Travel Memories 2: Cannes

The Carlton Hotel, Cannes.

Back to 2008 for this photo. I was living in London, and the weather in August that year was dreadful: wet and grey and cold. On the spur of the moment, and desperate for some sun, I booked a trip to Nice for the bank holiday weekend. What bliss! Sun and blue skies and warmth, and, of course, France. Cannes is only a 30-40 minute train ride from Nice, so I went there too and ogled the rich people, the expensive yachts and the private beaches. I’d heard of the Carlton Hotel in association with the Cannes Film Festival — we’ve all seen photos of film celebrities posing at that hotel! — but was still surprised to see it in the flesh, so to speak.

Travel Memories: a single photo from a trip — one that always makes me smile, or reflect, or want to go back.

Travel Memories 1: Goa


Tomato Diary 5

The good news: Flowers are opening!

The experiment: to grow tomatoes on my balcony during a Sydney winter using seeds scraped from a store-bought tomato.

There’s good news and there’s bad news for this update. The plants are 25-38cm (10-15 inches) high and, as you can see above, the flowers are starting to open. However, as you can see below, not all is well with the plants.

The top of the plants look great, the bottoms look unhappy.

A closer view of those yellowing leaves at the base.

Not as bad with these two, but you can see it.

Something I read online suggests the plants aren’t getting enough nutrients from the soil. My parents (successful tomato growers) suggest the pots are too small — each plant should have its own 5-gallon (18L) pot. I have neither the room nor the soil for such huge containers, plus that would mean putting them on the balcony floor where they’d get much less direct sunlight. The tomato experiment may well hit the wall here!

Tune in later for Tomato Diary 6.
Tomato Dairy 1 here
Tomato Dairy 2 here
Tomato Dairy 3 here
Tomato Dairy 4 here


Tomato Diary 4

21 July: The crop is flourishing! I’ve rested a blue 6in/15cm ruler in the left-most pot for scale.

The experiment: to grow tomatoes during a Sydney winter using seeds scraped from a store-bought tomato.

Since the last instalment of Tomato Diary, a veritable forest has sprung into being on my balcony. But the real reason for an update is — ta da! — flowers! (Well, buds.) On all six plants. This is marvellous, but rather worrying regarding possible quantity.

21 July: Flowers at last, about the size of caraway seeds.

23 July: Hairy little devils, aren’t they?

Admission: The eagle-eyed reader will have noticed references to six plants, not eight as in the last post. The two smallest ones (which I fished out of the discard pile and potted) certainly grew, but never caught up in size to the others. So it was back into the rubbish with them. I should probably get rid of four more plants, because I could be looking at a LOT of tomatoes.

Tune in later for Tomato Diary 5.
Tomato Dairy 1 here
Tomato Dairy 2 here
Tomato Dairy 3 here


An architectural perspective

Macquarie Bank interior, Martin Place, Sydney.

These two photos are of the central atrium of the Macquarie Bank building in Sydney. It is, in rather florid terms, “centred around a striking inter-connecting feature staircase built within a new 8mx8m void penetration over seven floors.” (source) Void penetration, eh? Let’s skip over that one. The $100 million-plus refurbishment took just over two years, ending in September 2014. (source) I visited in September 2019 as part of Sydney Open, when various buildings open to the public.

There were, as you’d imagine, various signs warning you not to lean over the rail or hold your camera over. My camera was safely strapped around my neck and has a nifty fold-out swivel viewscreen, so (after checking that no one in a fluorescent vest was watching!) I was able to extend the camera over the ‘void’, compose the photos and snap. One of the fluro vest wearers did spot me lurking and told me very severely not to lean over the rail; I assured her that I would not. I didn’t add that there was no need to lean, as the deed had already been accomplished. hehehe

I would not want to sit at one of those desks at ground level. Who knows what might fall on you?

July is Squares Month, and the theme is Perspective. I’ve gone for another geometric interpretation.


Queenly perspectives

Queen Mary 2 seen from a ferry in Sydney. (Parallel lines seeming to meet.)

The ‘queens’ in these perspective shots are the Cunard liners Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth. I’m going with the geometric definition of Perspective: the way that objects appear smaller when they are farther away and the way parallel lines appear to meet each other at a point in the distance.

Queen Mary 2 in much nicer weather than above! (Parallel lines seeming to meet.)

Below, not only do the farther deck chairs look smaller than those nearest the camera, but various parallel elements (the deck caulking at left; the top and bottom rails at right) appear meet each other at a point in the distance.

More amazing meeting parallel lines, this time in corridors.

July is Squares Month, and the theme is Perspective.


Bee’s perspective

Yellow & maroon pansy.

I have no idea how a bee would actually see the flowers on my balcony, so apologies to any bees reading this. These images are really a result of me playing around with Photoshop this afternoon. If you’re curious, after editing and cropping the photo, on a new layer I added a radial gradient (white to transparent), set the blend mode to ‘hard mix’ and then erased the area around the centre so the original photo on the layer below came through. Highly stylised and probably not bee-like at all, other than being taken with my camera 1-2cm from the flower.

Purplish-blue pansy

I chose pansies and daisies for this post because the bees do seem to prefer these flowers.

Pink daisy.

And here’s a non-stylised bee, having a good old rummage in a camellia. Look at the size of that eye!

A real bee’s perspective. I wonder if they ever get pollen in their eyes?

These photos are square, which can only mean one thing: it’s another month of Becky’s Squares! For July, the theme is Perspective.


Tomato Diary 3

Aerial view: 27 June and 23 May

The experiment: to grow tomatoes during a Sydney winter using seeds scraped from a store-bought tomato.

All eight of the finalists were healthy and thriving, but two were definitely smaller and two were sort of mid size. They’ve certainly come on since the last instalment of Tomato Diary!

Amazing what three weeks can do.

Last weekend I repotted all but the two small ones into larger pots, ready for the big adventure of actually making tomatoes. Maybe.

These are the best four plants, planted in two large pots.

You can’t see the difference in pot sizes above and below (I should have photographed them together) but the two above are much larger.

The two not-best but pretty good plants, each in their own pots.

I had no more large or even medium pots left, and not enough soil to fill them anyway (and what on earth would I do with eight tomato plants??) — so these two didn’t make the cut.

The two smallest plants, destined for the rubbish. Poor little guys.

Admission: I felt really bad about ditching the two little ones. They weren’t sickly or weak, just smaller. And the next day, when I was putting some dead-headed pansy and petunia flowers into the rubbish bag, I saw them, sitting on top, still strong and healthy, not wilted at all, despite being out of pots. They looked up as if to say “Hey, Kaz, give us a chance!” So I fished them out and put each one into its own small pot. Fool.

Tune in later for Tomato Diary 4.
(Tomato Dairy 1 here and 2 here)