Pauline Croze has a voice that comforts me; a little bit husky, a little bit of a lisp. She sings clearly and not too fast so I can sing along with her, following the lyrics to practise my French. The jazzy rhythm helps me remember the words; it’s also great for chair dancing. Sometimes I dance on my feet (when no one’s watching).
When I took the photo of this CD cover, an energy-efficient light bulb overhead made her skin too pale. I grabbed a piece of the red organza (see post from 22nd Feb), set the camera timer and held the fabric close to the light bulb. It’s given her a bit of a tan.
I recommend her album even if you don’t speak French.
The “English Bridge” at night: the bridge itself is partly visible if you click to enlarge the photo. The lamppost is on the bridge but the buildings are to its left.
The “English Bridge” in Cairo was also known by its French name, Pont des Anglais. A few decades later it was nicknamed Kobri Badi’a after Madame Badi’a who taught belly dancing in a cabaret near the bridge, and then in the 1950s it was known as Evacuation Bridge for the British who were being chased out of Egypt. Its Egyptian name is Kobri Al Gala’a, or El Gala’a. In the middle of the day, it opened to let the feluccas pass through. See my post of 7th January for a photo of graceful feluccas on the Nile.
Green. Where do I begin? I see it through every window; the yard and gardens are full of it. In my back yard, a fig tree laden with green figs overgrows a garden of zantedeschias and red valerian, both flowerless here, and lemon balm, a relative of mint. Two steps hide beneath the luxuriance but to descend you’d have to break the spider’s web stretched between the fig tree and the rose bush on the right (out of sight). I caught the web this afternoon with the western sun hitting its silken threads. The spider hides inside a rolled leaf thinking she’s invisible because we can’t see her face, but her legs are hanging from the leaf roll. You might have to zoom in.
I don’t have a bathroom cabinet, I have a shelf. Actually, half a shelf, since my other half has the other half. Here’s a photo of some of the items on my half. The red perfume bottle and its reflection became an obsession and I took about ten photos before settling on this one, then cropping it. Against advice, I used the flash for two reasons: without it, the camera told me with its little warning hand that I shake too much; with it, my shaking is forgiven, and even better, the bottle is animated and fiery.
No, these are not my shoes, they are my son’s. You can see my shoes in the photo of 21st February.
My son favours one particular style and buys them all from an American shoe store online. To my surprise he has never been disappointed with his purchase, and they always fit. There are five pairs in this photo and several more in the cupboard. He has different colours for different life themes. The pair with pink trim were purchased when he had a girlfriend with pink hair. But now that he’s no longer with her, he has adopted a more rugged look. He started at university this week, studying physics, and this morning he went out in a khaki shirt and the camouflage pattern boots.
I sometimes work in various people’s homes as a tutor, so I can’t show you those places. But most of the time I work at home. I run a household and I translate. At the table on the deck out the back I translate passages by hand, and then at the desk at the front of the house, I type it up. In the first stage, I need four items: a French novel, a French-English dictionary, a pad and a pen. When I’m working at the outside table, this is what it looks like:
Rodin’s Burghers of Calais (Les Bourgeois de Calais, Auguste Rodin, 1889) in the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of Australia here in Canberra is my absolute all-time favourite sculpture. For me, the burghers can make a bad day better. And a good day ticklish.
I sometimes come to the sculpture garden just to sit and write. Behind these gum trees there’s a lake and beneath them are bushes where blue fairy wrens jump and scrummage on the ground around the benches. Magic. I stop at Rodin’s burghers on every visit and think about the action and life he sculpted into inanimate rock. This is not ‘still life’ like most sculpture. I love that about the French.
I remember the moment I saw this verse in a calligrapher’s studio. Some friends were, at that period, busy making money, buying possessions and reading books about getting rich. The verse made complete sense and I bought a framed version immediately. Recently, a German calligrapher, a pen friend, asked me to send him a handwritten verse, so I picked this one to write out for him. Here’s my practice version of what I sent: