Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Sketch from Monday afternoon

Back home

Taking time out with a sketch in the garden, trying to land properly after a monster 15 hour journey home. The rest of the family arrives Tuesday evening.

I wonder how many have been following my holiday on here, and whether I've scared off any of the people who come here just for the art.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Going home

Sunday, time to go home. I travel for 15 hours, from Dijon via Lyon, Zürich, and Copenhagen, to Århus.

København H

Late night train

I'm so tired I'm almost feeling high.


These entries are all under construction for several days, as I get my photos uploaded and find the time to add text and images, so expect changes when you return to old entries.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Saturday in Dijon

We wake up grumpy and scratching after a night of relentless mosquito attacks. Both girls and I have arms and legs peppered with red itching spots, and Soraya even has a couple of bites on her face. Maia's mosquito bites become red, swollen and hot - more like bee stings - and we go out to get her some Apis from the homeopathic apothecary.

Reza and I go for a walk around town and end up by the cathedral of Saint Bénigne, where we go in for a short look around the cool interior. The crypt is open to the public, but we're running late and settle for the upper church. On the way back we stop at the shop and get some provisions for the trip tomorrow. We've forgotten to order spelt bread, and Reza buys some flour to bake his own with in the evening.

After lunch Odile's parents come by to say hello, and I do a watercolour of her father.

Pépé

Cécile brings the children over, and everyone makes a fuss over Lily and her sunny smiles.

Family

The kids are staying the night, and we rearrange things to accomodate them. I join Lily for her afternoon nap - after the night's mosquito adventures I'm quite worn out.

These entries are all under construction for several days, as I get my photos uploaded and find the time to add text and images, so expect changes when you return to old entries.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Friday in Dijon

Tonight it's one week since we arrived in Rue Buffon, and in only 2 more days we'll be leaving. We've not been too lucky with the weather, so we haven't been out and about as much as we'd have liked, but it's been lovely visiting with our friends.

Today is the big market in Les Halles and we all set off to find mountain honey, salt-dusted dried sausages, fruity vinaigers and other French delicacies. Today the market is bustling with activity, a shark stares and gapes at us at the fishmonger's, there are spices and fresh organic vegetables, warm breads and cool cheeses, sausages and hams and patés to make your mouth water.

Les Halles, Dijon

Les Halles, Dijon

Les Halles, Dijon

Les Halles, Dijon

Les Halles, Dijon

We take a walk around town and pass by La Chouette, the little owl sculpture cut into the corner of an outer pillar on the Notre-Dame in Dijon. It's considered good luck to touch the little owl, and we've walked by every time we visited Dijon.

La Chouette

Afterwards we eat lunch at a café before returning to the house to prepare for the evening's grill - a selection of spits including seafood and vegetables, and some marinated lamb speckled with aromatic flowers from the South of France.

Brochettes

We spend the evening with the extended family and friends, moving back and forth between house and garden as the weather permits, and managing a nice grilled meal despite light showers. We make a late night of it.

Afternoon snack


These entries are all under construction for several days, as I get my photos uploaded and find the time to add text and images, so expect changes when you return to old entries.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Thursday in Dijon

Violent thunder showers in the morning - the Burgundy weather is very unpredictable. We dig out the long trousers and light sweaters, and go hunting for umbrellas around the house. Just as we're ready to go out, the rain quiets down a bit, and we end up walking throught the gleaming wet and almost deserted town with the umbrella unused by our side.

rain-wet street

Place de la Liberation

There is a small market in Les Halles, the market halls, today, but the place is almost empty - it is obvious there have been next to no customers all morning due to the heavy rain. A couple of butchers are open for business, and we manage to find rabbits for Reza's lapin á la moutarde which he is cooking tonight.

Les Halles

I buy green beans, parsley, chives and walnuts for my green bean salad, and pick up a small jar of capers at La Vie Claire on the way back - since the rabbit will be with mustard I'm going to replace that with capers in my salad recipe.

In the afternoon we get more rain and I draw the view from our bedroom window.
Window


These entries are all under construction for several days, as I get my photos uploaded and find the time to add text and images, so expect changes when you return to old entries.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Wednesday in Dijon

There's rain in the night. I lie awake listening to the downpour and to distant passing trains. Get up late and have a leisurely breakfast, then do very little for the rest of the morning.

Simba

In the afternoon we tour the shops - summer sales are at their last and reductions up to 70% on selected items. I confirm that French shoe sizes are exactly one size smaller than the Danish, which means they don't have my size in the sandals I want, tant pis. We visit a terrible den of temptation - a kitchenware store. A French kitchenware store, where I immediately want to buy about a quarter tonne of equipment and spend endless amounts of Euros.

STAUB

Being depressingly practical I end up getting one small cast-iron frying pan, something I've been unable to find at an affordable price in Denmark.

Place Francois Rude

Later we pick a café on the Place Francois Rude by the merry-go-round, and have drinks and a sketch. Reza and I have spent what amounts to hours in this square in the past, waiting on children to finish their rides.

Place Francois Rude

I do a watercolour of the merry-go-round, then top with a quick sketch of some café guests.

Place Francois Rude

The watercolour painting is still a rather frustrating experience, and it's nice to shake of the feeling of frustration with a quick sketch in a medium I master.

Café sketching in Dijon

Café sketching in Dijon

Segafredo


These entries are all under construction for several days, as I get my photos uploaded and find the time to add text and images, so expect changes when you return to old entries.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Tuesday in Dijon

It's market day today and we go to Les Halles, the market halls, and browse the stalls full of fresh produce from the farmers of the area, fruits from the South, cheeses from the Jura mountains, a wide selection of honeys, breads, meats, fish and seafood. I buy olive-wood spoons and forks from the same stall I got our old salad-set at 8 years ago. The man tells me to wash them only by hand, and give them a little oil from time to time - just like the last time I bought from him.

Place Wilson

In the afternoon Soraya and I go to Place Wilson with our books and sketchbooks. We find a bench in the shade where she reads while I do a watercolour of the fountain.

Place Wilson

After a while the fountain literally erupts and we're showered in a light rain - no wonder these seats were free!

Place Wilson

Place Wilson

We should have been warned by the puddles on the ground, but put them down to wind earlier. We hastily withdraw before the paper of book and paiting is soaked.

Tuesday

In the evening we cook a chicken curry with dal, using fresh produce bought at the market in the morning. The evening is even more balmy than last night, and we sit outside in the gathering darkness, which is where I'm writing this post.


These entries are all under construction for several days, as I get my photos uploaded and find the time to add text and images, so expect changes when you return to old entries.

Monday night - Pikelet and Jeremy Lewis at the "Deep Inside" rock bar

Concert with Pikelet (Australia) and Jeremy Lewis (USA) in the cellar of the bar Deep Inside in Dijon.

Concert sketches

Concert sketches

Concert sketches

Concert sketches

Concert sketches

Concert sketches

Ballpoint pen on the back of pieces of beer carton.


These entries are all under construction for several days, as I get my photos uploaded and find the time to add text and images, so expect changes when you return to old entries.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Monday in Dijon

Breakfast

Breakfast

Sketching on Place de la Liberation

Sketching on Place de la Liberation

Place de la Liberation

Play

Place de la Liberation

Place de la Liberation


These entries are all under construction for several days, as I get my photos uploaded and find the time to add text and images, so expect changes when you return to old entries.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Sunday visit to Flavigny

Sketching in Flavigny

Sketching in Flavigny

Sketch from Flavigny

It’s Sunday and our friends have the day off. Everybody sleeps in and we help each other put together a nice brunch – scrambled eggs, pan fried tomatoes with fresh basil, toasted bread, blueberry jam, soy-yoghurts with fruits, nut butters, cheeses, fruit juice and hot coffee. We eat in the garden, and then decide on a destination for today’s trip. We’re going to the medieval village of Flavigny, situated in the green mountains about 60 kilometres to the North-West of Dijon. The route is scenic and we pass through a number of well kept old villages with buildings dating back to early medieval times.
Flavigny itself is almost surreally picturesque, and there’s another perfect composition around every corner – I could have filled an entire sketchbook here in a day, but only have time for a sketch at one of the very few cafés before we drive back to Dijon. Most of our time is spent walking around the town. We make a visit to the small shop where they sell Les Anis de Flavigny, which have been made by the monks of the village since 1591. A small box of these traditional sugar drops to bring away with you is a must for any visitor.
The area where the village is situated has been inhabited since the stone-age, and Caesar made his camp and headquarters on this mountain during his campaigns in the region in 52 BC. In 719 the first abbey was founded, and the village has been a religious centre ever since. In the course of the 19th century several buildings were declared historical monuments, and in the 20th century the entire village became a protected site.
We leave our car outside the village – only the locals are allowed to bring their cars inside the town wall. After a visit to the small shop at the first corner, we stroll around the cobbled streets before walking along the fortifications of the East wall, where there are a number of very well kept houses with flourishing gardens. There are very few people about, and we see only one small shop with groceries and a few cafés. I spot a child’s bicycle in a garden, and a fairytale tree-house, so what with the well tended gardens the village is not completely deserted.
It’s a little chilly, but we get no rain and pass a nice day in this small pocket of time. The girls buy postcards and write holiday notes to their friends. Soraya finds a fantasy book in English and buys it for only 1€, which makes her very pleased. Driving back to Dijon everyone is in danger of nodding off, and once home I lie down for a few minutes before making a tea and uploading my pictures to Flickr. I don’t think I’ll manage a watercolour tonight. We’ll see.


These entries are all under construction for several days, as I get my photos uploaded and find the time to add text and images, so expect changes when you return to old entries.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Saturday in Dijon

We're back in Dijon for the first time after 8 years. As it turns out, the town hasn't changed much and we find our way around it with no trouble. The French have long working hours even on Saturday, and our friends are at their shop until 7 pm, with the usual midday break where we meet up for a lunch in the garden.

We take a walk around town to buy the ingredients for an Indian meal - fresh vegetables, red lentils, cashew nuts, rice, and what spices we can dig up. There's time for a break by the fountain on Place Francois Rude, and I sketch the view down the narrow medieval street, precariously perched on the rim of the fountain. Dijon is a wonderful town for sketching - there are so many details and views to capture the imagination, I could easily spend weeks here just filling up my sketchbooks. But for now I'm on a social visit, and have to make do with sneaking a little art in from time to time.

Vieux Moulin

For the evening meal we cook Indian vegetarian dishes, including my Aubergine and red lentil curry. We eat outside in the garden, and bring out candles as it gets dark. I do my entry in the watercolour journal by candlelight.

Garden meal

Hopefully the weather will keep dry tomorrow, and we can go on a short trip together around the area.

These entries are all under construction for several days, as I get my photos uploaded and find the time to add text and images, so expect changes when you return to old entries.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Friday moving on

I get up early and take a shower while Reza picks up our fresh bread. The sky is grey and a light summer rain is intermittently interrupted by violent showers. The girls are sleeping in, and we wake them up for a breakfast of fresh bread, cheeses, ham, marmalade and fruit. We pack up our things, take everything down to the parking lot in the basement, and stuff it in the car. It just fits, if barely. We’ve made arrangements to leave the car here until the afternoon, so we make a run for it between showers, pick up some stamps at the post office and catch the tramway to the centre. We’re looking for a café to spend the morning writing postcards and hanging out together, but the weather is making it impossible to walk far, so we pick the Brasserie Victor Hugo where I had my morning tea on the first day, just by la Place Carnot.

Café sketching

Cafe sketching

Brasserie Victor Hugo

We hang out for a couple of hours, writing postcards, sketching, and drinking coffee and sodas. We stick around for a typical brasserie lunch before taking the tramway back for the car.

The trip to Dijon takes a couple of hours on the péage, the toll road. It’s still raining, but not as heavily and the drive is easy. At Dijon we find our friends’ house where we last left it 8 years ago, not really believing it can possibly have been that long. It’s good to be back.

Friends

Friday night

These entries are all under construction for several days, as I get my photos uploaded and find the time to add text and images, so expect changes when you return to old entries.