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Playing in Grimaud and St Tropez

Yesterday we went to book a horse riding trip for Thursday and on the way back we stopped in Grimaud for lunch. We had a saunter round and wandered up to the old chateau that tops the hill. It is a lovely place to spend a few hours exploring.

Lunch was lovely. Norwegian salad for me and an omelette for Peanut washed down with a glass of white wine each. A lot of Harley bikers were there making the restaurant busy. 

We had planned to go to the beach but the strength of the sun had waned so we went to St Tropez for a mooch instead. 

We parked in the centre at place des Lices and then headed to the port to grab a few photos of the yachts.

A lot of the more traditional yachts were in the port which to us are more interesting to see. Contrasting with these were the Harleys parked along the quayside. Peanut grabbed this photo. The reddy background is from the seats of one of the more famous cafes that surround the port. I loved this image that P shot.

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A Wet Morning in Port Cogolin

Brilliant sunshine streamed through the narrow gap in our window shutters to wake us with the promise of a beautiful day. However in the time it takes to drink a cup of tea in bed the weather had changed and dark, heavy clouds promised  a downpour. 

And down it came, marooning us in our apartment. Only one thing to do – take some photos.

First I grabbed the landscape pictures above using the 27mm pancake lens and the I turned to the big zoom lens for some detail shots.

It’s amazing what you can find to photograph on the patio. I loved this shot of water droplets clinging to the leaves. I played around with the image and rather liked the black and white version.

Then I amazed myself by just how much I liked this photo of pegs on a clothes drier. Now my first rule of photography is “If you want to take a good photograph, stand in front of something good.”

I’m not sure that this adheres to rule number one, but nonetheless I love this photo.

Next I grabbed a close up of the copper roof on the band stand below us.

Later the rain stopped and we went on a walkabout. I’ll share those pictures later but I’ll leave you with this one of The Pouncho, which will take you across the Gulf of St Tropez to the famous fishing village.

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Holiday Diary – France and Italy August 2015 Day 4

The day dawned dull and while there was no rain it threatened ominously in the sky. The beach then was not calling us and another lazy morning seemed the most promising option. Restless, I got up and had some weetabix to satisfy the hunger I always wake with. The previous night I finished Bear Grylls’ latest book Ghost Flight which proved to be a formulaic action adventure story which is clearly going to be spread over four books to maximise revenue. A fair enough action thriller but I seem to prefer books set in a more everyday setting. Peanut has just raced through a first novel by Lucy Foley called The Book of Lost And Found and so I was keen to give it a whirl. 

The morning saw me get well into it and much of it is revolving around a love affair of an up and coming artist in the twenties who was to achieve fame. It’s the right sort of book to read here in the south of France. This place awakens new desires and interests. I’m not a scientist in any way and nor am I artistic but it is the arts that excite me and this place makes me want to exercise the creativity that in truth I just don’t have. I love photography but I’m not creative with it particularly I just take what I call posh snaps. Others I know just take postcards. So when I come here I achieve a real peace. I really relax, I am a step removed from my life at home, a whirlwind of adventure juxtaposed with Internet overload and all lived under the ever longer reaching shadow of The Big C. And yet it is this precise relaxed state that I inevitably resist as my mind seeks other distractions. A desire to be somehow creative is the strongest urge and when I fail to find an outlet for this other things jump out. I love fashion and style, odd if I didn’t having spent most of my life in the clothing industry, so shopping becomes the next outlet. I love to seek things out for Mrs P, so doubtless that will kick in, in lieu of any obvious opportunity to express a modicum of creativity. Our apartment needs a refresh, a new chair, or bistro table set and a rug. And at this point in my thought process, the way the day would play out was dictated.

More boiled eggs, a shower and we were ready for the day. Shopping in Cogolin and lunch and more shopping in St Tropez was the plan for the day. Alas the furniture stores in Cogolin and on the way to Cogolin yielded nothing. No sexy chairs or cute bistro sets and not a rug in sight! 

We pointed at St Tropez and oddly for us got stuck in loads of traffic. This gave me a chance to drool over Porsches, Maseratis and Ferraris before I concluded that I was in a contrary mood and loved the Citroen Cactus, the Renault Captur and the Jeep Renegade.

Finally in St Tropez we set off seeking lunch and found an appealing restaurant a little above the port accessed through the Three Arches for those familiar with this bohemian fishing village. Peanut had a lasagne which passed muster while I had a beef stew Provencale style which I have to say was delicious.

Lunch done we sauntered but in truth found little to tempt. Certainly no furniture. The Longchamps shop did have a very nice handbag and matching gloves that gave food for thought but apart from that nothing and we left St Tropez without even a tarte Tropezienne!

We did however, take a look around an art exhibition, where for me the most impressive collection was some black and white photography. However, as this was new work so digital, I found the excessive film grain that had been back added, matched to a lack of sharpening, a bit of a shame as it aped film and therefore lacked originality. Don’t get me wrong I personally make great use of film effects and grain in the digital editing room but I like to keep the super sharpness inherent in digital imagery so I’m not trying to fool anyone. 

And that was our day, lunch, a bit of window shopping, a light and frothy nosey around an art gallery and back home for dinner and a good read. And you know what? I loved every minute of it!

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Holiday Diary Port Cogolin July 2014 Day Six


Wednesday 30th July 2014

I’m living with the Big C, I’m dying with the Big C. There is a whole psychological and philosophical side to this which frankly, I should explore more on my Life Blog. This is a more frivolous place – PhotoBeast, our Photo Blog – where we like to share our photographs and sometimes (as now) diarise our holiday adventures. Today though I got up and the dark demons had descended a bit making me irritable and moody. It is important to look in the mirror every day, to really look deep and to like who you are. If you don’t like who you are, you need to change things. Simples. My Dad is an inspiration to me, a gentleman in the true sense of the word. A fine benchmark to measure myself against and generally I feel proud if I am so much as half the man he was. Today though being petty, unkind and patronising to Lady P was not me at my finest hour. In any case, only a fool would try to patronise a lady as intelligent as P.

Anyway, we talked it through and got back quickly to our Eden, but I wanted to just mention it because for all the fun we have and we find fun and joy everywhere, nonetheless the Big C is never far away. Peanut and me have both lived lives, happy times, sad times, births, marriages, death and divorce. Living with the Big C we have found the worst of the worst but in truth and doubtless polarised by the Big C, also the best of the best.

Enough. On with the best.


So we went for a lazy day today and headed for Gigaro beach which lies on the other side of La Croix Valmer. There are always fun waves there and we enjoy jumping the waves.

We took cheese with us but grabbed a baguette and some ham from the local Spar shop there and had a picnic on the beach. And yes it is all as idyllic as it sounds.


From Gigaro we popped into St Tropez. There was an exhibition of Brigitte Bardot photographs at the Gallery on Place des Lices, which we wanted to see. It was good and I appreciated the extra light given to the photographs by printing them on to acryllic. However the photos were all from a seven year period later in her life and we were hoping for a fuller story in pictures. For me Bardot put St Tropez on the map, though a number of painters and artists might feel differently about that. They are wrong. It was Bardot and it was topless sunbathing which began in St Tropez.

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We mooched about St Tropez and P bought a pretty skirt in Naf Naf. I did my watch tour and as a consequence, just about ensured I will never by another watch again! The reason? Well I haven’t bought a watch now for about two years. But recently I saw the Rolex Milgauss on the net. Blue faced with a green tinted sapphire glass. I have seen them with a black face for real and was not totally smitten.  Today though I saw it with the blue face and it was everything I hoped it would be from seeing the photos on the net. And mine for just 6550 Euros! And that is why I can’t by a watch. Anything else is second best and that is just too much! Still I can dream and I did enjoy seeing it for real.

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We had some strawberries and pineapple in the fridge at home and Peanut wanted to serve them with a meringue and finally she tracked one down in St Tropez.

We then dropped in at Geant on the way back from St Tropez and grabbed some lemon chicken kebabs and some Ice Tropez cocktails for dinner along with the meringue dessert.

It was all delicious and we washed it down with a Kir each at the bar below us. For a day that had begun with tears it ended with smiles and love.