Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cherries in the window

Up early, as usual, I begun my day taking pictures.

The cherries bought yesterday were so beautiful!

Then, I took my breakfast, and begin to play with the pictures - until my neighbour called: do you want to come to shop?

Not much is missing, as I will go away soon... but one can always find something interesting.

I took with me two small bags - too much but just to have them.

They were not enough! She had to lend me one big one of hers! So, now I have reserve, not as much of course as I had before my fridge broke down, but still, enough for a few days and even some for when I come back.

Now, I really have to read the Manual. Be sure nothing will be melting again! All will go well. Even if not much, I would not like to face again melting food!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Cul-de-sac !

No exit from this street - says the Cul-de-sac inscription.

Strange how some of the French words are used in the English Capital, pardon, the British capital. In fact, London is both. At least, from the time of the last football event, it is more used English too not only "United Kingdom."

I love the surroundings around the Emperor's Gate, not far from the Earl's Court I first tried to find a place to live. This is only one underground station off near it, and even more central. We had a great meeting there Wednesday evening.

Of course, it would have been a lot more expensive then here, and smaller, probably too, but mostly, far away from my grand children.

Letting open my window, nowadays, I can here now the birds singing and after seven, it is still light. Soon, I will be on to Paris, I like too, and I have some fond memories also.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Royal Festival Hall Graduation: Teachers

The College of Fashion Graduation ceremony - they came out when we were there with Sandra at the Royal Festival Hall 4th floor's Blue corridor discussing about our lifes.

Colorful and nice, they accepted to be photographed,

These are three professors from the colledge, in a bit hars flash light, as there was not much light inside. That is why I went out and some of the photos taken outside are a lot better, but I did not meet these great women outside again.

I did meet some of the Graduates, happy to be, again, photographed. A nice memory for anyone about the Graduation day. Perhaps some time they can even invite me to a graduation to take pictures, but theses few informal images already speak a lot.

Students from that Art College are happy about them.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Five hours with David

This morning, I spend five hours with David.

No, he was not here, only his speech, his voice was with me.

Yesterday, on the spot, in a few minutes only, he prepared a speech named "Be prepared" - at the Meridian Speakers meeting in Greenwich,

My small dictaphone registered it.

This morning, I listened to it and was enchanted.
Funny, inspirational and instructive at the same time. And what a voice variety, too!

First, I opened it with Audacity, to clean out the outside noises, like the bus outside or the cough of someone. Then, as he sometimes went farther from where I was recording Amplified those parts. Finally, exported the new version.

I did succeed then without problem to upload to my account, but when I put it into a blog, Box refused to send it if I do not upgrade. Too many people used my Bandwidth at the same time.

Deleting some old speeches of mine, did not help.

What to do?

I am a persistent person and I did want to put the speech in my Competent Communicator blog.

Ok, I can do a movie from it, with some pictures.

On my PC, which does not work for the moment, I have a great software easy to use, PhotoStory by Microsoft. I have now a Mac that I can use but I did not succeed to use imoovie for what I wanted. Ah!

I tried then Picassa.

First, failure. Second time around, it did create the movie and then, ok, send it to YouTube. Failed. Ok, exporte it then to send to my usual Dailymotion. Upload there. Wait until it uploads and until they put it then in the 'right' format.

It worked!

It still did not want to give me the code to embed it in my blog.


I had to wait until they added a short advertisment, very short, indeed, to recover, finally the Embed code and to put it on my blog!

It is on it now - even if not with the best pictures.

Do not look at the pictures, listen to the tale!

It was a great speech and it was worth five hours of work to offer it to you. Not here, but on the Competent Communicator blog. I hope, to have another time more patience to put better pictures, for ex like the one in this post, with it.

But today, five hours with David are enough, as great a speaker as he is. David Thomson gave me also my first opening: my Icebreaker delivered at Croydon to be evaluated by 6 other Toastmasters.

Listening to his speech, I realise how much my umbrella has to grow and me to learn and practice until I arrive at that voice modulation as he has effortlessly.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

First day of Documentery photos

In the spring 2004 I took my forsts photo classes with an American Women's Association in Paris. A young woman, took us in different parts of Paris to explain the basics of photography.

In the fall, the same gave a Documentary photography class, each time taking her group of six to another part of Paris.

By chance, she choose as departing point the few streets between the Sacre Coeur et the Marie 18e. Those were 'my streets'.

For 21 years I lived behind Sacre Coeur and worked near the 18th Townhall. After some years of absence, it was a great joy to return there.

Until today, I cherrish all the images, or almost all, I took that day.

This is one of the lasts.

The aged woman in red berret attracted me.

May I take your dog? Yes, of course. And, you too? Please.

She posed very happy and then, her frieds too. She told me every Monday afternoon at 4pm she comes there to meet with her frieds. I learned that day, that even when you are aged, you can dress well and feel all in not finished for you, as woman.

There is life after 70...

i started my blog, with the same name a few month only later.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Flowers from Lili, later

Some flowers flourish, others never really do last.

After cutting the root, some never can get used to the new soil or water, the new air and environment.

The same is true with people.

Some have roots too much in their community to be able to take their culture with themselves and flourish in other places or countries.

I have met many emigrants. Some never could could get used to the best places and cities, always felt out of place, and even some went back to the old from were they have run away.

Others did adapt as fish in the water, and did make better even that those living their for long time, because they did work harder, to achieve their integration and felt more and more belonging in the new place.

And me?

It depended a lot how I was looked at, but I knew from the beginning, I have to work a lot harder, longer, in more difficult conditions, and `i took that for normal. I knew it was no way for me to return to a communist country, from where we escaped.

I did try as much as I could, but without really blending, to adapt.

Without understanding all of the new culture, I found as well as I could new friends, and each time, but without any effort to do that, I found others who also, for a reason or other felt or were de-placed. Or alone. Or, what? Different a bit from the others around.

Perhaps I never had strong roots, after the war when my family was ripped away by the Nazis. My roots, new almost, formed inside me. I did carry some of my family's culture but inside me. It did not disturb my adapting to where I found myself.

Even like this, in some places I flourished more then in others.

I did not know when I arrived in London that I will flourish so much, here! That is an unexpected great joy.

Yes, never too late.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Paris 9e passage

In 2007 I visited parts of the 20 Paris arrondissments, one by one. The collection of the images taken with that occasion is on Flickr.

As are from today on also the Queen's memory photos.

The Queen, me - and 28 million others show our images on Flickr.

I was not the first, but one the first to join flickr, when it as still in beta stage and produced by a small group of Canadians from Vancouver. Later they moved to USA Silicon Valley, then Yahoo bought them.

Every time something changes on Flickr there is an uproar - some of those used to the old ways want it back. These days, the apparence changed again, but for the moment you can choose between the old and the new ways.

As an early adapter, I went back and forth many times until nowadays I get more and more used to the new and discover often unknown advantages of it too.

Old things are good memories, new things bring grows and, often, yet unknown pleasures.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Soon Paris

Soon I go back to Paris.

Even if only for a few days, a week at maximum.

I did not live IN Paris the last seven years I lived in France but near it, but in 2007 I went - a task I gave myself - one by one to the 20 arrondissments for a few hours. Each time, strolling in places I have never been before or did not know well.
Rencontrés a Paris
Here are people from the first 9 arrondissments, memories of that year, way back, in fact only about three year ago, also it seems so far now.

In fact, Argenteuil is not farther from Paris centre then where I live now in Greater London is from the centre here. But it did seem farther to me, that time. I did like living IN Paris but I could not afford it any more after my retirement and divorce, and anyway I felt bruised by what happened and the first years even happy to 'hide' in a small darker house outside.

It takes sometimes more time to heal then other times.

More time to open up again, after people, specially the one you loved and believed in, hurts you. The time comes, finally. For me also with the photographies I have taken and the blogs I wrote. I felt less and less alone.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Train stations

Life has its ups and downs, but of course it is always more easy to be philosophic about it, when we are not down,

Today, I am up, as I received an interesting offer that spokes about the appreciation of my storytelling work.

So I can tell more easy about the latest downs.

One of the last, which was only annoying on the moment, was when two girls wanted to meet me - wanted it a lot - and then did not show up at the meeting point.

One of them is now writing me that she had a last minute meeting at her workplace and send the other to come, but not explaining her well where we agreed to meet.

They caused me some hours lost on bus, waiting and train stations, but there are some pictures if not many that came out of it.

Another problem was as my Fridge melted with all in it. First, regretting all I had to through away, as it went warmer and warmer with me realizing it only when the butter melted. Then, living for more then a week without, perhaps next week a new will arrive.

We take so much for granted now!

In my childhood, we used to have a special room, never heated, near the kitchen, where we put the things we wanted to last. Care to put is so it really lasts. Later, we had also Refrigerators, and the Iceman come with ice twice a week through the street, Huge blocks of ice, that had to be cut to enter the Refrigerator.

I was past twenty when we had our first Electric one, arriving directly from Germany where my father went to a business trip.

Then, we got so used, that we think we can not live without it...

We can.

Just not exactly the same way.

The milk I bought yesterday, only half bottle was good yesterday and even this morning - what remained should have been boiled, as it was not I had to through away: it got sour.

The bred got moisture, how and why? I remember the bred lasting a week or more in my childhood!

I did boil the 12 eggs that I bought, as soon as I realised the melting butter, and it did last. As I did not feel to through away that too, I eat lots of eggs as main aliment.

I still have not opened sardines and beans, and have still a reserve of some pasta too. I did buy melted cheese that lasts more, and some fruits that got ripe a bit fast.

I do not think I will have time to develop a whole strategy: a new freezer was approved today. It will arrive in a few days.

Then, I will have a few days of up, joy, about something that I took for granted lately. Everything is good for something, is it not?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cling cling

I did not take it with me, yesterday to the Club's Dinner party, I will give it later. It is so cute!

Will I have ever the hart to give it away?

Of course, other then cute, and making a nice sound when moved, it does not serve a lot.

Perhaps, I will offer it instead of the Toastmaster club, to my son, he loves the smileys.

The dinner went well, the food was great, I did drink a bit of vine just a little but too much for me, so after I was really tired. But have worked well in the intervals and I have my next meetings speakers.

Do I still know how to relax?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Beautiful flowers

Happy birthday Charlotte!

Get better fast Aline.

Heal well, my grand-son.

What importance it is that my fridge and congelator melted - and it was full of recently bought things that were delivered to me, beside all that?

A very small personal "tragedy" that very fast I could put in perspective.

My arm is not broken. I was not just operated.

Of course, I am not young any more either, but I can afford to loose some money on food that I had to through away, even if I did it with sadness.

It was the second world war that tought me that all food is precious, so I do not like to through away anytinig, and this time my congelator that melted was full of newly delivered goods.

OK, it is no big deal.

It only hurt for the moment. And I realise only now, how important it is in summer to have a fridge in working order. They will not even come to look until Friday!


I will eat more fruits and some biscuits perhaps too, food that is not alterable easy. I'll learn new ways...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Three fallen

Ah, they make interesting texture, I told first myself.

Just looking a bit more, I see a mouth and two eyebrows, a face.

Strange how fast and easy we contrcut things we know from bits and pieces!

I was happy to see again so many known faces yesterday, and I had some of my ideas cleared up, even if I did not feel "trained", we did not hear many new things.

One sad news that reassures us perhaps a bit, we are not the only club to loose lots of its members, many come and go. "New blod," Ok, it means we have to work harder to find new and even harder to got out of the 40% statistic.

Blod? What a metaphore!

A bit like the face that I see lurking on the tablecloth.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sunflowers in morning sun

Yesterday a barbecu with family for two birthday celebrations - I also received a bunch of flowers from my daughter in law, this ones I had to 'imortalise' in the morning sun coming through my window.

The same images look so different if Prisme is used from Slide,com!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Color Shape Texture

There are not so many coming to show us their images, but the discussions in our, my Afterclass group in flickr, in July 2010, the 50th momth of the group are very interesting and serious.

50th month, 50 themes of photography discussed.

Sometimes, we do revisit some of the old themes, mostly with aspects of them not yet discussed.

Last month it was about composition, this month is about color shape and texture.

For exemple, this picture taken from back of a Graduate dress and hair, is one where colour and shepe are specially important. For me, it speaks as much as the portraits of young and proud Graduates. Also, perhaps each tells a complementary story.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Royal Festival Hall with Sandra

I met yesterday a charming lady, who wanted to meet me after having participated at my last storytelling at the Canal Cafe Theatre "The first time".

Very interesting and warm and intelligent too, she lived an interesting life in many countries, between others years in Russia and Switzerland too.

I also learned from her that while I told my story, it seemed I looked to the audience with warm eyes: my eyes spoke directly to them. It was difficult for her to believe that in the dark, I could not see them, really. So I looked at them trying to see here and there, as I am used. Great!

"It really seemed a real story, that happened to you."

Of course, we were all telling personal stories. Not all, about our life, as we had only seven minutes - or max ten - and in a story form - were all finishes well. What happened really but in a story form.

Preparing a story, in this case they were three shorter stories for me one after other but linked and with echo from each other. I am happy they had quite a good impact on those listening.

"It came directly to us."

Alas, some others as they were reading, other stories did not always gone so, she told me. Of course, the story was interesting but the delivery still not enough rehearsed: a read story can be as fascinating as one told 'directly'.

Today, I published my French version of my First in my French blog. Adding to it what was missing, what people wanted to know, Not 'all' it is still a story in a few minutes and still a story not a 'confession' or telling of facts. I hope I bring those listening into it - even if perhaps I did not use as many sensory details as I could have.

Next time...

Friday, July 16, 2010

It is never too late

for a first time!

you do add the rest, this time

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Birthday gift

To put around my shoulders - I am very happy with it!

The widow for which I took recently funeral pictures, come to my house with it at 8 am the day of my 76th anniversary.

And with a whole breakfast for both of us!

She came up with difficulty the two level steps, her cancer treatment makes her tired, still, she is tirelessly giving gifts, helping others.

For three years, all her energy was taken to help his flailing husband, and now she is turning it outside, but never stopping. While we eat, she told me how she tries to give a push to marry to an elderly nice couple, who live together but did not yet marry. She is sending them a parcel with lots of stuff for marriage.

Will I have a tenth of her courage during a heavy medical treatment?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

No visible police

Some tourist places, in Paris, you can see visible police presence, in others, like the Butte Montmartre, almost never.

Do not think they are not there, do not think they do not look to defend tourists from pickpockets!

This man is reading his newspaper, but as soon as there is an incident, his is there, he is in fact surveying, or waiting for others strolling around in the middle of people, to be called.

Even at night, as I went out once to stroll, fast, a car came to see what I am doing, Ah! you live here, good stroll, then.

I felt well defended, not at all offended.

Lots and lots of people from all over the world come to see the Butte Montmartre, I felt reassured that discretly, there are always people to see all is going quiet.

Of course, not all does, all the time.

It is still better, in the middle of lots of people, to care for your pocket...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bastille day

14.7 Bastille, Ballet impropru devant l'OperaBastille day is called the 14th of July in France.

The Bastille day the Bastille Tour was destroyed and officially is not only the French revolution beginning but also the French national day.

The morning of the 14th the army goes to the Champs Elysees.

The festivities begin, the popular ones the evening of the 13th with free music and dancing on many squares of Paris. The young soldiers are also allowed to participate then.

The fire fighters houses are open and balls and dancing is taking place there too for all who want to come.

On this picture, I showed the dismantelement of the podium near the new Opera at the Bastille place. I went there the afternoon of 14th but all was finished, only traces remained and thos muscled young men as if dancing, working on the place.

You can go to the Tower Bridge in London and the Tower is still there, do not seek Bastille Tower on Bastille place, every brick was taken away and used, at the time. It was a prison for nobles only, so it is not clear why this one was attaqued, other then that was nearer and easier for taking bricks?

If you have occasion to go to Paris, go to the 13th festivities, the evening, more interesting then the military marching on the main avenues. I have danced twice at Firefighters House, and once in a small square under the foot of Butte Montmartre, were we lived that time. Great memories!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tower Bridge

We were (I was at least) very afraid to miss the Wedding Ceremony.

Up Saturday at 5 we started after eight, but before two we were there and in time.

We were happy to be part of the familly to participate at the ceremony uniting a very happy couple.

Started back at noon, Sunday.

No way my son and grand son to miss the final of world cup.

As we arrived in time to the Tunnel, under Thames to take us home, we found it - closed. Closed for the weekiend. What a same!

We tried the boat - two hours delay.

We finally crossed bumper to bumper the beautiful Tower bridge, but then again the road was full. We arrived home after the match was played and finished.

Happily, my young grand son has programmed to be saved, before we went away - so they could replay and watch it later. It is never too late in lafe - at least for some things.

One few hours before my 76 anniversary, I watched too the Final of the World Cup - for the first time in my life.

After it finished, my son took me home. It was indeed a great match - and also a great trip.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


100707_London_0015Wonderful afternoon, in a but York garden.

So much fun for the children!

They had jongleurs, as the bride is one of them too in his spare time, fire and balls and place for gym too.

My grand daughter was teaching the smallest one what she learned lasts month and my grand son playing with the other boys from the familly.

So many children, so much fun!

It was a great pleasure for me too look at them, as was also to discuss with so many different people of different ages. I found again, and I am so happy about it, that I can find something commun with so many age group!

What a work for the mother to prepare all that - but it went really great.

And miracle of miracles, we even arrived in time!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

London York and back

Who knows where our roads go once we have chosen a way to go?

Ths time, soon we are off and as soon, even if it will seem a long way to us, we will be back.

I only hope we will not, inadvertently, make someone feel bad and that we will succeed - that I am sure - make good impression with my grand children, and for sure too, their parents.

I am not important in the equation.

With these thoughts, I took out the stress from our trip.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Urban landscape London

It is not easy to photograph those, but for me it is one of the most fascinating facets of Thames walk. These remains of the old bridge, reminding me the Athen's old remains.

And all that near two new different bridges.

I love their colours too!

I do hate the difference between the American 'color' the British 'colour' and the French 'couleur' - all signifying the same thing and differing in writing - just to confuse us!

Yesterday, I told at the table topics a fraction of my Monday's tale - and I won the Best Table Topics Award for the evening. Of course, when it happens, for a while, I change my opinion that we should not vote for "Best's"

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Roses in the court

I hope, the gardeners that were here this morning, did leave the roses as they were and the people living near them can delight more in those wonderfully coloured roses.

We need beauty around us.

I passed near them remembering that they were the favourite rose colour of my mother, tea colour. How come we do remember such details? Why some details remain in our mind when we forget so many others?

She died 50 years ago, springtime.

Her lasts words to me where about me: Your hair! My hair was blown by the wind that blow during our walk with my friend. He came with me, knowing how difficult it is for me, visiting her to her hospital bed once I knew she will not make it.

I remember the painting of that room too, a young Rumanian girl's reproduction by a classical author. I felt then that I was not alone, as he was with me. My friend, lover future husband. I believed in him then.

I do not regret it today, because he did gave me two wonderful children, who have now their children, their lifes.

I am alone but not all alone.

In London, so many wonderful people! And those great roses, too.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

She spoke too!

The same lady I met a while ago in the Soho restaurant, were I told about HOME, the one so charming, this time she did spoke too, told a story about her ten days of not speaking - during a meditation workshop.

Interesting story. We passed the days, slowly, as they must have then, all with her and the story. It would have come out even better, have she mimed, showed, told, instead of reading it. Next time.

My story was the first to arrive and I did come out towards the audience and succeeded to capture their attention from the beginning to end. Standing first, sitting down then, but leaning towards them and using instead of full body, vocal variety. I did better then I thought I would, but then again, I had a wonderful audience! They reacted so many times and so well to what I was telling!

Music on the footbridge

That is an instrubment I discovered in London and like a lot. Here played on the footbridge between Embarkader and Rohal Festival Hall, Friday.

And yes, my performace went very well - was a "huge success" the best so far from my storytelling career. Alas, I thnnk I registered some radio instead of my story, while telling it.

I believed the lights will bother me, but once I begun the story I forgot all but the story and the audience. They reacted so great! I was an enormous joy to tell them my First times. And yes, you are never too old for a first time!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Compose yourself

A big great spectacle of end of year at school, "Compose yourself" different meanings I presume.

It gave the children the occasion to learn about old and newer composers, be them, speak about themselves and hear and sing melodies from them.

I specially liked the song by the smallest ones from the Melody of Music "the things we love" and, toward the end, I almost cried so wonderful they song the Hymn of Joy, Europe's hymn now, written so long ago by Beethoven.

They song, danced, played, great children and wonderful teachers.

Of course, I was also proud of my two grand children, and of their parents having found that great school. "Well done," as they say it here.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Roses for my mother

Long years, 50 in fact, since my mother is no more near me, no more living, but I do remember so much of her.

This colour of roses were the one's she prefered.

I found them not far from where I live, near appartment house windows. I have taken away with me - the photos.

A bunch of flowers, a bunch if photos.

Not so easy to photographe, this color thea or flame.

Friday, July 2, 2010

CharingX to Royal Festival Hall

Great day, yesterday.

I should go more often to the Royal Festival Hall, so much is happening there hour by hour, day by day!

After having repeated my Monday performance story, at the 4th floor quiet corner, I went to see the Science Exhibit inside, See the diapo.

Then, I sat down outside and took the passerby men and women and, some children. Later, only their legs, also speaking of summer in London.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Inspirational speech

Yesterday, Toastmaster Meeting.

End of a Toastmaster year with change of Presidents and Committee, I am not officially Vice President of Education, not only replacing the old one. We have a new President.

Our old president, whom I'll miss, is moving higher on the TM rank, seeing to five clubs in our Area. The new president will bring fresh air and I do look forward for it and working together.

For me, the hightlight of yesterday was Zhana's speech.

Under very difficult circonstances, she proved, to me at least but not only, that one can count on her. We needed her to finish her Competent Communicator Manual, and she had to go away, but as soon as she was back, she did give two speeches in two days to finish. And she did it with brio.

Her speech about the Mariage blessing was indeed inspiring and unforgottable. "Believe me, it is a great thing, I do know it, I am now married the third time!" She was inspiring and funny at the same time. Religious and femenine, strong and smiling. Great and inspiring speech!

All through the meeting, I was enchanted, how much each of us progressed, it is a great joy to see our development as speakers, from month to month, meeting to meeting.

"This time, I looked at the audience" said me one who was too shy until now even to look at us, and he indeed did. His accomplishment yesterday is as great as Zhana's, he stepped to an other level!