Home | Links | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Videos | Oxted Paris Cycle Ride | Scarlett | Site notices

About This Site

A personal weblog with photographs and comments. Quiet ramblings, quite rambling...


Login | Register | Why?


Advanced Search

Most recent entries

Recent entries with comments



Monthly Archives


Lately listening to

Site Statistics

Site Credits

Friday, 23 January 2004
The Friday Five

Today the Friday Five is at my level of banality. I have answered very much in the moment:

At this moment, what is your favorite…


Joyful Aspiration by the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa.



3. show?

The Golden Girls

4. ...scent?

Samsara (for the name grin) Emporio Armani White (for me)

5. ...quote?

“We remain bedazzled by George Bush’s linguistic development. In March 2003, he spoke of “weapons of mass destruction”. In June it was “weapons of mass destruction programs”. By October, the formulation had mutated into weapons of mass destruction-related programmes”. And in the state of the union address, it was “weapons of mass destruction-related programme activities”. I can’t see where he can go from here, but no doubt he’ll come up with something” - Guardian columnist Matthew Norman, today.

Posted by bigblue on 23/01/2004 at 09:27 AM
Filed under: (0) CommentsPermalinkBookmark or Share
Mont Sainte-Odile in Winter, part I

Mont Sainte Odile

The above photo, of the Chappelle Sainte-Odile, topped by a statue of the founding abbess, gives a different perspective to this holy site.  As I mentioned yesterday, the mount has a so-called pagan wall near the summit. This wall, built with large blocks of the local sandstone, extends for 10 km, with a height of 3 metres in places and a width of 1.7 metres.  Parts of the wall are alleged to date back to 6000 BCE. Also nearby can be found the cart tracks of the old Roman Way which passed the site of the Abbey. There is also a Merovingian tumulus.

The Abbey of Hohenbourg (as it was then known) was prosperous during the Middle Ages, but after a fire in 1546 was abandoned. Largely as a result of the Premonstratensians (a religious order which valued places of solitude) the Abbey became famous as a site of pilgrimage from the 17th Century.

Mont Sainte-Odile was restored in the 1930’s by the architect Danis, who was also responsible for the restoration of Mont Saint Michel.  It is the second most visited site in Alsace after Haut Konigsbourg.

Posted by bigblue on 23/01/2004 at 12:34 AM
Filed under: France • (0) CommentsPermalinkBookmark or Share
Wednesday, 21 January 2004
One of my favourite places

Mont Sainte Odile

Odile is Alsace’s 7th Century Patron Saint. She was born in Obernai, but is buried in the Chapelle Sainte-Odile in the convent that she founded on nearby Mont Sainte-Odile.  I snapped the above photograph as Air France carried me over the mountain in the summer. Technically I am not sure whether Mont Sainte-Odile is a mountain � it has an altitude of 764 metres.

Legend has it that Odile was born blind, and rejected by her father, the Duke �tichon who would have had her put to death. A nurse saved her life, and raised her. Later she miraculously regained her sight. Her father then wished to marry her to a knight, but she escaped this fate too. Finally, reconciled to her religious vocation, her father gave her his summer home, Hohenburg Castle, where she founded the convent that bears her name.  A 12th Century chapel contains an 8th Century sarcophagus that contains the relics of Saint Odile.  Another sarcophagus in a separate chapel contains the remains of her father, who was spared the sufferings of Purgatory by grace of his daughter�s fervent prayers.

It sounds to me as if the story of a real person has become intertwined with classical legend.

A so-called pagan wall (mur paien}, which winds its way at the top of the mountain, attests to early human presence - possibly of Celtic, Gaulish or even prehistoric settlement. Unfortunately more recent religious zealots saw fit to destroy much of it with talibanistic intent.  I have heard (and read) that the site had pre-Christian religious significance.

The courtyard on the left (South) promontory contains a number of large lime trees. From the top of Mont Sainte-Odile there is a wonderful view of the plains of Alsace, and across the Rhine to the Black Forest. Unfortunately there is often haze over the Rhine Valley. The high levels of pollution do not help.

Posted by bigblue on 21/01/2004 at 08:59 PM
Filed under: France • (4) CommentsPermalinkBookmark or Share
Draw your own conclusions

What Famous Leader Are You?

I have been doing some more of these Internet personality tests. This one provided inspiration for today’s theme.

Posted by bigblue on 21/01/2004 at 06:30 PM
Filed under: France • (1) CommentsPermalinkBookmark or Share
Tuesday, 20 January 2004
After study (Chez Wolff)

new telephone

This week Mme Wolff had our old phone replaced with the one above. I think I prefered the old one, as it fitted in more with the character of the house.
But then again I prefered the old telephone table, the old blinds, the old windows, etc. Slowly Mme Wolff is modernising the house. 
The collages on the wall above the telephone were created by Mme Wolff’s daughter, an artist, who held an exhibition last year in Strasbourg, and another in Langensoultzbach to mark the opening of a Gallo-Roman exhibition there. (version fran�aise).

Posted by bigblue on 20/01/2004 at 11:58 PM
Filed under: France • (0) CommentsPermalinkBookmark or Share
Before study (Chez Wolff)

old telephone

The above photo is a before study of the telephone in our passage at Chez Wolff, taken in Nov last year. Only last year Mme Wolff had the (blue) shelf installed, before that the telephone rested on an antique which is now my second bedside table. When the phone started to give problems Mme Wolff talked of having it replaced. I offered to sell the phone for her on the internet, but she told me it is only rented from the telephone company, and she wanted to get them to exchange it for a new one.

Posted by bigblue on 20/01/2004 at 11:36 PM
Filed under: France • (0) CommentsPermalinkBookmark or Share
viva la difference

Old City Wall, Haguenau

The above photo shows what a difference 24 hours and 15 minutes can make. The temperature in the centre of Haguenau this evening was minus one. The sign to the marriage festival has been removed and the white stuff is coming down soft and mushy. Lying on the pavement it makes a gentle popping sound underfoot.

Today and yesterday’s photos are taken just outside the old city walls, and on the right of them (just going out of view) is a square that is called the Marché aux Bestiaux. Here, in times gone by, farmers used to sell their animals. There is more than one good reason for having your animal market outside the city walls.

The streets were still pretty quiet this evening. Perhaps the cold, and the icy roads, kept many people indoors. I imagined that all the people of Haguenau were in church listening to a monk called Tetzel:

The church of Hagenau, that night,
Was full of people, full of light;
An odor of incense filled the air,
The priest intoned, the organ groaned
Its inarticulate despair;
The candles on the altar blazed,
And full in front of it upraised
The red cross stood against the glare.
Below, upon the altar-rail
Indulgences were set to sale,
Like ballads at a country fair.
A heavy strong-box, iron-bound
And carved with many a quaint device,
Received, with a melodious sound,
The coin that purchased Paradise.

(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

Posted by bigblue on 20/01/2004 at 12:05 AM
Filed under: France • (0) CommentsPermalinkBookmark or Share
Monday, 19 January 2004
zero degrees

Old City Wall, Haguenau

I got back to Haguenau this evening and it was zero degrees. The above photo is of a remnant of the old city wall, near rue Colome. The temporary yellow sign is pointing to a festival du marriage being held at the “Hops Hall”. Hops (Houblons) is the traditional crop of these parts, and there is a “Hops Festival” every August.  The clock on the tower says 9:35 pm. At this exact time, it strikes a single short chime.

It was a very quiet trip back - Gatwick seemed quieter than usual (perhaps because the holiday period is over), the flight was on time and uneventful (except for the unspoken game of elbow-wrestling with the large man in the seat next to me), and Strasbourg and Haguenau also seem particularly quiet and peaceful (even for a Sunday night).

It almost feels like the calm before the storm.

Posted by bigblue on 19/01/2004 at 12:07 AM
Filed under: France • (0) CommentsPermalinkBookmark or Share
Page 2 of 4 pages  < 1 2 3 4 >