Posts tagged with ‘France’

Belated France follow-up, French civic geekery edition

I know I’ve been back for a while now, but there was one thing I’ve been meaning to blog about. The place we were staying was only a village, really, but in the best French manner it had a town square with a handsome town hall, in front of which was an obelisk-shaped monument that […]

Provençal wildlife roundup

It was really a bit late in the year for the best of the wildlife; many of the classic Mediterranean birds — bee-eaters and what have you — were probably already in Africa, and there weren’t many flowers around. Although the oleander everywhere still looked spectacular. Not that it was a complete bust on the bird front. It was […]

Un prophète

I went to see Un prophète today, which is, as you can see below, un film de Jacques Audiard. Though obviously I saw the subtitled version. It’s a gangster/prison drama about a young French Arab, played by Tahar Rahim, who arrives in prison at the start of the film and is immediately approached by a […]

Ladies, stags and owls

Last week — last Thursday, I think? — I was walking along the road and saw a butterfly go past which I thought was maybe a Painted Lady. Not actually my first of the year, because I’d only recently returned from Provence where I saw *thousands* of ’em, but still quite pleasing because they’re a migrant […]

Good bird days

I’ve had a couple of good days of birding. Yesterday we had a walk in some dry scrubby brush – cistus (ie rock rose), wild lavender, broom and flowers like wild gladiolus, orchids and so on. There were nightingales and woodlarks singing, and I also saw Dartford warbler, woodchat shrike, black kite and possibly most […]

Exciting wildlife update

The wildlife picked up a bit today: some very camouflaged geckos on the walls of the house (I’ll post a pic when I get back to England), a raven flying over, bee-eaters heard but not seen. And the treecreepers nesting in the roof, which I think I mentioned on Twitter but not here, turned out […]

Holiday update

I’m still in France; no hot news on the bird front or indeed any other front, but it’s all very pleasant. Some kind of lizard orchid. Not the prettiest orchid I’ve found, but maybe the coolest. There’s a gecko behind the sofa on the other side of the room.

Holiday

I am in France, in a villa (or at least C17th farmhouse) in the hills behind the Côte d’Azur. Cork oak, cypresses, asphodel, thyme, broom, lavender, poppies etc etc. Scarce swallowtail butterflies, Sardinian warbler. I’ll post some pics tomorrow. If I feel like it.

‘From Russia’ at the Royal Academy

This is a seriously impressive exhibition. The full title is ‘From Russia: French and Russian Master Paintings 1870-1925 from Moscow and St Petersburg‘. It starts with a little room of Russian paintings from the start of that period; then you get a whole load of French paintings that were collected by two Russian art collectors, […]

More ethnic food slurs

I was watching Antiques Roadshow at the weekend and some chap brought in an C18th* English silver sauce boat. The expert got excited because it was a rare early example; apparently before that point English food rarely had sauces but it was about then that some people started employing French cooks. So far, reasonable enough […]

Colonial troops in WWII

I found this article in the Independent interesting. There’s a film coming out in France called Indigènes about “the 300,000 Arab and north African soldiers who helped to liberate France in 1944.” Apparently about half the French army in 1944 was African or Arab. The director and producer, both French of North African descent, “hope […]

Today’s big question

What did Materazzi say to Zidane to provoke such a violent reation? EDIT: I’ve had a bit of a spike in traffic because this blog is the top-ranked result on Google for “what did materazzi say to zidane.” Welcome to my blog, but I’m afraid I don’t know the answer. I’ve seen people confidently claim […]

Semi-finals

Well, a proper good Germany/Italy game, and a pretty dismal France/Portugal one. I’m still hoping to see Zidane take the final by the scruff of the neck and win it gloriously for France, but at this point I’d be happy just to see an attacking game with a few goals.

Intellectuals, science, and the English Channel

Something Todd Swift said pointed me to an article in the Guardian about the lack of public intellectuals in Britain, written by Agnès Poirier, a French journalist working in London. It’s worth reading just for the culture-clash exhibited in the comments. I noticed that the unspoken assumption, from both sides of the argument, was inevitably […]

Sir Shigeru

Shigeru Miyamoto has been made Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. Damn straight. If the man who invented Mario and Zelda doesn’t deserve a knighthood, who does? That doesn’t make it any less annoying that the release date of The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess has now been […]

I’m back.

I’ve come back from Perigord to the grim news from New Orleans. I don’t really have anything to say about that, for the moment. I did manage to listen to the cricket on Radio4 LW via a buzzy little radio. I ended up having to hold it out of an upstairs window and nearly had […]