Should Reviewers Be Paid? – Caveat Emptor

As an author, I totally understand and have experienced frustration with promotions and the lack of headway. It is understandable that authors who have poured their heart and soul into a novel for countless hours want to have their work read.

Image courtesy Freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy Freedigitalphotos.net

All that said, if a review is paid for, it should be stated. Reviews that are not paid for are so stated by most authors. I think it comes under truth in advertising.

Please excuse me–this is perhaps as much to clarify my own thinking and feelings…

Because of the dream authors have to see their work read and the strength of the desire/emotions that fuel that dream, an entire cottage industry has sprung up around authors. Many spend thousands of dollars attending conferences, taking classes, paying for all the self publishing expenses for those who choose that route, advertise, and now, reviews?  etc, etc, etc…

I had the dream too. I know.

There are many who take advantage of said authors.

As has been stated, each author has to decide what he/she is willing to spend, in time and money, to propel their work into the reader’s hands. There certainly is nothing ‘fair’

image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

about any of it. Shite is sometimes published by the big six just as much as gems remain unread in the sea of self and small pubbed work. The big publishing houses have resources to pay the many pipers. The individual author, not so much. Not fair.

But once money enters the equation when we are talking about reviews, whether they be for a film, a hotel, a restaurant or a book, the authenticity is automatically put into question for ALL. Wherever their are artists, hoteliers, restauranteurs … who dream of having their work appreciated, there will be those ready to help them, for a fee. And those willing to pay. And those willing to take advantage of those willing to pay.

This author has made the decision that anonymity is the cost of unwillingness to pay. Yes–I paid for conferences, classes, professional memberships, ‘education’. I think any professional must put in their time, due diligence and effort to gain competence/excellence. I am not, however, comfortable with paying for reviews. I view paid reviews as a slippery slope UNLESS it is well publicized that said reviews are paid. The term ‘Caveat Emptor’ A Latin phrase for “let the buyer beware,” definitely comes into play. Essentially it proclaims that the buyer must perform their due diligence when purchasing an item or service. The integrity of providers of these paid service is maintained via disclosure.

I would like to believe that those service providers who do not disclose their methods will be found out and suffer the credibility consequences. Pollyannish?

As a reader, a vacationer, a restaurant client—I want to read unsolicited reviews and be assured that they are unpaid. Once paid reviews sneak in without disclosure, the

image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

consumer is automatically placed in a tenuous position. What and who to believe?

For years lawyers were not allowed to advertise. Now they are on every TV station. But the consumer knows these are adverts.

There is no ultimate answer, except for each individual heart. All I ask for is the integrity of disclosure. “No review or reviewer on this site was paid.” Or “Reviewers receive compensation for the reviews posted here.”  

Until then…Caveat Emptor.

How do you feel about paid reviews? What has your experience been with them?

 

Posted in Integrity, Opinion | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Why Is England So Magnetic?

England and the English are front and centre in so much of American culture, it is hard to image a world without the rich heritage and contributions from this small island nation. Part of the United Kingdom, England occupies some of the most beautiful, verdant landscape in the world.

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Not only does the English speaking world owe what has become the planet’s lingua franca to its mother nation, the world revels under the influence of her shore’s native sons and daughters.

“We may be a small country, but we’re a great one, too. The country of Shakespeare, Churchill, the Beatles, Sean Connery, Harry Potter. David Beckham’s right foot, David Beckham’s left foot…” – Hugh Grant as the British Prime Minister (Love Actually, 2003)

When this BeachsideLA girl had an opportunity such as the one offered her, to serve as England ‘expert’ and a two week tour co-leader, this gal jumped at the chance. For the past ten years I have written British-American characters entwined in life’s romantic entrapments whilst navigating the intricacies of the common language that divides us. A year spent as a student in London and many years hence chasing the illusive dream of deserving honorary English-ness via summer house exchange (ala the film “The Holiday”) have led me to this moment in time–

All the land higher than three thousand feet lies with Cumbria’s Lake district.

William Wadsworth's Dove Cottage

William Wadsworth’s Dove Cottage

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Poet laureate William Wadsworth’s home, this bucolic landscape hosts deep blue waters, vibrant flowers and the home of the original Grasmere house gingerbread.

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DSCN4997York’s glorious ‘Minster’ juts from the center of old town and is ringed by the original city walls, still walkable by day.

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With the lengthening of shadows, Ghost Trail guides emerge from the shadows, ready to spin their tales of plague, murder and execution.DSCN5000DSCN4998DSCN5027DSCN5020

World Heritage site Avebury is the local of the largest stone circles on the islands.

DSCN5193DSCN5181Stonehenge might grab the glamour, but Avebury still allows visitors the chance to hug these mysterious ancient upright boulders. Beware–the stuff of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series is at hand.

“The tallest stone of the circle was cleft, with a vertical split dividing the two massive pieces. Oddly, the pieces had been drawn apart by some means….   DSCN5196

There was a deep humming noise coming from somewhere near at hand. I thought their might be a beehive lodged in some crevice of the rock, and placed a hand on the stone in order to lean into the cleft.

The stone screamed.

I backed away as fast as I could, moving so quickly that I tripped on the short turf and sat down hard. I stared at the stone, sweating.

I had never heard such a sound from anything living.There is no way to describe it, except to say that it was the sort of scream you might expect from a stone. It was horrible.

The other stones began to shout. There was a noise of battle and the cries of dying men and shattered horses.

I shook my head violently to clear it. I stumbled to my feet and staggered toward the edge of the circle….a blind drifting through the fog of noise….the sickening sensation of falling at high speed. I experienced a feeling of elemental terror so great that I lost all sense of who or where I was. I was in the heart of chaos, and no power of mind or body was of use against it.”

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The Royal Crescent is a row of 30 terraced houses laid out in a sweeping crescent in the city of Bath, England. Designed by the architect John Wood the Younger and built between 1767 and 1774, it is among the greatest examples of Georgian architecture to be found in the United Kingdom. Number one is open to be toured and restored to Georgian grandeur. On display within are numerous examples of detailed Georgian doll houses.

In 2007, a TV edition of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, included many scenes shot at the Royal Crescent, where the Elliot family was supposedly living while in Bath.

The Royal Crescent featured in the 2008 film The Duchess starring Keira Knightley.

DSCN5320DSCN5322DSCN5334DSCN5336DSCN5344DSCN5345DSCN5351Glastonbury is not only the location of the yearly huge pop festival, it is the alleged final resting place of King Arthur and Guinevere in the grounds of the Glastonbury Abbey ruins. A restored Medieval kitchen is on site as well. Here’s to the knights of the round table.

Nearby to Glastonbury is the town of Wells–a lovely cathedral.DSCN5356DSCN5364

Gotta love the London sights and sounds—even in this tourist drenched time of year… DSCN5427DSCN5438Dismounting and inspection of the troops ceremony all done under the watchful eye of armed coppers – Whitehall

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The Tower of London, tours narrated by the proud ex-military veterans, The Beefeaters. Home of many fine specimens of military armor and weaponry. DSCN5389DSCN5395DSCN5400

My dear London…

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Until next time, England…the land of brilliant flora and… (contrary to popular belief)…

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…robust delicious feasts-

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All the love this Beachside girl can send….

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Posted in England, London, Travel, Travel : Book research, Travel memories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christine Goes Philadelphia – Let Freedom Ring

DSCN4832When one finds oneself in a distant and unfamiliar city, what is the first thing to do? Walk about? Snap selflies in front of monuments? DSCN4828DSCN4827DSCN4817

Yeah…but come on. When visiting the city of America’s birth, you have to go on a ghost tour.

DSCN4843  so much fun—so many tales of yore.

This Beachside LA  girl adores the East Coast with its revolutionary history, brick and colonial buildings and charm. Mid June is a lovely time to visit. The trees are in full greenery, the main thoroughfares bustle with tourists and the smell of onions cooking to top the iconic Philly Cheesesteak waft from local eateries.

mmmm… DSCN4820But when you wander away from the crowd, the personality of the city opens its doors.

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…and the memory of those who went before come alive ( Washington Square Park where thousands of unknowns from the revolutionary war times are buried beneath the now verdant grounds)

“Freedom is light for which many men have died in darkness”

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DSCN4838 DSCN4839   The signers of our constitution, so honored in this grand city, whisper yet in those leaves as the sultry breeze warms another summer. The words penned in a time of upheaval and uncertainty echo down through the centuries–lighting our way into a future full of challenge to those liberties.

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If those old cobblestones could talk…what would they say?

DSCN4833           Visit that bell… by pony express, jet or “Back to the Future” flying car.

From sea to shining sea… let freedom ring.                                                                           DSCN4826

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A Little Bit Of London

Early June is a great time in Britain’s capital. Tourists are thick on the main streets–mostly European, as schools have not yet adjourned for summer in the States, but the weather is pleasant, sun flirting with clouds.

DSCN4641New model double decker buses jostle down the streets.

The South bank is like an outdoor carnival with street performers

The Bubble man enchants toddlers and adults

The Bubble man enchants toddlers and adults

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

new meets old architecture

The "Shard" mirrored Skyscraper in contrast to a minster and modern art statue

The “Shard” mirrored Skyscraper in contrast to a minster and modern art statue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a snog is a juicy kiss

a snog is a juicy kiss

Playfully sold cold and sweet treats

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shakespeare’s Old Globe Theater resurrected and beckoningDSCN4664

 

 

 

 

 

Round courtyard under glass - British Museum

Round courtyard under glass – British Museum

Greece's 'Marbles' - belong in the Parthenon, but under 'protection' of the Brits - a sore point of contention

Greece’s ‘Marbles’ – belong in the Parthenon, but under ‘protection’ of the Brits – a sore point of contention

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The British Museum a staple of history-philes

 

Ale Pie, Fish ‘n Chips classic repast- a pint tooDSCN4607

 

 

 

 

 

DSCN4610 DSCN4606Gargoyles watching from above

 

 

 

Marlborough Arms pub

 

 

 

 

 

 

Westminister Abbey’s had a thorough scrubbingDSCN4602

 

 

 

 

 

Well known places bustle with life

Inside Victoria StationInside Victoria Station

Picadilly

Picadilly

and quiet side streets house families, bed & breakfasts and charm

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Heathrow Airport’s facelift has left it wholly unidentifiable from the “Love Actually” days

DSCN4715huge hanging plane-like sculpture and see-through cab

DSCN4718 But we adore it all

Dustman's tools of trade

Dustman’s tools of trade

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Posted in England, London, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mom, What Did You Do Before The Internet?

While we were having a discussion about the ‘old days’ before the digital revolution, my son asked, his face a mask of perplexity, “What did you do all day before internet?”

image courtesy Freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy Freedigitalphotos.net

At first, I responded off the cuff, “read”, but as the day progressed the question followed me about, nagging a more in depth answer. What did we do? As my mind skipped over the years, I realized with increasing chagrin, that we did a whole lot that many folks either no longer do, pay someone else to do or engage in infrequently.

I may not be an expert at all this stuff, but how impoverished are we if we miss out on the wide breadth of skills and creative pursuits off-line, off-phone, off-tv?

-build and maintain raised bed vegetable garden, Grow and use veggies in daily food prep

-read music and sing in four part harmony group

-self taught home chef and baker – homemade breads, cookies and the like as well as multi course meals.

-mend clothes and sew using a pattern to construct basic clothing

image courtesy Freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy Freedigitalphotos.net

-do basic home repairs–swing a hammer, use a miter box, electric drill and saw

-wash and hand wax/detail cars

-clean the house top to bottom

-cross stitch and other needlework art

-trim a bush, lace a tree, mow the grass, adjust sprinklers and just about any other yard maintenance

-papier mâche art, decopage

-paint on canvas with water colors and acrylics, sketch, work with clay/pottery

-write poetry, journal

-construct a novel, beginning to end

– give people haircuts; dog grooming

-cake baking and decorating

-refinish furniture

-Prep and paint walls

-Skateboard, beach volleyball

-Bike ride, jog, power walk

image courtesy Freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy Freedigitalphotos.net

– learn calligraphy and use in invitations/ letters (what is a hand written letter?)

-reading bedtime stories every night to the kids

-Take adult education classes in areas of interest- some for fun, some for further education

-Maintain paper files for receipts and important papers

-play board and card games, four square, hopscotch, jump rope

-inviting friends to dinner, coffee, barbecue, play cards, talk

– using the (landline) phone to talk and catch up

-dream, be introspective

In times past there was even more focus on craftsmanship, art and self improvement. Did it have to do with less distraction and more time to do things by hand? Our transition generation knows the time before endless hours of online gaming, social media, and TV binge watching. There was the personal interaction and/or participation in things that were not as passive as today’s non-stop entertainment, flashing lights and short attention space go-go-go. Learning a skill, craft or artistic outlet usually required a mentor and/or book–thus patience and perseverance so often denied in the “I need it now” computer age. “What? Ten seconds for the site to load? I’m clicking elsewhere.”

When I think about the great buildings, paintings, mosaics, statutes and sculptures of the

image courtesy Freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy Freedigitalphotos.net

Renaissance and the centuries before the tech revolution, it makes me melancholy. Most people’s lives are absorbed in daily tasks that technology is supposed to make easier, but the truth of the matter is are expected to accomplish more and more, multitask and spin  wheels until stressed into high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and worse. Our technological triumphs do not allow us more leisure. They make the world pace breakneck with expectations the same. They keep us emotionally and psychically chained to a chair—staring at a glowing screen.

What did you do before personal and professional tech filled your life? If you are not old enough to remember those days – are there things you would like to do that do not require a screen, but just don’t seem to have the time to do? Do you feel tech withdrawal if your phone or computer is not available?

What has tech added?

What have we lost?

 

 

 

 

Posted in Childhood/Growing Up, Family, Life, Musings | Tagged , | Leave a comment

“We Make Marines” – Marine Corp Recruiting Depot Graduation

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Please indulge this proud mama–My daughter is Series Commanding Officer at Marine Corp Recruiting Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina.

Today was the FIRST graduation ceremony over which she presided as Commanding Officer—her two platoons of female recruits  (and their male fellow recruits) became Marines.  DSCN4747

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About “Series Commander” :    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Series_commander
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She has responsibility and authority over approx 100 female marine recruits and their nine Drill Instructors. (There are two platoons of female recruits,  six to eight platoons of men)
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“We make Marines by recruiting quality young men and women and transforming them through the foundations of rigorous basic training, our shared legacy, and a commitment to our core values, preparing them to win our nation’s battles in service to the country.”

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About Parris Island:  http://www.mcrdpi.marines.mil

Posted in United States Marine Corp | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Another June Day In Paris

Funny how life can sometimes be cyclical. A couple years ago I posted a pictorial about a June Day, Parisian style and here I am again, finding myself in what so many consider the ‘city of love’

With two days this visit, my camera and I put in some serious miles on foot, adding steps to my fit bit digital pedometer ( Think I spied it smokin’ ), fitness, and food for the soul.DSCN4463

DSCN4464 The east train station DSCN4465 DSCN4468  filled with street art    DSCN4469

DSCN4479 Nothing says Paris like Dominos delivered via scooter

DSCN4482 DSCN4485  Oooo la,la, le fromage et les gateaux

DSCN4486 small neighborhood sidewalk cafes

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The Basilica of Sacre Coeur   DSCN4499 DSCN4502  a dinner at ‘home’–spaghetti, zucchini corgettes, seed encrusted baguette with buttery garlic, a splash of bordeaux and…                         DSCN4507    more walking to …

The house of Orchids  DSCN4524 DSCN4525 A freshly scrubber Notre Dame DSCN4529 DSCN4531 DSCN4532 DSCN4534

and twilight along the Seine   DSCN4552

 

One more day to stroll

DSCN4565  the internationally familiar

and the neighborhood quaintDSCN4580 DSCN4574 ….Shop dedicated exclusively to pistachios

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Statue in memory of June 4th 1945 Churchill “We shall never surrender” speech – made in the darkest days of the war for Europe.

And then there are the doors—the marvelous doors…

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“Covered In Bees” – What is IT about Eddie Izzard?

“Covered in Bees”….

“Cake or Death”…

Stage of the 1930's built Fox Theater, Bakersfield CA- set for Eddie Izzard Force Majeure Performance

Stage of the 1930’s built Fox Theater, Bakersfield CA- set for Eddie Izzard Force Majeure Performance

“Evil Giraffe”…

 

Just a few beloved phrases from the unconventional mind of British Comedian Eddie Izzard are well known by his fans.

 

My daughter introduced me to him via DVD. I definitely did not ‘get him’ at first. In my usual rush about, I had not paid close attention to the ravings of this self proclaimed “executive transvestite”. Dressed in flamboyant colours, high heels and ‘Fabulous Makeup’, Eddie nonetheless has an unlikely allure with women that rivals much more standard macho. Woven into the halarity Eddie educates us about what and what not it means to be a transvestite. Straight and ‘fancying women’ every bit as much as matching lipstick and nail polish, the Izzard of old strutted about the stage with the boisterous aplomb of a whole classroom of kindergartners. These days he dresses down, more standard male with a few deviations, while maintaining the extravagance and energy of his former glitz.

 

Born Edward John Izzard, Feb 7, 1962 to British parents working for BP in the Colony of Alden – southern bit of contemporary Yemen, his family moved back to the UK when Eddie was one. He did not begin toying with comedy until leaving an accountancy program at the University of Sheffield, honing his skills as a street performer in London in the 1980s. In the early 1990s he finally began earning some measure of recognition through his improvisation, in part at his own club “Raging Bull” in Soho. T.V. , theatrical and film credits followed, demonstrating the wide range of this man’s talents.

Eddie’s idea of normal is that it does not exist. His thoughts border on the bizarre and tend to hop about like a rabbit in a shooting gallery. Innuendo and subtly a hallmark of his musings, Eddie tweaks history and pop culture into what amounts to quite an intellectual coloring book.

His rendition of a James Mason-voiced God leads us on a broad sweeping romp through the Bible not unlike a child’s wondrous perception. Heavily laced with satire, it cuts deep without offending simply because it is so far-out amusing. Taking on various roles by turning his body, Eddie engages in unlikely conversations between real and imagined characters in a fast paced stream of consciousness that rivals the late Robin Williams.

 

No stranger to using his celebrity for good, Eddie ran forty three marathons in fifty one days, sans prior long distance running experience, as fundraiser for the U.K. Charity, Sport Relief . ( brings together the worlds of sports and entertainment to raise money to help vulnerable people in both the UK and the world’s poorest countries.) Whether performing in intimate venues or in front of thousands at venues as large as L.A.’s Nokia, and London’s Wembley Stadium, Eddie draws in his audience as we follow the bounding ball of his thoughts through what would be chaos to  less intelligent souls. Perhaps that is a large part of the magnetism—his razor wit. Not unlike the intelligent acuity of talk show host Dick Cavette, Eddie’s musings require attention closely paid, but well rewarded as he leads us from the seeming mundane to the glorious.

 

Izzard’s Force Majeure world tour had its latest play at the 1930’s Fox Theater in Bakersfield California on the evening of June 11.

Fox Theater Bakersfield 1 Fox Theater Bakersfield

Seen dashing into the street to snap a photo of the theatre marquee, Izzard in skin tight acid wash jeans and five inch stilettos bounded back to the curb and through the theater side door thirty minutes before patrons were allowed inside. Hair in a blonde cut ala Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia, high energy Eddie performed his benchmark rambling whimsical monologues for over an hour, returning for a second half nearly as lengthy. Time flies when listening to the man in full silky tuxedo-like suit and high heel boots. Dubbed ‘the lost Python’, Eddie’s self refererential physical comedy included a rendition of a horse doing dressage into a closet. (Why else would a mammal do something so completely unmammilian?), an explanation of why the English language is so ‘easy peasy lemon squeezy’ to learn, political reference to the tea party and being not unlike Charles the first before he was beheaded – ‘setting humankind back, you know’ and a German rendition of nailing two squirrels covered in gravy to the back of a truck.

 

Eddie has a fascination with languages springing from his belief that true communication with people across cultures occurs best in their own tongue. At an off-the-cuff post show Q&A in the lobby of the theater, Izzard credited his father and brother for his love of history- brother graduating in history “A-1” degree from English university.

Eddie Q & A Bakersfield

He is presently learning Spanish, Arabic, with a side of Russian to further enhance his ability to reach out to other peoples. In July 2003, Izzard received an honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of East Anglia, Norwich, for “pro-Europe campaigning”, “his contribution to promoting modern languages and tolerance of other cultures and lifestyles” and for having “transcended national barriers” with his humour.

 

Izzard is continuing his Force Majeure tour, which launched in November of 2013 and will see him through twenty seven countries. Yet to perform and more info:

( http://www.eddieizzard.com )

June 13th

Vegas Pearl Theatre

16th

SacramentoCommunity Center Theatre

17th

Santa RosaWells Fargo Theatre

18th, 19th & 20

San Francisco Golden Gate

22nd & 23rd

San JoseCalifornia Theatre

25th, 26th

SeattleParamount

27th & 28th

Portland Keller Auditorium

30th

Boise Morrison Theatre

July

1st

Salt Lake City J.Q. Lawson Capitol Theatre

August

27th

Lenox, MA, USATanglewood – Koussevitzky Music Shed

28th

New Haven, CTSCSU

29th

Providence, RI The VETS

30th

New HampshireHampton Beach Casino Ballroom

31st

Port Chester, NYCapitol Theatre

September

1st

Red Bank, NJ Count Basie Theatre

23rd

Ad-hoc

Versailles La Royale Factory

Tout en Français

24th

Ad-hoc

LilleLe Spotlight

Tout en Français

October

2nd

Ad-hoc

BrusselsCC Uccle

Tout en Français

4th

Ad-hoc

ParisLe Casino de Paris

Tout en Français

5th

Ad-hoc

LyonLe Rideau Rouge

Tout en Français

6th

Ad-hoc

NiceLa Comédie de Nice

Tout en Français

7th

Ad-hoc

Aix-en-ProvenceThéâtre La Fontaine d’Argent

Tout en Français

8th

Ad-hoc

MarseilleLe Quai du Rire

Tout en Français

9th

Ad-hoc

MontpellierLe Kawa Théâtre

Tout en Français

10th

Ad-hoc

ToulouseLa Comédie de Toulouse

Tout en Français

12th

Ad-hoc

NantesLa compagnie du Café Théâtre

Tout en Français

13th

Ad-hoc

BoulogneThéâtre de la Clarté

Tout en Français

 

Posted in Art/Artist, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No Matter the Language, There is Love

In France it is the law and tradition to wed at the local courthouse in order to fulfill the legalities. Such was the case late in May when my dearest French ‘son’ and sweet Celine wed.

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Most newlyweds then have a ceremony of their own delight. Whether in church or a beautiful outdoor locale, couples fashion a ceremony that is most meaningful to them. Greg and Celine chose the coast of France where she was raised. DSCN4394 DSCN4397

One of the truly jaw dropping places in the world, Perros Guirec is the location of the famous pink granite boulders. One of only three places in the world that have this kind of stone, the granite of Perros Gureic can be seen in Paris in building and streets, but nowhere is it more amazing than in its natural state. Many of the pinkish boulders dwarf the trekkers that climb amongst them. The sea here has many moods. Mediterranean sapphire when overcast, the shoreline lightens to Caribbean aqua in the sun.

Tidal shifts are as grand as the boulders. When the water is low, beach dwellers can walk a city block out to the bashful sea. DSCN4157

Small crabs scurry and hide. Seaweed rests gracefully, and the boulders that appeared only large when the tide covers them, are gigantic as the skirt of the ocean is drawn back.DSCN4161 DSCN4163               (Can you see the crab nestling in the sand?)

The hotel where the wedding took place was ‘beached’ in the morning, the sea retreating far down the sand. DSCN4152 DSCN4166

By the time the ceremony begins, the water laps at the seawall and boats slip to and fro just off shore, expertly dodging the rocks in predetermined corridors. As the couple exchange vows,DSCN4358 the guests sigh, chortling when grandma adds an “Ooo, la, la” as the groom’s speech turns especially full of ardor.

Ring exchanged and a kiss…DSCN4367 DSCN4368

Those who take this ultimate leap of faith into an uncertain future- now full of promise in the sharing, are affirming

… a miracle… the miracle of love.

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Posted in France, Love and Romance, Nature | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Road to a Printemps – Springtime French Wedding

When my French ‘son’ ( a beloved former exchange student) and his fiancee sent an

Bretagne in France.svg        invitation to their wedding in Bretagne France my heart leapt. Not only would this be a day of great joy, but it would be in a location I had never the privilege to travel.

The journey was arduous. Ten hours on a packed and cramped flight, a shoe-sized rental car to the equivalent of a motel six for the first evening. As is usually the case when traveling abroad on a shoestring, food is rare. The arrival time is generally in direct conflict with any stores or restaurants being open. At least after the airport exit dance and following the GPS to a place whose route includes one track winding roads with numerous round abouts/traffic circles–all in the dark.

DSCN4065This particular hotel reminded me of an RV–the bathroom raised above the bedroom in a corner with a nautical window hatch, a shower you have to exit to change your mind, and other fixtures matching miniature. But it was clean and warm–just the ticket for jet lag exhaustion.

In the morning, it was off to Bretagne (Brittany) – a chilly marine influenced environment with windswept gentle rises and falls in topography. The roads are good, decorated with a gorgeous array of wildflowers and apple-green tender spring grasses. Three and a half hours and a handful of tolls paid (beware tourists- carry Euros/cash as the French credit card machines will not always work), the roads narrowed further, landscape dotted with white cows and stonework farm houses.

The village of Perros-Guirec lies against the sea and the famous pink granite boulder shoreline. DSCN4394

 

 

 

 

 

Wedding Hotel (tide out)

Wedding Hotel (tide out)

The couple chose a hotel whose balcony faces a natural granite harbor. When the tide is low, beachcombers can walk many hundred yards past boulders that will be submerged as the tide returns. Coin sized crabs scurry along, diving into the wet sand when they feel threatened.

Trivia: Perros-Guirec is where, in Gaston Leroux‘s The Phantom of the Opera, a teenage Vicomte de Chagny retrieves young Christine Daaé’s scarf from the sea. It is also the resting place of her father.

Those a bit more intrepid can climb through narrow passageways and over enormous boulders. Some look as though they balance on a golf tee. The wind has sculpted them DSCN4182into many unusual shapes. Wildflowers nestle in the DSCN4223 DSCN4397cracks between rock and sandy earth, red winged moth-like insects bounce through the knee high grass. A well maintained gravel pathway stretches along the coastline for a few kilometers. A lifesaver service house and boat launch ramp,  a few sea weathered houses and a church are placed at odd angles so required by the massive boulders.DSCN4218 DSCN4228

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This peninsular region of France is one of the coolest and wettest, microclimate – can be gray and fifteen Celsius lower than mid and southern regions of France.

 

DSCN4139 DSCN4118The village roads amble through beautiful stonework houses. Creperies are common, serving regional  cider. As the Scots revel in the complexities of their scotch, so the Brettons adore their cider. Served cold, the first flavor one tastes is the subtle sweetness, followed by a mild yeast and with a finish of burnt wood. Odd? Not at all. It is amazing and quite delicious, flavor complexities remaining in your sinuses as you enjoy.DSCN4136 DSCN4131 DSCN4132

I ordered a combination dinner: One “Gallette” (savory crepe), one sweet crepe and a bowl of cider.

 

 

 

 

And so day two ended with the light fading well after ten and a stroll back to the hotel, snapping photos all the way.

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To be continued….

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