Le bar à chats in Perpignan

As already much mentioned this week, I was in the south of France exactly a year ago, and as also already mentioned, exactly a year ago yesterday, I and various members of GodDaughter2’s family, including GD2 herself, were in Perpignan.

While there we stopped off at a tea version of a coffee bar whose USP is that the place, in addition to whatever human customers it can attract, is the home also of lots of cats:

That’s GD2’s Mum photoing through the front window in the final photo there.

The cats didn’t seem that pleased to see us. I suspect that cats who live with lots of other cats are more, well, catlike, and less inclined to interest themselves in humans and their preoccupations, in particular the human desire, when meeting a cat, to stroke it. These cats were not interested in being stroked, and they paid attention to us only when we got too close. They had other things on their minds, things of their own. Or so it seemed to me. I took many photos, and only one is of a cat being stroked. It was not that happy about it.

That they were not paying us that much attention brought home to me the fact that what we humans crave from each other, and failing that from our pets, is that very thing: attention. Mixing with creatures that resembled pets, but who were behaving in this crucial way not at all like actual pets, brought this point home very strongly.

As we left, I remembered to take a photo-note of the place, …:

… which means I can now easily find and supply a link.

When photoing, always remember to take photo-notes.

Perpignan photos

A year ago yesterday I was in St Cyprien, and a year ago today I was in Perpignan. However, I was in Perpignan again on January 9th of this year, when the weather was much better and hence so were my photos. Here is a selection of the photos I took then, there:

Not only was the weather better last January than it had been in April of last year; there was also a temporary Wheel in place (photos 20, 21, 22, 26). And (see photo 9) there was an exhibition on of some photos by former President of France Jacques Chirac. How about that?

A feature of any visit to Perpignan is, or should be, a journey to the department store called Galeries Lafayette (the big white building in photo 18), the views from the top of which are excellent (photos 19-28). The views on the way down from the stairs are pretty good too (photos 28-30).

Other than that, it was the usual. Amusing signs in French, roof clutter, strange plants, pollarded trees, various sorts of sculpture ancient and modern, bridges, left over Christmas signs, a motorbike. All good stuff, and all looking much better in the much better light there was in Perpignan on January 9th. Click and enjoy.

A year ago today …

I was in St Cyprien, in the extreme south of France, staying with my extreme south of France friends (aka GodDaughter2’s family).

Roof clutter ancient and modern, wires, orange tiles, fishing equipment, tourist crap with no soldiers or royal family (just Art), amazing plants (including little wine trees with mountains behind them), boats galore, and very well behaved sea for the boats to drive on. Not that all of those things are to be seen in these photos, but they are all very much to be seen in the extreme south of France:

And light. Lots of lovely light.

But, no outstanding single eyecatching Things, like in London or Paris. Just atmosphere and lots of it.

Quota Monty – quota Slim

I photoed lots of photos of the statues in Parliament, of Churchill, Mandela, Gandhi, Smuts, Lloyd George and the rest of them. Trouble was, the light was coming from the wrong direction for a lot of them.

My favourite statue photo I photoed yesterday was actually this one, of Monty:

He was facing in the right direction to get some light on his face.

But I think another got luckier with Monty is that I’ve photoed this statue a lot already, because it’s one of my favourites in all of London.

As is the one nearby of Slim, who yesterday was looking like this:

In between those two statues, there’s a statue of Brooke, which I am not quite so fond of. Nothing against Brooke, just that the statue looks, to me, a bit unconvincing, more like a caricature than a likeness.

Taxi adverts!

It’s almost the definition of History that you feel you can’t talk, in my case blog about, anything else.

But yes, Taxi adverts. I haven’t been going out of my way to photo taxi adverts recently, but when one comes along, I do my best, and as often as not my best is good enough. Here are twenty such taxi adverts, all of them photoed in the first few months of this year:

And here’s a final one, that I photoed this very afternoon, in Parliament Square. I was mainly photoing statues, but this one drove by, so …:

A lot of these adverts now seem very obsolete, although most of them were photoed either before all this History exploded, or while the explosion was only getting started. But now? Well, people are still vaping, and still working away at things like online banking. They’re probably still buying shoes and having them delivered to theirs homes. But not a lot of regular shopping is now happening, except for food, and not many people are now wandering about in London paying careful attention to all of these adverts and consequently buying this particular frock or that particular pair of shoes, or this other taxi app.

Those who are still wandering about in public spots are the anti-socials, like me, taking exercise, or in my case exercise and photos (and doing some food shopping), and all keeping ourselves to ourselves just like always. I mostly don’t have other photoers to photo now, but otherwise, for me, it’s pretty much pleasure as usual.

Computer battles

This blog is working fine, but my computer is not. It demanded a major upgrade of Windows, and life has not been the same since it deigned to do that, after the usual switch-it-off-switch-it-on-again palaver. My Photoshop(clone) is refusing to process photos, and everything looks different. Black mostly. Windows Photo Viewer or whatever the hell it is is a shambles compared to what it was. And now, it seems, I can’t even copy and paste a damn link, for phux ache. I wanted to insert the getting old link at this point, but my computer refused to even do that.

On the plus side, in the course of my various battles, I blundered into a way to make all the text on my screen 25% bigger, so i can now clearly read all about how my computer is failing to do what I want it to.

I think there are too many windows open. But that’s something to have a go at tomorrow. For tonight, good night.

At least the above bollocks seems to be loading okay.

LATER: Sorted. Switched-it-off-switched-it-on-again, again. I am indeed getting old.

William Huskisson and his statue

In addition to photoing ducks in Pimlico Gardens, I also photoed this statue of William Huskisson:

Harsh sunlight can sometimes turn the subtleties of sculpture into a mixture of uninformative black and equally uninformative white, so the diminished but more ambient light I had to make do with may have helped, although a bit more ambient light would have helped. And I fear that in any sort of light, the inscription on the base of the statue (in photo 2) would have been a photographic struggle. You can just about make out that William Huskisson was born in 1770 and died in 1830, but if you care about these dates, you’d probably want to check them out.

The anonymous writer of this piece about the Huskisson Statue refers to it as “rather Roman”. This is like calling an F1 racing car “rather fast” or the Milky Way “rather big”. Huskisson dates from the era when politicians liked to dress up as Romans for portraits and statues, an era that ended with the mid-nineteenth century expansion of the franchise. At which point politicians stopped dressing in a way that emphasised how different and aristocratic and educated and virtuous and special they were, and switched to being ceremonially portrayed in the way that they actually dressed in their regular lives, i.e. a smarter version of the way everyone dressed. “I’m special” turned into “I’m one of you”.

Huskisson’s main claim to fame now is that he was the first mere person ever to be killed in a railway accident. Lots of people must already have died in the course of constructing railways and locomotives, but Huskisson was the first civilian, so to speak, to be killed by this newfangled technology.

More impressive to me is that, as much as he could manage to be within the limits of political necessity and ambition, Huskisson was an old-school classical liberal. At one point in his career, somebody tried to get him to impose a legally enforced minimum wage. Huskisson brushed the notion aside as foolishness. Good for him.

Here is what the Adam Smith Institute’s Madsen Pirie has to say about Huskisson.

Another pair of Egyptian geese

Blogging as I just was about romantically linked birds, I recently transferred a posting about a couple of geese, which I did on Christmas Eve 2014, from the old blog to this blog, which was a big improvement because this posting featured thirty three photos of the happy couple, and viewing them is now a whole lot quicker and easier than it was.

Here is the photo number one of that clutch of thirty three …:

… and I really recommend you check out the other thirty two.

On Tuesday afternoon, at my end of Vauxhall Bridge, on the left as I approach it, I checked out the very same spot where I had photoed all these highly recommendable photos. Perhaps I thought I would meeting the original objects of my photography back in 2014, again. And rather to my surprise, I did encounter a couple of geese who looked very like the two I had originally photoed:

Sadly, I fear that “looked very like” is as far as it went. I had hoped I might have spied again the original couple, but this I now greatly doubt. There are now many of these geese in London and they breed fast.

I know this because I finally managed to identify what brand of bird these four birds all are. I googled “brown eyed goose”, and everything became clear. They are Egyptian geese. That’s a link to a Guardian piece about these geese. The Guardian loves them because the warmer weather we’ve been having lately has enabled them to flourish here. The Guardian loves warmer weather. Warmer weather, to the Guardian means that the world ought to have done to it permanently what the Coronavirus is only doing to it temporarily.

Venturing out again

I wrote here earlier about my fear of embarking upon any longish photo-expeditions, given the highly regulated nature of the public realm at present, and given how enthusiastic mere people seem to have become about enforcing these new rules, by shouting at those who they believe to be disobeying them. Such fears are a getting old thing.

But on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons of this week I set aside these fears and went on a couple of walks, keeping well away from other people of course. On Tuesday, the last day of March, I walked from my home to and across Vauxhall Bridge and then walked a little along the far side towards Battersea, at which point it got too dark and I turned back for home. And on Wednesday, the first day of April, I turned right along the north bank of the River until I got to and crossed Chelsea Bridge, explored all the frozen-in-the-moment building activity around the Battersea Power Station, and then walked back home along the south side of the River and back across Vauxhall Bridge.

The weather on Tuesday was fine, but on Wednesday afternoon the short-term weather forecast was something it very seldom is. It was wrong. I was promised a couple of hours of partial sunshine, but this never happened. But at least there was, as also promised, no actual rain, and once embarked upon my journey I pressed on, for the exercise you understand.

I soon arrived in a place variously known either as St George’s Square or Pimlico Gardens. Although, follow the second of those two links and you understand this muddle. Pimlico Gardens is the small bit at the southern end of the much bigger St George’s Square, which is elongated and not square at all.

Anyway, what with all this exercising, it seemed pointless not to do any photoing, given that nobody seemed to be objecting. In St George’s Square/Pimlico Gardens I photoed a couple – truly a couple – of ducks:

Ducks close-up seemed to work in the gloomy weather. There’s lots of detail for the automatic function to grab hold of, which is mostly how I do my focusing.

No social distance between them.