Haunting, beautiful, magical

Whilst I love autumn dearly, I always find it so hauntingly sad.  Each year it brings something to an end, a season, a love. More moments gone that turn to memories never to be held again.

This year the heartache is there again, yet the colours are richer than I remember them being in the past nine years on the outskirts of Paris.  Strong, vibrant against blue skies, dancing in the breeze before they float to the ground.

Haunting, beautiful, magical.

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Half

 

Half above water, half under.

It’s just how it is these days.

Heavenly indulgence

Amongst the fall weather that has dominated Paris and the Yvelines throughout August, there have been jackpot days when golden sunshine has emerged, bright and warm.

This little guy soaked in it, as did we all. 

Diving head first into the centre of a wild flower, he drank away in her beautiful nectar before emerging covered in the fairy dust of pollen. So heavy was his binge, he had to take a minute to compose and prepare his wings before hiccupping off to the next flower.

A heavenly indulgence indeed.

Strawberry Fields at the Ferme de Gally

Under the shade of the grey skies currently hovering over the Yvelines, is a farming land, full of colour, rich in flavor, and open the year long for harvesting by all who so desire.

With summer appearing to have decided on a premature exit this year, the last of the seasonal fruits are hanging in there, waiting to be plucked and quickly gobbled by the little fingers reaching up to pick them. 

On the edge of Versailles, and just a short twenty minute drive west of downtown Paris, lies the Ferme de Gally, a produce farm open to the public.  A wonderful example of community, the farm is an open picking ground where seasonal fruits, vegetables and flowers are grown and the gates are open year round to the public to harvest according to their needs, having tasted along the way.

We’ve long ago abandoned the purchasing of strawberries from countries that continue to fumigate with methyl bromide, so the arrival of strawberry season in the local fields is a time of indulgence chez nous. Elevated at chest height, row upon row of succulent Mara des bois strawberries grow, densely hanging, waiting for consumers to come along and pick direct from the producers.

Walking the fields, you’ll find yourself in the company of locals who come and select their weekly produce.  Retirees, wheelbarrows filled with hearty vegetables, share the fields with school groups on an exploration of nature.  Perhaps you’ll end up thick in the raspberry hedges, or as we found ourselves many times this summer, amongst the fields of strawberries where children reach high, grabbing at rich, juicy red fruit, smearing it on their cheeks as they gorge themselves on the luscious treats before they trundle off to the next.

With September drawing nearer, the days of the wonderful richness of the red summer fruits are numbered.  Soon, they’ll be long gone and replaced with pumpkins, squash and the vegetables of winter soups.  Heavy in flavour and warmth, but lacking the light happiness that comes with sweet summer fruits.

Despite the Beatles lyrics, the ‘strawberry fields’ will only linger for a few more weeks, not forever.  If you are after summer fruits and want to storm the fields like a revolutionary party after the likes of Marie Antoinette, time is running out. 

Take this as your official warning. 

NB: Before you set out, be sure to check the Gally website where you’ll find regularly updated information on the what produce is available any given week.

Reflections

It appears the gods are in battle over the control of the skies above Paris. 

Zeus seems to have cast a spell over the skies of Northern France and deemed summer 2010 to be cloudy and cooler than should be expected in August. With the cloud lingering long and heavy during the day, there have been only brief glimpses of the sun for many days now.

Then, as the evening arrives, Astraeus and his gentle winds have blown in and the clouds drift away allowing the stars come out, just in time from some last minute Perséides meteor watching. 

Whilst a little more warmth and sunshine would have been most welcome, the cloudy skies have made for a great canvas of reflections on the water during the day.  Then night arrives, and it’s time to just lay back, look up at the skies and wish upon falling stars. Silent moments to reflect on the world around us.

 Perhaps the weather is like this for a reason.  Perhaps it’s meant to be a summer of reflection.

Summer loving

Sun-day in Versailles

It’s been such a fabulous weekend.  Finishing off with a Sunday in the gardens of the Chateau in Versailles where the sun sparkled like stars on the water.  During the course of the weekend we also managed to discover a  wonderful Thai restaurant tucked away in a lively little street of Paris (details soon) – so good that I’m ready to make the claim that I haven’t enjoyed a meal quite that delicious in a long time.  Yum! 

Here are a couple of pics from Versailles. Hope everyone had a great weekend too!