Thursday, June 28, 2018

Home Again, Remembering Lyon. . .

After almost six weeks away from home, I'm sorting out a workable schedule again. Appointments and grandkids and writing projects to catch up on. Sleep, fitness, diet, all the good health stuff.  Remembering old priorities and figuring out how to make room for new ones.

And sorting through photos to free up some space on my MacBook. . .

Funny how a trip to a city barely a month ago seems rather distant now -- equally funny to me that it will take more time to bring that city closer again, in memory. Do you know what I mean? Does travel change the relationship between space and time for you as well?

The day we serendipitously discovered this traboule in Lyon, for example, just hours after I'd been reading about the secret passageways throughout the city that allowed bolts of silk to be moved from one place to another expeditiously and without being exposed to rain which could damage the fabric.
These passageways often involved stairs in what were otherwise private buildings. This one, the "Passage de l'Abbaye de la Déserte" was apparently built in 1304, according to a plaque/street sign.
We experienced only a minor drizzle while in Lyon
and the rain wouldn't have bothered my linen jumpsuit anyway,
but Pater took the opportunity to try out my new iPhone's camera. . .

I "sent you a postcard" from Lyon in this post, and on Instagram I shared a photo of a journal sketch I was working on in that city. I thought you might like to see the finished version, one of my favourite pages in my little black Moleskine
For those who find my writing difficult to decipher: The meal itself was not especially notable, although my spinach flan was wonderfully light. The service was efficient, but not much more, and the conviviality some shared in the neighbourhood restaurant didn't extend to us. But the setting, our table on the sidewalk, across from these pretty pastel homes. . . 

My good friend Alison Watt, who introduced me to the joys of travel journalling by teaching me some simple techniques and by warmly encouraging all my efforts, is offering two sketching (drawing, painting, travel journalling) workshops in Lyon this September with her friend Kelley Aitken (like Alison, Kelley is an artist, a writer, and a teacher). I heard last week that a few spots have opened up in both the week of 7th-14th and of the 16th-23rd. More information here, if you're interested.

Dinner's ready, apparently, and I will confess to you that after more than a month of restaurant meals, Pater and I will be sitting down in front of the TV tonight and catching up with the Fab Five on Queer Eye. . . Domestic routines. Not glam, but rather comforting.  . .


22 comments:

  1. What a lovely sketch...catching the moments....
    And the photos..(even some frescos :-)?)
    As times goes by-not only while traveling,but especially than- it plays with the reality,yes
    Your jumpsuit seems like a real workhorse and it looks really nice
    Dottoressa

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    1. Yes, you spotted those frescoes, did you? ;-)
      The jumpsuit is, indeed, a true workhorse -- I've even worn it once already back here at home, even with all my regular wardrobe to choose from.

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  2. I have been loving your sketchbook in your recent posts. Not surprised Lyon seems so distant. Travel has a very strange effect upon memory especially when you are away a while. I need to download all my photos. A job yet to do. Getting back to normal is hard work. B x

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    1. Thanks, B. So funny to remember that just four years ago I told a curious diner at a neighbouring table in Rome that I wasn't willing to share a peek into my travel journal (I did think he needed a lesson in boundaries, tbh). I've been shy about revealing my amateur efforts, but encouragement like yours helps me see my sketching as just another way to represent my experiences.
      Have fun/good luck with the photo downloading and sorting -- it's a chore, but also such a pleasure, revisiting the travel moments. (I'm determined that this time I'll actually get some of the images printed! -- We'll see. . . )

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  3. Wonderful photos and details. I didn't know about the silk.
    Re restaurant service: it's a completely different concept here. It's supposed to be efficient to the point of being almost magical--so you don't see it happening (napkin falls? it's replaced, quickly and wordlessly). A waiter who jokes around with diners would be seen as an intruder on their conversation. They'll do it, but only if coaxed.
    If some tables seemed to get friendlier service, it might be because the diners were regulars or actually friends of the servers or the owners. It most likely wasn't an affront to you!

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    1. Thanks, TofFrance -- isn't that interesting about the silk and those hidden passageways?
      I like the efficiency of French restaurant service -- over the years we've also been fortunate enough to have that service extended into a quasi-social relationship when, as you say, we've become regulars, if temporarily so (invited to a seat at the counter for a post-lunch cognac and chat with the owners, for example, or to stay and watch the game (him, not me; I kissed him good-bye and headed home) at the corner brasserie. I would imagine you will have many, many examples of such unbending. Lucky!
      We didn't feel at all affronted, and I only noted the conviviality in which we weren't particularly included because it wasn't necessary to our enjoyment of the evening -- the food, service, surrounding company were merely backdrop to the sweetness of our own sharing of the light, the setting. . . one of those special moments. . .

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  4. Your travel journal is beautiful, and points out the advantage to such diaries, versus a memory card stuffed with photos that (in my case) never seem to be culled and organized. Welcome home!

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    1. Thanks so much, K. I really do feel the advantage as I go through photos and wonder at why I took so many, try to recall their circumstances -- each sketch, by contrast, took more thought and presence in its making (which generally happened over an extended period, sometimes even days, as layers of watercolour dried and were added to).

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  5. I really have enjoyed your sketches. Your travel journal is a keepsake, i'm sure. I seldom look at photos on the computer but there is a greater investment of time in the sketching/painting process. Welcome home!

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    1. Thanks Mme. I'm so glad you've enjoyed the sketches. I seldom look at the photos I've taken either -- we can so easily take hundreds now that we're less likely to focus on the image or moment (pun unintentional).

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  6. Your sketches are so charming and you've really captured what I remember as the "feel" of Lyon here. It was such a treat to catch up with you there. That headshot of you in the linen jumpsuit is beautiful, did Pater use portrait mode on the phone?

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    1. Thanks, Sue. It was so good to be able to visit with you and le Monsieur in Lyon. Yes, I've got him using portrait mode -- it's a favourite feature on the new phone. . .

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  7. I'm admiring each sketch you post, and today I went and purchased a sketch book and a fresh trio of Micron pens to pack in my travel art kit. We're going to the Broughton Islands for a couple of weeks. The scenery will be very different from what you saw, but I'm hoping to capture the wildness with some sketching. Perhaps I'll be brave enough to share it.

    Pater's photo of you is so charming.

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    1. So cool, Lorrie -- if I played any part in pushing you (back?) to sketching, I'm very pleased. I'd love to see what you do with that -- you have such a great photographer's eye, but/and I think the sketching accesses something else we want to capture or express.
      Thanks re the photo -- I'll tell him . .

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  8. Your journaling has really hit the next level - where they don't just communicate you, they communicate what you see. And that PHOTO!

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    1. I do think I'm making progress with the sketching -- thanks!
      As for the photo, I have to say that my eye tends to be critical, but I do think that the Portrait mode does a good job -- and the photo captures how well my hair behaved in Lyon. So much better than Paris, where it never likes the water. . .

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  9. What fascinating relics of the past and how easy it would be to overlook the significance of the traboules. All these historical references hidden in plain sight...

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    1. Exactly so! I think if we go back, we might do a walking tour with a French-speaking guide -- work on our language skills, get some exercise, and learn a bit of history at the same time.

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  10. I also never knew that about the silk, but it makes sense to protect it from the weather. I just bought an asymmetric pink silk/cotton tunic in Cos in London, and will think of this piece of history as I wear it...Thanks for your previous post with the photos of women in their summer dresses. I tried to comment whilst I was in Reykjavik but the internet gods wouldn't let me! I am just home three nights and slowly acclimatizing to the rhythms of home as well. It feels good to cook in my own kitchen (grilled zucchini with olive oil, sprinkled with feta, mint, and pomegranate seeds, recipe nicked from my sister-in-law), and to get back into my exercise regime. Welcome home! Brenda

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    1. Ooh, Cos-shopping in London, very nice! I thought of you at Midsummer, spending the solstice up on the roof ;-) Must have been quite a party!
      I love the sound of that recipe -- are there pomegranates in the shops here right now? Will have to check. I've just been craving a watermelon salad (with the same feta and mint, but also black olives -- wonder if that might also work with grilled zucchini).
      Hope we can manage a visit before too long -- can't wait to hear about your trip!

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    2. I am afraid I just bought the seeds (can't remember their wonderful name, starts with a "a"}. I was in bed relatively early on Solstice but it was a clear night and the revellers in the restaurant below were up until 4.00. They weren't obnoxious though just conversation and laughter. Yes, we will need to get together soon.

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  11. Your illustrated journal is becoming something wonderful, and I love the way it captures the sense of yourself in a place. I am sure it takes effort, but it also seems so powerfully reminiscent, something to treasure. This points to my continued struggle with photos. I take them, but then they seem like lot echoes of something I can't quite put my finger on. Perhaps I need to push into new territory.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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