Sunday, 24 September 2017

Market Day

Yesterday I visited the little local market. It was held in the market square under a large and beautiful pillared area. Love these markets not for what I purchase but just that they reflect life in the village or town. 

At this market there was a band playing more of that in a future blog, There were various stalls selling local produce and handcrafts. All of the vegetables a fruit on sale are seasonal and not shipped in. 

At this market there were various artists scattered around each sketching part of the local scene.

Of course I could not resist.

Reminded me of the tale of two farmers who decided that they should get together to make some extra for the sale of their produce. They decided to travel round all the local farmers and purchase from them at a price and sell at a different price at the markets in the area.

They rented a truck and drive around a number of the farms and purchase a load of watermelons. They paid the farmers 50 pence per watermelon.

They set up at the first market and sell them at two for a pound. They soon sell out.

On the way home one farmer says to the other, "You know we did not make too much money. How do you figure it?"

The other thinks for a bit and replies. "We need a bigger truck."

Like them I was never very good at math.

Have a great day! I am counting on you all.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Some Plant Life and a Smile.

I walked twice yesterday along trails I have walked from this site over the four years I have visited this place. The walking here is beautiful. The little painting was of a little wild orchid I passed. The other is a bunch of mistletoe that was growing on the branch of a poplar tree.

Hopes and Dreams
My eye espied the mistletoe and my heart gave a little jump,
I stood in hope and waited that a kiss might come my way.
That my day might find love along the path.
I waited but in vain for ninety route did come.
But hope eternal springs 
that path tomorrow I will tread. 
Who knows what the day might bring.
Of course I am a dreamer but is that not what such things as mistletoe is all about? 
It is of course so far from the truth and has been involved in religions for many many years long before it found its way into the Christmas celebrations, and only then was it related to kissing.
All this just a lead into a couple of tales that came back to my mind when I saw the mistletoe growing.
Jennifer was a pretty 18 year old girl.  In the week before Christmas she sauntered up to the decorations counter, and was trying to decide which of the many types of tinsel she would buy.  Finally, she made her choice and asked the spotty youth who was manning the  section.  "How much is this gold tinsel garland".
The spotty youth pointed to the Christmas mistletoe above the counter and said, 'This week we have a special offer, just one kiss per metre'.
'Wow, that's great', said Jennifer, 'I'll take 12 metres'.
With expectation and anticipation written all over his face, the boy measured out the tinsel, wrapped up the garland, and gave it to Jennifer. 
She then called to an old man who had been browsing through the Christmas trees and said, 'My Grandpa will settle the bill.'
Another that I recalled.
Will was returning home from a business trip.  It had been an exhausting trip and he was not in a good mood.  The airport's Christmas musak was getting him down, and their decorations were tacky. 
As he queued at the check-in desk he day-dreamed about the plastic mistletoe hung over the luggage scale.  Being in a bad mood, he said to the woman at the counter, "You know, even if I weren't married, I wouldn't kiss you."  
That's not what it's there for," said the attendant. "It's so you can kiss your luggage goodbye".

Yes I am aware that it is a long way from Christmas but I see so many counting down the days so I thought I would put in my little bit.

Have a great day and live for today there is no need to dream of other days.

Friday, 22 September 2017

A Little Poem

I was crossing the above bridge two days ago and as I looked into the waters below I saw a coypu raise its head above the water, just for the briefest of moments. My eye caught its and for a second we held each others gaze, then off he traveled on his way seeking the food for the day.

As I left a thought crossed my mind that this was one of those little seconds that would add to the memories of my time in that place. Happy thoughts that I could return to and enjoy again and again.

I wandered on my last two miles and the thoughts of moments filled my head. I share with you some of those thoughts in this little poem. 

A Moment.

It is just a moment,
It flashes by unnoticed,
Not even long enough to catch a feather with a fan,
A second in time,
But  long enough to say I love you,
Or to utter a harsh word.
To make another smile or cry.
It is gone and never will return.
Every moment must be held dear.
It is another one less for you this year.
This life
A moment of your  time give thought.
And use to lift a heart,
It is the precious moments shared
That add to the value of your being,
Those moments add to the treasured
Memories that you will leave behind
Once the sands of time have come and gone

And the moments are no more.

I hope your day is filled with little moments that feed the memory banks for tomorrow. Have a good day.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

The joys of camping

I have enjoyed my camping experience in this little place where I have stayed for the last four or five weeks. I have been here often before and the experience has always been the same. I have walked every day clocking up some 14 or so miles every day. I have seen wildlife here I have never experienced very many other places.  

The foraging has also been excellent walnuts, grapes but to mention a few.

So today I move again to another spot I love being in. So a short little tale today about camping.

I have a friend who told me about his camping experiences in Alaska. He came across a notice advising hime to take care for bears. 

Tourists and campers are warned  to wear tiny bells on their clothing when hiking in bear country. The bells warn away MOST bears. 
Tourists and campers are also cautioned to watch the ground on the trail, paying particular attention to bear droppings to be alert for the presence of Grizzly Bears.
One can tell a Grizzly dropping because it has tiny bells in it.
Do take care you never know when you might hear the tinkle of a little bell.
Have a great day as I travel to my next destination.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

The old timer and the cowboy

Every so often we meet somebody who thinks that they know everything there is to know on every subject. Sadly I meet a few of them on caravan sites and once the wine starts to take effect they get louder and more confident in their opinions. I listened to such last night and kept my head down.

It reminds me of the old cowboy story. Let me try to remember it and give justice to its telling.

An old prospector shuffled into the town of El Indio, Texas , leading an old tired mule.  The old man headed straight for the only saloon in town, to clear his parched throat.  He walked up to the saloon and tied his old mule to the hitch rail.
As he stood there, brushing some of the dust from his face and clothes, a young gunslinger stepped out of the saloon with a gun in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other.
The young gunslinger looked at the old man and laughed, saying, "Hey old man, have you ever danced?"
The old man looked up at the gunslinger and said, "No, I never did dance ... Never really wanted to."
A crowd had gathered as the gunslinger  grinned and said, "Well, you old fool, you're gonna dance now," and started shooting at the old man's  feet.
The old prospector, not wanting to get a toe blown off, started hopping around like a cat on a hot tin roof.
Everybody was laughing.  When his last bullet had been fired, the young gunslinger, still laughing, holstered his gun and turned around to go back into the saloon.
The old  man turned to his pack mule, pulled out a double-barreled shotgun, and cocked both hammers.  The loud clicks carried clearly through the desert air.
The crowd stopped laughing immediately. The young gunslinger heard the sounds too, and he turned around very slowly.
The silence was almost deafening.
The crowd watched as the young gunman stared at the old timer and the large gaping holes of those twin barrels.  
The barrels of the shotgun never wavered in the old man's hands, as he quietly said, "Son, have you ever kissed a mule's Ass?"
The gunslinger swallowed hard and said, "No sir ... But... I've always wanted to."
There are a few lessons for us all here:
Never be arrogant.
Don't waste ammunition.
Whiskey makes you think you're smarter than you are.
Always, always make sure you know who has the power.
Don't mess with old folks, they didn't get old by being stupid.

Oh I do like a story with a happy ending. Hope you have a marvellous day.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

To share or not to share.

Another attempt to capture the mist rising from on of the many canals around the site. I walked this morning just as the sun was getting his hat on and making his presence felt. The mist was rising making everything vert ethereal.

This was even earlier than the one I tried to paint. And yes I know much much better.

I have made no attempt as yet to paint this scene I may once I get home and at the easel.

I am always aware that what I manage to capture in a painting is always a pale reflection of what I want to capture. I hear in my head the words repaint, repaint.

Now this reminds me of another Scottish Painter. 

His name was Smokey Macgregor, because he permanently had a cigarette hanging from his bottom lip. Bob was very interested in making a penny where he could, so he often thinned down his paint to make it go a wee bit further. 
As it happened, he got away with this for some time. Until one day the cathedral decided to do a big restoration job on the outside of its  building. 
Smokey put in a bid and, because his price was so low, he got the job. 
So, he set about erecting the scaffolding and setting up the planks, and buying the paint and yes, I am sorry to say, thinning it down with turpentine. 
Well, Smokey was up on the scaffolding, painting away, the job nearly completed, when suddenly there was a horrendous clap of thunder, the sky opened, and the rain poured down washing the thinned paint from all over the church and knocking Smokey clear off the scaffold to land on the lawn among the gravestones, surrounded by telltale puddles of the thinned and useless paint. 
Oh dear thought smokey. Is this a judgement from the Almighty. 
Just in case he got down on his knees and cried: "Oh, God, Oh God, forgive me; what should I do?" 
There was an almighty bang of thunder and smokey was sure he heard the words,"Repaint! And thin no more!"
I am not sure what smokey did but I will continue to persevere and paint and try to capture what touches my heart. Why? Because I just have to paint.
Have a marvellous day and share what you can of the beauty around you.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Be Sure Your Sins.

I had an interesting discussion the other day with one of my friends who had purchased a new cycle and was enjoying the freedom it had brought her to explore.  I teased her a bit about it having a battery, and really do hope she realised I was teasing. Later I felt a bit bad that I had teased,because anything that gets more people out cycling the better.

Because of my discussion I have been looking and seeing a great many people out enjoying the beautiful countryside here in France and all enjoying the experience. It is indeed marvellous.

While out walking today I passed this bike propped against a gate. I just could not resist trying to paint it.  No battery in fact hardly anything of it left but believe it or not I saw an old man jump on it and head off towards the village.

As most know my son is a lawyer so when I read a true tale I could not resist reselling it.

The lawyer had purchased a very expensive box of cigars. They had cost a great deal, I suppose that is what expensive means, but so much he insured them.

When he read the policy through after he received it in the mail he noticed the insurers had sent him cover for fire and theft. Surely they must be wrong? He read it again. No they had made an error surely.

He put the policy in a safe place and enjoyed the first if the cigars. Having smoked them all and made the first payment on his policy he put in a claim against loss.

He told the insurers they had been consumed in a series of small fires.

The insurers refused to pay. He took them to court and argued his case which he won. He was awarded the cost of the cigars and the cost of his trial expenses.

Haws feeling extremely pleased with himself and put in an order for another box of the cigars.

But the tale does not end there. A week later he was sued by the insurance company claiming he had committed arson.

The case went to trial and he was found guilty and given a two year prison service.

Beware your sins may catch you out my mother used to say.

Have a great day and happy cycling if you do.