Pot-pourri 42. A journey in space and time.


Egypt, c.1936. Leaving the Suez canal for the annual “furlough”. L. to r. My aunt Gaud and my father, Cyril. In those days, only two-three years before WWII, travel was done by ship. My family would travel by road or train from Ismaïlia to Port-Saïd, on the coast of Egypt and take the “steamer” across the Mediterranean, to Toulon or Marseille. (Don’t you love Aunty’s shoes?)

2016-07-06 11.22.49

Do NOT feed the bear. Under any circumstances. Fisherman’s wharf, San Francisco. 2016


Smiles from Africa. Tchad, Africa. c.2010 during a vaccination campaign. (Not me. Daughter #1, M.D.) Photo (c)ourtesy one of her colleagues, Cécile Heurtebise.

2015-08-03 11.45.36

Gare du Nord, Northern railway station, Paris. c. 2015.

2016-05-04 10.24.24

Notary public office, Mexico city, 2016. (Where we signed for the new house)

2016-07-31 15.56.16

Palais de Chaillot, Paris. c.2014.


2016-07-31 15.58.49-A

Palais de Chaillot, Trocadéro, same day same time, opposite the statue. Believe it or not, this was a protest. How very educated.

2016-07-29 19.51.35

“Gimme a ticket to an aeroplane. Ain’t got time to take no fast train… My baby wrote me a letter”. (Best interpretation by?). Montmartre, Paris. 2016.

2016-08-05 13.33.58-A

Granary Square, King’s Cross, London. Last year.

2016-08-05 16.31.05

London reflections. (Took me three years to take that shot.) English weather you know?

2016-08-08 11.35.06

Gare du Nord, Paris. On the platform to Persan-Beaumont. c. 2015.


November 2nd, 1930. Coronation of HM, Haïlé Sélassié I, Emperor of Abyssinia (now Ethiopia). Haïlé Sélassié’s original name was Ras (King) Tafari Makkonen. I have mentioned before that this name, Ras Tafari, and the Emperor, led to the creation of the Rastafari cult in Jamaica. The Emperor is on the right, under a white colonial helmet. Not entirely sure, but I think the gentleman in the middle is the head of the Italian delegation. Italy would later invade Ethiopia in 1936. Photo (c) my high-school chum Georges Van Billoen. I hasten to say that neither he nor the author of these lines were in Ethiopia in 1930. Only muuuch later. Though the Emperor was still around then.

Foto 21-12-16 1 00 10 p.m.

“Travel”. Street art. Bogotá, Colombia. Mid twenty-tens.

Foto 28-12-16 10 14 32 a.m.-NB

Branding irons for cattle and wooden saddle. Probably dating back to the 50’s or 60’s. My sister-in-law’s country house. Tolima Province. Colombia.


A baby’s born. Around April, after the rainy season, most babies are born. Of all species. The grass is tall after the rains. And the babies are camouflaged. This baby zebra has brown stripes to better mimic the grass. Tsavo national Park, Kenya, 2010. (C)ourtesy Gini.


Phnomh-Penh, Cambodia. C.1957. Long before the Khmers rouges. Cambodia was at peace then. Top down left to right: little sister Gaëlle, yours truly, my mother Renée, and Kim, the nanny.

Captain, crew and contributing photographers are delighted to have you on board flight 3.14159 of Equinoxio’s Time-Space shuttle. Though we now know Time travel is but a mere illusion. A play of  light and mirrors. I have included a subtitle after “pot-pourri”, following the enlightened advice of my dear friend “the Ed”, aka Edith. And to all the folks in the South: y’all stay out of the rain, naw, ye hear?”


50 thoughts on “Pot-pourri 42. A journey in space and time.

    • Merci Gilles. Les archives de la famille sont un vrai musée. 🙂 Quand je vois certaines de ces photos, je me dis que le monde a vraiment bien changé. Au-delà de ce que les gens peuvent se rappeler. Et ne parlons pas des jeunes. Exemple: j’ai vu dans les années 60 les derniers chevaux de labour en Normandie, mis à la retraite. Au pré. Pas à l’équarisseur. (Mais de ça j’ai pas de photos. Juste des souvenirs visuels très précis) A +

  1. Delightful! 🙂
    (yeah, I usually say much more than that but let’s break the pattern every now and then)

  2. Rain was forecast for all of today. Naturally enough, this evening’s school gala enjoyed perfect weather.
    That certainly is a mix of spices you have there.
    * innocently * Why would they want to brand a wooden saddle? 🙂
    They hadn’t yet come to realise, with their colonial helmets and all, that everything colonial is tabu, Mind you, our lot squeal about the evils of colonialism while nattily clad in uniforms sporting medals etc.

    • Good for the school gala.
      I will not comment on branding the wooden saddle. (Unless one had too much aguardiente)
      As for the rest, it is my contention (well documented) that the massacres committed in Africa after Independence far outweigh any colonial… “brutality”. But when I say that, I get mean looks. 🙂

  3. Some of your pictures have amazed me. The one from 1930 in Abyssinia (coronation of HM, Haïlé Sélassié I) shows a tall man with a top hat in his hands whom I could have seen in some of my own family albums. Do you know who he was – could he have been a Catalan physician (a pneumologist) called Marià (or Mariano) Agustín Isanda?
    Also, the photo of your mom, your sis and yourself as a little child brings to me some odd feeling of … familiarity :/ Will have to search my own albums, but, had not been for the sepia hues and the immediate perception of an earlier time (apparently a generation before ours) I would have jumped from my chair. I still keep some small white sandals, like those in the pic, that I wore myself at that age… only my younger sis was a bit (probably a whole year) younger than yours relative to you. Your mom -truly pretty!- looked very much like ours.
    Anyway neither I nor anybody from my family have ever been in Cambodja 🙂
    Best wishes !

    • The man with a top hat? I don’t think so. as far as I remember the captions there was no no Spanish delegation. (Probably were in the Civil war already). Glad I triggered fond associated memories. Ciao ciao.

      • OK. I’ve found this man to be, most probably, Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, who attended the coronation and was aged thirty then. As for the person I talked you about, he became a personal physician of the Neguse (though I cannot precise exactly when), had more or less the same age than the duke and also had a similar appearance. Dr. M. Agustín stayed many years in Abyssinia and even accompanied the Neguse for a time in his exile to England during the late 1930s –and this, yes, coincided with the Spanish war; so it was a convenient place for the doctor too, since he was a republican. My interest in him comes from his close friendship with my maternal grandparents and a grand-grandparent; also his younger son courted my mother for years when she was a teen, and even asked to marry her, but being some twenty years older, my grandparent opposed this union.
        Thanks for your response, and please, excuse my wordiness talking about this matter. I’ve always been much interested in my family’s history.

      • It is 🙂 Especially for people with family memories scattered around it, as it seems we are. I have to have a detained look at yor blog, since I see there are many photographs with which I might relate some of my own. Hugs 🙂

      • My grandparents lived in England (and Wales), the USA and in Mexico during the war and the first years of francoism. In fact, Mexico was the refuge and second homeland of many Catalans in those tough times… It seems you are living just there now, aren’t you?

      • Creo que México fue el único país (aparte de la URSS) que nunca reconoció formalmente la españa fascista. Sobre Francia no hablé, pero una parte de mi familia también la conoció (en miserables campos de refugiados en las playas de lo que fue, tiempo atrás, tierra catalana 😦 Ni mis padres ni nosotros hemos podido digerir el trato que dio Francia a los republicanos exiliados. En cambio, México (y también los US) nos acogieron con cariño y nos ayudaron de veras. De no ser por ustedes, ni mi padre ni, desde luego, mi hermana y yo, hubiéramos nacido. Les estoy en deuda. Un abrazo.

    • Yes ma’am, ah du speak propuh. 😉
      First 3 weeks in “Alabamer”, I thought I spoke English (posh Colonial) but i just couldn’t understand a word. After that I learned the local dialect. And ah can du the accint… 😉

  4. San Francisco, Chad, Ethiopia, France, England, Colombia. .. I think I’m dizzy now. What’s a protest without rocks to throw? Or was that the G8 summit? Yes…it’s coming back to me now. (Actually, I wasn’t there at all.) As for Bob Marley, jah mon.

    • I never rode on such a saddle. I think you put a folded blanket or something. But I have ridden in Colombia. For hours on. On small horses who only trot, never gallop or canter. And walk/ trot, “amble” (?) how do you say that in English? I think its’s the Arabian step. In lieu of crossing legs, the horse moves the left legs first then the right legs, and so forth. A very comfortable pace for the rider. Also you ride very long, not english or french style: legs fully extended with large stirrups you practically are standing on… 🙂
      (Lengthy explanation!)
      Be good.

      • I used to ride a lot as a kid, but stuck to a more traditional (and comfy) leather saddle. Haven’t been on horseback for years, apart from one day in the Bolivian Amazon. I could barely walk the next day.
        Take Care, Paul

      • Absolutely. English saddles are probably among the best. Though I understand Italian ones are priceless. And yes, one day on a horse, one just can’t walk the next day. 😉
        (The Bolivian Amazon ride must have been quite a treat…)

    • Falun gong? Is that what it was? Had never heard of it. At first sight, it looked like hatah yoga. Truth, compassion and tolerance sounds like a very good programme. 🙂
      “etown”? Was that a typo or a nickname?
      You too, have a day full of Truth, compassion and tolerance Hedy.

  5. Wow, magical indeed. Yes, I do love her shoes! What a precious photo. And I thought cool, I’d like to do some tai chi but that is too interesting that it was a protest: art in motion, intentional energy.

    • Glad you like my Auntie’s shoes. 🙂 And I hadn’t realized when I took the picture, that it was a protest. I find it very… civilized to protest in such a peaceful, thoughtful way. Energy indeed. Be good.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s