Thursday, January 6, 2022


Jupiter ( as bright as an engagement ring diamond ) and a crescent moon shimmer away in last nights sky. The village street lights turn off at nine - a new cost saving measure by the young mayor. This leaves the skies untroubled by light . Our part of France is noted for being 'light free' and attracts a lot of star gazers. We stand outside after dinner and watch the Chinese spy satellites glide over the Airbus plant in Toulouse. The locals view this enthusiasm for standing outside, in the cold, in winter, with an element of 'surprise' bordering on alarm.

Sophie starts her day with a 5:50 tour of the garden.  These early starts ensure that we are the first ones down by the river. The overnight gale has brought out exotic and alluring scents so our sniff every blade of grass progress is glacial. Angus has long ago discovered that trying to hurry along a PONette is like trying to herd C-A-T-S.  It doesn't work.

Covid cases have risen again. More than three hundred thousand yesterday. Adjusted for population that's equivalent to 1.5 million in the US . Thankfully, hospitalizations remain low. For the next couple of weeks we shall remain 'cautious' and revert to using click and collect for all our shopping. Just a little more patience before it burns itself out ?

Back in the village we find that in the strong winds one of the old oaks that line either side of the ox track has blown over. The ox track is blocked.

An avenue of oaks were planted at the time of the revolution. They line the ox track linking the ridge with the valley and stream.  A cynic might think there would  have been more pressing things to do in a revolution than planting oaks but why let logic spoil a good story ? Slowly but surely they're now dying off. The Rickety Old Farmhouse once had twenty or so in its grounds but after 250 years only three are left. We've replanted where they once stood but oaks are slow growing. In fifty years time the replacements might start to look the part.

Random e-mail of the day from an auction house. Is it the angels that make this picture so memorable ? :


Lisa in France said...

Your star stories make me jealous. Last weekend, we were thrilled to be able to see Orion's belt down by the ocean away from Tokyo. In town, it's hopeless, although we can at least see Jupiter. I regret that my kids have never experienced a meteor shower, and I am determined to fix that sometime soon. In any event, I can't complain today, as it is snowing in Tokyo! Wet, goopy snow, but lots of it and beautiful all the same. Charlie is finding it quite thrilling. We are also taking a cautious approach these days, as Tokyo's new cases have more than tripled over the past three days, so it is good to have the snow as a diversion. The Botticelli is amazing.

Taste of France said...

To my great surprise, TousAntiCovid pinged me this morning to say I was in contact on Monday with someone who tested positive. I dropped off a check (one person in the office; was there 2 minutes) and donated blood (two other donors, six staff; took 45 minutes or so...I was unmasked with the donors as we downed our post-donation "collation"--the obligatory snack and wait time to make sure we don't pass out on the way home). Very curious what happens next. I'm supposed to go get tested. But I've read that Omicron doesn't show up in early tests, so I guess I'll just isolate for a while then test.

Coppa's girl said...

Those first two photos of Sophie by the lake have a desolate look about them. Perhaps it was the early hour and the overnight gale?
Sad about the old oaks - it's not just losing the ancient tree but the history it takes with it. I wonder what history will attach itself to the ones you have planted in your garden? Will a certain little family of PONS be remembered?

Travel said...

Nice time of the morning for a refreshing stroll.

Camille said...

Along with star gazing we're devoted to watching the International Space Station pass over our house whenever conditions are ideal for viewing. I have an app on my phone which beeps to let me know when the ISS is crossing the sky within our view. Its always best either at dusk or dawn and looks like a bright planet scooting along at a steady pace. Fascinating. We a!ways salute the men and women bravely conducting their experiments 240 miles above earth. Yes,our lovely neighbors mostly think we're nuts. The Botticelli is beautiful.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM none of your oaks are likely to reach Ancient status? (Who knew there was an echelon of oaks?!) YAM xx

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Oh yes, I am an ISS devotee too! I think I shared the link to the PC app with Angus a while back. Everyone I have shown that sight to has been delighted and become followers. In case anyone else is interested, this is the link. YAM xx

Sharon said...

Thanks Yamini, I will download today. I live in area with very few lights at night, but unfortunately it is winter in Canada and I live a few blocks from Lake Ontario, so there are a lot of clouds. I look forward to clear skies. Do you know of an App that will identify stars. Jupiter when visible is very easy to see.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
Sharon - in Google Store (or Apple if that's your bite), look for "Star Walk 2" - which offers the following:
• Stars and constellations, their position in the night sky
• Solar system bodies (solar system planets, the Sun, the Moon, dwarf planets, asteroids, comets)
• Deep Space objects (nebulae, galaxies, star clusters)
• Satellites overhead
• Meteor showers, equinoxes, conjunctions, full/new Moon and etc.
YAM xx

Sharon said...

Thanks Yamini