Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Can't See the Forest . . .

It was one of those shining, radiant, luminous moments of being a parent . . . This past August while vacationing in Brittany, one Sunday morning my two daughters came scampering into the room, obviously quite excited about something, and cried out, "Papa, papa, come quick and see ! Hurry, bring your camera, you are going to love this !" As I'd been quite comfortable with a good book in a cosy chair, and the weather was rather grey and gloomy that day, I wasn't thrilled about being dragged out into the elements, but there it was, who could resist the energy of two girls with bright shining eyes and expectant giggles on their lips, urging me to hurry up, hurry papa, you have to get pictures of this for your blog . . .
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Yes, over the past several months, even my daughters have begun to understand what an integral part of my life this blog has become, and they want to help, being the kind young souls that they are. So I had no idea what they wanted to show me with such rambunctious enthusiasm, and after a little prodding, and feigned disinterest, they finally let on that they had seen a shopping cart up in a tree whilst returning from the market.
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"A shopping cart in a tree ?", I said, "That can't be, shopping carts don't climb trees, for heaven's sake, you must be pulling my leg. !" But they insisted that it was so, and off we went . . . From a distance, at least I could see that they were not fibbing about the tree in question, for there it was . . .
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And as we drew closer . . . Why, there it was ! A shopping cart perched precariously well up in the large lower branches of this lovely old pine . . . What a mighty heave it must have taken to loft it clear up there !
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In this third image lies the clue that probably explains more than anything else the presence of the shopping cart well up in the branches of this pine tree, the fuel, as it were, that had been consumed the night before, that had inspired the artists' minds, as this was surely a group exhibition of situational artwork . . .
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Just a very short distance away from the base of the tree these purple "Whatevertheyares", a rare botanical species rarely seen outside Brittany, were quietly flourishing in the sun's bright spotlight, doing their best to gain the attention of people passing by, but for the most part were being ignored, the shopping cart in the tree was by far the more intriguing entertainment that day. (my apologies to those of you who don't care much for blogs festooned with scads of flower pictures)
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And just up the street in a side alley rarely visited someone had decided to decorate the side of a house, although that too was being ignored for the most part, because even if you really hunted for it in Carantec, you'd have to make an effort to find it. . . up the obscure alley where it is, though not far from the world famous Hotel de Carantec that I wrote about a few posts down here. (well, I'm assuming that it is world famous now that I wrote about it. Ok, that's a bit pretentious of me, it was already world famous, and surely wasn't waiting for me to come along to make it any more so. . . :-) (And I may have to scale that wall some night with the help of a ladder and paint a shopping cart into the tree to complete this image.)
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53 comments:

DaisyDeadhead said...

Love the flowers especially...but truth be told, I love all your photos!

pRiyA said...

hahaha.... that post was intriguing...then funny...then beautiful...then funny again. yeah, that lovely painted tree needs a shopping cart on it to make it surreal, or probably real...:-D

but it was the purple flowers that blew me.

Pia@frog said...

Such a good story with those beautiful photos that magnify everything you see. What an artist you are !

Jimmy Bastard said...

Most excellent post & photies once more.

.:: Karine ::. said...

juste un bisou du matin owen adoré, je repasserai tout lire :-) tu me fais travailler mon anglais !!!
belle journé

Steve said...

Shopping trolleys are aliens who are secretly plotting to take over the world... I suspect your children spotted a sniper...

Christine Robinson said...

It's 6:34am in Rochester, New York. My brain is still in sleep mode (versus witty blog comment mode).

As the mother of a teenage son attending an all-boy school, I looked at the first three photos with him/them in mind. No doubt the work of some of Cory's classmates. I didn't know they'd been on a trip to Brittany last August!

Love the other shots, too.

christine

Buskitten said...

The photos of the trolley in the tree are brilliant, Owen! so, tell me, did you dream of Tiddles, and if so, of what did you dream? lol
The summer seems so very far away, doesn't it? I have had a few lovley holidays in Brittany, and must return before too long!
Take Care x

The Panorama said...

What a nice post, Owen. Lovely pictures. Enjoyed reading and looking at the pictures:)

the watercats said...

some form of periwinkle I would guess?... as for shopping trolley in tree.. some christmas shopping squirrles.. went a bit far. We're always tempted just to load the trolley into the back of the van too...
Graffi'ing the tree painting has got to be done! :0)

louciao said...

"On the _nth day of Christmas
Our blog friend gave to we
A shopping cart
In a big tree"

Wonderful to see that you're catching the Christmas spirit!

Maryh K. said...

First of all, Thank you for becoming a member in one of my blogs. I feel honored, and I didn't dare to add my membership to your blog because of the symbolical figure of 333, but now that this number is over (what a success to you!), I can.
Secondly, I didn't know there were pine trees in Brittain (OUR Brittain ? MY French Brittain ? "Carandec" let me guess that it is.
Thirdly, I do love Brittain. I've some photo of me in an oak tree, taken 10 years ago in the Forêt de Brocéliande (you know : Merlin, Arthur, the fairies, and all the stuff), but I had left the beer in the car. Brittain Beer (Lancelot, Telen Du, and so on).
I can't add a photo to my comment but it would have been a pleasure for me to take the place of the shopping cart in a tree in your memories.
Maryh K.

Jill said...

Owen, I appreciate the way you have (once again) brought your story full-circle. Tying things together, making connections...It is both art and a form of seeking. (Owen's mental processes are always at work!)

StyleSpy said...

Your daughters sound delightful, and the drunken pranksters in your neighborhood much more inventive than the ones where I grew up. Festooning trees with shopping carts beats cow-tipping or snipe-hunting any time.

Nevine said...

Owen, I see your daughters have inherited your eye... what beautiful photos these are! But wait... did you notice what was inside the shopping cart? Some form of detergent or something like that. Hard to imagine what was going on in those minds... But yes, I think you should just got get yourself and paint a shopping cart on that tree - just to make it yours!

Nevine

TechnoBabe said...

How great to have little helpers with good eyes. They are correct, it is a surprise to see the shopping cart up in the tree. Good story and good pictures.

English Rider said...

Glad you got out of your chair? I am.

J said...

Obviously the French are more creative in disposing unwanted shopping trolleys than the British. Quite a feat of engineering!

Cynthia Pittmann said...

Your are not just a reporter, Owen, but a delightful storyteller! Love the daughter's involvement in your blogger's life and your bright spot of flowers.

@eloh said...

I love that your children are keeping an eye out.

I am always on the look out for strange "buggy" pictures.

Those flowers, I'm usually middle of the road with flowers. But THIS picture isn't just flowers. It belongs in your portfolio of all time greats. The play of sunlight and the dark undergrowth.. I could look at his picture for hours and come right back and do it again.

jeff said...

Une fois de plus, heureusement que je suis là Owen ! ! !
Un caddie si haut aurait dû te mettre la puce à l'oreiile ! ! ! En plus, pour un amoureux des chats et des chiens, la puce est un bien faible mot !
Owen, tout augmente, tout, et les prix avec ! Tu m'étonnes que ce caddie soit monté aussi haut ! Il en est de même pour le prix du pin... sorry... du pain !...
Mais c'est une bel arbre, bien de chez nous, chez moi... Mais que fait-il donc si loin, en bretagne ?...
Allez... bonsoir l'ami !
A bientôt...

henk van es said...

Hi Owen, I am very intriqued by that painting on the wall, first of all of course because of the tree in it that mirrors the tree with the shopping cart, but mainly because you said that it was some individual (and not a firm or company) who had this painting done. That must be someone with a very imaginative mind and the ambition to spend a lot of work in doing this job. Any idea about who, why, when?

The Pliers said...

I find it most touching that your daughters were looking out for you with your blog in mind and were ready to drag you to something that they knew, deep down in their hearts, that you would genuinely appreciate, marvel over, and include in your blog! Those are two great girls!

The flowers are very unique and that's coming from someone who knows tree, grass, bush, astro-turf...

The mural is exquisite. I can give The Mission murals in SF a run for their money any day!

Amitiés,

Roxana said...

so lovely and funny!!!
but you should never apologize for posting flowers, their beauty is pure joy :-)

(Owen, dear Owen, thank you again and again for being the true friend that you are)

ρομπερτ said...

can't decide what's better, the photography or the writing. one can only be glad to be invited to know your site.
please have a wonderful thursday.

The Sagittarian said...

Ah I was wondering where that cart got to...Big Sis and I were out carolling and after a few eggnogs were given a lift home in the cart by some dodgey guy in a red suit...yodeling merrily on high!

French Fancy said...

Yes, grey does sum up what August was like here - what else is there to do but stick a trolley up a tree?

Cildemer said...

I was wondering if we can now use the idiom: " it's raining carts and dogs"?

Cildemer said...

Oh I forgot! The photo of the beautiful "solanum rantonetti" is superb!
And Yes! Someone must go and paint a cart on the tree of the mural.
Maybe we could club together and pay someone!

Deborah said...

I had a good laugh at your inclination to paint a cart into the mural. This whole thing reminded me of a visit to Apricale, just across the border from Nice, where a bicycle was spotted, afixed to the church steeple in uphill mode. But the enduinrg mystery of the single shoe in the middle of a highway still gets me. I see them everywhere....

louciao said...

I begin to fear that Owen has been carted off.

Owen said...

Lynne, so true, so true, Owen has indeed been carted off to the horrible land of endless work, where worker bees and workaholics abound, robot droid slaves who labor away into the wee weary hours of the morning to try to make ends meet and not get drowned...

This message was left by the ghost of his former self, who relays the hope that Owen will be back later Friday night to answer everyone's lovely comments here... so please check in later...

:-D

Catherine said...

someone just needs to tell or write the story of just how that trolley got up there!!

ladydi said...

Ah! You've taught them well, Owen. Couldn't help noticing that it looks like an Aldi shopping cart, where you insert the coin to release the cart, then get your coin back when you return it. What coin might one insert in France? Here it is a quarter.

Nevine said...

Owen, you are amazing. I just wanted to stop in and tell you that.

Nevine

Jessie said...

I worry about the trolley falling out of the tree onto someone's head. I think I worry too much. Those flowers are GORgeous by the way!

Owen said...

Dear Everybody, a hundred humble "sorry for taking so long to respond"s shall be written on my mental chalkboard... I work in a highly seasonal activity, and mid December is the worst time of year... things should calm back down again by Dec 28th ! Until then, please bear with me. Note, I did not say "bare" with me...
:-D

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Hey Daisy, many grateful "thank you"s... have a grateful day !

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Hi Priya, glad this took you through various stages of amusement... and if you like the flowers, you are welcome to gather a few, and put them in a vase on your table...
:-)

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Dear Pia Frog, that's just it, the camera serves to magnify details of our lives, like a microscope, lets us study things more carefully... thank you, you are too kind by far...
=^.^=

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Jimmy Sir, you wouldn't know anything about how the trolley got up there in the tree now would you ? Can you account for your whereabouts on the night of August 23rd ?
:-D

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.::Karine::.
Alors, c'est une bonne chose si tout cela te fait dérouiller un petit peu tes langues étrangères... tu me diras si tu as des questions, n'est-ce pas ? Tout ce que tu souhaites savoir...
A bientôt, et bizes...

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Steve, I was really wondering why I keep seeing shopping trolleys in strange places acting like they're not doing anything, but looking suspicious... now I know. Thanks, you just helped ratchet up my general level of paranoia a notch or two... I'm going to be looking over my shoulder more often now, especially when I hear things rolling in the dark...
:-)

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Hi Christine, you mean to say you don't switch to witty blog mode the instant you awake ? I thought all bloggers did that... So it was your kid's classmates that are responsible for this heinous affront to the dignity of both the pine tree and the shopping cart ? I'm calling Interpol. After I took these photos, the place was crawling with police looking for clues...

Owen said...

Hi Liz ! I always dream of Tiddles, I thought you had gathered that by now, which explains why I missed him, and you, so much there for a little while. But not to worry, making a living is important in this day and age... being a homeless blogger, or a homeless Tiger would not be much fun I guess... I'm not sure that many homeless shelters have wifi connections...

So, you go on vacation to Brittany from time to time ??? Pray tell... where have you been ? Will you be coming again anytime soon ?

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Dear Panorama, many thanks, like your post about Obama in Norway...

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Hey Cats, if you'd like to jump on the ferry in Cork and come over to Roscoff, I'll meet you at the ferry, then we can start some serious painting planning. Oh my goodness, could this be considered a conspiracy already to commit a crime ??? Dear Interpol, if you are reading this, don't worry, it is a joke, it is nothing but a joke, were it anything other than a joke, we wouldn't inform you !
Take care, Cats !

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Dear Lynne, it may be coming on Christmas, (I wish I had a river...) but those beer bottles are not presents, and they're all empty anyway, so you and Amanda will need to look elsewhere for more drinking matter; well, if you're both really that thirsty, you're welcome to drop by here for a drink Christmas Eve... then we can see abouth the tenth eleventh days of Christmas to sing about...

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Hi Maryh K., thanks so much for signing on to follow... although I'm not sure what the significance of 333 is ? Superstition ? We love to spend time in Brittany, and there are plenty of lovely pine trees around Carantec.(29, Finistère Nord) And there certainly are some good beers in Brittany, Mallozh-Ruz comes to mind... thanks for your very kind note here... à bientôt...

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Dear Jill, I have always liked things that go full circle, the circle game... And I guess having "mental processes that are always at work" is a step up from having mental processes that are out to lunch... But I do alot of that too...
:-D

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Dear Style Spy, I'm not sure any geographical region has a monopoly on ridiculous stunts pulled by bored teenagers... I know I sure pulled a few way back when... but I haven't heard of any cow tipping or snipe hunting in these parts... I'm not sure if there is a French equivalent, will have to ask around...
Cow tipping ??? ! Honestly, where do people come up with these myths ?!?

Owen said...

Hi Nevine ; in fact, they were empty beer bottles in the shopping cart, which explains the shopping cart in the tree... alcohol often inspires idiocy... Well, I'd love to think about painting a shopping cart on that wall, but it may actually be difficult to lean a ladder up against it at night without waking up the people in the bedroom there, it's not a very big house... so, maybe we'll let them sleep peacefully ?

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TechnoB, indeed, indeed, I have two excellent scouts out looking for oddities for me, and they are both extremely observant. (says the proud papa) And maybe the shopping cart was just pretending to be a squirrel for a day ?

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Dear English, I'm always glad to get out of chair and go discover something... Kurt Vonnegut
said "Invitations to travel are dancing lessons from God"... even if the distance is very short... glad you enjoyed this...

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J., getting the cart to actually stay in the tree, instead of falling back down on their (thick) heads was probably quite a task. I'm wondering how many attempts it took, or whether someone climbed the tree to help put it in a position where it wouldn't fall back down ? And why, what do they do with them in England ???

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Hi Cynthia, it's been a little while, I'm so hopeless at getting around to all the (infinite) blogs out there, but have not forgotten your place in the Caribbean... and how I would love to come spend a few months on an island while waiting for winter to pass... And thanks so much for your kind comment here !

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Dear @eloh(not), Ah, would love to see some of your "buggy" pix... sometimes they end up in the strangest of places ! To me they look like stray dogs that have been kicked out. And as I said to Priya above here, if you like these purple flowers, you are welcome to pick a big bunch for you kitchen...

Owen said...

Salut Jeff, et oui, tu as tout à fait raison, tout grimpe, les chariots, les prix, le pain poilane, les pins parasols, les sopalins, et même le pinard ! Merde ! Les gens qui décident les prix, n'ont-ils pas honte ! Que tout augmente ? Tout sauf nos salaires... Et merde encore ! Assez c'est assez... que tous les pins se mettent en greve, et plus vite que ça... Ah, tu crois que ce pin a échappé de la chaleur du sud pour courir se refugier en Brétagne ??? Et tu sais, il y a même un verbe que je connaissais pas, jusqu'ici, qui est "pinter"... cela se dit ça ??? Je n'ai jamais entendu qui que ce soit dire, ok, allons pinter quelques verres de tisane, par exemple... En tout cas, merci de m'avoir expliquer le mystère du caddie grimpant ! C'est pimpant !

A bientôt mon ami, désolé pour mon absence cette semaine, mais le boulot c'est impossible c'est jours-ci, et si je ne m'en occupe pas, je me ferai lyncher...
;-D

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Hi Henk ! The painting is on private house, and yeah, I didn't think about it when posting, but for sure, it is a case of outsider art I guess. If I can find anything out about who did it and why the next time I'm out that way, I'll be sure to let you know... Very best to you !

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Hi Pliers ! For sure, I consider myself one very incredibly lucky papa to have two such enthusiastic girls... they were actually racing each other back to the house as both wanted to be the first to tell me ! Well, you're just going to have to get yourself over to this hexagonal country to see the mural and the flowers and the tree for yourself... an easy train ride from Paris...

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Ah Roxana, if you wish it, then I shall promise never again to apologize for publishing flowers... :-) I only said that because someone commented a while back on some other flowers I'd posted that they weren't crazy about blogs that had excessive numbers of flower shots... but I like a few from time to time... but prefer them in the flesh, as it were... And you are so totally welcome, I feel wonderfully lucky to have stumbled on the Floating Bridge, out of all the myriad infinity of blogs out there, finding any blog that really resonates on every level with one's own aesthetic persuasions is just so incredibly unlikely, and yet... chance, serendipity, call it what you will, has led me to some simply fabulous blogs... like yours...

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Owen said...

Hi Robert the Greek, you are invited to come as many times as you like. In fact, today's special is for lifetime invitations. For the extremely reasonable price of just one smile, you can hafe a lifetime invitation to visit the Magic Lantern Show as many times as you like... how's that for a deal ?
:-)
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Dear Saj, I was sure you had something to do with it. Not for one second did I think otherwise ! You and Lynne better lay low for a while (well, that shouldn't be too hard !) as Interpol will probably be knocking on your doors soon ! And what?!? You don't like my red suit ? My red velvet suit !?! Jeez, what's there not to love about it ?
:-)

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Dear FF, well, bad weather and drinking are a poor combination, but living out in Brittany year round, I guess you are well aware of that by now... Amazing how folks drink out that way...

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Dear Cildemer, welcome ! You could use the expression "It's raining carts and dogs", but you would probably hear some very loud groans from anyone in the vicinity ! (come on, everyone, 1-2-3, loud GROAN !) But it rains all sorts of things in Brittany, it rains ropes, and halbards, and cats, and mostly huge amounts of H2O. Many thanks for dropping in here...

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Hi Deborah, would so love to see a picture of a bicycle going up a church steeple ! As for single shoes in the road, that is indeed a fine and mysterious phenomenon. I did a post about the subject a while back, quite a while back, if you can find it, with a photo of a shoe in the road, and link to another website about lost shoes on the roads in many places... which is here :

http://www.oneshoediaries.com/Welcome.html

Enjoy !

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Hi Catherine, well, I'm sure there are endless possibilities, about which it may be fun to speculate, given that we'll probably never know the truth. Unless by some strange twist of fate the author of the act sees this blog post some day, and comes forward...
:-D

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Hi Diane, I'm a lucky dad for sure ! Mostly people use plastic tokens to put in shopping carts, same size as a one euro coin... Supermarkets give away the tokens so people can leave them in their cars or purses or whatever and not worry about not having change...

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Dear Nevine, what can one say ? I don't feel amazing... just an ordinary joe leading an obscure life, yet hoping for my five minutes of fame through some odd connection that may or may not ever happen across the cyberdepths of the cybersphere. In the meanwhile, just enjoying the ride...

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Jessie, no, that is a very legitimate concern. I took considerably risks to my health and well being to bring you all these photos... just want everyone to know that... I'm hoping Nicolas Sarkozy is going to recognize me soon for bravery in the face of the risk of falling trolleys... but I'm not holding my breath !

Owen said...

Ooofff, hope I didn't miss anyone. What a wild and wondrous lot you all are ! So, what's next on the menu ????

babbler said...

How many slugs did it take to put the shopping cart in the tree?? Just two slugs! Stretched! They used a winch and slid, very slowly!

namaki said...

tree number One really looks Briton for me... I grew up in Brittany you see ...

Cildemer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Owen, Years ago on a walk in the woods with my father, near an old settlement along a rock wall, we saw a very old rusty horse shoe that had grown into the trunk of a tree... the tree had half enveloped it ... it gave us pause to consider the tree and the horseshoe... who put it there... when did they live... how long ago... what kind of horse... who piled the rocks...where did the people go...who made the shoe... on and on...

thanks for resurrecting that memory by way of the cart...
different time, different place... but connected just the same

Maryh K. said...

Hi Owen. I had not seen your answer earlier.
333 is not a superstition but the number had been noticed and written in a recent comment you received about this symbolical number of followers figure. I didn't want to disturb this "magical" number. But then I could because someone else did.
So, I'm happy to read you.
C U.

Cildemer said...

Thank you so much for your warm welcome and also for the photo of the pine tree which reminded me of my childhood and how I loved to climb up the pine trees surrounding the house where I spent the 13 first years of my life.
Thank you again.

Rain said...

I can't say I like the shopping cart art, but that tree is absolutely magnificent!!!
:)

Owen said...

Dear Mrs Slug,
So just two slugs to get that thing up there ??? Those are two very powerful slugs then... but as I'm beginning to appreciate, the species of gastropods has many hidden talents and strengths that I would have never guessed at previously... Thank you for yet another insight into their crafty and clever behavior !

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Hi Namaki... so which part of Brittany are you from ? It's a large region, with many beautiful hidden corners... We often go to the Morlaix area, where la Grenouille's mother lives...

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@ Comment Deleted, you had such potential, and now are bathed in mystery... what did you start to say, and then decide otherwise ??? Only the stars can say I guess...

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Gwen, that's lovely about the old settlement, stone walls and all, especially the horseshoe being enveloped by a tree... Funny you mention it, I found a sign that had been nailed to a tree long ago that was slowly being devoured by the tree... and included it in a post in these pages last May, which is here :

http://magiclanternshowen.blogspot.com/2009/05/tree-song-treason-tree-son-reason.html

And then an alert reader who saw the post referred me to a Flickr collection of other "Hungry Trees" where there over 150 other photos of trees getting even...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/cemeteryrodeo/1582902128/in/pool-hungrytrees/

Enjoy, and be careful around strange trees...

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Maryh, ahh, ok, well in any case, many thanks for signing up to follow... the more the merrier as they say !

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Cildemer, you are very welcome, and I'm glad this touched a source of memories for you...

Nathalie said...

I love the idea of your girls getting involved and being on the prowl for interesting stuff for you to feature on your blog. Isn't that sweet?

Of course the mural now also needs a shopping trolley up in the tree. Get the paint out, let's go!

Maryh K. said...

Hello Owen. Nothing special to say but I'm always so happy to read your answers.

I read your recent comment on the other post (toilets and other curiosities). Yes, it would be great, fantastic if we had a camera to bring up (??) the pictures, characters, situations and others we meet in our dreams. What extraordinary travels! And what an extraordinary imagination too!
Sometimes I wonder where the "true" real world is. Sometimes they cross each other and I find in my life things (even totally unexpected) I had dreamt of days or weeks before (I take some notes when it seems to me (even without particular external reason) obvious to do it). But it's another story.
C U. Thank for your warmness.

Liz said...

I forgot to comment earlier just to say how much I enjoyed this!