Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Seen Better Days . . .

.
.
.
As you know by now, during the last six months which lasted from mid October to early November of this year, France went through a major crisis, and as a result decided to change the government, consequently the former prime minister has become the new prime minister, and the old president is now the new president again. We can all rest assured that there will simply be more of the same for the next six months until Christmas, at least.
.
One aspect of this latest crisis, which was crisis number 2742-2010 (the 2742nd crisis of 2010 here, there having been at least 1375 crises linked to the French national football, errr, soccer team earlier this year) was that a relatively small group of people who feel that the retirement age should be advanced to age 47, and who were upset that the old government (nothing to do with the new government) had pushed through a reform which would change the retirement age from 60 to 62, decided to hold the entire country hostage, which is what usually happens during every third or fourth crisis here, and shut down all the gasoline refineries, and blocade all gasoline depots such that no gasoline was available in gasoline stations.
.
The end result was that for ordinary citizens who needed to drive to work, it became very quickly impossible to do so. This is normal. This is called "putting pressure on the government". But the new government has put that behind them. For small business people who needed to use their vehicles to make deliveries or go work at customers locations, many of them simply had to go out of business, and become retired early. This was part of what the protesters who wanted earlier retirements intended to achieve. They succeeded.
.
For many others, who ran out of gasoline while trying to make one last futile search for the precious liquid at early hours in the morning, they simply had to abandon their cars by the roadside and walk back home. Many such cars were then torched by protesters. That is normal, burning cars has become the French national sport. They are very good at it. If I told you the number of cars burned in France last year, you wouldn't believe me. So I won't. But just imagine a very large number.
.
The next few photographs were what could be seen along any French roadside over the past few weeks. This is normal. The new government says they are going to clean up the mess caused by the old government. I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.


.
.
.

.
.

.

.
.
.


.
.
.
.

49 comments:

Owen said...

Arnaud, si tu sais ce que c'est, je serais content d'apprendre...

Laurie said...

Great car, Owen - a very moody shot. Are you doing anything different with your processing?
Laurie

...louciao... said...

T'es b'en drôle, cher BrOwen.

Why is the first photo of a sepia sort of hue as compared to those that follow? I do like it best. No wait, the second one's my favourite...or..or

What a find! You must have been in toad heaven, snapping away.

Steve said...

Clean up? Those cars should be restored and put in a museum or sold to collectors - they'd be worth more than their weight in gasoline, surely!

Lydia said...

I so enjoyed your commentary on the situation there, Owen. It gave me a better feel for what you all have endured than anything else I have read.
The car is a dream. I love it. In the second shot it looks like it is whispering "All aboard?...Does anyone still want a ride in me?" Awwww, :(

mythopolis said...

Sometimes life seems so at cross-purposes with itself everywhere you look!

the fly in the web said...

Thank you, Owen...that commentary made me laugh like a drain...and the photographs reminded me of the lane behind the house we used to have, where foxes inhabited the broken down wrecks.

Dedene said...

You did a much better job explaining the gov'tal shakeup than Claire Chazal. Thanks!
Aren't you thrilled that the ISF will disappear? I know I am! HA HA!

Stickup Artist said...

Always interesting to hear news around the world from on the ground rather than the news media. Plus we get the advantage of these great photos! That old car in black and white being swallowed up by the surrounding landscape is not only a visual feast, but a story in itself. The patient rhythms of nature always makes the self-important rush of human efforts seem less urgent.

Springman said...

Speaking as a native Detroiter I "understand" France's proclivity towards arson as a form of free speech. Though I think, perhaps, this car maybe left over from a Charles de Gaulle era crisis judging by the fact that there are no seatbelts.

Deborah said...

Owen, that made me laugh - very cleverly done, bravo!
Just what is it about torched cars that's so appealing? I took a friend to the train station in Le Muy (Var) about a year ago to catch a TGV to Paris and there was, smack in the middle of the public parking lot, a torched car. Not an old one, either. Well, many months later when I went back to fetch same friend for another visit, it was. still. there.
As for Nicolas Sarkozy (always makes me laugh how the French never use anything but both names when refering to their notables) I have to give the guy credit for having some spine, and if being somewhat less inclusive for the remainder of his term means that he'll be able to do some more reforming, then all to the good. Frankly, I found the whole anti-pension revolt amazing and amusing (not being one who was short of gasoil ) when they continued to demonstrate even after the thing had been passed by the Senate. Gives new meaning to 'futility'.

James said...

I think The Who sums it up best "Meet the New Boss. Same as the Old Boss" These photos are amazing! I think I wold need to sit down and catch my breath if I spotted a scene like this.

Elisa said...

I like your photos very much. They sure have something to tell.. Have a nice day Owen :)

The Sagittarian said...

Looks like it's been a long time between trips to the petrol station for that car!!

ρομπερτ said...

You surely are able to put your fingers to the pulse of nowadays time and life; surely demanding a lot of time, yet way too alluring to being fixed again.

A peaceful and good Thursday for you.

daily athens

lgsquirrel said...

I don't know Owen. My CSI skills (from watching CSI on TV) and my Squirrel-sense (similar to Spiderman's tingling sense but better) detects something wrong. I suspect this car was trashed in a much earlier French crisis.

Owen said...

LGS,
You may be right, but there have been so many crises here over the years, it gets hard to tell apart the detritus from one crisis to another. Probably years of work for archeologists in a few millenia to sift through and classify each crisis and its associated debris. But you are right, these photos actually pre-date the current crisis. That is not to say that there wasn't any debris from this latest round of madness, there was plenty...

Catherine said...

Bonsoir Owen,
Tu penses bien que je ne vais pas laché....la retaite à 47 ans !!! Il me reste 2 ans à tirer, et tu voudrais que je lache mes acquis non acquis ?

Tu as vu toi aussi comme nous savons noyer les crises en créant de nouvelles crises, c'est l'effet boule de neige. A la fin, on ne sait plus contre qui ou quoi râler.

Les média montent les oeufs en neige pour le soufflé du remaniement, on nous apporte le prétentieux soufflé sur la table à l'heure de grande écoute, et plofff ! Tout s'effondre comme une vulgaire omelette. On ne peut même pas se donner la joie de faire flamber le soufflé, on n'a plus de matière inflammable...

D'ailleurs, où donc, les flambeurs de bagnoles ont-ils trouvé de l'essence ? Hein ? Je te demande un peu......

Je sais, nous sommes ingouvernables.

Owen said...

Hi Laurie,
These shots are from a batch of negatives which I just got back, scanned to digital files, and with these I did no post processing at all, these are straight from the negatives. I didn't have time to do more, although I think they'd probably look good in grainy sepia, like the cat pix in previous post... these were shot on Kodak Tri-X 400, back around 1991... so any insinuation that this car was from the latest crisis may have been slightly exagerrated, like reports of Mark Twain's death, years ago...
:-)

Owen said...

Hi Sis,
Really didn't do any work on these, they are pretty much straight from the negatives, although looking again, the first one is slightly different, I may have inadvertantly bumped the "hue" slider on the Canon software while re-sizing these to blog size... but nothing intentional... And of course, this kind of subject matter is quite thrilling for a Mr Toad like me. In fact, now that I think of it, this very well could have been Mr Toad's automobile that we saw in the Wind In the Willows... what do you think ???

Owen said...

Steve, well, this one would be one heck of a restoration job... but if I had the wherewithal and the space, you can bet I would have brought it home with me. It was photographed in France, but before I was living here, so I might have had trouble dragging it back to the US with me... Maybe I'll have to go look to see I it is still where I found it all those years ago ? Probably just a small pile of rust now...

Owen said...

Hi Lydia,
Indeed, these last few weeks have been sort of crazy here, it was very unsettling indeed to see the entire country running out of gasoline, due to the actions of a small group of disgruntled people. There were nights when I could find no gasoline for sale anywhere, all the stations in my area were empty...

I imagine they would be well and truly happy if the entire retirement system goes bankrupt, if no changes are made. And then the government changed unexpectedly... but didn't really change, just a minister or two got switched.

Strange times we live in, and I fear they will be getting stranger...

Owen said...

Myth, you can say that again ! So much at cross purposes that I'm starting to get cross eyed !!!

Better go have my eyes examined !

Owen said...

Hi Fly,
And in turn I thank you, as I had never heard the expression "laugh like a drain" before... I suppose due to the gurgling sound that drains can make sometimes ??? Otherwise I couldn't see much about drains to compare to laughing...

Otherwise, I'm most intrigued by what you said about a lane where foxes live in the wrecks there...

If I'm not asking too much, could you possibly send me an e-mail to :

owenmart333 at gmail dot com

with the name of the lane and community, so I can find it on Google Maps ? I've often been known to travel for the express purpose of tracking such treasures down, to photograph them before they disappear entirely. But if you'd prefer to keep the place secret, I'd understand too...

K'line Bloom said...

Du "Owen pur jus", j'aime beaucoup :)
Et quelle chute !
Je ne reviendrai pas sur le contexte et les dérives,
le centre de Lyon fermé plusieurs jours de suite après les émeutes, sous la surveillance incessante d'un hélicoptère...un vrai bonheur...

Owen said...

Dedene !
Ah, you kill me... yes, I'm so thrilled that the ISF (for those of you not familiar with the finer points of French taxation, ISF stands for "impot sur la fortune", and was a tax that extremely wealthy people had to pay on their extreme wealth) is getting repealed. You know I really hated to pay all those millions in taxes every year, it was so boring having to sign those checks. So now I can just roll up my ISF budget and smoke it like cigars...
:-)

Owen said...

Dear Stickup,
For sure, we need to place less importance on the rush of humans, and look more closely at the nature around us... but you know that far better than most...

I do love how metal sculptures like this one get entwined in vines, and then finally get dragged back down into the earth. I would love, but dearly love, to do a time lapse series of exposures over, say, a 20 or 30 year period with a car like this, and see it disappearing over the years... that would be fun... may have to try. Hmm, do you think la Grenouille would mind if I brought one of these home for our yard ?

Owen said...

Springman,
You may be right, could be de Gaulle era or earlier... This may even be a relic from one of Charlemagne's campaigns against the Visigoths for all I know... My exagerrated reporting of the present crisis was for allegorical purposes only... and the allegatorial editors let it slip right through with no fact checking... disgraceful lapses ! I'll try to do better next time...
:-)

Owen said...

Hi Deborah, indeed, futility being the key word. It seemed amazing to me too. France is surrounded by countries where the retirement age is 65 or even 67 in one or two, and even with the very real risk of a bankrupt retirement system if no changes are made, there are those who would punish the entire country, the entire economy, with their shortsighted vision and reasoning. I for one am sick of being held hostage by the unions every time someone has their britches in a bind over some half-baked grievance. If they put as much energy into something productive, this economy could be awesome... But hey, that's the French exception... love it or leave it, eh ? Now, I'm back to my baguettes and cheese, where's that bottle of red ???
:-)

Owen said...

James,
Excellent memory there... meet the new boss...yep, the more it changes, the more it stays the same...

Loved your lovers in Pere Lachaise...

Owen said...

Hi Elisa,
Many stories to tell in old cars like this, and maybe even squirrels living in this one too, or perhaps a raccoon or two. Do you have raccoons in Finland ??? Maybe not... except in a zoo ?

Owen said...

Saj ! You got it. I think this is the one Sister Lynne rented the last time she was on vacation here. She drove it into the ground and walked away... to go looking for a cow to milk...
:-)

Owen said...

Mais K'line,
Tu es un peu hibou encore je crois... ou en tout cas un lève tôt ?

Bon, pour moi c'est bonne nuit, et pour toi c'est bonjour ? Bonne journée en tout cas, et bon weekend en plus ! Moi je trouve archi dommage ce qui c'est passé à Lyon. Ce ne donne pas très joli visage à tout ce mouvement. Ni ce qui s'est passé à Marseille...
:-)

Owen said...

Robert... merci mon ami... danke schon, some things don't need to be fixed, they are fine just the way they are... this is one...

Owen said...

Catherine,
Cela me fait très plaisir de te lire ! Je reviens regarder de plus près toute à l'heure, là, je tombe de sommeil, ayant travaillé toute la nuit...

Bisoux ! Sympa de te revoir... J'espère revoir The Five of Us rouvrir ses fenêtres...
:-)

Peter said...

Sounds as "FoxNews"! :-)

There is of course frustration behind these words, but with your sense of humour I believe you manage to survive these crises fairly well!

... and - between us immigrants -, we are happy to live in France after all, or...?

Through The Lens said...

beautiful pictures, trust you will survive with the french crises ;)

www.mycameraslens.blogspot.com

Karine A. said...

Heureusement qu'il reste les vieilles voitures pour rendre le sens de la poésie à notre Owen désabusé par les faits de politique Française.

C'est pas brillant ailleurs non plus tu sais....

Owen said...

Catherine,
Bonsoir, voilà, ça va mieux après un peu de sommeil...

Il y a tant de remarques que j'adore dans ton commentaire, je ne sais pas par où commencer...

Et oui, un soufflé ésoufflé au bord de la route, crevé, haletant, craignant de devenir une vulgaire omelette... ah, la pauvre omelette ! J'aime bien des omelettes d'ailleurs, mais bon, peu importe...

Faudrait pas croire que je rale contre les français, mais tu as plus que raison en disant "nous sommes ingouvernables"... Bon, que faire ? On est tellement tolérant, que nous tolerons quasiment n'importe quoi, ce qui encourage les semeurs d'anarchie et flambeurs de voitures. Et oui, où ils ont trouvé de l'essence pour faire flamber encore de voitures? Je pense qu'ils ont des stocks qu'ils gardent bien au secret, pret à sortir à la moindre excuse... a suivre...
Bon weekend à toi !

Owen said...

Hi Peter, of course we are happy to inhabit la belle France, but who wouldn't be a bit frustrated at what we just witnessed again for the umpteenth time... no trains, no flights, no gas. Oh, I guess an ardent CGT memeber wouldn't be frustrated... but perhaps will be frustrated when he is retired and gets no more retiremnet check because the economy will have imploded due to all this mess...

Onward through the fog. Loved your piece about St Merri Church, where I got married...

Owen said...

Through the Lens,
Thanks so much for stopping by here, unless my memory is failing due to stress caused by all these crises, I think this is a first visit or comment, a pleasure to meet you, do stop by any time...

And yes, am a survivor... up to present point in time anyway... it will take a few more of these crises to do me in...
:-)

Owen said...

Bonjour Karine !
Indeed, indeed, happily there are still some old cars around, heureusement il nous reste des vieilles carcasses de bagnoles... et oui, en parlant de pas brillant ailleurs, en fait, cette voiture ici, dans une mallette dans le coffre, une mallette en cuir à moitié mangé par le moisi et des vers, il y avait quelques vieilles lettres, en lisant lesquelles j'ai pu déviner que cette voiture était utilisée par un certain S. Burlesqueonia en 1955 quand il est parti en vitesse d'Italie avec une fille qui n'avait que 16 ans, ils sont partis avec les parents de la fille à leur trousses, ils ont dû se refugier en France dans l'Auvergne en attendant que l'orage passe chez eux... malheureusement la voiture est tombé en panne au bord de la route, et ils n'avaient pas les moyens de la faire réparer, donc ils l'ont abandonnée, et sont rentrés en faisant du stop en Italie, après quelques nuits dans une grange auvergnate .... fascinant, non ???
:-)
Et bien sûr les poètes n'inventent jamais rien !
:-)

...louciao... said...

Car that I rented last time I was in France? Harrumph! I may be considerably older than my sibs but that doesn't make me Methuselah's grandmother! Last time I let you in my dream with Angelina!

Owen said...

Dearest Chowloo, err, Louciao :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfQ1d982A2A&feature=related

Nathalie said...

Le gouvernement est mort, vive le gouvernement!
Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Bravo quand même aux manifestants qui ont en effet permis à quelques très petites entreprises ou artisans de prendre une retraite anticipée. Il faut savoir s'entraider contre le grand capital.

J'adore tes photos. Ta nouvelle voiture va très bien avec ta nouvelle maison ! (enfin l'une de tes nombreuses maisons de rêve...)

Roxana said...

and i've just seen the perfect romanian dream car the other day, yet i didn't have the camera with me :-(


(i know, i shouldn't torture you with such visions and then withdraw them :-)

Owen said...

Hi Nathalie,
Tu as tout à fait raison ! Cela s'appelle un travail d'équipe, sur le niveau national !

Bon, la vie continue... on va essayer d'affronter l'hiver. Bon courage !
:-)

Owen said...

Roxana !
That's not nice ! Nope, not nice at all ! First of all, you should always, always have your camera with you, and second of all, now I'm definitely going to have to come to Romania to look for myself, if there are some dream cars to be seen. Are there any dream houses too ? Maybe even a dream factory or two ???

Well, maybe that was nice finally... and maybe you will just have to go back to where the dream car was sleeping, with your camera this time ? And maybe I will have to come visit Romania. But maybe in the summertime...
:-)
:-)

Elisa said...

Hi Owen, we don't have raccoons here in Finland. Our winter might be too heavy for them.. I don't know exactly. I think that even in zoo, there are no raccoons.