Celia's blog

Musings on life in Lodeve, Languedoc

A week in Xi’an (4) Traffic!

Posted by celiahukins on 04/04/2013

The number of cars in Xi’an has increased enormously over the last few years. Crossing the road at ground level is a challenging experience, although 4 year olds stand calmly as cars drive within inches of them.
Crossing the road


However, the bicycle is still a popular mode of transport.

Just a few impressions of Xi’an from my visit last October…


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A week in Xi’an (3) Morning in the park

Posted by celiahukins on 04/04/2013

The park is busy with morning activities; groups practise tai chi and martial arts
tai chi
Martial arts
A path sweeper takes a rest and listens to the music coming at him from all sides
path sweeper

Fishing is a popular pastime; there are plenty of fish in this special fishing area
We sit by the lake and watch the world go by
Duck boat

Coming out of the park by another gate we find a market where people buy food for lunch
meat stall
Vegetable stall
Vegetable sellers
We stand back to let the Amazon delivery through
Amazon delivery
As we walk through the park later it’s peaceful and all the exercisers have gone

Outside the park students eat tasty looking snacks at a stall, but with our Western digestive systems we daren’t risk it
Food stall

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A week in Xi’an (2)

Posted by celiahukins on 04/04/2013

In a shopping centre we met these 2 little girls who said “Hi, hello”, and then “Nice to meet you. Goodbye” with a very good English accent. They were pleased to let me take their photo before they ran off.
Chinese girls

There are several pagodas in Xi’an. After a while it is hard to remember which one is which. After climbing to the top up ever narrowing flights of stairs you get a good view of the city.
On this day we could see the mountains, which is unusual.

There were views over the fountains below, which we saw from ground level later, sitting in the sun on a pleasant afternoon.

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A week in Xi’an (1)

Posted by celiahukins on 04/04/2013

I arrived in Xi’an on a dusty Saturday afternoon in October 2012. The dust was blowing in from the surrounding countryside.

The city walls surround the town

City walla
In the morning under the walls people practise various forms of tai chi and other exercises.
Tai Chi
Tai Chi
including table tennis
Table tennis

There is music too

People bring their canaries to get some fresh air
And again there is music

The street sweeper is busy
Path sweeper

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Spring time in Lodeve

Posted by celiahukins on 04/04/2013

Lodeve view
So long without the blog – had you forgotten about me? Since we moved here full time in January our days have been filled with visits to various Lodève establishments, including the Mairie to try to register with the French Sécurite Sociale, and to the insurance company to top up our health insurance. We tried to get our English car taxed in France but in the end found it was easier to take it back to the UK and leave it there. We’ve had to provide a translation of our English birth certificates (you can at least do it on line, but need to have a certified translator at 40 euros a go). When will we get our carte vitale? Who knows?

Yesterday morning we got one step nearer to la vie francaise by registering with a local doctor. We have an appointment next week. The duty was made more pleasant by the fact that it was a bright sunny morning and everywhere trees were coming into bud.
There has been heavy rain over the last few months; the rivers are full.

A coffee in the sun is always a good idea.

Café Azarin

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Olive picking

Posted by celiahukins on 15/12/2012


November is olive picking time. We had already picked some green olives from one of the trees in our garden in October, and now we have jars of black olives as well, soaking in brine to debitter them. We only have a few olive trees, some of which do not produce many olives, and as we were interested to find out how it worked for people with lots of olive trees, we were pleased when our French neighbours introduced us to Sylvie and Bruno who have an olive farm at Mont Redon. We spent the weekend olive picking. It goes like this – you arrive about 9 am, have a coffee in the welcoming kitchen, meet up with your fellow pickers, and then set off – maybe 12 of you – to pick olives. At first the wind is cold and you need to be warmly wrapped up (though it’s hard to pick olives with gloves on) but gradually it gets warmer, and maybe the wind drops a little.

Olive pickers
We pick the olives 2 or 3 people to a bush. There is much conversation and joking, different family members who haven’t seen each other for a while catch up on the news. And even the former maire comes along – that’s him on the left of the photo.
The time passes surprisingly quickly, and as the morning wears on there are speculations about what will be for lunch, an important part of the activities. By 1 o’clock we are ready to return to the kitchen for a welcome warming pastis or two.

A good  day's work
On the first day we have soup followed by grilled sausage with risotto, the second day soup and an excellent boeuf bourgignonne . The olives will go to the huilerie cooperative to be made into olive oil. We tasted some made from a previous picking; the harvest hasn’t been large this year because of the cold in February.
lunch time

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Autumn already!

Posted by celiahukins on 07/12/2012

Olives and chanterelles
In October chanterelles appeared in the market, and we picked the green olives.
One sunny Thursday morning we went on a walk from La Bastide des Fonts, a village on the plateau near the Buddhist monastery. (Here’s a map)
La Bastide des Fonts
Catching up with the blog – more soon!

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Summer in Lodève – les Nocturnes

Posted by celiahukins on 07/12/2012

Paye ton Schtreimel
Apologies for the lack of blog – I’ve been travelling – hope to post about that soon. Anyway it’s good to look back to the summer as we sit by the fire.

On Tuesday evenings we enjoyed the Nocturnes de Lodève, with open air performances by various musicians. It was pleasant to sit in the Square Georges Auric, just outside the art gallery, and listen to music as it got dark. Usually there was a welcome freshness in the air, a relief after the heat of the day.

Here are Paye ton Schtreimel, a group of students from Lille University who entertained us with their take on Yiddish songs.

Earlier on Tuesday evenings there was the Marché du Terroir, where locals sell their home grown fruit and veg and the lady from Pégairolles sells her excellent goats cheese.

marché du terroir

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Voix de la Méditerannée

Posted by celiahukins on 25/09/2012

Sunday potes
No sooner had one lot of festivities ended than another began. (Alas the blog couldn’t keep up). I’ve never been in Lodève for the Voix de la Mediterraneée before. The town becomes a different place; streets are taken over by bookstalls.
Book stalls

You can catch artists and performers at various spots around the town. I particularly enjoyed “Garcon un café” where poetry readings were held at different cafés.

Bar des Halles

In the evenings the Place du Marché came alive, with stalls selling moules frites, organic wine, food from other nationalities – something for everyone. There were free performances from acrobats and tightrope walkers.

Later on our way back home we stopped by the banks of the Soulondre to enjoy the evening air and listen to yet more musicians. Sorry I’ve no more photos but take a look at the Voix website to see the variety of entertainments on offer.

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Summer in Lodève – fete nationale

Posted by celiahukins on 04/09/2012


Suddenly it’s September, and I’m seriously behind with the blog, due in part to the heat which made sitting in the shade of the olive tree the most attractive thing to do.

Looking back, it was a busy summer in Lodève – and I wasn’t been there for all of it. However I was there for the 14th July celebrations. There were the usual processions round the town with the Réveil Lodevois, and also bands from other countries such as Bulgaria.

My camera didn’t work too well for the evening celebrations, but here’s a photo of les Glorieuses Minettes de Roujan, one of many participants in the procession.
Minettes de Rougan
And what happened next? I’ll try to blog some more soon.

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