Stilton isn’t Brie (selling England by the kilo)

So, a few adjustments have had to be made. I’ve left the Land of 300 Cheeses, but it’s also a place where “daily bread” means a lot. I’m having trouble here finding a substitute for the phenomenal bread that was a daily ritual in France. My cheese choices are obviously different, but I expected that to be the case. Super TESCO and Sainsbury are the closest big markets, but I have access to a car for personal use (!), so I’m trying to explore in my spare time.

Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a whole lot of that, as we’ve been preparing for Winter and battening down all appropriate hatches. The recent bout of ice and snow was certainly a harbinger of things to come and with them, lots of things will come to a halt, so we have to get ready.

But I have had a few “escapes” into London, and having a car readily available to get to the closest station means easy access to the train, and that is wonderful indeed. Mr. Johnson was certainly on to something in his appraisal of the metropolis (although I would make the same argument for Paris, sigh) and it’s such a great place to photograph. I always return with something new each time we go out on the streets of London.

And just as often, indoors proves fruitful. The Barbican is an amazing place, both inside and out; sometimes, just the people and their interactions with the space is enough —

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Hangin’ at the ‘can…

Live music is always a draw; they had a pretty good crowd for a Sunday evening, too! Apparently, it was something like an open mic for jazz that evening so things were, well, a little chaotic.

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The jammin’ about to start…

… and so very much more.

Liverpool Street Station being yet another spot where the eye never rests for long. Whether it’s checking in to see where you have to go next —

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Checking in…

or just checking out —

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Hmmmm…

Or maybe just getting out —

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Near St. Pancras

London does keep the eye moving.

Until next time… a bientôt!

Physalis alkekengi

The English are certainly not without some fame, if not some notoriety, when it comes to gardening and ornamental plants, so it was no surprise when, during an earlier walkabout, I was shown these plants. We chatted about how lovely they were — but then it was still Fall and they were rather resplendently and utterly Halloween-y in their stunning orangeness.

I rather like the way they have, quite literally, weathered with the last few frosts — none of which have been very hard — and the recent snow. I know a certain artist, — cough, Annemarie, cough — who will be collecting them for their wonderful process of image-making the next time they are here. Right now, about all that’s left is the “lantern” with its seed inside, the leaves pretty much all gone.

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Apparently, the Chinese lantern plant, Physalis alkekengi, (I’ve also seen it referred to as the “Japanese lantern plant”) is considered invasive in some places, given the manner of its root system being very wide-spread in nature.

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They certainly have a certain charm even, or perhaps especially, in the snow.

Meanwhile, as I wandered about later, things were a little more, uhm, bleak? There are multiple ponds here — the whole site slopes downward to the south, so of course everything is flowing that direction — and the views change accordingly. I love the way the snow alters our perceptions of the same landscape that we look at, day after day, into something new.

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Perhaps, that is what evokes the sense of wonder when Winter arrives and everything is coated with white. We remain beguiled by it, at least until things thaw a little and the mud re-asserts itself. But until that moment, let us enjoy.

“Selling England by the Pound…”

Well, you were warned, weren’t you?

It snowed here this morning. Rather solidly, too, in the way that it snows in Michigan and New England — warm, wet, and heavy. Nothing like the light powder that I saw in Wyoming and Alaska. I have to say I rather miss the snow we got in Fairbanks, partly because it was so dry by comparison. Mind you, there were other aspects about that I do NOT miss, but still one cannot help but reminisce a little now and then.

Here’s a requisite photo (I did say I’d start adding some photos from here, too):

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Wet, heavy snow. The kind that packs down hard when you walk through it. The kind that freezes overnight into nasty little ridges and crags across the driveways and entrances of businesses and parking lots (oops! I mean “car parks!”).

But it always looks lovely in those first few hours after falling, so we can enjoy the images long after it turns to something less entrancing.

Winter here so far reminds me, as I said, of Michigan and Massachusetts, except that everyone is driving on the wrong side of the road…

Plus ça change…

So, I’m no longer in France, for the time being. Things change, life moves on, and now I’m on the other side of the Channel for a while. With the Schengen visa being what it is, this was not unexpected, though the timing of the move was a little sooner than planned.

But I’m here in the land of, well, great ale, fish and chips and driving on the left side of the road with all the controls on the right side of the car. That adjustment to that latter is ongoing, but I’m basically comfortable with it. The fish and chips has required no such adjustment (malt vinegar and yes, salt, please)!

No photos to share on this post (although, by the time some of you read this, I’ll have posted some images from the UK and edited this post accordingly!), but things won’t stay that way for long.

You may notice — if you’ve been following along at home — there are now links to other blogs. Please do visit them and show support for them.

And, as always, thanks for stopping by — the stories and images WILL continue. Until then, a bientôt!