laval’s plans to deport Jews to the death camps – and, in particular, he urged Catholic priests to take the children into hiding.
There is evidence that a number of primary school teachers also took great risks to conceal their pupils. I would like to think I could have done the same – but with 5 children of my own to protect I’m not so sure….
I am certainly grateful not to have been tested in this way.
Weather-wise, that is. From regular mid 30s to not even 15 degrees. So hard to accept that summer is over! The days we spent in Vieux Lyon were probably peak heat – over 38C. The rather sinister looking bars above were actually our window in an amazing 15th century hotel building – very lucky to stumble across this one.
You may have guessed that the big draw for me was the Textile Museum. For about 500 years Lyon was a world centre for silk production. I have been wanting to visit this museum for almost that long…. and it did not disappoint!
Back now to work, family and a much neglected Etsy shop. Internet for a couple of hours a week is not great for running an online business!