in the market

September 23, 2012

Attractive colours like the Italian flag on this display of onions at the weekly market in Place Émile-Zola in Béziers. Spheres, squares and fluted lines of green. In the last couple of weeks, the odd stall features ceps for sale – not quite sure the variety and not much information comes from the stall holder but perhaps there’s an assumption all is understood and known. The soft brown caps are strokeable but that wouldn’t go down too well . . .

 . . . strokeable as well, but appear scared of being on view. Not to buy as a pet presumably and unfortunately . . . . . . .

 . .  the poultry likewise. 

In the next street, on offer are chemises de nuits . . .

 . . and couvertures lits. How to choose? Look quite scary to me.

The stall on the corner by the bins is tastefully laid out with carefully selected produce. Not too much of anything but just enough to attract and with lovely bunches of mixed flowers. I want everything on this stall – that’s good marketing I guess.

Gooses, geeses
I want my geese to lay gold eggs for easter
At least a hundred a day
And by the way

I want a feast
I want a bean feast
Cream buns and doughnuts
And fruitcake with no nuts
So good you could go nuts

No, now

I want a ball
I want a party
Pink macaroons
And a million balloons
And performing baboons and
Give it to me now

I want the world
I want the whole world
I want to lock it
All up in my pocket
It’s my bar of chocolate
Give it to me now

I want today
I want tomorrow
I want to wear ’em
Like braids in my hair and
I don’t want to share ’em

I want a party with roomfuls of laughter
Ten thousand tons of ice cream
And if I don’t get the things I am after
I’m going to scream

I want the works
I want the whole works
Presents and prizes
And sweets and surprises
Of all shapes and sizes

And now

Don’t care how, I want it now
Don’t care how, I want it now Roald Dahl I Want It Now

being a tourist

August 25, 2012

Friday, in Béziers, means stalls along the Allées Paul –Riquet offering flowers and plants for inside and out. The 19 C theatre sits at the elevated north end – pretty.

If you purchase some stems, branches, pots then you can choose complimentary ribbon as part of the packaging.

On offer are plugs of vegetables ready for autumn planting such as brussels sprouts which have become rather ‘the thing’  . . . .

. . and varieties of salad attractively displayed. There’s another great market in Place David-d’Angers on Friday mornings but don’t spread it around!  Wandering around the narrow streets, decorative compositions offer themselves up for a shot . . .

. . . .   a roof revamp that looks like lace . . .

. . .  and something tiny watching the caged birds on the balcony opposite. A little out of focus but worthy  . . .

. . .   around Cathedrale St-Nazaire, there’s good use of Caisse de Versailles to denote spatial areas. Well scaled and not looking too much like plastic although they are of course. Town’s busying up so straight off to the beach at  Sérignan where the salt marsh is erupting into a vision of mauve . . .

. .  limonium and scirpus and something that looks like a yellow flowering samphire.

Beach and sea pretty perfect and just a short amusing piece by Pam Hughes.

I carry a bag

Brie, rillettes, saucisson sec,

I sing. You glower. Pam Hughes  Dieppe Shopping

les dunes de la plage

July 6, 2012

At Portiragnes, wide dunes run along behind the beach landscape. They’re impressive. A seemingly native environment that appears sustainable and well managed from the onlookers point of contact. Eryngium maritimum (sea holly) is in full flower  – stunning steely flower heads  – thrusts itself into the full frontal now. Glorious show stealing and why not!

Looking east, a euphorbia – maybe Euphorbia paralias . . .

 . . that sits well now in July with Crithmum maritimum . . . .

 . . . where the dunes run back into sheltered lagoons, sweetly scent Clematis flammula rampages around, in a decorous fashion – the plant is in full flower across Languedoc now . . .

 . . and a contrast to the spiny, architectural form of Echinophora spinosa . . .


. . . .  just coming into flower.

And  Pancratium maritimum – a stupendous eruption through the sand.

Finally. maybe a leymus or marram grass or maybe something else? 

Am I flower, am I grass blade?

Am I almost, but not quite,  a word?

A new island made of hush,

off the map? One thing’s sure:

I’m late for my own creation –

on the eighth day – your afterthought.

You made me and now you must watch

God eat me up bit by bit.   Jo Shapcott  The Second Lie

parks are for people

June 25, 2012

In Béziers, clouds of scent waft off the Tilia argentea group standing  sentinel by the entrance to the park – Plateau des Poètes  – that runs on from the main axis, Allées Paul-Rique, through the smart part of town.  It’s thought that  the landscape designer Frederic Law Olmstead honed the phrase ‘Parks are for People’ but research doesn’t provide concrete proof. Anyway, it’s a good phase and Olmstead’s Central Park  works today just as well as when first designed and constructed years ago. Spending some time in this open green space in ‘edgy’ (as G describes it) Béziers, I was taken with the clear usefulness of the park shown by locals of all ages,  enjoying all aspects.  Aspects or elements that have become known expectations. So, there are garden rooms , which family groups can inhabit, in privacy . . .

. .  and monuments and memorials – both contemporary in style and the more traditional – showing quite different forms of craftsmanship and decoration, or the lack of it . . .

. . .   at the rear of monuments – the hidden side – all ages seem to feel more relaxed and willing to intermingle – the fronts being imposing deter human informality. Spacious lawn areas, if shaded sufficiently,  are confidently inhabited by large ethnic family groups  . . .

. .  football goes on around the plinths and busts of the poets. Plinths make a good goal post . . .

. . information is a necessity and horticultural expertise is expected as shown by the pruned juniper in the Japanese manner . . .  and newly planted bedding around some fairly ugly cactus.

Water is an expected element in a large public park as both good for reflections and to reflect upon  . . .

. . and to amaze in the magnificence of construction and impact.

An informal but also formal rill – good for toy boats perhaps – seems forgotten under the Cedar of Lebanon.

Scuptural forms always figure in public space. Atlas, being manly, and being a Titan, is a necessary component in the Fountaine de Ttitan designed by Injalert . .

. .    simple jostling around tusselling with others is all part of enjoying the freedom within the larger scale open space of an urban park. It’s also the place where others can be watched!  We watch others to learn after all . . .

. . . and what fun to roll down grassy slopes without a care in the world.

‘A broad margin of leisure is as beautiful in a man’s life as in a book. Haste makes waste, no less in life than in housekeeping. Keep the time, observe the hours of the universe, not of the cars’.  Henry David Thoreau

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