Archive for the ‘flâneur’ Category

Last night I got back after four days in Paris with the Flâneur Husband, so here’s an image dump with a little text:

Yes, I figured I’d start with the most garden-related pictures from our visit to Jardin Des Plantes, the botanical gardens where I used to go a lot when I lived in Paris ages and ages ago. It was actually the Flâneur Husband who suggested we could go see a garden, and this was definitely my first idea. And I’d never been into the greenhouses, so it was great to see them from the inside.

And of course we also saw lots and lots of the city in general, strolling around from one pavement café to the next – and enjoying that the weather, although changing, was mainly clement and only once gave us a real drenching. Most of the pictures I took on my solitary morning walks, since I wake up rather early and had a couple of hours to myself each morning before the husband awoke.

View from Pont Neuf towards Pont des Arts

Notre Dame de Paris

It means that some of the pictures were taken in a rather murky morning half-light, but it also means there were very few people around.

Place des Vosges

Tree decked out with books on Carrefour de l’Odéon – opposite Café Les Èditeurs


I do love going back to Paris; it really is an amazingly beautiful city, and one that I think I will always to some extent think of as “Home”, since it was the place I moved to when I had finished high school and moved out of my parents’ house.

Place de la Bastille

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It’s Flâneur Time!

G. Caillebotte - Un balcon (1880)

Gustave Caillebotte
Un balcon (1880)

Right, so I’m off to the airport any minute now for a 4-day weekend with the Flâneur Husband.

Lots of good food, strolls around the city and general enjoyment of Life. I can’t wait!

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Castle Fraser

Snapshot from another castle outing…

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Scottish Spring


Just a snapshot from my not-so-sunny Easter holiday in Aberdeen.

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I’ve been wondering how to protect my garden – and in particular my dahlias – from slugs, and though I have (organic) slug pellets and am not afraid to use them, it does seem I will need something more powerful.

A few years ago while I was in Greenland on summer holiday I bought a tupilaq. Or rather, a modern replica of one, since mine was carved for sale, rather than as a spirit avenger.

The tupilaq was manifested in real, human-made object. It was made by people to the detriment of their enemies. It was a puppet-like thing, but was thought of have magical power onto the victim.” (Wikipedia)

Now, in the garden my main enemy is the Killer slugs (Spanish slugs), so I figure I might as well try to get my tupilaq to target those.


For some strange reason the Flâneur Husband doesn’t find her attractive and seems keen on getting rid of her, so perhaps he’d also prefer if she took up residence in the summer house, rather than in the apartment. I love her, though; she’s made of reindeer antlers, and while some parts of her have the porous texture of the inside of the bone, her animal companions and her breasts have a glorious ivory-like glow to them that begs to be touched. She might not be the conventional “looker”, but she has a certain voluptuous fertility to her that makes me think she’ll enjoy protecting a garden.

She has a friend:

His shape is simpler – more monolithic – than hers, but he has another thing going for him; he was made from reindeer antlers that have been buried in the boggy soil outside Nuuk for a year or two so the antler would start to rot and as a result begin to take colour. The pale pink of his head and the greenish tint of his diamond-patterned body are the results of this. Mind you, the best thing about this tupilaq is the contrast between his smooth head and tail and the sharp feel of the diamond pattern on his body; this is one item that seems designed to be touched!

He will remain in the apartment, simply because I love holding him and feeling the different textures, but she will need to find a place in the summer house. After all, all’s fair in love and war, right? And I love my garden and have now declared war on the slugs, by means natural (i.e. organic) and supernatural!

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We are fortunate to have a stunning garden right outside our 4th-floor Copenhagen apartment. The Assistens Cemetery is immaculately maintained, with sections of it listed and no longer used for burials.

There are mature trees en masse, the odd patch of perennials in summer and lovely memories of people who lived and died in Copenhagen hundreds of years ago. And there are young people sunbathing in the summer (and yes, there is the occasional topless woman among them), families going for picnics – as has been the tradition ever since this cemetery was located in the countryside beyond the old fortified city and people would go to visit their departed family members on a Sunday and make an outing of it – and runners going for a jog on the many criss-crossing paths.

The cemetery is a living place, an integral part of our neighbourhood and in no way a gloomy or sad place. And it’s a whopping great view to have; from the warm yellow wall surrounding it, scanning upwards across the headstones and tree trunks to the canopy of tree crowns that form our horizon.

On the other side – from the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom – our view is less stunning, but to me it is actually also quite charming. We can look down into the courtyard garden below, with barbecues, tables and chairs and even a swing hanging from the branch of a medlar tree. And we can look across to a roof-scape of chimneys that reach up to the heavens, with frequent visits from seagulls and crows. It might not be conventionally beautiful like the view over the cemetery, but it has an urban charm to it; a sense of Baudelairesque retreat to a place above the city.

It reminds me of Baudelaire’s poem Paysage, where during winter the narrator retreats to his Parisian garret to write his pastoral poetry and

De tirer un soleil de mon coeur, et de faire

De mes pensers brûlants une tiède atmosphère.

“To pull a sun from my heart and to make / from my burning thought a tepid atmosphere.”

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