Friendly Friday Challenge: something learned

The Friendly Friday Challenge is now a fortnightly challenge co-hosted by Amanda from Something to Ponder About and Sandy from The Sandy Chronicles. 

Last week Sandy challenged us challenged us to post about SOMETHING LEARNED recently or during the last year. However, she did say that if we’re stuck for inspiration on the Friendly Friday Challenge, we can “Make up our own Holiday” and post about it.

I managed to solve the conundrum last week, can I do it again?

Let’s look at how I spent last weekend, I was the MotoGP season opener from Qatar.

Maverick Masters the desert

Last weekend saw the opening race in the 2021 MotoGP season which was a cliffhanger!

We are back!

Those were the rousing words of Maverick Vinales  – surely the coolest name in racing – (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) straight after arguably his best premier class performance to date as he claimed victory at the 2021 Barwa Grand Prix of Qatar. And he’s not wrong.

Ducati has won the last two races at the Losail International Circuit in Doha and heading into the opening race of 2021, the Italian manufacturer was favourite to continue the trend. Few expected a Vinales victory. Not because he isn’t capable, but because Ducati’s straight-line speed and off the mark advantage seemed a bit too much to overcome for the Yamaha bikes. Many were proved wrong as Vinales, after being overhauled by the Ducati’s at the start, slowly but surely picked off each rider in front of him to win the race in a commanding fashion.

Yamaha’s game, and the victories we’ve seen from Vinales in recent years, has been to get out in front from the get-go and run their own race, and a lot of the time it has worked, but not often enough. Both Vinales and Yamaha look like improved weapons in 2021, and what was uplifting to see was the Spaniard speaking with such pride in the post-race Press Conference about how happy he is with life at home. He’s now a husband and a father-to-be. A stress-free Vinales is obviously a very, very quick Vinales.

It might have only been Round 1 of the season, but I learned a lot from Qatar’s opener. To display such a performance that is pretty much the total opposite of what we’ve seen from Vinales and Yamaha in recent years is a tell-tail sign that the combination is here to stay at the top of the Championship for the foreseeable.

Of course, lots can change very quickly in MotoGP. There’s no doubt that every rider will be stronger at the same circuit this coming weekend, but Vinales has rekindled old feelings and winning in such fashion surely sends out a warning shot to the rest of the field.

I say bring on the rest of what will I’m sure be an exciting 2021 MotoGP season.

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This year the girls are are opening up the challenge, making its focus not purely on photography but making it a little more varied, a little more open and interesting.

How to join the Challenge

  • Write a post titled ‘Friendly Friday- xxx Prompt name xxx’ with tag ‘Friendly Friday’
  • Include a link to the original Friendly Friendly Challenge post on the host’s blog
  • Optionally, you can include the latest Friendly Friday Challenge logo. Download it here.
  • Comment on the host’s Friendly Friday post, so that other readers can find and read your response.
  • Remember to include a link to your post in your comment. This will guarantee a visit, in the event the automatic ping-back does not work.
  • Visit other Friendly Friday entries by following their links. It’s fun!
  • Follow the host blogs to see future Friendly Friday Challenges
The Benefits
  • Increase your exposure in our blogging communities
  • Inspire and be inspired by diverse blog articles
  • Challenge your creativity
  • Make new friends and keep in touch with old ones

Are you joining in this year? Go on……you know it’ll be fun!

Cee’s Flower of the Day #66

This is such a wonderful challenge, showcasing beautiful flora – flowers, shrubs, trees, bushes and leaves – throughout the 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

Thursday doors #110

Well, would you believe it? I have finally run out of doors. So, I’m going to be dipping into my archives for red doors, posh doors, really really old doors, wrought iron doors, gates, church doors etc etc

Here is a curated selection of really, really old, but still-in-use doors from all over.

 

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favourite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments’ on Dan’s site, anytime between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time).

Cee’s Flower of the Day #65

This is such a lovely challenge, showcasing beautiful flora – flowers, shrubs, trees, bushes and leaves – throughout the 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

Last on the card: March 2021

Here’s my response to Bushboy’s monthly challenge, the last photo taken on my phone in March.

The challenge rules are simple:-

1. Post the last photo on your SD card or last photo on your phone at the end of each month.
2. No editing – who cares if it is out of focus, not framed as you would like or the subject matter didn’t cooperate.
3. You don’t have to have any explanations, just the photo will do
4. Create a Pingback to this post or link in the comments
5. Tag “The Last Photo”

Tour Eiffel: Happy 132nd Birthday

Yes, the Eiffel Tower turns 132 today. It opened in 1889 for the Exposition Universelle of Paris and the first visitors were Buffalo Bill and the British Royal Family – bet that was a fascinating chat!

It was supposed to be dismantled after 20 years, but was saved by having a telegraph transmitter attached to the top. It’s now the most loved icon of Paris, though some people love it more than others. In 2008 a woman “married” the Eiffel Tower and changed her name to Erika La Tour Eiffel.

It’s currently being painted for the 20th time, a job which has to be done regularly and requires a stonking 60 tonnes of paint. “Yellow-brown” is a colour that her designer, Gustave Eiffel favoured, and is the colour chosen for Madame Eiffel as she is affectionately known, a little hint of gold, to have her dressed up for the Paris Olympics in 2024.

Here’s 10 further fun facts about our Birthday Girl:-

1. It was the world’s tallest man-made structure for 41 years until the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York in 1930.

2. The Eiffel Tower is 324 metres tall (including antennas) and weighs 10,100 tonnes. That’s about forty times the height of the Statue of Liberty.

Eiffel Tower, photo taken from a rooftop showing the tree lined avenues around it

3. The Tour is repainted every seven years.

4. In 1960 Charles de Gaulle proposed temporarily dismantling the tower and sending it to Montreal for Expo 67. The plan was rejected which must have made a lot of people breathe a sigh of relief – imagine if they had lost one of the 18,000 metal parts or 2.5 million (yes million) rivets, or if they lost the plans for how it all goes together!

Eiffel Tower at dusk photographed from a side street lined with bars and shops

5. If you’ve ever been up the tower in the wind and thought it was moving – you’re probably right, it sways around six to seven centimetres (2-3 inches) in the wind.

Eiffel Tower at night from the top of Notre Dame Cathedral

6. Every evening, the Eiffel Tower is lit up and literally sparkles for 5 minutes every hour on the hour, thanks to 20,000 light bulbs. Energy saving projectors are used to light the “The Iron Lady”.

7. The famous Beacon emits a light beam which reaches out for miles, scanning the skyline of Paris and reflecting the tower’s position as a universal and symbolic landmark.

8. The Chamber of Commerce of Monza and Brianza (Italy ) valued the Eiffel Tower at 434 billion € in August 2012! This apparently makes it Europe’s most valuable commodity.

9. Around 7 million people a year visit the tower, it is the world’s most visited, paid monument.

10.There are 1665 steps to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Take the lift!

Virtual Tour of the Eiffel Tower

Looking out over all of Paris from the viewing platform of the Eiffel Tower

Head to the famous viewing platform to look over the city of light with this fabulous free virtual tour.

Cee’s Flower of the Day #64

This is such a fun challenge, showcasing beautiful flora – flowers, shrubs, trees, bushes and leaves – throughout the 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

Wordless Wednesday #79

2021’s  Wordless Wednesday is going to feature photos from my trips to Australia. Here’s one from 2019’s #adventuredownunder. Goodness knows when I’ll be able to add to these. I’m kinda hoping to visit again in 2022-23.

Heavenly Chocolate

Easter is just around the corner, which means it’s time to start thinking about chocolate. And you don’t have to be a child to enjoy a visit from the Easter Bunny. What better excuse to indulge in a little of the sweet stuff? While perhaps not as renowned as its Belgian and Swiss neighbours, France does have some lovely chocolateries – I speak from vast experience. So, whether it’s an Easter gift for a loved one, or a treat for yourself, here’s just a small selection of some of the best. Please note this is a calorie-free post!

Alain Ducasse

Grand Œuf tourné - Lait

 

In the heart of the Bastille neighbourhood in Paris, chocolatey aromas fill the street thanks to chocolatier, Alain Ducasse. This old garage, converted into a chocolate atelier sees the chef create tempting cacao creations: chocolate bars studded with candied nuts and filled with caramel mousse, little snack bars to put inside soft bread, truffles with crispy bits…….I could happily spend hours just gazing in the shop window.

La Maison du Chocolat

Pièce Artistique Capitaine Équateur

Founded in 1977 under the leadership of Robert Linxe, La Maison du Chocolat is well known to cocoa lovers. A true trailblazer, the boutique on rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, opposite the Salle Pleyel, was one of the first addresses in Paris to offer chocolate exclusively. If black truffles are a classic, the praline pumpkin seed bites or champagne-flavoured ganaches are a nice surprise.

Pierre Hermé

face-de-l-oeuf-paques-pierre-herme-paris

You can’t talk about chocolate without including Pierre Hermé. Every Easter the pastry virtuoso conceives some real works of art to eat! This year’s Easter Collection on the theme of shells is the result of an unprecedented collaboration between Pierre Hermé and the craftsman decorator Thomas Boog, creator of objects of curiosity that are at once refined, contemporary and baroque. The above egg is all about the contrast between caramelised blonde chocolate, milk chocolate and pure dark chocolate from Belize.

Patrick Roger

A tin of chocolates and a chocolate love heart by French brand Patrick Roger.

Walking into a Patrick Roger store is like walking into an art gallery. And his chocolate certainly looks the part, especially the “design” collection. It’s no surprise then that Patrick Roger is also an exhibiting artist, a sculptor. And what does he sculpt? Chocolate. He then turns these sculptures into bronze, aluminum, marble, or concrete. You can see the original chocolate masterpieces sitting proudly in the centre of his shops.

Hugo & Victor

Among the best chocolatiers in Paris, since 2010 Hugo & Victor, founded by Hugues Pouget (owner of Guy Savoy, Le Bristol and Ladurée), has seduced Paris with its selection of fine chocolates. Spheres filled with salted caramel, tangerine, passion, pear, and hazelnut-vanilla praline have forged this chocolatier a stellar reputation around the globe.

Bonnat

Left: a tin and bag of chocolates by French brand Bonnat. Right: a variety of chocolate bars by Bonnat.

Founded in 1884, Bonnat is a family business currently run by Stéphane Bonnat, son, grandson, and great-grandson of chocolatiers and confiseurs. Bonnat’s flagship is their bars of Grands Crus, a product they invented for the 100th anniversary of the chocolaterie. Since then, the idea has taken off throughout the profession. The Grands Crus are guaranteed to be made purely with cocoa beans from a single origin. There were eight origins for the original Grands Crus Historiques, and they now also have Grands Crus d’Exception and Grand Crus Lait. Don’t you just love their vintage packaging.

Jacques Genin

Jacques Genin has a gorgeous laboratory in the Marais. He works with daughter Jade Genin and only uses high-quality, pure ingredients. Their chocolate contains no additives, preservatives, or flavourings. Sugar is also reduced to the bare minimum. The Genin duo let their chocolate speak for itself. Their production is entirely manual, except for three wrapping machines. This means that they only produce small quantities and can maintain quality. Their ganaches and pralines look almost too pretty to eat. Their caramels are to die for!

Left: singularly wrapped chocolates in a silver box by Jacques Genin. Right: decorated chocolates in a silver box by Jacques Genin.

La Chocolaterie du Bristol

Hotel Le Bristol has opened the doors of its own chocolate factory. Located in the basement of the palace, it is the pastry chef Julien Alvarez who makes 100% home-made and 100% artisanal chocolates, the flagship of Bristolian know-how.

Bernachon

This chocolatier Lyonnaise opened its first store in Paris in 2019. But Bernachon was originally founded in 1953 in Lyon by master chocolate-maker Maurice Bernachon. His son Jean-Jacques Bernachon worked with Paul Bocuse, married his daughter Françoise Bocuse, and later took over the family business. To celebrate Paul Bocuse’s admission into the French League of Honor, Maison Bernachon invented their famous “Président” cake. But Bernachon is also renowned for being a maître chocolatier, from “bean to bar.”

Jean-Paul Hévin

At the age of 24, Hévin worked as a pastry chef alongside famous Michelin-starred French chef and restaurateur Joël Robuchon. In 1986, Hévin earned the prestigious tricolor collar when he was awarded  “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” (Best Craftsman in France) for his work in pâtisserie and confiserie. He’s a regular at the Salon du Chocolat, where he once crafted a wearable chocolate dress for a fashion show, complete with stilettos and cigars. He also likes to experiment, creating concoctions like cheese chocolates for apéro!

Oeuf Arne chocolat

Pierre Marcolini

The renowned Belgian chocolatier, Pierre Marcolini has been demonstrating savoir-faire in chocolate for over twenty years. Known for rare cocoa that it sources from all four corners of the world, the chocolatier is careful to preserve the rich aromas of the chocolate throughout its creation. The in-house star? The chocolate bonbons shaped like little hearts…In winter, the hot chocolate (with cream, chocolate chips and little meringues) is majestic.

All images courtesy of the respective websites

Cee’s Flower of the Day #63

This is such a fun challenge, showcasing beautiful flora – flowers, shrubs, trees, bushes and leaves – throughout the 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