Change of plan

I’ve decided to write about my “mother & daughter road trip” more intermittently.

Even though I do enjoy remembering about my precious time with my mother and writing it up really help to recall it in detail, sticking to it exclusively also has some cons, such as lacking spontaneity and making it more like a school essay. One should enjoy writing without any inhibition, right?

The entries may be short and the subjects may be trivial. Still, I should record them if I think they are worthy. At the end of the day, it’s my blog and I should do what I like with it!

You will see more of Bella as well…

Bella and I are at home since last Wednesday. I’ve been struck off with this horrible cold (lots of snot and chest clearly coughs) and she ends up being under house arrest because of me.

I miss a quiet meal time and a decent night sleep…

Kaori Creative Knitwear

Antibes & Parking

Our next destination was a town called Antibes.

We left Aix-en-Provence after breakfast and took A8. The sky was a little overcast but we were grateful because it was not raining.

As I mentioned before, the general weather in France during our holiday last year was volatile to say the least. In Northern France especially, they had lots of flooding and also sudden hails brought about lots of damage to the vineyards in Southern France. During our last night at Aix-en-Provence, we heard through an open window, the rain drops hitting the leaves of the lime trees lining the street while watching an evening news. ‘Oh god! Look mom!!’ The scene on TV was extraordinary – the flash flooding causing havoc to Paris metro! The murky water was gushing into the entrance of the station and some of the unfortunate passengers who caught up in the event were taking off their shoes and trudging up the stairs. Mom and I both agreed that we were very lucky regarding the weather so far.

As we got nearer to Saint-Tropez, the passing vegetation changed to palm trees…

We came off A8 at Les Moulins and followed D35 towards Antibes. At one of the roundabouts along the route, we saw a rotunda-like apartment building…

It’s so 60’s like, don’t you agree? A very groovy looking building. I liked it very much.

Locating the entrance to a public car park was a little troublesome. We ended up driving around aimlessly along maze-like streets…

Eventually, we managed to untangle ourselves from the labyrinth and found the approach to the underground car park.

The car was parked at a bay number, 2082!

Mom and I were very happy to be out of the maze…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Le Castellet

This Brexit business is really eating me up. The past two years, I have been have been wrenched and depressed because of the mess. When will this status quo end? And what will happen next? I have had enough of this nonsense!

BTW, I am a firm Remainer, Ok? And I LOVE EUROPE!! All the Europeans I have come across in & out of the U.K are dismayed by those Brexiteers. While the world faces much bigger threats, such as the climate change, why do we allow those small-minded politicians to manipulate us in order to satisfy their selfish ambitions?

During the present uncertainty, what can I help me to lessen the anxiety over the impending global doom? Focusing on what I can protect and nurture and staying positive. I should be thankful for my ordinary happiness and be kind to my fellow living creatures. And of course, I should keep up with my blog! Recalling what a fabulous time mom and I had in France will be a great remedy for my present pessimism.

After our lunch at Cassis, we headed to our next destination, Le Castellet.

The village was about 27km away from Cassis and it took us about 40 minutes to drive.

When we arrived at a visitor’s carpark, it was empty. ‘It’s so quiet, isn’t it?’ Mom looked around as she put on a hat. As we stepped out of the carpark, we saw a group of appeared to be German tourists, climbing back into a coach with a German numberplate.

‘So where is the village?’ There was no obvious signage to the place. Still, I reckoned it must have been at the end of ascending road we were on.

So I was right! We reached the outskirt of the village.

We got slightly sweaty because the sun was strong and the climb was rather steep.

A light breeze and the beauty of scenery around us was a reward for the effort…

The entrance to the village…

The village has a long history – it is more than 2000 years old. The first settlers were the Celts, then invading Romans and barbarians, and the next settlers were the Saracens. Eventually, the old settlement on the hill was officially recorded as Castellarium in 1030.

The location of Castellet was important for defending and communication throughout its long existence. It became a part of the Gallo-Roman empire, and during the Medieval times, it became a protected township which belonged to the Baux and King RenĂ© of Anjou…

Mom and I walked towards a village centre…

Looking back the entrance…

What is the meaning of those plants hung upside down? We wondered. Are they some sort of talismans?

Streets of the mediaeval villages are narrow and the ones in Le Castellet were no exception. Most of the streets we walked on were barely wide enough for a van. It would be a huge logistic headache for any builder who worked on building projects around here, I thought.

As we got closer to the village centre, we started to see more gift shops…

One thing I found rather disappointing was a lack of originality in the merchandise they sold. So far, we saw nearly identical gifts, especially, tea towels and soft furnishings, at every village and town we visited.

Cafes and restaurants were closed until dinner time…

Ice cream shops were open though.

A church was the tallest building in the village…

The inside was comfortably cool.

Spotlessly clean cobbled street. How civilised! I wished if the streets around Shoreditch were free from litter like Le Castellet…

Lush blooms and green were everywhere to be seen. Unlike me, who is not interested in gardening, Mom loves looking after flowers and plants. So she was happy to see those well-tended hanging baskets and flower beds.

We decided to head back to our car…

Ahhh, a Chihuahua!

Are you enjoying a quiet afternoon? My late Chihuahua, Mr.B, loved chilling out on a pavement during summer days too…

Then, we met two Yorkies! Oh, how I missed my Bella in London…

So, our visit to Le Castellet was over…

There was a souvenir shop outside of the village wall and a large dog was chilling out by the door…

Postcards and fridge magnets on sale. Even though their style wasn’t my cup of tea but they looked cute en masse.

Quiet early summer afternoon…

Mom, we are almost there. She was a bit tired after negotiating steep ups and downs of Le Castellet.

We returned to Aux-en-Provence after making a quick detour to stock up at Carrefour.

Next day, we were heading to Antibes!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

How are you?

I’m writing this post as I watch Nigella in the tv screen, stirring some devilishly tempting ingredients in a bowl with her wooden spoon. The Christmas of 2018 is fast approaching and I am reflecting, with a cup of tea by my side, about how this year has been for me.

It is very true that I haven’t been blogging as much as I should have been and the sense of guilt has been in the back of my mind all the time. Believe me, I missed blogging even though I was the one who was putting it off.

Blogging does give me a pleasure. I can’t explain it very well but I find it satisfying and comforting about recording what in my mind and the events which somehow become noteworthy for me there and then. By making myself absent from this activity, I have been making myself half the person.

Before resuming blogging with reignited enthusiasm, I would like to explain why my fingers have been idle over a keyboard.

Some of you may know that I play ice hockey as a hobby. Even though I am not that good at it but I am crazy about the sport. More than a few times, I walked away from the sport because I felt I was not good enough or I was too old. However, every single time, I ended up coming back to the rink with a stick and skates, begging to be on the ice. Basically, I have been addicted to an adrenaline rush which is only available through ice hockey and I want to keep on enjoying it as long as possible.

As you can see, my love for the sport is undying, but nevertheless my body is not immortal. I cannot ignore the fact that I am a middle-aged woman, not a teenager.

Around the beginning of this year, the feeling of urgency started to bug me. Even though I was never been out of shape, I knew my fitness wasn’t up to scratch for a proper hard game of hockey. I must to work on it really really seriously, I thought.

Then, here I am, after almost one year of slogging away, feeling absolutely amazing and invincible! My hips no longer hurt. I can skate faster. My limbs are so supple, etc… A total transformation. It feels like my love of hockey has given me another lease of life!

However, the flip side of my be-hockey-fit regime is very time-consuming. Beside it, I have been more involved with Hubbie’s business organisation from the end of 2017, and also, I have a very demanding Bella to entertain.

Enough explanations / excuses! I am going to amend my way from this Christmas and to make blogging a part of my daily life again. The entry may be brief sometimes but I will do my best to blog what I consider worth recording.

Have a lovely Christmas, everyone!!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Unhinged

I have no way to know if the author was telling truth but a book I bought for this weekend turns out to be a terrific entertainment!

“Unhinged” by Omarosa Manigault Newman.

Until I read an article in the New York Times, about the Emperor Small Hand, aka Donald Trump, criticised his ex-staff with his signature vulgarity, I didn’t know about the book nor her. Normally, I dismissed most of the stuff that White House spewed up because they just disgusted me but this time I was intrigued by the article. Since I am having a time-off from exercising right now, why don’t I read the book for distraction?, I thought.

Before downloading the book, I googled about it and as a result, came across a review by the Independent. The review by Andrew Griffin was bizarrely harsh and somewhat personal and I was taken aback. He sounded snobbish and even defensive for that man!

That Orange Man with Small Hands constantly criticises the media as fake news, degrading investigative journalism and destroying the liberty of media. However, Andrew Griffin’s review of the book has made me think about the integrity of the British media too. Since the major British newspapers, such as the Telegraph, the Times, Daily Mail and the Sun, are owned by Rupert Murdoch who is a personal friend of that man. I am not at all surprised if those two despicable old men are scheming to destroy our democracy and our planet because it will satisfy their monstrous egos. It is a sickening thought but if a paper which I used to respect has been influenced by the Murdoch’s fifth column and quietly changing their stance on the freedom of press and our right to know the truth?

I find no point in arguing if Omarosa’s accounts regarding that man and his administration were true. After all, it is her memoir, not a government dossier, therefore, she is entitled to have her opinion. Also, I don’t think the book has any clout to give a meaningful blow to that man any more since most of her revelations about him are already well-known amongst us.

Having said that, I am still enjoying reading this book a lot because Omarosa’s journey which she started from obscurity to become a White House aide is a classic American Dream and also the way she found herself being ousted and defamed by the system is a classic Kafkaesque nightmare. Don’t you agree with me that America is the only place where reality show stars can attain notoriety and fame? Obviously, Omarosa is one of the few who survived the rat race of the fame-hungry American mass media and kept her presence afloat.

I only wish if I were reading the book after that despot was long gone. It would be an ultimate happy ending, wouldn’t it?

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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