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Game, set and match

One of my favourite stories is ‘The Little Match Girl’.  Hans Christian Anderson’s achingly sad fable was corruptly used by me often when my daughter’s were growing up … I would tell them they were NOT poor little match girls when they were crying for something they perceived they needed more than anything in the whole wide world.  

Cold, lonely and scared, undernourished, ill-clad this little girl is dying and as her life degenerates to a flicker and whispers into death she strikes her matches for warmth and in their light she sees things that she wishes she had and amongst them her Granny, the only person who ever showed her love in her meagre little life, reaching out from her celestial place.    When her pathetic little frozen corpse is found in the morning she is smiling and the strangers that stumble upon her look at the matches round her and surmise that they know why she smiles – but of course …. she was cold and her matches made her warm so she died content.  None have the need nor the will to look beyond the obvious.  Speculate and instantly conclude is part of human nature.  We suspect that we know the answer but often the answer is not as we so skillfully deduced at all.

I give you a picture of the city I am living in taken a couple of days ago on a hike and looking down on the river which actually and genuinely IS that colour …. it is caused, I am told by the limestone which the mountains surrounding us are formed of.  When I first visited this area some years ago, I assumed there was a problem with chemicals.   Be careful who you damn without knowing all the damned facts!

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PS:  The title is a reference to the Weekly Photo Challenge this week labelled ‘A Good Match’ … my Game, Set and Match invokes three things in the picture – look closely now …. there’s the stadium where the Six Nations Rugby Game between France and Scotland was played just a couple of weeks ago and there again are three skyscrapers built for the 1968 Winter Olympics – they were designed to rotate slowly to give their super-human athletic tenants a constant and gracefully revolving 360° view of the city and the mountains that encircle it (in the end they remained still but the intent and bravado of the engineering, given that the city is gearing up to celebrate the 50 year anniversary of those Games next year is quite breathtaking) and finally a set of two bare trees, almost twins standing like naked watchkeepers over the city below.  And the city is …… over to you!

Here are all the other pictorial delights the piquant prompt has produced

And here, just because I can and because my tenuous title is a tennis call, is the masterly Jacques Tati in Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday showing us how to serve with flare:

I asked the faithful light

Diu absentia … long in absence I have been.  I make no apologies.  It’s just a bit of life in my life.  Nothing dramatic.  No imprisonment, no hospitalisation nothing really to write home about.  Nothing to write about.  Except write I will.  It’s what I do.  Potted and neatly in a nutshell I have been moving rather a lot these past two months – US to England, England to France, France to England, England to France – friends and relics (stet) and Christmas with my most loved.  In Grenoble a temporary tiny flatlet with a view of snow topped mountains and on February 1 moving all I own from the flat in Cantal that I persist in calling home because it’s where I feel home, to our permanent Grenoble place-until-summer.  And beautiful it is.  But more of that another time.

No shadows lurking in my cupboard, nothing to make me startle and stare wide-eyed in horror, just life and settling and I will give you more of it, I promise … much more.

Shadows and startling seem to be the order of things in this world just now.  I rather feel that people are having to wear their most politically correct attire for dread of offending someone.  Anyone!  But I have always been the gal to stick her head above the trench and get it picked off by a beady eyed sniper far away out of sight on the other side of no-man’s land.  So I have a commentary on the world at large.  It is unhappy, it is uncomfortable and it is unpalatable for many.  For many others it is hopeful because it has been increasingly uncomfortable and unpalatable these umpteen years and they desire that there will be green shoots which might give they and their loved ones a future in what has been their shiny world rusted and corroded to dust.  Whether I agree or disagree with either side is neither here nor there but I  give a gentle reminder that alongside it’s bolder, brasher brother ‘Greed’, that ‘Fear’ is the greatest eroder of hope, of decency, of love that we, as humans  have in our armoury of weapons of mass self-destruction.  Try not to be led by fear.  Try instead, to be led by love.  It is, after all la fête de St Valentin who was beaten, stoned and decapitated under the rule of Claudius because, put simply, he believed that young lovers should be allowed to choose to marry as Christians.  Choice.  That’s the thing old Valentine was about and he suffered a particularly appalling death for his conviction.  In 269 AD.  Please let me trust that we have evolved and progressed in almost 2,000 years.  Just please.

My picture, which shows a rather perfect half (insert favourite cheese) moon, sentinel above a stone tower whose keepers can’t make their minds up whether to restore it’s authentic stone or leave it suffocated by the corset of concrete rendered upon it some aeons ago by zealous betterers, taken in the last 10 days in Gieres, a pretty commune just outside Grenoble it is offered for this week’s photo challenge captioned ‘Shadow’ (you can find the glories of the entire gallery here) – the moon’s shadow may not be apparent but it is there and, I would postulate, is not alarming at all.

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PS:  The title is taken from Cat Stevens’ (one of the enduring loves of my life) beautiful song ‘Moonshadow’.  Here are the lyrics and, as a bonus, a lovely clip of the man who stole a little of my heart in nineteen seventy-something singing it …. give them a read if you will – if I ever lose my mouth –  I won’t have to talk ….

Moonshadow

Oh, I’m bein’ followed by a moonshadow, moon shadow, moonshadow—
Leapin and hoppin’ on a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow—

And if I ever lose my hands, lose my plough, lose my land,
Oh if I ever lose my hands, Oh if I won’t have to work no more.

And if I ever lose my eyes, if my colours all run dry,
Yes if I ever lose my eyes, Oh if I won’t have to cry no more.

Oh, I’m bein’ followed by a moonshadow, moon shadow, moonshadow—
Leapin and hoppin’ on a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow—

And if I ever lose my legs, I won’t moan, and I won’t beg,
Yes if I ever lose my legs, Oh if I won’t have to walk no more.

And if I ever lose my mouth, all my teeth, north and south,
Yes if I ever lose my mouth, Oh if I won’t have to talk…

Did it take long to find me? I asked the faithful light.
Did it take long to find me? And are you gonna stay the night?

Cat Stevens