Sunday, November 1, 2009

Odds & Ends . . . (very odd !)

There are just a few things I wanted to say, which is to say, there are so many things I want to say, I hardly know where to start . . . so please bear with me if this post is a bit disjointed . . .
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A kind commenting reader voiced mild surprise the other day that I was only just now getting around to posting some photos I'd taken back in August. But the reality of the situation is, there are hundreds of photos taken back in August that I hope to be posting sooner or later in these pages, as well as many since then, and even more from before last August, not to mention the thousands of black and white negatives which are still slowly making their way through the waiting line at the lab to become digital files . . .
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So, where to start ? Perhaps with a reference to a post which was just re-posted a few days ago at Where's My Effing Pony, on the giddy subject of outhouses, or more precisely, porta-potties, and specifically, the dangers of having one fall over with you in it. I think it is safe to say that it requires a writer of some talent to bring such a subject to life and infuse it with hilarity; I will let you judge for yourself by going over there and reading the post for yourself. But I'd like to toss out, that between the post just referred to, and another at Not Waving but Drowning, there was quite a little discussion going there for a while as to whether or not there are any public toilets whatsoever in France, and if so, have they been cleaned any time recently ? So I present this photo taken yesterday in the town of Albert as proof that YES, there are public toilets in France. It is true that they are not always easy to find, but it is just not fair or balanced reporting to state that there are none. There are some, and I have found them. Much to my considerable. . . relief . . .
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Now, having cleared that matter up definitively I think, let's get on to the next subject in this ramble. For some reason, both the Sagittarian at More Canterbury Tales, and Jeff at Life Is Beautiful, have been going on about massages recently. Now, along with public facilities, it is important to be able to find a good massage should one need one urgently . . . so in case anyone was wondering, there are massage parlors in France, as this photo from Paris attests . . .
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And also on Life Is Beautiful, Jeff just posted a day or two ago a lovely photograph of a spider web, tying it into the notion of dreaming. To echo that, I'd just like to submit my own spider web photo taken a few weeks ago near the Bay of the Somme River . . .
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This next one may in fact summarize quite neatly all of my early conceptions of France . . . as a place where poodles were groomed with surprising sophistication. And yesterday, at long last, after years of searching I finally found an image to symbolize that early (no doubt cliché-ed) conception ! I was giggling so hard I could hardly focus my camera . . . thank goodness for auto-focus lens mechanisms ! (My early conceptions of France obviously evolved over time to more subtle ideological representations, with the necessary passage via Frank Zappa's song "In France", which expanded my understanding considerably. If you can't quite make out the lyrics in this YouTube version, Google the lyrics separately, they are priceless, and also mention the famous french poodle, so I was not the only one who had poodles linked to their perception of France !)
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This view puts the sign in perspective, it was not far from the central church in the town of Albert, which you will recall was at the heart of the Somme battlefield region in World War I. Albert was taken by the Germans in March 1918, only to be recaptured by the English & Australians & New Zealanders later that Summer. The church seen here was heavily damaged in the shelling of Albert.
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And to conclude this disjointed little rambunctious ramble (well, I warned you), is this photo which I considered posting separately under a (borrowed) title like "Weird Scenes From the Gold Mines". I will let you decide what you think is going on here and share your conclusions in the comment box . . .
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27 comments:

Nadege said...

Owen, I think Arnaud from "Nice daily photo" leaves comments on your blog once in a while. He hasn't posted in a while; would you happen to know if he went on vacation? He didn't let us know and his faithful readers are worried.

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

Well, obviously, that last photo is some ectoplasm left by some ancient philharmonic conductor.

So, what do I win?

;)

babbler said...

Owen,
I will reflect that this photo is indeed a reflection of a bicycle, perhaps a neon bike shop sign over a puddle, and I would also suspect that there is a cat, orange striped with blue eyes, sitting closeby, lazily grooming himself as you giggled and snapped the photo. The aforementioned Philharmonic Conductor may have been ancient, but most likely a chipper sort of chap since he rode his bicycle past the puddle where his friend Mr. Slug was rehydrating his tender dermis.
I found this entry of yours to be completly organized and not at all disjointed. Bravo, clapping heard from the balcony.
Mrs. Slug

lady jicky said...

I love the poodle sign. I would love to pinch that sign!
I remember a few years ago when I was visiting Paris we walked past a dog grooming palour on the right bank. Inside was a white poodle being clipped by hand - I tell you , that dog was beautiful - my husband would love to get his box hedges that perfect!!! LOL

the watercats said...

well, I know from having taken almost the same picture, it's a bike beneath the water..... and after having perused your posts from the last while... i have this to say;
one of my favourite songs,
beautiful cats :-)
I want that retro, too french to be french poodle sign.
think I'd take my chances peeing in a ditch somewhere quiet...
and 'massage' huh!... ?

Dedene said...

Your post was funny! I love the reflections about French public toilets. I hope you didn't actually go in that one! They're pretty stinky.

pRiyA said...

Thank you for your lovely, lovely comment on my blog :-)
It is comments like yours which inspire me to be creative in blogland. (And as you rightly said, comments are the icing on blogcake!)

I am enjoying your blog too. I love seeing the world through the eyes of other bloggers. Also, so far the latest few blogs that i have decided to follow have all been cat lovers...

John said...

Great shots and posting, Owen.

Owen said...

Hi Nadege, the "Arnaud" who sometimes leaves comments here is out in India, his blog is linked in my sidebar list, "Random Shots"... so no, I wasn't familiar with Arnaud in Nice, and have no idea where he might be off to, but see that he hasn't posted since September... hope you will be able to find out. Hopefully he's ok and just taking a break... maybe he met somebody and started an incredible romance... Nice and the south coast of France is a good setting for love stories...

And now that you mention it, I haven't heard from Arnaud in India for a little while, but he is posting nearly every day... hope all is well in Delhi...

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Dear Nanny, Ectoplasm ?!? From an ancient philharmonic conductor ??? That is such a creative answer that you get the "Incredible Intergalactic Ectoplasmic Fantabulator" award... but you will have to travel to France to collect it...

And a hundred thousand bleated thank you's for your post about Haiti and its goats...

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Dear Mrs Slug, it is indeed a bicycle, however the whereabouts and the identity of the rider are unknown... and as the applause from the balcony wafted down to the street level, a certain humble photographer could be seen bowing deeply, hands clasped in respectful reverence and gratitude...
May your fields of lettuce be abundant...

K'line Bloom said...

Bonsoir Owen,
Rien à voir immédiatement avec le post d'aujourd'hui (je m'en excuse). Je viens de découvrir le sublime poème que tu as déposé sur le pont flottant des rêves...
Je ne te l'ai jamais dit - et j'admets que je ne dépose pas souvent de commentaires chez toi (shame on me...I do apologise...)- mais comment fais-tu pour écrire ces magnifiques textes ? Encore une fois, les mots me manquent, mais je tenais absolument à te le dire !
Bises cher Owen, take care...

@eloh said...

Well, now that you tell me, I can see it. I was stuck on that white spot being a clue....I don't think looking into water would have ever entered my mind.

Jimmy Bastard said...

Interesting indeed.

TechnoBabe said...

Is the last photo a double exposure?
I really like the poodle sign. No, I do not usually think of poodles when I think of France, perhaps because I have been there. Your post is a good one, and you did not ramble on, you were informative.

Jill said...

Owen, the last shot did look like a neonlight tube reflection in a window, but when I enlarged it to have a closer look...well, the file title gave it away: "CanalBike" ! haha

Peter said...

Not being quite French, but anyhow... I feel I have the right to say something about the French toilets: A lot of progress has been done. If you have the time to choose and can neglect the new auotomatic things which you can find in the street, there are a few metro stations which have very nice and clean toilets and, especially, you must try the public toilet just to the right of the Madeleine church front, downstairs... Some pretend it's then nicest public toilet in the world (possibly in competetion with one in Glasgow). If not the alternative is to go into one of the nicer hotels (Crillon, Ritz...); they have fantastic toilets. All these here recommended are free of charge!

When it comes to massage... I will stop here!

Owen said...

Hi Lady Jicky, you are not the only one who'd like to pinch that sign... I was having seriously felonious thoughts while enjoying it in the flesh as it were, yes, sins of the clipped poodle flesh, cardinal sins indeed, but I told my twitching fingers in no uncertain terms to calm their itchy thieving impulses... but goodness, should I ever become fabulously wealthy, I would go try to buy that sign for sure from its rightful owner... I had a friend who collected signs in Haiti with chickens or roosters on them... he had some beauties, signs painterd decades ago. May your husband find inspiration here for fine tuning his pruning ... as long as he doesn't want to practice on you...
:-D
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Dear WaterCats, oh dear, I've let the cat out of the bag about that sign, and now the entire universe is going to be wanting one... well, maybe we could start a company to make reproductions of it to sell on Etsy or someplace ? So which song were you referring to, The Year of the Kits, or In France ??? Now, what is this about a bike under water ??? What were you doing photographing bikes underwater ??? And were fish or octupi riding on them at the time ? You're going to have to share that photo with us ! Oh dear, and peeing in ditches ? Well, that is what alot of people in France resign themselves to doing, because although there are some public "conveniences", they are few and far between... Massages are the elixir of life... if practiced as a fine art...
:-)

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Hi Dedene, happy b-day again, and if you had seen the human form that came out of those blue doors just after I snapped the picture, and who scowled at me, you wouldn't have dreamed of venturing inside either... I didn't, as much as I was tempted to see what the "facilities" looked like...

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Hi Priya, you are very very welcome, it was a pleasure to stumble on your blog, that's what's fun about blogging, every now and then one has a wonderful surprise... magical birds eggs that hatch colorful creatures to take us by the hand and lead us on strange trips...

And although I do love cats, this blog is not just about cats, I like dogs too, and abandoned dream houses, and broken down old cars in strange places, and funny poodle shearing signs, and graffiti, and blogs like Loulou (Indiaphragme) and Arnaud (Random Shots) from India, and poetry, and magic, etc etc...

Very happy to meet you...

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John, many thanks indeed... I really love your series from the car graveyard, those old VWs are unbelievably beautiful... I would love to come to Norway just to see that place ! Maybe someday ? ...

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Chère K'line B.,
Quoi ?!? Rien a dire sur les WC Publics d'Albert et le Caniche Magique aux Moustaches, même pas sur l'araignée du soir (espoir), ni à propos d'un vélo en ruine submergé... ah là là, je suis sûr que si tu mettais un peu les méninges en oeuvre, tu serais bien capable de pondre une histoire pour nous faire sourire, mais bon, on t'en excusera cette fois-ci... mais qu'est-ce que je dis comme betises ??? Tu sais K'line je suis content de te lire ici une fois par jour, une fois par mois, une fois par an, l'important c'est de savoir que tu es là, et que parfois tu passeras, comme une luciole dans la nuit, un éclair de lumière...

Je serais incapable de te dire comment je compose de tels petits rassemblements de mots, autant demander comment le vent arrive à souffler, comment les fleurs poussent jusqu'à ce qu'un beau jour elles se met en "bloom"... ces mots viennent tout seul, c'est Roxana qui les a inspiré avec ses images magiques, je ne suis qu'un reflet, un esprit troublé par de telles choses belles et mystèrieuses... The Floating Bridge est un lieu sublime... aucun doute...

En toute cas K'line, merci infiniment pour tes pensées exprimées ici, pardonne moi ma petite folie, c'est un plaisir de te lire chez Jeff aussi, je ne manque jamais un mot... Alors, es-tu fée verte ou vraie fille rouge et gris ce soir ???

Owen said...

@eloh, ah, so you think we are looking into water ??? hmmm, c'est possible... it is a distinct possibility... I'll hold out a little longer for other opinions before spilling the beans. Actually, maybe it was a haunted bicycle ridden by ghosts for a Halloween story ??? You've got me jumping at little noises now, and my cat's eyes were looking incredibly green just now...

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Hello Jimmy B., Thanks very much... I read with great interest your story about riding on the train in a leather jacket. Funny how clothes influence perceptions, even of ourselves...

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Dear TechnoB., no, not a double exposure... well, there are still quite a few poodles around, but the small variety are much more prevalent than the large ones... and glad you were able to make some sense out of the craziness here...
:-D

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Jill ! That's sneaky ! Just like Chippy would have done I'll bet... I'll have to be careful to give more cryptic filenames in the future ! Well, a couple of others had suspected it was underwater, so I guess it's not so hard to see what's going on there... but I'd forgotten that the filenames are visible... Hope you're having fun with the new camera !

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Hi Peter, with all the thousands of kilometers you've walked around Paris, I'm willing to bet you probably know where nearly every accessible WC in the capital is located... of course much of the discussion referred to at Not Waving But Drowning and Where's My Effing Pony was entirely tongue in cheek, or almost, brought on by the fact that one does see, if one wanders around France a bit, an inordinate number of people peeing in public, by the roadside, in town centers, and they rarely take much pain to be discreet about it... this led to suppositions that there must be a major shortage of decent toilet facilities. Thanks so much in any case for your recommendations. I'm going to be in Paris Tuesday, near the Madeleine, I will have to go take a look at your tip here... yes, many thanks, someday maybe that sort of information will be available on GPS devices the way all the fixed radars are available...

So, no advice about massage places ???
;-D

AmyR said...

Oh that poodle grooming sign is a hoot! I am trying to keep my eyes more open to urban photos. I forget that beauty can be found in the city. Thanks for the inspiration. :D

jeff said...

Salute amigo !
La vache ! J'ai bien mis quelques minutes pour découvrir ce que représentais la dernière photo !... Et j'ai trouvé ! Putain ! ça été long, mais bon ! Une enseigne de magasin de vélos en réflection dans l'eau... Ouuuaaaahhhh ! La vache ! J'avais pas vu de suite ! Superbe !
J'ai vu auusi que t'avais trouvé enfin l'araignée qui s'est échappée de LIB pour lui faire tisser une toile sur MLS !...
Mais là,... je sors du massage et je suis un peu, comment dire, flagada ! Trois belles jeunes asiatiques m'ont prodiguées des massages partout avec leurs six mains... et c'était bien bon ! ! !...:-)))

Merci infiniment Owen de m'accorder autant d'honneur pour que tu affiches ainsi le titre de mon blog dans ta page ! Merci beaucoup... et à charge de revanche !... Life is beautiful ! J'aurais pû essayer de trouver un titre plus original ! ! !

Bon, sur ce, je vais enfin passer en remontant ton blog par les toilettes publiques pour pisser un coup...! J'étais entrain de penser ! Maintenant, nous avons les écrans tactiles.... et pourquoi pas bientôt les diffusions de parfums sur le net via l'ordinateur à travers un petit émetteur ! ! !...;-)))

Ciao amigo !
A bientôt...;-)
Mille fois merci pour ton attention !
Bonne soirée Owen...;-)

Jill said...

I love solving mysteries, Owen...but you will have to be way more devious and cunning next time!

Owen said...

Hey Amy, that's exactly it, that poodle sign had me hooting with laughter, I swear I've never seen a sign so hilariously perfect... the scissors, the comb, and not a word on it... and the haircut that makes the dog look more like a gorilla ! Too much... sure, I'll bet there are some things you could share with us from your big city, there's always something if one looks a little bit...

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Ah Jeff, je suis content si le massage t'a fait du bien, pour adoucir un peu le choc des nouvelles de notre chère K'line qui va laisser tomber le rideau sur le scène de TmLG... dur dur la nouvelle là. Bon, quand tu remontes du sous-sol là, tu pourrais remonter deux tonneaux ce soir au lieu d'un seul, je pense on va avoir besoin... bon le vélo, et alors ton vélo, pourquoi tu l'a jeté dans le canal ??? Tu voulais plus de lui ? C'est le caniche, l'enseigne ici, pas le vélo... le vélo doit être une histoire moins gai... Alors, oui, vivement les écrans tactiles avec émetteurs d'odeurs, pour que l'on puisse un jour non seulement voir les WC publics, mais les sentir aussi... oui... bon, en attendant, où est mon verre ??? Ouvrons ce tonneau, et chantons un coup... Tchin !

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Ah Jill, that may be difficult, I'm such a transparent, simple kind of guy, hardly a devious, cunning hair on my head...
;-D

desi said...

i like your odds & ends post!

so funny. just Friday afternoon when i got home i was also photgraphing a spider and its web...

The Sagittarian said...

I love that spider web! So very busy eh?

Owen said...

Hi Desi, can't wait to see what sorts of spiders live in South Africa... And if you take a look at Priya's blog, The Plum Tree (in my list at right) she just showed the web of a really scary kind of spider, or its web anyway....

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Saj, well, busy as long as the spinning takes, then very lazy while they wait for a nice juicy bit of dinner to fly along...

robert said...

For many these may have indeed been 'ends' - it is my impression however that you are able to transform these pictures to become a 'beginning' instead.

A wonderful week for you.

Roxana said...

i can't decide which one of the two green bike magical pictures i love most... they are really masterworks (so are you sure, but i mean 100%sure it wasn't you who let your bicycle drown on purpose, just to be able to delight us with your floating art? :-)

(and the floating bridge says this blushing about all the lovely and kind words you once again found about her, even here in the comments... i don't know how to thank you... but no, i am sure, but i mean 100%sure that my inspiration has nothing to do with your rare gift...)


thank you...

cara said...

Hi Owen great to hear from you again. That poodle sign has so much personality - WAY classier than mine! The nonchalant expression on his face and his little goatee and the arrow pointing the opposite way to the direction he's facing in... even the fact that there is no writing. The overall effect is one of casual indifference and a slight aloofness. Very French!