Sunshine’s Macro Monday #72

These photos are from some of our more recent strolls around the Domaine.

Sunshine’s Macro Monday Challenge was hosted by Irene a formidable photographer who encouraged us to scrutinise the smallest of details by getting up close and personal and bringing someone or something to life in a photograph. It was a one day challenge without prompts which I have continued to pursue. Feel free to join in and brighten everyone’s Monday.

Cee’s Flower of the Day #7

Another challenge I’ve decided to embrace this year, although only on week days and largely because I took photos of so many flowers last year!

Cee’s challenge is all about bringing a little beauty and colour into our daily lives. Who wouldn’t be in favour of that?

Challenge rules, why not join in?

1.Feel free to post every day or whenever you you feel like it.  You can either post new flower photos or dig back into your archives.

2. Depending on the time of year, you can post any of these types of things for your FOTD.

  • Single flowers
  • Buds
  • Multiple flowers
  • Bouquet
  • Flower fields
  • Wildflowers
  • Tree or bush blossoms
  • Autumn leaves
  • Spring leaves
  • Decorative Cabbage
  • Berries
  • Still life
  • Fake or Silk Flowers

French Fancies: Fragonard

If you thought this series of posts would be about delicious French delicacies then you’ll initially be somewhat disappointed because I’m starting with some of my favourite French companies. We’re not talking behemoths such as l’Oreal or Danone, but family owned and run enterprises, many of which are now into their third or fourth generation. Equally, I’m going to be looking in more detail at some of my favourite French things, which may or may not be edible!

The second post in this series is about a company whose factory in Grasse I recently (re)visited, where I buy a lot of gifts for myself and others. It’s the family-owned and run Fragonard which has factories in Grasse, Eze and Paris.

How did it all start?

Shortly after the First World War, Eugène Fuchs and his family left Saint-Chamond and his notary’s practice to settle in the sun-drenched hillsides around Grasse. This entrepreneur was soon won over by the magic of perfume and decided to create his own company with the purchase of two Grasse perfumeries: Cresp-Martinenq and Muraour. Parfumerie Fragonard opened its doors for business in 1926.

Fuchs decided to pay tribute to Grasse’s most famous son by naming his business after the painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806). The choice of the name Fragonard was also guided by his desire to thank the town that had welcomed him and his family, and to closely align the identify of his perfumery with the refinement of 18th century arts. Moreover, King Louis XV’s favourite painter was none other than the son of a Grasse perfumer and glove maker, François Fragonard.

This choice marked his intention to make his business part of Grasse’s traditions and history. Originally an 18th century tannery and converted into a perfumery in the following century, the factory acquired by the Fuchs family perpetuated the perfume making business and soon experienced a new boom.

Introduction of Factory Tours

During the inter-war period, the Côte d’Azur became a major playground of a certain elite. The seafront from Monaco to Cannes was colonised by artists, musicians, writers, couturiers, painters and their hangers-on who came to enjoy the prevailing Roaring Twenties lifestyle. Jazz made its appearance, followed hot on its heels by the Americans who, enthralled by this magnificent region, dubbed it the French Riviera.

For these new tourists, a stay on the Côte d’Azur included a detour through Grasse to purchase perfume prompting Eugène Fuchs to come up with a totally novel concept. He started gifting his loyal customers with an opportunity to tour the factory’s manufacturing workshops. Direct sales of scented products plus a visit to the factory turned out to be a real hit with the tourists flocking to experience the charms of the Riviera.

The Next Generations

Eugène Fuchs handed over the company to his son Georges and his son-in-law François Costa in 1929. The two brothers-in-law shared the workload, with François in Grasse and Georges canvassing business abroad. Both brought prosperity to the Maison from the importation of raw materials and own-label production for some of the biggest names in perfume. A business which still flourishes to this day.

Before war broke out in 1939, Georges Fuchs had started a business relationship with Elizabeth Arden, who managed a cosmetics company. Orders came flooding back in from the summer of 1947, and an office in the United States soon became a necessity. Blue Grass is undeniably the best-selling fragrance of this American firm.

Jean-François Costa, son of François and Emilie Costa, joined the company in 1939. After years spent abroad, he returned to Grasse in the late 1950s to take his father’s place, leaving his cousin Patrick the pleasurable task of developing the own label business.

From Perfume Maker to Collector

Back in Grasse, Jean-François Costa began modernising the company. A great lover of art, in the early 1960s he began collecting pieces that tell the story of perfume making and set up the first Perfume Museum in Grasse in 1975 in addition to two further museums in Paris. This initiative fuelled Fragonard’s already flourishing business while giving it a cultural dimension, further enhanced since by the Provençal Museum of Costume and Jewellery in 1997, the Jean-Honoré Fragonard Museum in Grasse inaugurated in 2011 and the Perfume Museum in Paris near the Opéra, which opened its doors in 2015.

Here Come the Girls

Jean-François Costa’s three daughters, Anne, Agnès and Françoise, were not predestined to join the family business. Steeped in the world of perfume from childhood, they started out on a quest for new horizons. Anne graduated from the Faculty of Medicine. After studying law in Paris, Agnès became passionate about marketing and advertising. Françoise studied economics at the European Business Schools in Paris, London and Madrid.

Just like the generations before them, they were keen to contribute to the company’s development as they continue to develop Fragonard into a hallmark of a certain art de vivre that goes beyond the boundaries of perfume. Some twenty boutiques in France – and since 2015 in Milan – showcase exclusive and constantly renewed collections where decorative home objects, fashion, accessories and jewellery coexist harmoniously with the perfumed products.

The three sisters rose through the ranks of Fragonard, and today Françoise runs the business side; Anne (based in Paris) is in charge of product development (fragrances and cosmetics), and Agnès – with her sense of style and love of colour – is in the creative hot seat, travelling regularly to India, Vietnam and Thailand, where they work with many different artisans, to source fabrics and craft items for the shops.gnant.’

Song Lyric Sunday #23

Again, I’m searching through my back catalogues for a response to Jim Adams’ prompt for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday Challenge which is MA (title of song must start with the letter M or A). Luckily I’ve recently been listening to something which fits the bill. How about Magnetized released in 1991 by Tom Odell?

Tom Odell is an English singer-songwriter who released his debut extended play, Songs from Another Love, in 2012 and won the BRITs Critics’ Choice Award in early 2013. His debut studio album, Long Way Down, was issued in June 2013. His second studio album, Wrong Crowd, which includes the single Magnetised was released in 2016. The song was written by Odell with Rick Nowels and it peaked at number 40 in the UK Singles Chart.

The music video, like the song itself, expresses the protagonist’s frustrations about being attached to his significant other who doesn’t reciprocate the same kind of love. When interviewed abot the song, Odell said:

Magnetised very much hits into this idea of sort of “man vs. nature”: you have a cheater and you have a fast car and it’s like interesting, playing on that idea between the two of them. So he’s destroyed this relationship, you know, with a woman, and at this point he’s now realizing that she’s no longer available to him–and he can’t give it up. But it’s also playing on the idea of, sort of, nature. There’s a lyric in it called “I wish I had a little mother nature in me” which is kind of around the theme of the song of, he just wants a relationship which feels natural rather than this sort of perverse, poisoned situation he seems to be in, and Magnetised plays on that theme.

Lyrics: Magnetised

See those birds going across the sky
Three thousand miles they fly
How do they know which way to go?
Somehow they always seem to know
They say there’s mother nature in everything we see
Wish I had a little mother nature in me
Wish I had a little mother nature in me
‘Cause it’s not right, I’m magnetised
To somebody that don’t feel it
Love paralyzed, she’s never gonna need me
But sure as the world keeps the moon in the sky
She’ll keep me hanging on
She keeps me hanging on
See the couple lying on the bus
Falling asleep with so much trust
I wish I had a chance to let them know
Their love is like a flower in the snow
If it’s just pheromones then that may be
I wish you had a little pheromones for me
I wish you had a little pheromones for me
‘Cause it’s not right, I’m magnetised
To somebody that don’t feel it
Love paralyzed, I know you’re never gonna need me
I’m sure as the world keeps the moon in the sky
She’ll keep me hanging on (keep me hanging on)
She’ll keep me hanging on (keep me hanging on)
She’ll keep me hanging on (keep me hanging on)
North to south, white to black
When you love someone that don’t love you back
Yeah it’s not right, I’m magnetised
To somebody that don’t feel it
Love paralyzed, she’s never gonna need me
But sure as the world keeps the moon in the sky
She’ll keep me hanging on (keep me hanging on)
She’ll keep me hanging on (keep me hanging on)
She’ll keep me hanging on (keep me hanging on)
She’ll keep me hanging onSource: LyricFind
Songwriters: Rick Nowels / Tom Odell
Magnetised lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group

Challenge Rules

  • Post the lyrics to the song of your choice, whether it fits the theme or not. If it does not fit, then please explain why you chose this song.
  • Please try to include the songwriter(s) – it’s a good idea to give credit where credit is due.
  • Make sure you also credit the singer/band and if you desire you can provide a link to where you found the lyrics.
  • Link to the YouTube video, or pull it into your post so others can listen to the song.
  • Ping back to Jim’s post or place your link in his comments section.
  • Read at least one other person’s blog, so we can all share new and fantastic music and create amazing new blogging friends in the process.
  • Feel free to suggest future prompts.
  • Most of all, have fun and enjoy the music.

Silent Sunday #49

Last year all my photographs were from Australia, this year they are all going to be from France.

One word Sunday: role or roll

This was quite a tricky challenge which left me scratching my head for some time!

Often I find it useful to look at the definitions of the words, which sometimes provides me with inspiration.

How about rolling hills and clouds?

I’ve decided to join in with Debbie Smyth’s One Word Sunday challenge, largely because she sets them well in advance – always an advantage in my book. In addition, she’s a fantastic and inspirational photographer.

 

The Musette: Quick Vegan Lasagne

Hands up who doesn’t love lasagne? Exactly! However, homemade lasagne can be a relatively quick affai. If like me you keep stuff pre-prepared in the freezer and/or pantry, this is more of an assembly job.

Some years ago I shared with you my vegan lasagne dish, this is a shortcut and it’s just as delicious. Additionally, it’s gluten free  and perfect for Veganuary!

Ingredients (serves 6 cyclists)

  • 3 large courgettes (zucchini) thinly sliced, lengthways
  • 750ml (3 cups) bought or home-made tomato (marinara) sauce
  • 300g (4 cups) lentil ragu
  • 1 large vegan mozzarella
  • generous handful grated vegan cheese
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Method

1.Preheat the oven to 170ºC (325ºF)/150ºC (300ºF)/gas mark 3 and ligtly oil a large rectagular baking dish with olive oil.

2. Start with a dollop of the tomato sauce then add the first layer of courgette “lasagne” noodles. Lightly sprinkle the noodles with salt and pepper. Then add a thick layer of ragu, dot with slices of mozzarella (bought or home-made).

3. Repeat until you have at least three-layers. Now pour over the tomato sauce and sprinkle generously with the grated cheese.

3. Pop into the oven for 35-45 minutes until it’s golden and bubbling. Remove from oven and allow it to stand for 10 minutes before cutting into six portions – enjoy!

Sculpture Saturday #40

After last weeks’ butterfly installation on La Promenade des Arts in Cagnes sur Mer, here’s another. Dans les Filets du vent by local artists Setch is intended to evoke the fishing heritage of Cagnes sur Mer. The name is taken from the line of a poem that Prévert devoted to Cagnes.

Cagnes-sur-Mer

Soleil de novembre et déjà de décembre et bientôt de janvier
Fête de la Jeunesse et fête de la Pais
Eaux claires de la lune dansez sur les galets
Dans les filets du vent des sardines d’argent valsent sur l’olivier et des filles de
Renoir dans les vignes du soir chantent la vie l’amour et le vin de l’Cagnes-sur-Mer…………

 

The net is intended to remind us of Cros-de-Cagnes and its fishermen, while the flying fish symbolises Haut-de-Cagnes and its castle, located between the sky and sea.

Setch is in fact a couple of married artists,  Sophie Gastaud and Christian Joliff, who met at the Beaux Arts and worked as architects before returning to to their first love of sculpture and painting.

This challenge is kindly hosted by Susan Kelly over at No Fixed Plans.

Share a photo of a statue or sculpture – go on, give it a go, you know you want to!

One from the vaults: Off season, what off season?

I’m going to continue with this series of posts and, again, I’ll try not to choose too many cycling ones. This is from way back in 2012 when I was Secretary (and Treasurer) of my previous cycling club.

A few of our young racers

Cycling clubs don’t have off seasons, we ride all year round. Our season is dictated either by the federations or associations of which we’re members, and who run the various events, and our financial year. This year or, I should say, this past 15 months where the local council have effectively pulled a “fast one”. They asked all the clubs to bring their financial year end in line with the calendar year end, which in our case meant having a 15 month year. However, we still only received the same subsidy as for the previous 12 months. A point I shall forcibly remind everyone, including M le Maire, when I present the club’s financials at Friday’s AGM.

Membership of those federations which control the season’s races are also for a calendar year, while the one which runs the weekly pointages (clubs take it in turn to host a Sunday run with a feed zone, clubs get points for each member turning up) and the brevets (untimed “race” on open roads, points awarded to clubs not individuals) runs from 1 September to 31 August. This means, in practice, that the licence renewal season  extends over a 6 month period. Yes, you need licences for each of the associations. They’re not expensive but it does start to add up, particularly as you need a current medical certificate for each one.

Often, with the racers, there’s a last minute rush to renew their licence just before the first race of the new season. Licences cannot generally be obtained quickly, so I often have to provide the racer with an “attestation” confirming that he’s (it’s always a he) paid his dues, the licence has been requested (copy attached) and I’m just waiting for it to be processed and returned or, in extremis, collected.

However, once the season’s well underway, it’s unusual to receive requests for new licences. Unless that is there’s been a falling out. More common than you might think. Licences can be transferred between clubs during the season providing the receiving club is prepared to compensate the club the rider’s fleeing. Racers can’t change clubs, even at the end of the season, without the agreement and signature of the president. The relevant paperwork then has to be processed by the respective federations before the transfer can go ahead.

Apart from our hardcore membership, some of whom were founder members of the club over 40 years ago, each season we attract new members. Some have moved into the area, others have resolved to get back on their bikes. But a bit like New Year gym memberships, their resolve often doesn’t last long. They join, turn up for a couple of pointages,  get tailed off the back of the peloton and are never seen again. When they don’t renew, I do send them an email enquiring why they haven’t. Lack of time is the most oft cited reason and an acceptably polite response.

Some people are what I call “cycling club sluts”. They constantly do the rounds of the clubs,  a few years here and a few years there. One’s never too sure what it is they’re seeking, but clearly they haven’t found it yet.

It’s important to establish a solid membership who renew each year and who encourage friends and family to join too. That’s really the holy grail of most clubs. So far we’ve been pretty successful in raising membership to almost 200 members.

One pressing dilemma is the average age of members. We’ve managed to keep ours (just) below 50. However, the federation which organisations the pointages awards more points to those over 50. The most points are for those in the “ladies over 50” category, sadly we’ve very few of these. They’re like gold dust and a number of other clubs have tried to poach me. I’m not sure whether it’s for my point scoring ability, my skills in the kitchen, or a combination of both. However, I have so far held fast and resisted temptation.

Cee’s Flower of the Day #6

Another challenge I’ve decided to embrace this year, largely because I took photos of so many flowers last year!

Cee’s challenge is all about bringing a little beauty and colour into our daily lives. Who wouldn’t be in favour of that?

Challenge rules, why not join in?

1.Feel free to post every day or whenever you you feel like it.  You can either post new flower photos or dig back into your archives.

2. Depending on the time of year, you can post any of these types of things for your FOTD.

  • Single flowers
  • Buds
  • Multiple flowers
  • Bouquet
  • Flower fields
  • Wildflowers
  • Tree or bush blossoms
  • Autumn leaves
  • Spring leaves
  • Decorative Cabbage
  • Berries
  • Still life
  • Fake or Silk Flowers