Compliments Of The Chef

Today’s post is a bit like a party platter appetizer that you might order at your favorite restaurant. Picture a large platter laid out with all the yummy things you selected when you placed your order. Perhaps you’ve been thinking about this sampler of snacks for a few days because you’ve been to this restaurant before and you know the chef always tries to whip up new and unusual things to delight the palate. At this little eatery, the chef likes to send out new bite size bits of goodness that she’s been working on in the kitchen where she stays busy thinking about all the creations she’d like to whip up to tempt the regular visitors who keep coming back for a bit of sustenance. So for today, in addition to those of you who placed an order, you may get a little something extra, compliments of the chef.

Compliments must be paid to those who placed their order a few days ago and provided the chef with the key ingredients needed to complete today’s meal. If you read my previous post, the chef had too many good things lying around the kitchen and was overwhelmed to the point of inertia with all the combinations that were possible. Carolyn was kind enough to offer some direction as well as much appreciated words of support. Jean echoed some of Carolyn’s kind comments and offered some additional direction and Riley in typical Riley fashion, was brief and to the point. Just this morning… Kim, a later arrival added a bit to the mix of suggestions and helped as well in guiding the direction of the story. I so appreciate all of their thoughts and hope todays post will be pleasing in both flavor and presentation.

Bon Appetit!

 

The Ring

The Ring

The Ring

Towards our last day in Paris, John and I were walking near the Seine enjoying the last of our honeymoon while trying to get to the Orsay which is housed in a former railway station and one of my very favorite museums in the world. It’s small enough to enjoy without feeling lost or overwhelmed, but large enough to contain a variety of artists that I always like to revisit. Having talked about my desire to share the Orsay with John for the whole of our Paris experience, I was beginning to be concerned that we would run out of time so I was really excited when after a hearty breakfast and several cups of strong black coffee, we began to make or way in the direction of the Orsay. I’m sure we had a bit of a tourist look about us, pausing to photograph more than a local might on a bright morning during the work week. Having traveled a great deal, I think we would both say we are pretty street smart. It was not our “smarts” though that saved us that morning, but rather a sense of doing the right thing. We were targeted for a common scam in Paris when we were approached by a plumpish woman with a gold ring in her hand. She claimed she had found it on the ground and said we should take it for luck. We said no thank you that it wasn’t ours and walked away thinking that what looked like a large gold wedding band for a man was a good find for her and sad loss for someone else. Walking on we hadn’t gone far when we were approached while taking pictures on the bridge pictured below by a second woman with another gold ring. She was a younger version of the other woman dressed as the previous one in a large orange sweatshirt. We had a good laugh as we shook our head and walked away not even bothering to pause for her story of the found ring.
The picture of the man on the bridge was taken from a good distance away. Even though I travel with a small camera, my Canon Powershot G9 is pretty good at picking up the details with the telephoto feature. When returned home to Cornwall, I found pages of sites on the internet that refer to the Paris gold ring scam including a site here that actually shows the very bridge and the back of a woman in orange that looks like one of the women who approached us. I forgot to mention that the gold ring is actually brass despite the gold stamp inside and in return for accepting this valuable “found” item the person offering it to you will expect a bit of money in return which I read seemed on average to be about 10 euros. It was funny to see just how long this has been going on and makes you wonder how many people were surprised to find they’d brought home a souvenir brass ring from their Paris vacation.

 

Woman With The Ring

Woman With The Ring

 

 

The Door Knob

The Door Knob

The Door Knob

Paris is a place where if you walk a lot and need to find a bathroom or as some here England might say a loo, then chances are you may find you’ll have to pay to use the facility. On the day that John and I made our way to the Louvre, I stopped at a place tucked off to the left in the picture below that had a bathroom worth paying for.

dscn0162

 

After handing over the equivalent of about 50 cents, I walked down several steps to a long hallway and into a space that seemed as if it had been a bridge underpass at one time before being converted into a tidy restroom with 8 to 10 floor to ceiling enclosures that were tight little boxes of privacy each containing a clean toilet. Always one to appreciate privacy in such situations, I chose a door almost as far as I could get from the front entrance. The place was empty at the time I was there except for one person I heard in a stall a few feet away. When I closed the door to the one I selected, I noticed that the twist knob was a bit hard to turn, but never one to give up easily, I assumed it was just a bit tight and gave it an extra hard twist and it locked without any further issue.  Afterwards, when I twisted the knob to leave, I had a little surprise. My doorknob appeared to be stuck. I tried a variety of ways to get it to turn, but it would not budge. With the male attendant way down a hall and outside the door of the Ladies room, I was forced to bang on the door and shout in order to draw enough attention to bring the attendant down to free me. Let’s just say it took longer than should have for a woman making as much noise as I was. By the time he arrived, I was totally alone in the bathroom. Poor John had been standing outside freezing, wondering what was taking so long and oddly enough afterwards didn’t seem to think it that strange that I’d been trapped in the loo. The day after this we went back by again and I stopped for a quick toilet break and discovered on my return that I had unknowing chosen a lock the day before that was broken. You can see by the two photographs, what the lock should look like versus the broken lock that I thought was just a futuristic shape. 

 

A Working Lock

A Working Lock

 

The man who freed me from the locked loo never said a word…he didn’t even make eye contact and when I went back the next day he wasn’t there nor was there even a sign on the door saying broken lock…don’t use.  

 

 

The Cat

The Cat

 

The Cat

I tend to spend a good deal of time walking around in cemeteries especially when I travel. It’s not for everybody, but I love to take my camera and spend hours watching and photographing the light changes that shift across the stone tributes to the dead. A vacation almost always includes a visit to a local cemetery and I’ve been fortunate to be able visit a variety of locations and capture some of the unique styles of cemetery art that exist around the world. Sometimes these visits offer something new or an unexpected experience that adds to the events of the day. One of the most unusual was when I had to resort to bribery with a gatekeeper in Peru to get a good look at a locked cemetery where I photographed some of my favorite gravestone images like the one below.

brn-cross

During my visit to Pere Lachaise where I had gone to leave my wedding bouquet with Abelard and Heloise, I came across something I’d never seen among the gravestones before. The yellow tabby cat you see in the pictures below appeared to be living there. When I first approached her with my camera she was rolling around on top of a crypt and as I got closer she popped up and came toward me with such speed she startled me a bit. I later witnessed her enjoying a snack three graves over from Jim Morrison’s tiny and disappointingly ordinary grave and I decided she had rushed to meet me because she expected food.

img_5696

In fact when I reach out empty handed to touch her, she quickly bit my hand, but got only a mouthful of leather glove. From the looks of the space around Morrison’s grave it appears he still has a steadfast groupie albeit a slightly fuzzier one than he was used to in life. His human fans still visit as well and leave behind mementos…it seems that these are the people who feed the cat.  So if you’re making the trek to Pere Lachaise, stop by Morrison’s grave and look for the orange tabby cat which surprisingly resembles the most well known American tabby, Morris the cat. Funny isn’t it ..the similarity between the names Morris and Morrison…hmmmm.

Jim Morrison's Grave

Jim Morrison's Grave

 

 

img_5692

Morris The Cat?

 

Help!

Help!

Help!

 

John and I were walking along the Seine on day two of our honeymoon when we began to hear the sounds of police and other emergency vehicles getting closer and closer. As we walked on we saw police along the river who were actually stopping some cars and motorbikes that appeared headed in the direction of the sirens. Suddenly we were close enough to see a couple of what seemed to be bundles in the water being carried by the current and a large commercial barge loaded with tourists who all appeared to be photographing some event a bit out of our viewing range.

img_5839

Walking on we quickly came upon what was clearly a water rescue as you can see by a few of the photo’s I snapped. I held my breath as I watched medical personal work on what seemed to be a drowning victim. After a few minutes, they backed away from the prone man and began to strip his wet clothes off right where he lay on the stone walk by the river’s edge. They wrapped him in a shiny blanket designed to maximize body heat and after watching for a few more minutes we walked on assured that the man was alive and breathing. I tried to find more of the rescue online when we returned home, but was unable to discover if the man survived.

img_5861

 

A Favorite Place

 

A Favorite Moment

A Favorite Moment

 

 

img_58981

 

img_60601

 

A Gift For Abelard & Heloise

img_57101

Carolyn guessed correctly that I was taking my bouquet to Père Lachaise cemetery, the burial place of many people famous in their day and in their death. Many know that Jim Morrison of The Doors fame is buried there, but some may not know that Moliere, Chopin, Oscar Wilde, Isadora Duncan, Edith Piaf, Camille Pissaro, Richard Wright and Gertrude Stein and her partner Alice B. Toklas rest there as well along with too many others to name here.  While many of these grave sites would have been a good place to leave my flowers, I had a different location in mind.

As you can see from the title, I took my bouquet to the shared grave of the famous lovers, Abelard & Heloise who while separated by horrible circumstances in life, now lie together in death. I’ll leave you to read the stories that tell the tale of love, separation, and the loss that accompanies their doomed love affair. Much has been written and I’ve long been interested in the letters they left behind in The Letters of Abelard and Heloise (Penguin Classics). I’ve owned a copy for longer than I can remember and still take it off the shelf from time to time to reread parts of it.

They were secretly wed in real life and I thought it a sweet gesture to leave my wedding bouquet where modern day lovers or those who are loveless have left their own letters for years. If you know the story of Abelard & Heloise, it may seem odd to leave a happy token of our special day in a place where one might see only the sorrow of lovers separated in life, but I tossed my flowers over the iron fence that surrounds their grave for Heloise who never wished to be the bride of Abelard (because of her love for him and her fear of the consequences) or of Christ, but seemingly followed the wishes of the man she loved to the end of her days. It’s a romantic gesture of hope for lovers who wish for deep and abiding love.  

My images are not quite as I would have wished…the grave site had scaffolding around it as repairs were being made to to the aging monument and it was difficult to get a clear shot without the barriers.

dscn0113

Two Heads Side By Side On Pillows Of Stone

dscn0118

dscn0115

 

Angling For A Good Landing Spot

Angling For A Good Landing Spot

My Overhanded Toss Of The Bouquet Captured By John

My Overhanded Toss Of The Bouquet Captured By John

Perfect Landing!

Perfect Landing!

 

Abelard & Heloise

A Gift For Abelard & Heloise