Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Messing Around in Boats

This is a view of Port Hercule Marina in Monaco. Lots of very posh yachts are berthed here -they can be up to 135 metres long.

Needless to say, we weren't visiting a superyacht, though it can be nice walking around a marina and looking at the boats. My kids used to play a game of 'which one is our favourite ' when they were little but they hate any mention of that now.

The mountain haloed by cloud is called the La Tête de Chien [Dogs head] -it looms over Monaco , but is actually in France in the La Turbie district. La Tête de Chien is 550metres/1800 feet high so it was a very strategic military site over many turbulent centuries.

This photo was taken out on the water when we crossed the port in the bateau bus [boat bus] You can see the boat's wake in the water.

The bateau bus is a handy little ferry which crosses the port , and like the local buses only costs one euro per trip [and includes a connection with the buses if desired.]

Some smaller yachts with La Tête de Chien mountain and the Prince's palace in the background.

This is a view from the inside of the bateau bus looking over to the Prince's Palace.
The bateau bus is an electric, non-polluting boat which can take up to 50 passengers at a time. The crossing only takes 10 minutes but it saves a lot of time in comparison with a long walk around the marina.

I liked this huge midnight blue yacht. Its difficult to appreciate the massive size in a photo though.

The bateau bus passing by the midnight blue yacht. Some of these huge yachts are like floating palaces - some are as big as cruise ships but boats of that size are too big to come right into this harbour.

The bateau bus moored beside a huge sailing yacht. The sailing yacht dwarfs the bateau bus but I expect it costs a lot more than one euro to sail in it.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Photo Friday- self portrait

My kids thought taking a self portrait was an incredibly emo thing to do and I was told a cell phone camera would be much more appropriate for the task. I hate cell phone cameras , I'm always taking photos of the inside of my bag by accident, so I had to make do with my normal camera.

I took quite a few completely hideous photos before deciding to use a mirror for a 'through the looking glass look'. I tried a lot of different approaches but both kids assure me that this one looks most like me in real life.

The others were somewhere on a continuum from axe murder through passport/mugshot photo to living dead. Some of them looked interesting and suitable to me but I was told they were too embarrassing for teenagers and strangers to deal with.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Photo Friday- rough

Viper's bugloss , Echium vulgare , [Vipérine commune in French] is a very odd plant with rough hairy leaves and stems. Its related to the borage plant which is also hairy.

The flowers start out as pink buds and turn into purply-blue flowers with reddish stamens. The plant is sometimes known as blueweed as it looks very blue from a distance.
Its a native of Europe but has become an introduced pest in some parts of the US.

A seven-spot ladybird, Coccinella septempunctata, , [coccinelle à sept points or La Bête à bon Dieu in French] was prowling around looking for aphids.

You can see the bristles are all over the plant. The reddish spots on the stems gave us the viper part of the common name. The plant was thought to be a good remedy for snake bites due to the speckled appearance reminding people of reptile scales.

Bugloss apparently comes from the greek word for ox tongue -a description of the roughness and shape of the leaves

The ladybird sat and groomed itself for a while.

Elsewhere on the plant a spider sat in its web- the black thing looks like a beetle larva,=. , probably another ladybird

Saturday, August 02, 2008

photo friday beauty

I couldn't decide on a single photo for the topic of beauty so here are a few beautiful things.

This is part of the steel and glass Queen Elizabeth II courtyard roof in the British museum, London. Its apparently the biggest covered courtyard in Europe .
Its an amazing modern design and manages to blend well with the original classical style from the 1830s.

The rounded section to the left side is part of the original British library reading room -it has been covered with white limestone. [The British Library has now moved to another site near St Pancras station.]
This statues is also in the British museum -its called Lely's Venus and depicts the Goddess Venus being disturbed while bathing, and trying to cover herself with her hands.
I thought the male statue in the background looked like it was part of the story.

The Venusis from the 1st or 2nd century CE and is a Roman copy of an ancient Greek original.
The statue is supposed to have inspired the artist Rubens when painting his female nudes.

Another thing of beauty, a rainbow to brighten up a dreary day. The photo was taken at Brixham harbour, in Devon, England.
I love dandelion clocks -the ball of fluff is beautiful but as you look closer it just seems to get more and more intriguing.