Every Leaf is a Flower…

the impression given when vines in the commune of Saint-Chinian develop autumn tints around a quintessential, pink, French farmhouse; a spectacle that’s been a regular event for some 25 centuries.

Languedoc wine was first harvested by the Phoenicians in the 6th century BC and along with Provence, has some of the oldest vineyards in France. From the 4th to the early 19th centuries, the Languedoc wine region had a reputation for producing high quality wine. Indeed, in Paris during the 14th century, the wines were prescribed in hospitals for their “healing powers”.

During the advent of the Industrial Age in the 19th century however, production shifted towards mass-produced cheap red wine to satisfy the growing work force and during both World Wars, wine from the Languedoc was standard issue for the French army. But its reputation continued to fall.

Today the Languedoc wine region is considered by many connoisseurs to be France’s “New World”. A wine region on the up, producing prime red wines with some rosés and whites thrown in for good measure. It has 12 AOCs, with the most famous being Corbières, Faugères, Minervois, and Saint-Chinian where the pink farmhouse resides.

Laguna de Fuente de Piedra

Rich with shadows, a walkway on Laguna de Fuente de Piedra, a wetland located in Málaga province of Spain. The shallow lagoon, covering an area of 13 square kilometres is fed by underwater springs that pass through mineral salt deposits, so the lagoon is saline.

For the ornithologically inclined, it hosts the largest colony on the Iberian Peninsula of the greater flamingo and is also an important nesting zone for gull-billed tern and slender billed gull, common shelduck, common goose, red-crested pochard, purple swamp hen and crane.

Also to be found are kites, storks, marsh harriers, ospreys, a good reason for the lagoon to be declared a Nature Reserve.

Liverpool Folk

“Liverpool One” shopping centre has taken over part of the city centre featuring remnants of old warehouses that served the south docks, and flattened sites that as kids, we used to call “the debris” – remnants of World War Two’s Blitz.

The people in the complex spaced out, together in one place, yet apart, even in pre-covid days, reminded me a little of those painted by the artist, L S Lowry.

Alive in the mid-20th century, he chose to paint scenes of life in the industrial areas of the North of England, landscapes of drab textile mills and factory chimneys. But most have now gone. Those that remain converted into apartments.

It got me wondering: if with so little of his industrial locations still standing, would Lowry with his distinctive style of painting scenes peopled with “matchstick men” human figures, have opted for more contemporary aspects of life?

Who knows?

Early Sunday Morning…

Mass is over for the village ladies. time for a catchup on local gossip before dropping into the conveniently located patisserie for a gâteau, macaron, tarte, molleux, or a mousse: heaven sent temptations for their just deserts. A scene echoed over most of France, this one is in Neuvic, aka Neuvic-sur-l’Isle in the Dordogne region.