Sunday 13 May 2012


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To escape the madness of our lives that we think of as reality, we go out amongst the hills and the vines.  Horizons change.  Nature, beauty and art then become the only reality  -  the rest is that squalid theatre of life that mankind has created for his own torment.

Apparently the Pathans of the North West Frontier have a gloomy proverb:
"Strife eats up the hills, taxes eat up the plains"
Proverb quoted from Anatol Lieven's great book: Pakistan. A Hard Country

For months, we have been drowning in a sea of administration and often pointless chores that nowadays can't be avoided.  Or perhaps can only be avoided by extreme measures.  There doesn't seem to be time to be photographers, which is what we wish to be and need to be, or to be anything else but unrewarded servants of the system and the state.  In the evenings, for some respite, we've been reading biographies  -  Burne-Jones, Byron, Rennie Mackintosh, Darwin and many others.  Apart from the pleasure of delving into the lives of such talented and interesting people, there is the frustration of realising that, apart perhaps from Byron, they couldn't have done what they did today because their lives would have been eaten up, as ours are, and they wouldn't have been able to afford the help that they then had with the chores of their day, legal constraints and political correctness.

When we do get out our appreciation of the better things in life is sharpened by the coming of Spring, the fast-growing crops and trees and the vibrant colours of this superb landscapeSo we will sort out our lives and do what we enjoy the most.

Ch√Ętillon's vines are surging ahead in the seasonal showery and increasingly warm weather.

A brilliant carpet of wild flowers in a walnut orchard near Les Payats.

Cabanon amongst the vines at Les Beylieres.

It's always refreshing to stroll into Ch√Ętillon-en-Diois especially as it is a village that takes its flowers seriously and has a well-signposted and well-patronised Circuit Botanic.  Probably the local interest is nourished by the astonishing profusion of wild flowers in this area, particularly in the higher valleys.  Even just down the road there are blue gentians flowering on the banks, so blue that they appear to be more a hole than an object  -  a blue void or perhaps a light bulb.  

As we walk into the village we pass a bank of iris that more or less look after themselves from year to year.


A while ago, we spent a little time working on some more of our Venice Carnival pictures and produced some comps which we think are interesting and will make those the subject of another blog.  More relevantly, the opening picture of our preceding blog has been simplified into a form that is perhaps more interesting for long-term display.