Monday, January 31, 2011

Photos discovered

All those photos discovered by others, like this one, after more then two years, bring me back, at the instant, the moment I have taken them.

I liked to go out with the Portrait Photography group, even if most of them where shy to take images of the strangers on the street. I did not, I like going toward them, speaking with them.

This was a colourful Estonian, under the Bridge near the Royal Festival Hall, drinking with his Lituanian pal. He was happy to be photographed and to speak with me. And what wonderful interesting expressions!

Rediscovering, brings me back a lot, and the mood that day, and all the other pictures I made of different people at that outing. That was the problem. Too many pictures, this one was drawing between them. I did prefer one with the two of them, but this is probably even better. Now, I look at it with new eyes.

Enjoying, also my contact, with so many different people, that we can approach, if we do it with real sympathy.
Here are the others from which this is "just" one of them, so many I spoke to that day!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

We are also resistants

This flowers blossom in December, they in January too.

All the weather, snow even, they are still there, there are still resisting.

We are also stronger most often then we do think and can go through many storms and difficult times.

Until now, I went on in my life with my great grandmother's saying: "From every bad something good arrives" or, perhaps one can say in "good" English: every cloud has its silver lining.

I realized, suddenly, that sometimes, we do HAVE to go through some rough spots in order to be able to look again, to look better, to change for the better.

This is new view point for me, and very interesting, but in fact, all novels and even most stories, go through a crisis and climax before the "problem" or 'quest" is resolved. Teaching us, the same thing I just "discovered."

Now, I can look back at my life with another perspective...

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Discussion from Davos

Clinton was president, ten years ago; now for ten years, he did not stop thinking and acting.

I listened to a few videos, from one hour to twenty minutes, yesterday, on YouTube. I liked a lot, Nicolas Sarkozy's speech about G20 and the future. How important is now to do, instead of only discussing. Then I listened to some others, finaly found Clinton.

What a natural good speaker he is too. Great "voice variety" and "body movements", even sitting, he never stopped. And yes, he seems so natural, so authentic too. I liked!:
talk about what works
don't just talk about
do something about it
I loved how he told to all:

We have to put our country back to the future business
Churchill said to the media, before America came to participate in the second world war:
"America always does the right thing,
after exhausting every other alternative"
We have now to exhaust this every other before... but be sure, we'll do it.

Because he is no more president, premier minister, official, he spoke more freely I think. In all, listening to one and another speaking in Davos, I understood how important those talks can be. For the near  present and for the far away future of our children too.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The sky is always there

The sky is always there for us, in joy and in sorrow.

We did finish to speak about photographing the sky and the next month, but beginning from today, we will speak about photography of children In the group Afterclass on Flickr.

At least, one month I am assured the group will be very well lead.

And then, what?

Children in Paris (32)A bit tired to find leaders for the different workshops, yes, but this is our 55th month! Not so bad, after all.

Children I am sure will be a popular subject, but also there is so much to be said about.

On the long range, so much wonderful material in that group! So many wonderful people who freely taught the others! Free there for anyone to see, to experiment, to learn.

So, who knows, perhaps something will still jump up for March too.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A cup of... caffee

In London; it would be more often a cup of tea, or a glass of beer.

In Paris, for me, a cup of café "espresso" they say here, and for others more a glass of vine then beer.

"Cultures" are different, from place to place.

I wonder still, what is the "culture" of a club. What can it mean? And then, of course, there is the question, should we preserve it as it is, should we change it, a lot or very subtly...

I am not sure, how one can accumulate culture in a year, or two, perhaps in many many years, it is just formed. What, who, why, that is more a question for historians.

I just wonder sometimes, what it is, and how, suddenly, one picture can "represent" some of it, of course, never all its complexity.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


to be happy, interact more with each other,


there are smiles and smiles

some show love and complicity, others sympaty or joy, and so on,

I put together some smiling faces, most of them did smile towards me, warming me, for a life, for day or for a minute

Some tell you "I understand you" others smile to the photographe, taking them or as answer to what I told them, but a smile is always welcome

look at some, until "enough"!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Accordéoniste near place Pigalle

Photo taken in 2004, at the begining of my passion for photography, while strolling alone in Paris.

It is one of the images I like a lot.

I have him also taken all, but this I was mostly taken of his hand, I was fascinated by it.

Told him, not to stop, go on!

It was also one of my first street portraits...

Looking at it, I say to myself; did you learn anything to do better? Not so sure, in fact.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My freedon, your freedom

Good questions for debate, great "Table Topics" too.

An elected parliament, elected government, could ask the Media to report "proper" or does this infringe the freedom of the press?

Those thoughts come to me after the discussion in the European Commission or Parliament, after the new elected Hungarian Prime Minister report got voted.

Does the Media have the right to Control an democratic elected government, does the elected have the right to ask the media to report "proper" and truth? What is the truth? Is how the media shows events "truth"? As I see it, not very often... for sure, not always.

We do express of course different opinions, we have different view of the same event, and it is not only one "proper" way to express it. But a media should not "control" either because they are biased often and going more for sensational then uncovering the complex truth.

To be pondered....

Saturday, January 22, 2011

For a fleeting moment

Two women meeting for a fleeting moment, this is one of my favori te pictures, the very "elegant" and even too much "done" woman having a cofee near St Lazar and an almost begger looking old woman passing and looking in.

They met only in this picture;

The old lady very made up, almost like a mask fascinated me, in 2005 November in Paris. I tried to take some candid pictures of her, when the other one went through.

Those are some "decissive moments" taken almost by chance, but we do provoque them, me mostly going out so often.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Paris 8e : 39, Bld George V

This is how it looked, as a strange deformed building, huge and beautiful, for almost two years.

I did go back time and again, to take yet another photo : it was like bad dream or a beutiful dream, an impossible dream comming to life. Five stories high, in middle of Paris, very near the Champs Elysees.

Sometimes our dreams do come true,

Sometimes, we make them come true>

Sometimes they last, more rather then less, alas most of our dreams fade away, are taken away, disapear in the mist, as did this house's decoration after they finished the renovation that was going on inside it.

But the dreams remain, the joy does not disepear. Here there is even proof, that it was there!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

3 new icebreakers from Lewisham Speakers

It is not easy to break the Ice, give the first speech in the Toastmaster Club, the first of ten of the Competent Communication manual.

But how happy one is when it is done, and well done!

They, as I two years ago, had fears, anxiety, lots of preparation, then gone for it and after, realised how friendly really the audience is, and that they are able to create and deliver well a speech.

All three of them have done it with brio.

John, the 19th and Chiang and Eric two weeks before. And what good speeches they were, each different, each special in their own way!

As you see, now they are so happy they have done it, and done it well. From now on, they could continue with new confidence.

I think the confidence we gain, is the most precious gift the Toastmasters clubs give us.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My life's story

The story of my life 
another version

Julie, 70My life’s story
Is like my hometown
Made of peaks and valleys
Ups and downs and few peaks
Some peaceful, happy plateaux
When I felt at the top of the world
Not realizing being so near the edge
And that soon I will be sorry.
This is my life’s story

I lived it fully, it had plenty
Pain, regrets and failures.
Also work, enthusiasm and joys
Persistence, beliefs and blind spots 
JULI 15 Bitter disappointments, too many times
And yet I have no regrets.
Of the story of my life

I thought I’ll stay always
In my quiet adored town
From the familiar place, we had to flee
From an imagined paradise turned into enemy

Then we discovered, knew and loved other places,
Other people and searched for new friends.
I am not sorry,
This is my life’s story,

Several countries enriched me
Even people hurting, taught me.
Juli painting 14 years My mother raised me to be independent
Taught me early: my actions have consequences
I assumed. Fall, but each time rebounded
Long after... or in the next hour.
This is the story of my life

My father taught me not to give up
Resist long time, use all circumstances,

My diaries: from 10 to 70...Even when it is difficult, go up singing,
Even when it hurts, continue on smiling
In face of adversity do not flee, keep going.
My friends helped me blossoming.
This my life’s story.

My husbands loved, then betrayed me,
But good friends accompanied all my life
They supported, comforted and listened
Despite me, often the truth showed.

I acted on my own, often from my heart
I do not regret nor reasoning nor my passions.
This is the story of my life

Full of projects not too badly realised
Not just dreams, but often becoming realities.
Two wonderful children and five grandchildren,
And a society created helping to grow them,
Two published books and full of texts written
I helped whenever I could,
At least as much as I have been helped.
This is the story of my life

Enfin le livre d'Hypercard!Open, described and published
A lot already on the web, if not all.
I reflected it, even if never enough
I wrote about it from age ten to today.
I loved, several times adored,
I do not regret even when deceived.
I hated, then put it aside to heal.
Of my bitterness, I escaped to learning.
This is the story of my life.

Along the tortuous path and unbeaten trails
Books and authors accompanied me all along.
Many stories, novels and dear poems
Enchanted me, helped and enlightened,
Made me think and deepened my life
They helped me live and tell also to others,
 The stories of my life.
Julie Kertesz 2003
Translated and adapted in 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

The story of my life

Written in 2003, translated and adapted in 2011, here is a poem about my life.

The story of my life

The story of my life
Is like my home province
Full of peaks and valleys
Ups, downs and little tops,
A few peaceful, happy plateaux
Where I felt at the top of the world
Not realizing that I was so near the edge.

This is the story of my life

I lived it fully, it was full
Of pain, regrets and failures.
Also of work, enthusiasm and joys
Persistence, beliefs and blind spots
Bitter disappointments also, too many times
And yet I have no regrets.

This is the story of my life

I thought I’d stay always
In my quiet adored town
From the familiar place we had to flee
Turned into enemy in the imagined paradise,
To discover, know and love other places,
Other people, look for other friends.

This is the story of my life

Of several countries I am enriched
Even people that hurt me, made me grow.
Mother raised me to be independent
Taught me early: my actions have consequences
I assumed, fallen, but each time rebounded
Long after often ... or in the next hour.

This is the story of my life

My father taught me not to give up
Resist longer and use the circumstances,
Even when it’s difficult, mount singing
Even when it hurts, continue on and smile
In face of adversity keep going, not flee.
My friends helped me blossom.

This is the story of my life

My husbands loved me then betrayed me,
But my friends accompanied all my life
Supported me, comforted and listened
Despite me, often the truth showed.
I acted on my own, often my heart
I do not regret my reasons nor my passions.

This is the story of my life

Full of projects not too badly realised
Not just dreams, but often become realities.
Two wonderful children and five grandchildren,
Two published books and full of texts written
I helped whenever I could
At least as much as I have been helped.

This is the story of my life

Open: described a lot if not all
I thought it, even if never enough.
I loved, several times adored,
I do not regret even when deceived.
I hated and then did not think about it.
Of my bitterness, I escaped toward learning.

This is the story of my life.

Along the tortuous path and the unbeaten trails
Books and their authors accompanied me.
Stories, novels and my favourite poems
Enchanted me, helped and enlightened me,
Made me think, and deepened my life,
They helped me live and also tell to others,

The stories of my life.

Julie Kertesz 2003

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Do not through away!

Not only can it be quiet and not overcrowded, in the winter, but the sea and all around has a specific colour.

I hope to go this year also to see the sea, if only a few hours, as last year.

This picture, taken in Howe near Brighton, last year, as we went with an elders photo group to take pictures, is now become my desktop. I discovered it looking for a new one and was stunned how much I like it now. At the time, I did not even consider it worth putting it to the flickr site with the other photos I have taken that day.

Yes, as usual, too many images for one day, and to much rush to get them out, show them. Not spending enough time, also I spend usually a lot with my images, to ponder about each of them.

This image that I like so much now, was almost lost...

Do not through away too fast the images that do not take your eyes right away!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

International Organization

I was present at the first Macintosh developers conference in San Jose, California, here is the "prove" its logo.

Showing Apple's International intent and developers. Funny, that I just realise, that the Eiffel Tower is bigger then the Statue of Liberty on it and the Macintosh bigger then the Tour of Pisa!

Wednesday, I will speak about the first Toastmasters club meeting, held in a Californians YMCA basement and its first "basic manual of 15 projects".

I was not yet born in 1924, but I joined first, just a bit more then 3 years after in was open to women, too. At the time, as in social clubs, present members voted who can or not come in, now it is "open" and at least in UK we do not vote any more.

The only problem with that is that becoming a member is too easy, "just pay for the year and firsts manuals" and the "promise" to attend, to prepare, to serve, to bring guests, is not even realised. Not told.

If I ever become a president to a club, I will make sure, that each time a new member joins it is introduced with solemnity and that he reads aloud to all to hear the "toastmasters promise", good to understand and remember.

Perhaps, I could hold a Table Topics event, or an evening, structured around the ten promises most even do not read!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Rue Vieille de Temple / Rue roi de Sicille corner in Paris

One day, lots of years ago, but not more then seven, strolling in centre of Paris I discovered this shop, at the corner of Rue Vieille de Temple / Rue roi de Sicille. It was selling, now, expensive scarfs.

but at the time, it was a place to sell Horses!

Ten pictures of the place, before I strolled farther.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Srolling in...

Flâner or Strolling in different cities, from 2004 to 2010, I put together tonight, 30 photos taken when I had no other "intention" then discovery, strolling, going where I feel like every moment, in different cities.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The King's speech - a wonderful film

Based on some facts, of the future King stuttering and therapy and life, most importantly, that film just out in London is a great performance, but many of its actors. Colin Firth and Geoffrey Roy are both great actors, but so are many more the film I have seen yesterday.

From Wikipedia:
Because of his stammer, Albert dreaded public speaking. After his closing speech at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley on 31 October 1925, one which was an ordeal for both him and the listeners, he began to see Lionel Logue, an Australian-born speech therapist. The Duke and Logue practiced breathing exercises, and the Duchess rehearsed with him patiently] As a result of the training, the Duke's opening address at Australia's Federal Parliament at Canberra in 1927 went successfully, and he was able to speak subsequently with only a slight hesitation] Because of his stammer, Albert dreaded public speaking. After his closing speech at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley on 31 October 1925, one which was an ordeal for both him and the listeners, he began to see Lionel Logue, an Australian-born speech therapist. The Duke and Logue practiced breathing exercises, and the Duchess rehearsed with him patiently. As a result of the training, the Duke's opening address at Australia's Federal Parliament at Canberra in 1927 went successfully, and he was able to speak subsequently with only a slight hesitation.

But in the film, there is so much more then about the stammer! A film about relationships, communication, a bit of history added, and really wonderful acting!

After it begun, I forgot I was in the cinema, I was in the film's life until it finished!

Geoffrey Roy Rush (born 6 July 1951) is an Australian actor.
In 1998, he appeared in three major films: Les Misérables, in which he played Inspector Javert; Colin Firth, appeared in many films, between others, the Pride and Prejudice.

I could perhaps say, their performance was "theatrical" or so was filmed, but their close-ups were memorable! I will buy the film to see it more often...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Winter dawn, after 8 h AM

First beautiful dawn this year!

The first picture is one I should have through away but suddenly, I realised I liked it like it is, why I can not say. We like also, our strange children, not only the beautiful ones. But there is "something" in that "failure" that appeals to me.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I begun blogging 6 years ago

At 70 I was afraid suddenly of my age.

Then I discovered the blog world, and opened my blog "Il y a de la vie apres 70 ans": there is life after 70 years...

At that time, it was mostly to prove it to myself, then to the other. But also, to show that at 70 we are not old in spirit!

I have opened at the same time an English blog, but somehow it did not "gel" and finaly it was transformed in a Retroblog, where I published, day by day, my diary, translated in French.

This blog does not have three years but less then three, I begun it, timidly as I was thinking, perhaps I'll go to London. I did! What a journey it was!

There is a wonderful life in London, even when one is nearer the 80 now then the 70... even if this blog is not much read, I thanks all who do come to it!

In six years, I opened and abandoned a few other blogs, but this and the personal French one and the Photoblog are the only one I still write day by day. And the new one, Competent Communicator, where I write about Communication and speaking in Public and storytelling.

The world of blogs opened a new window for me, as coming to London did too.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Flowers for mothers

I bought the Cyclamens for my mother, also she died 50 years ago, I continue as she liked to receive them at her birthday, the 26 December..

And my grandson got 17 just then.

How happy she would be with my "accomplishments", specially my two children and grandchildren. But all the others too.

True, alas she lived too much "through me" all my life.

The second, present from my daughter, she offered me before she left to go home, far. I'll follow its development and opening in the windowsill of the kitchen where they feel best.

Here is the set "memory" and flowers.

Friday, January 7, 2011


I was waiting for a doctor when I took this image, that I like a lot, still now. It was almost six years ago!

I did not have to wait long, but when one is afraid, one hour seems very long.

The very good doctor, almost did not speak at all with me, but he did explain what he found to his assistant. "All is well" at least, not bad. No operation is needed, as I did suppose, but they did not even did what they have prepared me a month ago, that they will.

I was afraid for all this time, for nothing.


I behaved, like a child, not an adult, not like an old experienced woman. Not outside, toward those in hospital, but inside me.

Who knows, perhaps from all this, I can make a story...

Like Richard, a colleague from Toastmasters told us, I have made a Monster giant menacing me, and it shrink when reality arrived.

Reality become so small relative to all what I imagined in lived in myself! Now, I can go on with more energy, as the imagined Giant does not frighten me any more, does not sap a huge part of my energy, any more!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Hospital corridor

It was in March 2007, as I went to a scan in the Argenteuil Hospital's long corridor, all alone there, I was afraid.

It seems I captured it in this image.

Taking three photos there, took out some of the edges of my fear, but it still captures the dread and aloneness I felt at the time.

I do not think there will be a lonely long underground corridor this time, but I am not very assured to go, again, alone, and stay, again, alone, in the hospital.

But finally, I have to learn, again and again, then sometimes in life we are alone, left on ourselves. Others could empathise, and they do, but we have to be able, at times, to deal with what comes on our own feet.

Did I not say always that "courage is to fear but go anyway"! ?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Your most important accomplishment?

To introduce me, yesterday's Ewan, the Toastmaster of the Evening, in the club near London Bridge, asked me:

"What was your most important accomplishment in 2010 ?"

I answered that it was my telling a story before 300 and being paid by it.

But was it really?

I got more pleasure telling stories at the Canal Cafe Theatre, and I love the audience of 60 so responsive, there! I got more pleasure in listening to the speeches of those I helped to grow. I got more pleasure coming home with my grand son hand in my hand.

Preparing my stories. Learning new techniques. Delivering the same story better. Finally, the most important from 2010 is the progress I did achieve in storytelling.

That is my "resolution" for the next year: be able to tell better, be able to have even better contact with the public at the end of next year then now. Connecting with the audience: what a pleasure!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


There remain mostly memories now of the festive season.

As this fir, a bit sad and planted in a garden. And hopes for the new year.

I remember having almost cried when because of the snow the Airports of London closed and my daughter could not arrive in time from USA.

I remember the joy Christmas day, when she finally did arrive and a great diner we had with a Scot / Vietnamese British family, together.

I remember the Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde, still modern and well played that we assisted with my daughter, and the diner in family at the 'Girafe' restaurant with all the family a day later.

I remember the strolls in central London and to the Greenwich observatory and that I was at the end a bit more tired then I wanted. I remember the visit with her to the British Museum, but mostly I do remember my daughter's warm smile and her hand holding mine.
Agnes après visit a British Museum
She is now back, the festive season finished but the memories remain.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

British Museum

My daughter visited me and London, and we went together to theatre, to Trafalgar Square, the lights around the London Eye, and of course, the British Museum.

So much interest in the old sculptures, writings, art!

She taught me, also I suspected, how much one can still learn at any age!

I was stunned of the art done about 5000 years ago!

We also have seen different things at the Museum and with different eyes. Here is some of my observations.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

From here to there

Published in Toastmaster's District 71 December / January Journal 
District 71 is all UK and Ireland

How I got from the Icebreaker
to Manchester Town hall

I came to live in London when I was 74 years old. The first Toastmaster club I visited was Lewisham Speakers in February 2009.

As I prepared my Icebreaker, I read in the CC manual «each project builds on what you have learned».In the first project, it is proposed to speak about ourselves, and then, «weave the ideas into a story» - I did that by consequence, speech after speech, and as I am 76, it was not so difficult to find a personal story for each project.

When I delivered my icebreaker I fell in love with the audience in spite of my hands trembling with anxiety.

I concentrated all my energy on improving my skills.

I studied the good speeches on the web and at the Toastmaster meetings. I bought the book -‘Power of Personal Storytelling’ (Maguire). giving me advice between others on how to remember my stories. Another book I bought was ‘Improving your storytelling’ (Lipman), and finally a great book from Toastmasters International about Storytelling, which states “the difference between a speaker and a great speaker are personal stories" At this time I got the Storytelling Advanced Manual, and learned by doing project after project. I had finished my CC November 2009.

Wanting to practice and to listen to more personal stories, I attended more then one club, and also discovered 'Spark London', a Personal Storytelling event held monthly at Canal Café Theatre. The first time I went to listen, then Johanna Yates the organizer, invited me to participate.

In November 2009 I began with ‘Now or Never’, a story about how I arrived in London and found myself a home with Toastmasters. During last year I told a few other stories with Spark London at Cafe Canal Theatre, with an audience of sixty each time. I also spoke at the Chocolate Bar and the Soho, Blue Elephant, Blackheath Bakehouse, and so on.

I was always happy to have new experiences and new audiences and to be able to give my speeches in the Toastmasters clubs. I could fit them into one of my advanced Manual Project without any problem or, repeat one of the Storytelling projects.

It was at the Canal Cafe Theatre I first told my story about twenty-four hours in my life when the second world war caught up with me. I was invited to tell that same story as a paid speaker in Manchester Town hall before an audience of 300. Grant Whisky sponsored this event.

I recently finished the CL manual and my first two Advanced Manuals. I have begun work on my Advanced Communicator Silver. The preparation of my story ‘Mistaken Identity’ about how I changed profession at forty-five is ongoing and was given at Canal Cafe theatre on November 1st.

I am also VPE in Lewisham, trying to give a bit of all that Toastmasters gave to me. I do feel that any message we want to pass to others is better done through a tale, in my case mostly personal tales that speak more to the emotions and are best remembered.

Julie Kertesz VPE Lewisham