PhotoBeast

The Photography Blog from Beastmaster.co.uk


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A Walk Around Mougins Shooting On The Fuji

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We had spent the morning in Grasse making perfume at the Galimard factory. It was a morning well spent which we rounded off with a lovely lunch in the old part of Grasse.

To keep the easy going lazy style of the day we headed to Mougins a medieval hilltop village above Cannes. It is a prosperous village populated by artists and fine restaurants. It is a sleepy village with a wonderful photography museum and a clasical art museum. I always feel, I dunno… just right when I meander around this village. We spotted some cushions with Picasso prints on them and nearly wobbled into a tasty purchase. Each turn presented a piece of art to ponder on and admire. Similar to the bronzed man we saw in Antibes, his brothers were leaping naked around Mougins. Mougins was a better pleace for their presence.

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Once parked we got a lift to the top which brought us out by the tourist office and a large open square. The Elf went for a few minutes of contemplation and I went for a few minutes snapping The Elf doing her contemplation. What can I say, the place evokes thought.

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I liked this photo of her on the bench – the leg, bright red and stretched and matched by a red art work towards the end of the open space – thoughts.

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We wandered through the narrow streets stumbling upon other art works. Grand pieces in tiny spaces, the impact of the work emphasised all the more because of this. Look at this wonderful piece in this tiny square. I have a courtyard back garden, or a pocket handkerchief back garden if you prefer here at home in Malvern God I would love a piece of art such as this dominating that tiny space.

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Around another corner and an artist declared her trade by painting the side of her studio. Just wonderful.

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Another corner turned and we were by the Photography Museum and I loved this shot juxtaposing a huge Picasso billboard on the museum wall with another glorious bronze statue. This photo is Three Men, Three Worlds.

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Yet the same work of art  becomes a different story from another angle.

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Another few corners turned and we were confronted by a huge leap into the unknown. Spying this bronzed man taking his step into the future between two wonderful old buildings that framed a vista of sunshine and blue sky was truly a powerful presentation. Hmmm maybe I lose something giving it you in black and white, when the South of France is so much about colour. Ok, you get two versions of this!

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My wife Lady P added her simple English beauty to an elegant street scene of Mougins. Works perfectly for me.

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More art work in the streets came our way and you just feel uplifted being here.

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Satiated with art we flopped into a cafe for the most wonderful Cappucino, Cafe Gourmand and English Tea ever. A lovely place – go see.


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A Walk Around Antibes Shooting On The Fuji

Our recent vacation to the south of France saw us in Antibes for lunch after collecting Peanut’s daughter The Elf from Nice airport as she had flown in to join us on the Tuesday for the rest of the week.

We parked at the port by the side of the old town and this immediately gave us our first shot.

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I was pleased with this straightaway just about getting enough light in the faces of Mrs P and The Elf while capturing a beautiful port shot behind. The girls looked suitably South of France fashionable,the boats looked expensive and there is even an old castle right at the back.

Our plan was to find the Picasso Museum and have lunch in a restaurant nearby and then do the Museum. Well we soon found the museum, so I grabbed a shot including the two girls once more. People in pictures sems to be my thing just now. Sounds obvious but people bring a photo to life.

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As it happened a restaurant did not appear close to the museum so via a short cut we headed back to a very nice looking restaurant we had spotted earlier. A short cut took us back via the local market, which just begged for a couple of quick shots to be taken.

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After cutting through this delightful market we sat down for a lovely meal at a very appealing restauarant bedecked with lots of white table cloths. The sun shone, the food was lovely, the wine flowed and I was dining with two pretty girls. It was all good.

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After lunch we meandered back to the Picasso Museum only to find it closed for lunch. Lurking around the entrance deciding on our next plan, I looked down on a tiny square. The colours immediately struck me of the walls around the little square and the pattern of the floor too. The people were all sat down almost symmetrically spaced and I just felt I was gifted a rather wonderful photo. I grabbed it and for me this is one of my favourites from the holiday.

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We walked about the town shopping and browsing and giving up on the museum. I spotted a bronze statue by the port and thought it worthy of a shot. We were to see a lot more street art as we explored the south of France. Anyway I felt pleased with where I went with this shot.

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So there you have it a brief glimpse into Old Antibes a pretty little place worth a look.


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Holiday Diary – Port Cogolin Friday 8 May

  
Today was to be a lazy beach day, so we decided we would get to L’Escalet for a shade after 12 have lunch straightaway then walk it off with a stroll along the coast and recover from that with a few hours on the beach. Yep we all knew that this was a darned good plan.

First though it was croissants in the loggia. So I nipped to the garage for those and sneaked in a pain au chocolat for myself! Before that I had spent a pleasant hour in the morning sun catching up on our holiday blog. To be honest I rather treasure this hour and it’s fun writing up the holiday before the memories fade.

  
Our simple but lovely breakfast done it was time for a stroll around Port Cogolin checking all was well. It really is lovely. We ended up at the furniture shops at the entrance to Port Cogolin and. I realised that the beautiful Lloyd Loom white table with navy chairs would at almost 1000 euros never adorn our terrace. Oh well c’est la vie as they say somewhere exotic overseas.

  
The morning had vanished so we climbed in PaceBeast for our drive to L’Escalet. This in itself is a spectacular drive. We head towards La Croix Valmer Then turn left at the second sign for Gassin. Here the road winds up the hills towards Gassin which is a beautiful  medieval hill top village. There are some delightful restaurants up here that command gorgeous views over the Gulfe de St Tropez. From here we follow the signs to Ramatuelle another pristine hill top village and then out to the coast. Turning right we then pick up the L’Escalet signs and arrive at a beautiful French coastline with beautiful walks between wonderful secret coves and magical islands that touch the mainline with a mere sliver of sand.

L’Escalet is a great place to go on a Sunday too as if you go earlier you can stop in Ramatuelle on route and enjoy the lovely Provençal market they have with its fine mix of food, cheese and clothes stalls.

As we drove between Gassin and Ramatuelle we passed an old windmill which we have visited many times before. We have had lots if fun there from simple picnics to epic arguments with irate French people objecting to us photographing our MINIs next to the windmill. We have stopped to film the brown cows herding there evocative with their bells ringing loudly. Today we drove straight threw opening our windows to enjoy the clanging of the cow bells around their necks.

Our drive saw us looking over the famous beaches of Pampelonne where topless sun bathing first took off in the sixties. St Tropez has never stopped swinging since, constantly reinventing itself to always appeal to the rich and famous as well as the poor and infamous such as I. Beautiful vineyards cascade down the hillside to meet these beaches, all framed by a Provençal blue sea touching a matching sky. It all makes for a quite spectacular drive.

  
Parked by the beach we headed for the food van and ordered our standard burger and chip baguette. This is a long standing ritual for us. Our holiday would not be the same without it. We share a double one. The Elf had no option and got the single. For one person it is daunting but fair play she demolished it!

  
A walk followed. We drove as far as we could right as you look at the sea. Parked and began walking along the coastal paths. This walk passed my favourite beach in all the world and heads to Cap T’Ailat my favourite island, which in my mind I think of as Kirrin Island – Enid Blyton’s Island in the Famous Five books – here we were then Julian, George and Anne. Dick must have been elsewhere walking Timmy.

  
We have seen these hills burned by fire in the past but this May they were simply spectacular. The sea a deep blue mixed with a turquoise, where sand lightened the colour. The sky one shade lighter than the sea. The land was a healthy luscious green freckled with wild poppies in strong red shades, purple lavender, yellow wild dandelions, blue harebells and other pretty wild flowers in pink. The result is nothing less than spectacular. 

  
I paused on the walk and looked down as we passed my favourite beach. There was less driftwood than I have known in the past and it looked better than ever. I knew I had to catch my breath from this walk relaxing on my beach. I was tempted to spray my Naploeon aftershave on,march down to my beach, raise my flag  and clear everyone from my beach. You can’t dear your aftershave is in the apartment. Mrs P applied a reality check.

Soon Kirrin Island pulled my eye towards it. Seven or eight small boats nestled in its lee. White dots in a beautiful Aqua sea, the island a resplendent green towering behind. 

  
We enjoy photography. Our latest thing is to achieve a particular shot. Our last adventure in Venice in February challenged us to photograph a carnevale person with an iconic Venetian background. By the skin of our teeth we got the shot and a masked Venetian now hangs on our landing guarding our stairs. The Elf stands on a crossroad in a life facing a future of uncertainty or opportunity. A time of contemplation.  Our mission is to catch this contemplation in a photograph and perhaps this walk will see us capture this poignancy.

  
I had walked enough. I decamped on the beach – without my flag. Peanut and the Elf kindly nipped back to the car for our beach stuff. We dozed, we chatted, we fixed the world. We stared at the sky and watched amazing clouds. We watched a ballet dancer leap off the Uk and fly across the Atlantic before in minutes turning into the circle of life you can see below. I have no doubt in my mind that these were magical clouds.

  
Home beckoned. We all showered. The girls glammed up and we enjoyed an Italian meal in the restaurant underneath us. Mint lamb chops with red peppers, onion and potatoes for me, prawn ravioli for Peanut and asparagus risotto for The Elf. I had a tiny tiramisu And coffee for dessert, strawberry Mille feuille  for P and mousse cafe for Elfie. White wine washed it down. 

  
A lazy end to a lazy day punctuated constantly with the beauty of the south of France.


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Holiday Diary – Thurs 7 May

  
I was excited about today I won’t lie. I had booked for Peanut and The Elf to make their own perfume at the Galimard factory in Grasse and I was hoping they would enjoy it. We had to be at Galimard for ten. It was an hour away so we determined to leave at 8.30 factoring for parking up/ getting lost/ traffic hold ups. It was just juice and breakfast cereal today, no time to eat croissants too!

We were away at 8.30. There were no traffic issues and we got there just after 9.30. “Ah no Monsieur this is the museum” and we were directed two minutes up the road. This proved elusive beyond belief until The Elf found a second address on the confirmation e-mail. We punched it into the sat nav and 3 minutes later we were parked right outside the door at ten to ten. “Another well planned military operation” I pronounced as I so love to do. Peanut patted me on the head or was it a Gibbs NCIS slap?

We were ushered in to start almost immediately. About ten girls in all and one other lad accompanying his girlfriend. I suspect he was as pleased to see me as I was him!

The first question was are you making a fragrance for a man or a woman and I almost wish I’d paid the extra to make my own aftershave.

  
Anyway the girls got going. I watched, photographed, played on my phone and quietly enjoyed myself. Half time and we looked around the gift shop. There were lots of beautiful perfume bottles for sale and I spotted a beautiful Galimard scarf which I snapped up for P. Very elegant, a bit sir hostessy but very P! Then I spotted Naploeon 1815 a new aftershave. Well this is the 200th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo and Naploeon is a gloriously pompous vain little man. It was just so me, I had to have it. Importantly too it seemed to be an enduring fragrance. I like perfume to have staying power. That was me done though in truth it would have been cheaper to make my own perfume!

  
Back to the course and for P it was like being back in her lab at work. See how two of the notes have not yet mixed in her tube below!

  
This was fun and the girls were looking pleased with how their fragrances were shaping up. Finally they were done and the perfumes were dispensed into their own named bottles. Peanut upgraded her bottle to one with a puffer thingy which looked delightfully feminine. I had assumed The Elf would call her perfume Amelia her first name, but she surprised us naming hers Sophie after her middle name. Peanut meanwhile had given this some thought so Sospiri was born – Italian for sighs and to remind us of the Bridge of Sighs in Venice. It was lovely to see the finished product bearing the creations name.

  
  
What is nice is you can reorder the perfume as they keep the recipe and you can also get soap and bath bubbles etc in your fragrance. Christmas is sorted then.

We each left then with 100ml of perfume, a scarf and upgraded bottles and 220 euros lighter of pocket. A fun morning though and we were all very pleased.

Time for lunch so we headed for Old Grasse and after half an hour of very pleasant meandering through the old streets we ended up in a long wide street full of restaurants. We have eaten here a few times in the past so we picked a restaurant and sat down. Again the light was beautiful with blue skies hovering above the terracotta coloured stucco old buildings. Flowers punched vivid colour into the scene as they adorned the plane trees and fountains along the street.  I love the south of France and Italy for the ease with which they create beauty where to the wrong eye it might seem to be all falling down. It is an easy part of the world to enjoy being in love in.

  
Anyway lunch. The Elf had a cheese omelette and me and P had the plat de jour which was pork in a sauce with tomatoes and mushrooms and chips. Lovely, but my chemo treatment has receded a gum in my mouth and the pain is a reminder of reality in this perfect world that is Provence.

  
After lunch we meandered back to the car and headed for Mogins about 15 minutes away. Mougins is a very pretty and prosperous hill top village full of lovely restaurants  and galleries and painters. We were tempted by some cushions that had Picasso art on them but bottled it at 85 euros a cushion. They were lovely and I think Picasso would have appreciated his art being displayed this way.

  
After several circuits of the village we stopped for a drink. I had a lovely cappuccino while the Elf had a gorgeous cafe Gourmand. Peanut had tea which produced a tea box for her to choose her tea from. It was all rather nice.

  
  
We headed for home after our drinks but broke the journey up with a break in Ste Maxime. Here we explored the old streets of the centre and an Italian market that was on the front. We stumbled upon a shop selling cotton shirts in every colour and all bought ourselves the same grey shirt. The Elf emerged from the changing room looking frankly sickeningly pretty in her shirt. P looked good wearing it in her own unique way and then there was me. Frankly looking average I bought mine to be in the gang. Was great fun and so we headed for a cafe to celebrate with iced coffee and orangina for Peanut.

  
The last bit home took us past the main camp site for the Harley Davidson festival. The atmosphere was petrolicious. The bikers, the leathers, the chrome, no two Harley’s ever the same and I thought of two friends I used to work with at Evesham Technology, Carol and Craig Fairs. They would have loved this. Heck for all I know they are there living their dream.

Wafted home on a mistral of petrol fumes we fell into the apartment tired after a really fun day.


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Holiday Diary – Port Cogolin Wed 6 May

  
Today was deemed a lazy beach day, so it began with a lie in before I got up had some Frosties on the terrace and caught up with the world on my iPhone.  Then I went to the garage on the corner before Geant for some fresh croissants. Unfortunately they had sold out so I carried on to Geant for them. I love this morning stroll and enjoy a look in the furniture stores at the entrance to St Tropez . They had a beautiful Lloyd Loom Breakfast table and chair set. A white table and two navy chairs it was gorgeous, though expensive I’m guessing.

When I got back The Elf and P were both up. The sofa bed in the living room was tucked away, so we had our croissants straight away. A simple but lovely way to get the day going. The sun was out in force giving a perfect Provençal day with blue blue skies contrasting beautifully to the rich earthy, terracotta colours of the buildings around the port facing us.

We headed out making a quick stop at Maisons du Monde to show it to Amelia and also the Morgan clothes shop next door. Second time round for P and she was restless for the beach so we headed off in the direction of La Croix Valmer as we were off to Gigaro.

  
The blue sky ran into a lovely calm blue sea the join between the two blurred by a faint mist which was hiding the Porquerolles on the horizon. It was a day for painters and artists. It was just after 12 so we dived into a beautiful restaurant on the beach. The views were lovely and the setting ideal. For our sins we watch Montalbano an Italian detective series set in Sicily with English subtitles. Montalbano spends a lot of time in a restaurant which I instantly thought of as I sat here in this perfect world.

  

  
  
We ordered. Salads for the girls but I was emboldened by my comparison to the world of Montalbano. Like all Italians he loved his food. So I ordered grilled sardines with rice and green beans. Nine of the bug gars turned up in a line on my plate each head pointing at me and my boldness faded as the sardines began to intimidate me.

This was no longer lunch, this was a psychological battle between me and the sardines, it was a challenge. It was some sort of reality TV programme and I was alone in a desert island having to catch my own food, the outcome was a dishonourable draw with me defeating 5 of the 9 sardines. In my defence these were not ordinary sardines, each one was the size of the fish Jesus used when he fed the five thousand with just Five fish. Thinking of it in those terms then I did not do too badly, I had just ate as much fish in one go as 5000 people did in biblical times!

We meandered along the beach and decamped and I quickly settled to read another mushy romance novel by Kate Fitzroy. Guilty secret? No I’m not even embarrassed I love the world she weaves. This one centres around Tuscany and Siena, where all being well we are headed in September.

  
Beaches are never dull. A small party of the most adorable kindergarten kids you ever set eyes on formed a circle around their teacher for lessons on the beach. It was delightful to see. Peanut and Amelia however barely noticed. Adonis was standing in front of us adorning nought but a scarf around his medals. He bent over to tuck the tail of his scarf under his crotch and into the top of the scarf at the back. He turned  round to show how tightly this packed his medals. Embarrassed for P I gently wiped away some dribble that was falling from the corner of her mouth. Mother and daughter saw little else on the beach that day. Feeling faintly left out I gazed forlornly around seeking some beautiful breasts to gaze idly at. Thwarted, I returned to my romantic novel.

  
By half four we had done with the beach and decided to pop into St Tropez on the way home. From Gigaro the route is a beautiful scenic route through the vineyards and hills behind the famous beaches of Pampelonne. A clever short cut we know sees us at our favourite car park in Place des Lices without encountering any traffic.

Peanut bought a little top, I looked in a few watch shops, we enjoyed an ice cream watching the artists along the harbour. We watched fascinated as a huge yacht reversed into its parking spot. The less than walking speed of the manoeuvre gave it all a glorious sense of occasion. A street performer had seemingly suspended himself in mid air, pleased at the attention he was getting until he realised everyone was watching the yacht.

Time for home and we dropped into Geant for some salad for dinner.

  
We had a leisurely evening built around dinner on the loggia. The perfect end to a simple but lovely day.


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Holiday Diary – Port Cogolin Tuesday May 5

  
Today was a special day. The Elf was coming. Me and Peanut were up early and set the alarm for 7.30. We rolled over several times but nevertheless we were sat outside of arrivals 5 minutes before The Elf wafted through.  

Big hugs and were in the car headed for Old Antibes. The plan was to visit the Picasso Museum so we headed there but decided to have lunch first. Almost immediately we saw a pretty restaurant with white rattan chairs and tables and lovely table cloths but we decided to push on to the museum and find another one closer too. It never happened but a shortcut so us quickly back to the first restaurant so we bagged a table. 3 plat de jours were ordered and this was a filet of dourade fish in a basil cream mousse surrounded by a modest amount of wedges. White wine washed it down and dessert was creme caramel for me, chocolate and strawberry ice cream for The Elf and chocolate mousse for Lady P. 

  
It really was a rather charming lunch but it left us full and sluggish. We bumbled back to the Picasso Museum to find it still closed for lunch, so then we meandered around the ships of Old Antibes.  By common consent we all decided we were now very tired so decided to return to the car and head to the apartment in Port Cogolin. 

A shame in some ways, as the plan was to see the Picasso Museum, then head for St Paul de Vence for dinner and more art. Great in theory but in practice, I tire very quickly with this chemotherapy treatment and The Elf was tired through flying and being up from 5 am.

We were home for half three. I had a doze and then P and her Elf went to Geant to shop for a light tea. Amelia quickly got into the retail therapy thing coming away from the supermarket the proud owner of some new Birkenstocks. 

We ate informally on our new patio chair set , sharing a pizza and then some fresh fruit salad and cream into which Mrs P had crumbled a meringue. Oh my God was that a wonderful meringue. Stickified to perfection.

Reading and chilling next before bed and another day to go out playing.

  


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Holiday Diary – Port Cogolin Monday 4 May

  
Another lazy lie in and a whole day in front of us to do as we please. It wasn’t beach weather though it was warm, so we decided to get the bits we needed for the flat. We had nowhere to hang our wet towels and indeed we did not have an abundance of towels. So it was time to put a few of the nice things in our life back in the flat.

We decided to go to some local shops on the way to Cogolin, have lunch in Cogolin and then see what we could find in St Tropez. We stopped at a local furniture shop called Fashions of The World as we noticed that our lovely but delicate wine glasses were now down to one. So three of them were picked up. Next door was the Morgan clothes shop, so we spent an hour and a half in there, emerging with a top and a new black Mac for Peanut. Yes the retail therapy was going well. 

Next we went to Leclerc the hypermarket in Cogolin looking for a clothes maiden. No luck. This was being evasive. Time then for simple lunch in Cogolin. We ordered a pizza, a plate of chips and a small carafe of wine. It was a pleasant interlude from the retail therapy. From here we dropped into St Tropez and parked in our favourite little car park in Place des Lices bang in the centre. We walked down a narrow shop lined passage to the port where we clocked some nice towels. Unfortunately, the shop was closed for lunch. At the port we turned left to gaze in the Breitling shop and carried on to the Ferrari shop. Needless to say we left both stores empty handed. The ever fretful Peanut thought my bottom lip was wobbling, so she quickly sat us down and bought us both a caramel Magnum. See I’m an easy man to keep happy!

Back to the port and after admiring the artists lining the harbour we hit the Naf Naf shop where Mrs P bought a lovely black top. We did a quick tour of the watch shops (just looking) and then went back up the passage from the port to Place des Lices. The towel shop was open so we bought the two biggest, whitest, fluffiest towels I have ever set eyes on. Mmmmm can’t wait for my next shower!

  
Back in the car but still no maiden. We went to Weldom a DIY shop right next door to The Morgan shop where our day began. Success we bagged ourselves a Maiden. Well come on you know how much us boys need a maiden in our lives.

  
We now looped back To Geant to buy some cakes and a set of patio furniture that we had previously spotted. The plan was to eat our cakes back at the flat on our new chairs.  However, approximately 4789 bolts went into the building of these chairs. So the cakes became our dessert for dinner. 

  
  
It maybe doesn’t sound like the most fun filled day ever, but to be fair, I got to play fashion advisor to Mrs P for a few hours and DIY supervisor. Yep I was very happy with my day – and tomorrow an Elf is joining us to play out in the South of France.

  

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