(501 to 600 of 739 replies)
ParaScubaSailor 8:01pm, 2 January 2007
2007/01/01 - Lundi 1er Janvier.

Bon, ben voilà, on y est arrivé à 2007, il suffisait d'être patient.

Mon année commence par une annonce, c'est maintenant officiel, je ne renouvelle pas mon contrat de travail, donc à partir de fin Avril, je suis libre (tout au moins de ce côté là).

Je pars faire un petit tour à la voile dans l'océan Indien. Première étape, Afrique du Sud - Madagascar...

Ca s'arrose:
Cooling down

Plus de détails sur un Blog qui va garder une trace de ce périple.
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(501 to 600 of 739 replies)
CollardGreens PRO 11 years ago
Hey Daniel - Have made it to Dubai and found a way around the censure blocking of flickkr...I liked the raid - even with it's inherent waste...waste makes security of course - nice solution. I don't use raid but a sequential DVD burning effort with multiple copies on multiple drives...even then there are times when a photo goes away.

Spectacular shots of the newer and smaller wing. I liked it that you were able to take the higher altitude from the glider. Tell me - do you broadcast on 121.5 during these flights or do you have some other means to call position?
I don't plan to jump off any mountains; but it would be fun to hike to the top of one or two. I would love to go to the top of either Monte Cintu or Monte D'oru but both require an early start.
ParaScubaSailor Posted 11 years ago. Edited by ParaScubaSailor (member) 11 years ago
Great that you bypassed the buggers, Ted. I *like* the idea.

We don't broadcast on 121.5 (is that the small plane's frequency?). We have a channel allocated for FFVL (Fédération Française de Vol Libre) at 143.9875 that is used by all the weather beacons and for our (short) communications. We normally go to other channels for chit-chat, but quite seldom.
So to summarise, we don't have a way to call position.
I recently learnt that 161.30 is monitored by the emergency services for distress while mountaineering.

While in Dubai, try and take a walk around from your hotel (I presume it's in the new part of town) to the shopping center...

Last time I was there, I didn't manage to go to the old town, I believe it's quite interesting...

Gypsy, hiking would be fun indeed. Early starts have to be negociated, though. I seldom get up before 04:00...
I've had a look at Monte Cintu on Google Earth, and it looks like they've misplaced it :-(
I found Monte d'Oro, which might be a different spelling or a different mountain altogether. Both look like interesting destinations and worth a try. I plan on going on a few hikes with my nephiew while we wait for your arrival, anyway.
Looking forward to it...
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-08-23 - Jeudi 23 aout.

Housekeeping and gardening tasks in the morning. From lunchtime, my radio reports Westerly winds in Très-Le-Mont. When I look up, the flag at the castle is oriented North, and the clouds are moving South-West. I decide the clouds are making a mistake.

I'm the first to get to the club-house in Orcier, but not for long. A small group gathers and we then have to take two cars to go to Très-Le-Mont. By then the beacon broadcasts West 8 - 22 km/h. Eight is the averaged speed of the wind over the past ten minutes, and twenty-two the strongest gust over the same period. It gives a fair indication of how rough the flight is likely to be. The windspeed is not our preoccupation today, but its direction. The clouds are moving West, and the ones above in a Southerly direction. It's quite likely that the flight will not be a very good one.

I get ready, there are indeed fairly strong gusts, so we have to make sure we time our take off to coincide with a lull. We use the strong gusts to lay the wing nicely, our back to the wind, facing the wing:

Ready to go...

In french, it's called "former la corolle" and in Gleesh "making the wall". The risers can be seen in one look and one glance is enough to ascertain that there are no tangles.

I let Guillaume take off first. He's a bit less experienced than I am, and it's reassuring that there's somebody on the ground if things don't go as planned.

I take off just behind him, and as suspected, the flight is bumpy. I get a couple of small wing collapses while trying to turn into ascendences. My vario shreiks from -3 to +5 m/s. This isn't much fun. It doesn't last. There's nothing worth exploiting, and ten minutes later I land just behind Guillaume.

We radio our experience to the crowd on take off, and they decide to drive down...

There are days where the clouds aren't wrong after all. Today, Guillaume and I were the fuses.
Dragonhide 11 years ago
Hmmm that must be a reassuring feeling to watch your wing fill in front of you being able to make sure it is unfurling nice and proper.

I assume you then walk up the hill and take off? I imagine that standing downhill like that, and a strong gust hitting the wing, one could be dragged up the hill?

Nevertheless a great picture and a peek behind the scenes of something I've always wanted to experience firsthand. :)
eelend PRO 11 years ago
that's beautiful!!!!

eelend's 2007
Gypsy Flores Photography Posted 11 years ago. Edited by Gypsy Flores Photography (member) 11 years ago
Oh we needn't start as early as 4 a.m. Arriving at the mountain at about 7 or so should make a lovely long days hike. We can carry lunch, water and our cameras and just hike up slowly. There are shorter routes up the mountains. Annette has maps and guide books at her house I believe and her son Don-Antoine is a good resource. Also the hike in the Restonica Valley to Lac de Melu and the Lac du Capitellu. There is also Paglia D'Orba. Oh so many areas to see.
~magpie~ PRO 11 years ago
Paragliding! How I'd love to try it! I've seen video of those winged suits that people wear and climb up a mountain, then jump and glide down. When my husband told me about it, I didn't believe him.

I am fascinated by the feeling of flight- I can't believe I haven't paraglided, skydived (skydove?), kite boarded or the like yet. I even love to be in the gorge up high, with winds blowing so strong they can hold your weight for a time... Or you even catch a glimpse of the feeling on a smooth road, a long steep hill, biking down it... I do cherish birds - maybe I was one in a former life. I often think of which bird I'd be. Very hard to choose, but definitely one that does a lot of gliding, less flapping.

I may have to go ask LaM what she'd choose....

Sorry, a long blathering entry in your journal and I have been absent for a long while!
Erica Day by Day 2007
CollardGreens PRO 11 years ago
Hey Daniel - reading through your post on the radio freqs - 121.5 is general world aviation channel for calling position and calling approach on fields with no tower...a talk channel if you like - but without the chatting. Clouds don't lie - we just don't believe them from time to time. Good stuff here.

CollardGreens: Oops!
ParaScubaSailor Posted 11 years ago. Edited by ParaScubaSailor (member) 11 years ago
Tim, starting facing the wing like that has several advantages, and indeed watching it inflate and fly up to your vertical is a major one. There is no point in walking back up the hill, you just take off where you are.
If the wind is too strong and you can't control the wing, then you shouldn't be flying. When the wind is really strong, the glider is much easier to control if it stays packed into its bag...
When you're a beginner, it's quite common to ask for some help in strong wind, by having somebody standing behind you, holding your harness in case you get dragged by the wing. A flying buddy once refused to help me, at first I thought he was joking, but then he told me I should be able to handle the wing on my own or leave it in the bag. Wise advice. I've never again asked for help...

Isas, gracias.

Gypsy, I was teasing a little about departure at 4:00, but I love watching sunrises. We're going to have a blast...

Erica, good to see you around, missed you.
The wing suits are actually a different sport altogether. I'm faaaar from that. Do look around your area, there are probably paragliders offering tandem flights and it's one of the most exhilarating experiences you can have. Try and avoid the holiday periods, though, as it is "production" time. In our area, the tandem pilots are disgusting during peak season: take off, five minutes of horizontal flight, spiral down, land, throw the wing in the bus, drive up, take off. Cycle time: 15 minutes. 85€
I've met more than one person that was disappointed by the experience. I've even met a person that when she asked why the flight was so short and why they had to spiral down so fast was told that inexperienced passengers will have trouble with the middle ear if they stay up for too long!
Do choose a bird of prey.

Ted, thanks for the info. Sometimes it's hard to believe reality... Are you still in an earlier time zone?
I am always up for the sunrises in Corsica. They are like no where else in the world--especially from Annette's.
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-08-24 - Vendredi 24 aout.

Another summer flight. We could get used to it or grow complacent, but we know every flight we get is different.

Today's special event is Jean-Marc's vernissage. We met at the paragliding club a while ago, and recently discovered we shared another common passion: photography. I convinced him that Flickr was a good thing (he got an account when he bought a Nokia camera-PDA-computah-assistah-phone) but that a real camera was the thing, and he takes beautiful photographs. So much so that he was invited to display his pictures in a gallery in Thonon. The opening was an occasion for the local Flickrites to get together and go for a pizza afterwards.
A small group from Lausanne was there, and two ladies from Lyon. As usual in those gatherings, the cameras were only outnumbered by the silliness ... A lot of fun was had by all!

At Jean-Marc's vernissage
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-08-25 - Samedi 25 aout.

Today is an important day for my friend Claire: she's getting married. The weather is a fantastic, that's a big relief! Everything goes smoothly, no camera malfunction, no drama...

I meet Gladys. She has a musical box with dancers, a bee and a beetle. We like each other. She's six.

ParaScubaSailor Posted 11 years ago. Edited by ParaScubaSailor (member) 11 years ago
2007-08-26 - Dimanche 26 aout.

Late morning: I only got home after 3:00 from Claire's wedding. There was a time where we would have had a cup of coffee and then gone mountaineering without bothering with wasting time in bed...
It was the time where we were our kids age (I say our in a bit of an abusive way, it's their kids. ;-)
Today we have a big meeting. every ten years, since 1977, a group of us meet to commemorate the GR5.
The GR5 is a hiking trail that starts in Saint Gingolf, on the shore of the Leman lake, and goes all the way to Nice, on the shore of the Mediterranean. It was prolonged all the way to Austria, I believe. In our college days, most of us discovered hiking. We spent most week-ends and holidays mountaineering. My friends organised that hike. I could not attend that year: I had to work during school holidays, but I was part of the preparations and the training. And for a long time afterwards, the showing of the slides was an occasion often repeated to get together in much merriment to relive the adventure, and then go on other adventures.
We've done a lot of hikes since that period, but the GR5 remains the reference point.
I plan on doing it with the children of the original participants, it's a four to six weeks hike through the Alps, with no technical difficulties or particular dangers.
So we met for lunch in a restaurant on Le Plateau des Glières, as it is fairly central for everybody. There wasn't anybody we hadn't met in the past few years, but it was the first time we were all together in one place at the same moment since the previous meeting, ten years ago.
Grown up kids, tired-looking parents, signs of time passing by.
My niece once told me I wasn't old because I didn't have children. I liked that very much!

Lunch was a very local affair, and we got out of the restaurant well after 16:00 to split in two groups: the snoozers and the walkers. We met again after an hour to have a final round of drinks before we took to the road for the return home.

On the way back, I stopped at Dédé's house. Last time I was there, Antoine showed me his Mobylette, a 1957 original restored to a mint condition, with parts sourced through eBay. He had decorated it for one of his friends wedding. Nobody had taken care of the sound aspect of things, so Antoine fitted a car battery in the cart, with three sets of hooters. He wasn't the fastest, but he was the noisiest by far!

La Mob!
ParaScubaSailor Posted 11 years ago. Edited by ParaScubaSailor (member) 11 years ago
2007-08-27 - Lundi 27 aout.

The crucial instant.

It seems to me that you enjoy the paragliding postings, so I'll give you another one for today.

One important thing to realise is that a paraglider is closer to a plane than to a parachute. The only commonality between a glider and a 'chute is that they're both made of cloth and strings, but that's where the resemblance ends. When this fact entered my mind, I made big progress in my flying.
You see, when the glider is on the ground, it's just a piece of cloth, with a couple of strings attached. By pulling it into the wind and inflating it, you make a plane out of it. Once it's a plane, you have to give it speed so it flies.
And i'm not speaking figuratively. In take off, there are three distinct phases: on the ground, you check the equipment (pre-flight check)
then you pull the wing up and inflate it, pause to check that the risers are not tangled and the shape of the wing is correct,
and then give the wing air speed so it flies, this involves running usually.
Air speed is simply speed in the air. If the air is moving and you're facing the wind, then you don't have to run as fast. (Added later) I just uploaded a photo-montage that show Arlette taking off.


Here we see the pause between inflation and take off. Eric executed a perfect inflation, then stopped the wing above his head while he checked its shape. We can see that the trailing edge is down, he's applied the brakes on the wing so it doesn't overtake him. All the while, he's applying his weight forward to keep pressure in the risers. Timing is crucial to get everything going smoothly and under control. It's the part of apprenticeship that's very frustrating: once you know how to do it, it's very easy, but you can't practice very much until you get it, and you can't get it until you practice... Catch 22!

I'd flown earlier in the afternoon, what was known in South Africa as a Foofie, short for foofie-slide, a flight where you take off, fly, and land, all in a matter of minutes as there's nothing to make you gain altitude and prolong your flight. Un plouf!
The high pressure system is too stable, the air too hot and the combination of a high altitude thin cloud layer and pollution smog on the ground prevent thermals from forming.
So I offered to drive the car down when Eric said he was driving up. We have a very good atmosphere at the club, and one of the elements that reinforces the camaraderie is that nobody would think of driving to take off on his own, with a car half empty. There's always somebody that needs a lift, either to go and fly or fetch a car that was used by a lot of people to get up. When my truck was still operational, it was common that over twelve people would pile up at the back, with gliders as seats...
Dragonhide 11 years ago
Awesome post- thanks. I read with great interest. I've long been fasincated with "powered parachutes" or "Paraplanes" I have seen them referred to as.

Wikipedia has a good article on Paragliding

But since I live where I have fields to take off and land on (By my house, actually!), and not very many high mountains, I've been interested in this-

Powered Parachute

Have you tried that before? I'm curious on your opinions of these things. :)
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-08-28 - Mardi 28 aout.

I was going to use yet another photo of a beer for today's diary entry, but looking out of the window, I saw a sunflower looking up at me. They're just opening now. It's some seeds I planted under my window, I wanted to see them when I get up in the morning, but Summer only started yesterday, and today it's Autumn, it's raining (hence the unusual amount of time I spent online today) and I expect the ones that aren't open yet will rot under the snow next week. Global warming, pah!

Fleur mathématique de Fibonacci

You think there's a spiral, or maybe several, lining up the seeds in the center. Actually, it's a very unusual spiral, the space between successive seeds is a value related to the golden number: 0.618...
To be exact, the space between seeds is close to 137.5 degrees, that's one turn (360 degrees) multiplied by (1 - 0.618). Nothing to do with genetics, it's physically a very good way to pack as many seeds as possible in a spiral: any rational number would result in wasted space at some point, and the golden number is one of the most irrational numbers: ((Square root of 5) - 1) / 2

Makes you think, doesn't it? ;-)
eelend PRO 11 years ago
what a lovely flower
Sunflowers and zinnias are from my childhood. I love them
friuduric 11 years ago
Beautiful stream! When we visit relatives in St. Gallen, Switzerland, we climb the Ebenalp (yeah, it's a tiny little thing, but it's a good place to start a visit). There are always paragliders there, and after the climb it's fun to watch them, their multicolored silks full of wind, gliding so silently in the air currents. Some of them get incredibly high up.

Must be fun!

Adventures on Sabbatical
RobW_ PRO 11 years ago
Thanks for all the fascinating detail about paragliding - very instructive. That sunflower is beautiful, and the golden mean worth thinking about - Nature is wonderful.

You asked (about a week ago) about travel plans. I have plans to explore Crete for a week or two. Then, having met so many wonderful East European people here, and having many addresses, I have an ambition, before winter sets in, to drive North from Greece, through the Balkans, eventually visiting those cities on the Danube, Bucharest, Budapest, Prague (for the first time, all), and Vienna, which I know well. Maybe as far north as Krakow.

Then, Christmas with our daughters and other family in London. January/February in Cape Town, where our younger daughter will be married, then chilling out in Athens before getting back on the summer treadmill.

Thanks for starting that discussion about which bird we'd like to be. Not sure if you have made up your mind, but maybe you don't need to, you fly already (btw liked the foofie-slide reference, did a few of those in my childhood). You may not be surprised that I decided, over on La M's diary, that an African Fish Eagle would be my choice - I like seafood, and they have a call that, once you have heard it in the bush, you will never forget.
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
Gracias Izas!

Gypsy, this is the first time I plant sunflowers this year. I'm a bit disappointed by the late blooming, but I still like them ;-)

Imperatrix, it is a lot of fun, especially when you get high up...

Rob, great traveling plans. I was in the Balkans two years ago, but didn't get to travel as much as you plan to. Sounds great.
I wasn't the one to start the conversation about which bird to be, I think it was Erica that mused on Gypsy's journal.

The call of the Fish Eagle, you're right. Thanks for reminding me. We did a four days canoe trip on the Orange river over fifteen years ago, where we spotted a few and heard their call.
Yes, Erica started the discussion about which bird one would like to be. I vacillate but today I was thinking about La Buse. When you go to Corsica then you will know why I think about this bird. I would be this bird and glide over the mountains of Corsica.
CollardGreens PRO 11 years ago
Hey Daniel - I will take time this weekend (no time till then) to slowly read the thread here - and over a nice cup of Ted's coffee ! Back in Paris and trying to sort out all sorts of things - LaM...need some time for yours and all the others as well...good stuff here !
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-08-29 - Mercredi 29 aout.

Rainy day...

I took a trip to the attic to look for a book by Wojtek Siudmak. He's an artist that used to illustrate the covers of Science Fiction books in the 1980s. I have two books that represent a summary of his works, and I wanted to give one as a birthday present to somebody dear to me. Those books are out of print and I couldn't find any for sale anywhere.

Trip to the attic

My trip to the attic was not successful in that regard, but I found some books that are all special for different reasons. A year ago, I gave my Dune books to one of my nephiews. To me, they represent a milestone in Sci-Fi writing. I found one of the follow-up at the bottom of one of the boxes, so I'll take that to my nephiew next week.

I also came accross a book I can recall reading, but I can't recall the content, so I'll take that for leisure reading in Corsica. My interest for mathematics is growing again.

Beaudelaire should be read at regular intervals, and I haven't read it in a looooong while.

The last book, La Môme Vert-de-gris is one I did not remember packing away, but it was a serendipitous find...

I ended up using part of the first pumpkin from the garden to cook a pumpkin and coconut Thai soup. Yum! It was a nice birthday dinner celebration, and afterdinner was nice too.
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
Tim, somehow our postings crossed a page above, and I didn't even realise you asked me all those questions about paragliding.

First of all, you are correct that Wikipedia has a good article on Paragliding

> But since I live where I have fields to take off and land on (By my
> house, actually!), and not very many high mountains, I've been
> interested in this- Powered Parachute

Tim, I haven't tried any form of motorised flying machine. There are high enough take off places around here to do without them, although I've looked enviously at one that flies regularly on very quiet, windless late afternoons around my brother's house, about 20km from here, away from mountains on the shore of the lake.

I also helped (by being the driver of the recovery vehicle) a friend fly from Wilderness to Knysna on the South Africa coast, a trip of about 40km, while using a paramotor.

> I'm curious on your opinions of these things. :)

They stink and they make a noise!

Seriously, we are lucky to be able to use motor-less machines, but paramotors use a paragliding wing, so they're more efficient than powered parachutes and can afford to use smaller (read less noisy) engines. It's also possible to switch the motor off during the flight, when there is lift from thermal or dynamic activity.
That's one activity I will certainly try in the not too distant future. The motor is about 30kg (50lb) and certain wings (my new one amongst others) can be used for paramotoring (not all can, it's a question of dynamic balance, with the force of the motor pushing the pilot, the wing position differs from the one on normal flight).
I did a towing course when I was in Johannesburg, where we used a winch mounted at the back of a car to tow us for launching. That's also a solution: you can rise quickly to a height of 100 to 300 meters with a static winch (mounted on the ground), and once there you can look for thermals to rise higher... If you have the space on the farm, and there is thermal activity, it might be a solution worth investigating. Especially if you have old diesel engines lying around: puting together a winch is a piece of cake...
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-08-30 - Jeudi 30 aout.

Rainy day again. Bleah!
Spent half the morning at my brother's place waiting for the delivery truck to bring some sand, cement and other building materials. He wants to pave the area at the front of his house. I don't want to argue, but one of the topics we discussed at a meeting a couple of nights ago was water, and amongst others the problems we face because runoff water has vastly increased for two reasons:
* the rainfalls are more irregular, while on average there's been little change in yearly rainfall, rain falls more seldom but in bigger quantities
* the nature of the ground has changed. With so much construction around, (houses, shopping centers, roads, parking areas, swimming pools) the ground does not absorb water as much as it used to, leading to a lot of water damage.

Well, the delivery truck is a MAN, and all the while I'm running around making space to unload the stuff and making sure nothing gets dumped where it shouldn't, I observe the workings of all the hydraulic accessories: the driver first extends two arms from behind the cabin and lower two legs to the ground, increasing the width on the ground at the point where a small crane is situated. It is then just the matter of pushing a few buttons to unload a pallet of 300kg of cement sacs. Then the same crane is used to unload the steel we'll use on the foundations. The crane is folded away and the legs retracted to then lift the back of the truck and dump the sand. He is then on his way, before I can run back to the house to fetch my camera.
Rainy day
On my way home, I think I'd better take a pic of the road under the rain for my diary, and now that I look at it before I upload it, I realise the truck waiting at the red signal opposite me on the road is also a MAN. How serendipitous! (I love that word)

Later that afternoon, I have half an hour to kill, and I decide to change the zipper on my Lowepro bag. It's the bag I use everyday. I chose it because I can fit the 5D + 50mm f/1.2 in the top compartment, together with my wallet, my passpord and my Moo cards. In the main compartment, there is space for a book, my Gorillapod, a spare lens (usually the 16-35f/2.8) and either the 1D + 70-200f/2.8 or my Canon XH A1 video camera. In the outside pocket, I carry my MP3 player with a set of comfortable headphones, sunglasses, 2 spare AAA batteries for the MP3 player, a small headlamp, a small plyer tool and a couple of pens and pencils.
The design of that bag is very good. I just wish they'd use better quality zippers. I've had a zipper failure on another Lowepro bag before, and as in that case, it was within the warranty period, but I decided not to use the warranty: what's the point of replacing an under-engineered item by another similar one? I'd rather do the job myself and use what I know will outlast the bag: a zipper I salvaged from a bag I finally threw away.
I also sew a couple of tabs and other loops to hook accessories onto the bag when I need to carry extra stuff. I like flexibility.
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-08-31 - Vendredi 31 aout.

I meet my brother at his house late morning to start levelling the ground for the paving.

Working at his place is fairly pleasant: we first have lunch (spaghetti with home-made pesto) and then I have a small siesta in his lawn before we return to the chantier. Then there are plenty pauses to collect the hazelnuts that fall from the trees that border his alleyway. But we do some serious work too:
By the time we end our workday, most of the area is level and ready for laying out the concrete foundation.

For those that wonder about the sparks, it's actually burning metal. The iron is hot enough, in small enough particules to burn in the oxygen contained in the air. The fact it is very hot is supported by the presence of tiny specks imbedded in the glass of the protective glasses (usually old sunglasses get recycled to that role). I was standing at a safe distance: even though I have a UV filter in front of my lens, I didn't want that stuff too close to the camera if I could avoid it.
~magpie~ PRO 11 years ago
I love how the sparks look there...

Thai pumpkin soup? I just ordered a pumpkin curry at our local thai place and it was so delicious. Mind sharing your recipe??

I have such a hard time getting rid of books. We have a tiny house but so many books... One of the things I love is when a friend is visiting and asks for a recommendation. Phillip and I get a little gleam in our eye and start digging... Oh! And this! Oh! And if you like so-and-so you'll love this! Oh! We do have a few that we have had to replace as we've loaned them out and they've become a pass-it-on book. This is a good thing...

Erica Day by Day 2007
CollardGreens PRO 11 years ago
Hey Daniel ! Its always a pleasure to read your posts - always something mechanical and practical advice of a variety of things. Too bad you missed the MAN shot >>> I have been in the throws of thinking about another bag myself. I am considering having one made to my specifications. Sure to be a little more expensive but probably will like it better. I know a group that makes bags for paramedics - strong, tough, ballistic nylon and plenty of padding as they house defibs and monitors etc. We are in the talking stages now - getting them to agree on black instead of bright red ! Anyway - good stuff here. Monday I will have answers on sept schedule...

CollardGreens: Oops!
Satrina 11 years ago
I agree with CollardGreens, it's a pleasure to read you. I'm in the mood for some sweet hazelnut cream now
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-09-01 - Samedi 1er septembre

The wind is blowing very hard this morning early already. I spend it in the garden instead of going mountaineering. In the afternoon, it gets a little better later and I go for a good flight in Orcier.

That evening Gisèle has organised a barbecue and I give my new 85mm a good portrait workout ...

[Photo to be added later, when I return home]
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-09-02 - Dimanche 2 septembre.

Today is a special day. Every year, on the first Sunday of Septembre, we have a day to celebrate the anniversary of our paragliding and hang-gliding club where we invite lots of people, organise lots of tandem pilots so people that have never flown before can try it.

The weather is usually exceptional, we can't recall a year where we couldn't fly, but this year the clouds don't let us take off before well after lunchtime.
Never mind, the day is a success and we manage to have interesting flights, as well as many beaming first-timers...

[Photo to be added later, when I return home]

I even have to cut short a flight to dash home and start my journey South. My friend Nanard lives in Grenoble, and I'm stopping there tonight for a rest. The trip down isn't too long, only a couple of hours, but it's not very interesting: there are far too many cars on the road, and I don't have the time to take little side roads, besides, at night there isn't much to see anyway...
ParaScubaSailor Posted 11 years ago. Edited by ParaScubaSailor (member) 11 years ago
2007-09-03 - Lundi 3 septembre.

I have breakfast with Nanard. We used to work together in 1983-85 and remained friends since.

After breakfast, he heads off to work, while I get on my bike to try a road I'd never taken before. It crosses Le Devoluy, a mountain range between the road to Sisteron and the one to Gap. It's a beautiful mountain range and I want to come back here for a few days hike in the future.


I get to Sisteron just after lunch time, and I have a picnic on the side of the Jabon river, followed by a short siesta. Life's good.

The wind, already strong since I've come out of the deep valleys, is gusting and quite unpleasant. The traffic is also getting quite unpleasant and I leave the main road after Manosque to take back-roads to Toulon.

I get there before the kids come back from the beach...

We have a good family evening, taking about the start of school for tomorrow.
Dragonhide 11 years ago
Hey, thanks for your thoughts on the powered paragliding.. All good stuff, I suppose the answer is "it depends" on the terrain. and the noise tolerance!

Always a pleasure to read here.. I agree wholeheartedly with the others here on that. :)
ParaScubaSailor Posted 11 years ago. Edited by ParaScubaSailor (member) 11 years ago
Erica, I'll post the recipe in a while (it's getting late now), it was a recipe originally from a Thai recipe book. If you had the green curry Thai soup, the taste will be very similar.

Ted, we need to talk about the bag. Why not put together a good design? I'm keen on making a prototype...

Satrina, muchas gracias. Es maravilloso que estás detrás.

Tim, you're right. Better not be radical about it, noise is bearable if it's for a good cause ;-)
Hope you can solve the upload problem before I arrive as I will also want to post photographs from Annette's. How is the weather? Annette's DSL is impossible in bad weather.

See you very soon.
RobW_ PRO 11 years ago
Come on, solve that upload poblem, we want to see the pictures!@
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
Gypsy, the upload problem belongs to the past, Annette got her technician to fix it while we were mountaineering yesterday.
Weather is beautiful, a bit overcast on the day we arrived, with forecast thunderstorms and rain not materialising and the skies clearing before the evening. Blue skies since then. Am looking at an orgy of stars right now, waiting for the sunrise from the balcony.

Rob, done! ;-)
By the time I arrive you will have gone native. :D And you won't be able to leave. I always have that struggle.

This will be a working vacation for me, as usual.

See you soon.

( A Gypsy Outdoors)
I picture you watching the sunrise from the balcony right now.

I can hardly wait to join you there for coffee.

Soon the children will be awake and the whirlwind of life in Casa Agostino Giafierri will begin.
RobW_ PRO 11 years ago
Ah, yes! Can't wait to see the gypsy there, sore mouth and all.
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
Gypsy, it's too late! I've gone native already. The tourists are irritating me, and I'm wondering why I don't have a 2A or 2B number plate on the bike ;-)

You're right about the whirlwind in Casa Giafferri. Yesterday was first day at school for Amandine, I let you imagine the scene...

Sore mouth Rob? I missed something somewhere. It's been a while since I last visited the other diaries here.
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-09-04 - Mardi 4 septembre.

Early rise this morning in Casa Carollo. It's the first day back to school for Elisabeth, and departure for me and Adrien. Our ferry leaves at 8:15 and we were told to be there at 7:30.
My brother Mario gives Adrien a lift: we have too much combined luggage to both travel on the bike.
The ferry's size is impressive. It's not my first time on one, but I'm still awed by these huge hunks of metal.
We settle in one of the salons to savour another cup of tea and the journey starts quite well... until they switch on the big video screen to show a movie. If only it had been a silent movie! We grab our things and move in search of a place where our reading won't get interrupted by silly entertainment.
Isn't it amazing that the answer to impatient crowds is to stick a screen in front of them with some mindless moving pictures? I'm particularly appalled at this phenomenon in queues at banks, post offices and administrations: rather than solving the queue problem, they manage the consequences...
At lunch time, we go to the restaurant. The menu is interesting, and our expectations are met: Swordfish carpaccio, gnocchi, veal roast and a good platter of cheeses.
A first crossing on a ferry and the start of the holidays deserve Champagne for a toast...

When we alight from the ferry, the smells hit me. A lot of people have mentionned the sights and the food, and only one person told me about the smells. That's the part that I get first.
I love it!

Adrien catches the train with his luggage, while I wind my way to Annette's place. The countryside is beautiful, I love it already.
The main roads are quite wide and the traveling speed is as high, if not higher, than on the continent, and an hour later I find Casa Giafferri, perched on the hillside in Poggio di Venaco. I am immediately made welcome by Annette, the house is hoooge!
And there's Wi-Fi everywhere!
A paradise for a Flickr addict...

I have a couple of hours ahead of me before Adrien's train arrives at the station down the road from Annette's and I take my camera for a walk in the village. The church is quite striking, against the sky now blue. Time passes quickly, and I get to the train station just in time to welcome my nephiew.
Supper is grand.
A lovely day indeed...
RobW_ PRO 11 years ago
That looks like a very fine lunch for a ferry boat! I love the picture of Casa Gaffieri on their website. It looks like a wonderful place to stay. I'm so jealous now. I must go and read La M's journal of a previous visit, which she links to somewhere (I know where), and read more about it.

(Rolling thunder from behind me, and wind rustling through the trees - I feel storm photos coming on - must go now).
Sore mouth--I had a root canal done on a back molar yesterday.

I can't wait!!!!!!!!

Yes, the smells are exquisite--that is one reason I love walking in the maquis. (Lots of other reasons too; but the smells of the maquis....)
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
Rob, in my experience, there are very few places left where "traditional" good old service can be found. Surprisingly, eating traditions onboard ships have stood the test of time (but the waiters and waitresses didn't wear white gloves, though ;-)
Looking forward to the thunderstorm pics...

Ouch Gypsy :-(
Dead right about the smells. We'll compare notes soon.
ParaScubaSailor Posted 11 years ago. Edited by ParaScubaSailor (member) 11 years ago
2007-09-05 - Mercredi 5 septembre

First day in Corsica, everybody recommended we go to the Restonica valley, and it sounds like a reasonable recommendation, so we head there after stopping in Corte on our way to buy local charts and some bread, cheese and a saucisson de sanglier. The recommendation was to go to the first lake, lac Melo and lac Capitello if we feel up to it.
The start of the walk is still in the shade, so we make good time to Melo, snap a few pictures and head for Capitello. We get there in good time, Adrien has time to have a dip in the lake while I look at two teams of climbers progressing on the slab of rock on the other side of the lake. I look at the map and decide we'll go to "La Brèche de Capitello", a pass a little higher than the lake. The view extends all the way to the sea, we get an appreciation for the mountains around us. We then follow the GR20 for a while, before stopping for lunch and a siesta.

We then descend to lake Melo and join the crowd of tourists to go to the parking lot.

It's been a good day, and Annette has some homemade vegetable soup, veal roast and gratin de pommes de terre on the table that night.

Life is good...
~magpie~ PRO 11 years ago
Some gorgeous photos of Corsica, the mountains, the lake. Am also enjoying your rich descriptions... keep it up!

Erica Day by Day 2007
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-09-06 - Jeudi 6 septembre.

For our second day, Pierrine recommended we take the path to le refuge de petra piana. She doubts whether we'll have time to get all the way there, as she normally goes there in a six hours walk, but with a 76 years old woman, and come down after having spent the night in the refuge.
We waste quite a bit of time to find the road to Canaglia, and only start walking after 9:30. The path is very pleasant, following the river Manganello in the shade of pine trees. The gradient is gentle and we make good way. We're at the refuge shortly after one o'clock, and have the cheese and saucisson left over yesterday.
As always when we get above a certain altitude, the view gets magnificent, here's a panorama (generated with Autostitch)

Panorama from pedra piana
(To be appreciated, this is better seen large, or even very large...)

No time for siesta, we decide to follow the path on the crests that goes to refuge de l'Onda. Quite a few people said the view from the crests is beautiful. We make slower way than anticipated, and get to refuge de l'Onda at about 16:00. I'm very keen to come here, as this is one of the routes that leads to Monte d'Oro, one of the summits Gypsy would like to climb.

We still have the descent to the waterfall du Meli, where we'll meet again the path we took to ascend this morning, and then the long path along the river, back to Canaglia.
The gradient of the slope is just right: we can walk very fast downhill, and even the meandering along the river goes at flying speed. We're back at the motorcycle shortly after 17:30, we'll have time to have a drink on the balcony at Annette's place before supper...
A usual, supper is delicious: quiche and pissaladière, with a fresh green salad, followed by a desert cooked by Pierrine.

Life is soooo good!
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
Thanks for the visit, Erica. I'm glad you're enjoying the trip...
Oh you got to see Pierrine. I am very envious. She was in school in Marseille last year when I arrived so I missed her. I love to go hiking with her. And hiking with Pavlina (the 76 year old woman who was Pierrine yoga instructor) was quite an amazing event. We went to the summit of U San Pedrone together. It sounds like this old woman will not be able to keep up with you!
ebilflindas 11 years ago
Wowoweewah! Now that's a panorama!
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
Gypsy, Pierrine is looking forward to your visit. She will be here for a few days after your arrival, so you'll get to see her. We'll probably go hiking together on Sunday...
No problem on keeping up. Jusss walk! ;-)

Thanks Emil. I have autostitch working overtime...
RobW_ PRO 11 years ago
Great pictures of rugged Corsica, your hikes well-described.
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-09-07 - Vendredi 7 septembre.

Today is washing day. In all our long hikes (those over a week), we always planned a day of rest, that came to be known as "washing day". It wasn't the calendar, scenery, or any other grandiose scheme that would determine what day it would be, but the depletion of the stock of clean socks. You can't hike decently without clean socks. Everything can be filthy-dirty, but feet are the part of the anatomy that get extra special treatment. So the afternoon of the day the last clean pair was worn would end early enough to wash socks (first) and then underpants, and everything else if there was washing powder left over. The next day would be spent wearing sandals whille the socks dried properly. Sandals were good enough to walk around and do the shopping to resupply the going caravan.
Of course, since we can take showers and sleep every night in clean sheets, we don't have to have a day just for washing, but Adrien needs a bit of rest, yesterday was hard going, and we also want to visit the museum in town. And we have to do a bit of shopping as tonight his cooking skills will be tested. He will be starting his second year of Hôtellerie studies in a few weeks time, and tonight he'll be the master of Annette's imposing kitchen.
We spend the morning at the Corsica Museum in Corte. It's the two hundredth anniversary of Pasquale Paoli's death,and while we learn a lot about him in the section of the museum devoted to him, we're a bit frustrated to find nothing anterior to his life. The history of the domination of the island by Genoa would have been interesting, I'm sure.
Of course, in a museum, they forbid the taking of photographs, so I have my compulsory moment of rebelion to bring you Paoli.
The rest of the museum is very interesting, taking a much more anthropologic approach to the study of life on the island.
It is now lunch time, and we take the route of the Restonica Valley to go Chez César, a small restaurant set in the pine trees half-way up the road. There's only a lunch time service as the place doesn't have electricity. The food is very nice, we have an attentive waiter and time goes very quickly. We bike back to Corte to shop for sage, but we're not successful. Adrien will have to improvise...
We get to Annette's after 16:30 and the activity starts in the kitchen. I stay away as there are plenty enough young feminine helping hands for Adrien.
Adrien in the kitchen...
He serves us a dish of Gnocchi that everybody appreciates, and I discover a wine I didn't even know exised a few days ago: Patrimonio.

Did I mention I love this place?

There is much merriment around the table as Lynn has arrived from the US.

Another good day...
Oh, I so hope I can get on that plane and enjoy the merriment around the table, smell the maquis, listen to the silence, hear the music; but life is such a disaster right now.
Loca.... 11 years ago
Great panorama you got in there. How did you took those pictures at the museum? I would have been caught.

So glad you're enjoying this.
Dragonhide 11 years ago
Oh my. I read with great longing of your diary... I long to be on the move.. always moving, and walking and taking care of my feet making sure they are clean and blister-free.

Sounds like such grand time.

Have a lot of fun!
CollardGreens PRO 11 years ago
Daniel - What a pleasure over coffee this morning. Thank you for describing what I will be missing - the photos are of course a delight. To find a wine you didn't know existed must have been a beautiful treat for you ( for me it happens every time - but you ...must have been great !). I hope Gypsy is able to overcome the troubles (she will) and get on that night flight to the continent...I think she has apple pie planned and everything ! I have a couple of days before my next flight out and plan on catching up here and elsewhere. Good stuff !

Oh - on the camera bag. Indeed - I would like to join forces with a couple of other serious photogs and plan up a good one (or two?). After the holiday / work hoopla...

ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
Gypsy, the Maquis is waiting for you... About the disasters right now, "this too shall pass".

Gabriella, usually, when they catch me, I'm busy putting my camera away, and they tell me "Sir, no photos allowed" and I say "Oh, yes, thank you" and move on...

Tim, nothing like being "on the path" to feel the life in and around you.

Ted, great to "see" you back. I don't have the wine knowledge you seem to attribute me, and new finds are not uncommon, and always a pleasure. Why! Just today I discovered another Red Corsican wine and a new local beer. I'm not too worried about Gypsy: I'm very confident that she'll overcome whatever life throws at her. Really a pitty you guys can't join us, but that's a good opportunity to plan something else some other time (next year or sooner).
About the bag, I have quite a few ideas, versatility and modularity are very important to me, and we must definitely talk about it. No rush...
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-09-08 - Samedi 8 septembre.

It's the week-end, and Annette's children don't go to school today, so Adrien is not too keen on another day outing. Annette's son Don has organised a Quad outing for him this afternoon, so I go off on my own to do a preliminary exploration. I have heard that the Asco valley hosts a big population of mouflons, a type of mountain goats we also have in the Alps (they were introduced there from the 1960s), but the local population seems much smaller than ours.
I get on the bike to go to Asco, and then Haut Asco, a ski resort that ceased the skying activities after torrential rains washed the installations. Just before the ex ski resort, there is La Maison du Mouflon et de la nature where I meet an extreemely knowledgeable and helpful lady to gather some information on where and how best to go about getting some pictures of these animals. On my next stop, I opportunatly meet the mayor of Asco at the refuge of Haut Asco and we talk about the region, he shares with me his worries about nature protection and transmitting the beauty around us to future generations...
He recommends that we go to le lac pourri to spend the night, although the regulations don't allow camping outside of the refuge zones, in order to catch the mouflons when they come to the only watering point in the area.

On my way down the valley, I spot an idyllic spot to have a quick dip and a siesta:
Haut Asco

There is still a distance to cover to go "back home" and I take a little detour to see the villages of Multifao and Castelfao, perched on the side of the mountain.

On one of my numerous stops, I chase an intrepid lizard for a while...

I get to Annette's place quite late, to a delicious supper, after a day spent riding around. Adrien had fun riding the Quad bike with Don, so a good time was had by all.
RobW_ PRO 11 years ago
The idyllic holiday continues, with washing days and great meals, wine and beer. Checked your photo stream for wonderful sunrise pictures also. La M is pawing the ground in frustrated eagerness to get there!
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
Hey Rob!

Great holiday indeed, and by now Gypsy must be close to Paris (if not landed already). I expect she will be in Corsica tonight, but I don't have her detailed schedule.
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-09-09 - Dimanche 9 septembre.

We planned a short outing from Annette's house for today, as Pierrine is keen on coming hiking with us, but at the last minute, her knee troubles prevent her from accompanying us. We stick to the original plan and walk through Riventosa and Santu Pietru di Venaco to take the path that groes through three bergeries (shepperds huts). It's a bit late, and the air is already quite hot. The initial part of the climb is in the shade, and we make good progress to Bergerie de Tataralla (altitude 1440m), where I discover a nicely oriented field that I can use in the future to take off. I just have to get here before the wind gets too strong...
Another climb takes us Bergerie de Coda a u Pratu, at 1648m. We just pass through, as we want to get to the next bergerie to find a nice shady place for lunch.
Panoramic - Above Santu Pietru di Venacu
The next place has a small chappel next to the bergerie, the church of Santo Eliseo, and the whole place is covered with a thick layer of dry, powdery ovine and bovine excrements. In a few seconds we're used to the smell and, contrary to expectations, it's not overpowering at all.

We pass the bergerie and enter the wooded area. As soon as a soft grassy patch attract our fancy, the rucksacks are down and we tackle lunch. As usual: saucisson de sanglier and fromage de brebis followed by fruits and siesta. No coffee.

We resume the descent to get back to Santu Pietru, where a nice fountain adorns the www.flickr.com/photos/parascubasailor/1351523526 on Annette's terrace.

Another good day of hiking around these beautiful mountains...
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-09-10 - Lundi 10 septembre.

After a leisurely breakfast following a spectacular sunrise, we take the bike to go to Corte. I need to do a bit of shopping for tonight's supper, and we're going on a rather short hike to the bridge in les gorges du Tavignano, a valley parallel to the Restonica. The climb is fairly easy, with a gentle gradient, and we're on the riverside below the bridge for our excellent lunch. We planned on taking it very easy and spend part of the afternoon reading and swimming, but the clouds are gathering a bit too fast for my taste. One of the reasons to come on this hike was to be able to come down rapidly if the weather changed, as this morning clouds did not augur the usual blue skies for the day.
In a few minutes we're all packed and we start going down rather fast on the easy path, but the thundershower is faster than we are. Half-way through, we feel the first drops, followed a few minutes later by a solid wall of water. I carefully put away the photo equipment, and we resume our fast descent. We want to cover as much distance as possible while the path is not yet slippery.
Half an hour later, the rain has stopped and the sun makes an apparition. The birds are singing along the path, which is unusual as we normally hear them in the early morning.
We soon get in view of Corte and its fortified place.
La citadelle de Corte
Another short while later we're sipping another local beer (Colomba) at the terrace of a café in Corte. This is the picture that will get Adrien in trouble with his mother, and I contemplate blackmailing him for a microsecond ;-)
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-09-11 - Mardi 11 septembre.

Another late departure this morning, as we're doing things differently to the usual routine: we start by hinking downhill. There's a path that passes in front of Annette's house and leads to the Tavignano on the road between Corte and Aleria. My map doesn't cover much further than that, but I guess we can always follow the tarred road for a while to rejoin with another marked path that climbs back to Venaco.
As we get going, we immediately realise there's far less traffic on this path than on the ones we took in the past few days. There's nobody in sight, and at times the path is difficult to distinguish in the Maquis.
We actually loose the path for a short while. I'm not overly worried about it, as the terrain features is very distinctive and we just have to get to the riverbed at the bottom of the valley to find the path again.
The diabolic plan works. After a good drink of water and a chocolate bar, we're on our way again, and the markers are a bit more recent as we've joined another path that comes down from Venaco that seems to have a marginally higher use.
As we near the national road, and can hear the trucks rushing by, there's movement in the bushes and I stop to look at it better. It's a family of three marcassins, wild piglets. They were probably orphaned recently as hunting season has started, and it's very unusual to see them on their own, without the mother in the proximity. We feel very priviledged to have seen them, even if it was only for a few seconds.

We cross the national road, follow it for a while and then cross a bridge on the side of a derelict horse race-track. Below the bridge, a creek formed by the Tavignano invites us to lunch and siesta.

We resume along the national road. This isn't much fun. I keep looking for paths to escape on the side of the hill, but we have to go all the way to Ponte di Nocetta on the road to catch one of the paths that cross there. We're back in the Maquis, but the temperature is substantially higher than wehn we left this morning. Half-way up the slope, we finish the last drops of water. We refilled at lunchtime, but in this heat our water consumption approaches the petrol consumption of a 'Merikun SUV...

Adrien is getting a bit tired: muscles aren't efficient when they're dehydrated. We press on, a bit slower. When we get to the road crossing between Venaco and Santu Pietru, we're ready to "chiquer les panosses" (chew the floor rags) to quench our thirst.

We walk now faster and faster, as the fountain in Santu Pietru exerts a stronger and stronger attraction.

Bliss! The water tastes soo good...

The fig tree that gives us two ripe figs every time we walk past it gives us our daily ration, and we're very cheerful when we get home.

Tonight is a South American evening: Pierrine and Michael have cooked fajitas and Michael is now preparing mojitos...

Pierrine, Faustine and Mojitos!

Of course, this is a fitting conclusion to a wonderful day.
ParaScubaSailor Posted 11 years ago. Edited by ParaScubaSailor (member) 11 years ago
Flash update! 2007-09-13 - 11:30

Just got a phone call from Gypsy, she's in Corsica, landed safe and sound.

We return to our normal schedule....
Ladybadtiming PRO 11 years ago
so much oxygen in your topic, Para !
good for my complexion :-)

[LadyBadTiming / snapshooting my life away, day after day, after day, after day]
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
Glad it's good for you Lady! It normally does wonders on the HL too... ;-)
jelliajamb 11 years ago
I wondered what the rules were when I saw that beer shot : ) definitely let it slide, he appears to be a worthy buddy

big sigh over the eventual water and the figs... so glad you take the time to share
Dragonhide 11 years ago
I know exactly the feeling of running out of water and being so sick and desparate for water, and the pure bliss you feel when you find it. The best and the worst feeling all in one.

Wonderful stories...
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
Jennie, the rules are elastic enough, but it was fun to rattle the threat ;-)
The outing on that day included a serious rain shower, and a recuperation drink was in order.
Thanks for the visit...

Tim, thanks. :-)
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-09-12 - Mercredi 12 septembre.

Today my nephiew Adrien departs to go back home in Toulon. The plan is to have a leasurely breakfast, leave mid-morning to go to the wool museum in Ponte Lecce and then arrive in L'Ile Rousse to have lunch and wait for the ferry. Everything goes according to plan (yes, it happens sometimes ;-)

After the ferry departure, I go and enquire about renting some diving equipment to try this wonderfully clear water.


No luck on that side. The scuba or breath-hold diving will have to wait. In any case, Gypsy has planned some activities for the whole week-end, and we might do some serious hiking in the first few days of the week.

Back in L'Ile Rousse, I decided to ride around and take a tourist route to go back to Annette's place. I went all the way to Cervione, taking small mountain passes and seldom used roads. At one point, I have to slow down to walking speed to pass a flock(?) of sheep and I remember Gypsy and Ted talking about their difficulties sleeping, so I made a remedy for them...

I spend the afternoon exploring beautiful places almost at random, and end up near Aléria at the épicerie orientale to buy some ingredients for the Thai soup I'm cooking tonight. There are crucial ingredients missing, but everybody seems to enjoy it. Erica, here's the recipe:
Ingredients: lemongrass, limes, ginger, fish paste, fresh coriander, basil leaves, Nuoc Mam (fish sauce), soja sauce, shrimps and/or prawns (depending on budget), sweet potatoes, normal potatoes, pumpkin, garlic, chillies, coconut cream (or milk if cream not available), peanut oil.
Grate the ginger, crush the garlic and chop the chillies and the lemongrass. Heat up the oil in a skillet to fry the ginger, garlic and chillies. As the ingredients start getting dehydrated, sprinkle with the Nuoc Mam, lime juice and soja sauce to keep moist.
At the same time, steam the sweet potatoes and pumpkin (in a pressure cooker) but do not overcook.
Pour the skillet contents, potatoes and the pumpkin, together with their cooking water, and the basil in a big pot (I re-use the pressure cooker, by just pouring the skillet contents in) and let simmer until the ingredients are almost cooked. Add the prawns/shrimps. When they turn red, add the coconut cream and fresh coriander. Turn the heat right down as you don't want the contents to boil (not good for the coconut milk, it will separate).
You can add small pieces of colliflower, or snap peas.
Serve and sprinkle with a pinch of fresh coriander.

That's it! It's a bit daunting the first time you make it, but it's fairly easy to make and it's tolerant to significant variations in ingredient quantities (or replacement)...
CollardGreens PRO 11 years ago
Having morning coffee before dashing off to the airport for Stockholm...would rather be in Corsica counting sheep ! Wonderful stories and recipes - keep em coming. I am glad Gypsy made it in ok. Walking in the fresh air is the best way to remove the 9 hours of jet lag she will have...it will take a few days. Envious of the time you will have and looking forward to the continuing chapters...let's see another one of life on the terrace !

CollardGreens: Oops!
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
Hi Ted! Have a good time in Sweden. It's probably not as pretty or as much fun as Corsica right now, but it'll have to do...
Dragonhide 11 years ago
I'd take either place right now! :)

Hope you get to go diving... would be a shame not to, with water that beautiful!
RobW_ PRO 11 years ago
Thai soup - yummy! Go easy on Adrien: I think he worked (walked?) hard for that beer. About those three piglets - even if you bhad only microseconds, La M would have shot the perfect, clear picture. Speaking of whom please give her a warm, welcoming hug from me.
ebilflindas 11 years ago
What a wonderful vacation to enjoy vicariously through your spectacular images and stories! "Chewing on floor rags"?! EEwwww! Now that's thirsty! Reminds me of the movie Ruben and Ed (I'll spare you the gruesome reason). Love the "sleep remedy"! hahaha Did it help? And, ooh, that dish sounds divine! Time for dinner!
friuduric 11 years ago
What a magical vacation! All those delicious meals have my mouth watering.

Keep on enjoying!

Adventures on Sabbatical
CollardGreens PRO 11 years ago
Seen the floor rags...you would have to be REALLY thirsty...done any flying since you came across ?

CollardGreens: Oops!
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
Tim, it's not guaranteed yet. The schedule is filling up pretty quickly, and there are very few organisations that cater for "experienced" diving tourists (i.e. rent them equipment and leave them to do their own thing). Everybody is too scared of liability lawsuits nowadays. Sigh!

Rob, Adrien did great on all the hikes, he deserved his holiday (and the beer). I did my job in transmitting a warm, welcoming hug (and I even added a wiggle) to Gypsy. She says thank you.

Emil, we were _that_ thirsty! Lucky for us, there were no soaking floor rags around ;-)
Sleep remedy was posted too late for Gypsy to take advantage of it, but she had a good giggle a moment ago, when I showed her.

Imperatrix, it's fun, and it's getting even better. Mouth watering is what it's all about...

Hi Ted! Had one flight so far, see my next entry in this diary, or if you're in a rush, details about the flight are on my flog
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-09-13 - Jeudi 13 septembre.

This is my first day on my own in Corsica, so I get up really early, as a very slight tinge of light hits the horizon. My aim is to fly early for two reasons: I want to be in the air before the wind starts blowing, and I want to be back early enough to say goodbye to Lynne who's flying to Paris today. I leave Annette's house a few minutes before six. I related the tale of my outing on my flog. Slight technical hitch on landing: there's a slight side wind on my chosen landing field that drops my wing over an olive tree and a spiky bush, and it takes me about twenty minutes to free my glider. I get to Annette's house fifteen minutes after Lynne's departure.

I spend the rest of the morning updating emails, diary entries (I even started this one, but then the big bit bucket in the sky ate it) and doing computery things while awaiting for Gypsy's phone call, as I'm alone in the house.

She phones at the end of the morning, and we make some plans for Friday and the week-end.

I have lunch with Annette and then leave to repeat part of the hike I did with my nephiew on Tuesday. I dropped my sunglasses and I think I know where they could be. We saw marcassins on the trail, and I'm hoping that I'll see them again and that I'll have a better chance at getting a photo.

It's hot so I take some water and the camera and set out on the trail. The first goal of the outing is fulfilled when I found the glasses about a meter from where I thought they were.
New game! Spot the glasses The first person that puts a note on the glasses on this photo, will win a beer. If you don't like beer or you're not of legal age, alternative arrangements will be made. ;-)

The second goal is almost fulfilled when I come accross a boar familly lower down the trail. They're very fast, and I only get a few pictures before they disappear up the side of the hill. They run muuuuuch faster than I do uphill...


I end the hike on the national road, and hitch-hike my way back to the village. The two local people that give me a lift are great and I learn to love this place even more.

The day ends quietly, with a great supper prepared by Annette.

I got a flight today, I found my sunglasses, managed to photograph wild boars, life's good...
ParaScubaSailor Posted 11 years ago. Edited by ParaScubaSailor (member) 11 years ago
2007-09-14 - Vendredi 14 septembre.

Today is a great day! I have breakfast early, straight after watching the sunrise, and get on my bike to go and meet Gypsy.
She's invited me to Marco and Catherine's place. Marco has broadcast a Chiama: it's a call to friends and neighbours to come and help accomplish a specific task (usually of an agricultural nature). In this case, the hazelnuts need harvesting.

Catherine gave me excellent directions over the phone, and I find their place very easily. When I get there, I meet her and Gypsy under the hazelnut trees busy collecting the nuts already. I change clothes quickly and join them. Gypsy and I fall into an easy conversation, it's so nice to finally meet her!

Time goes by quickly and we go to the house for lunch. Marco cooks us some wild boar meat on the fire:


After the delicious meal, he makes me taste some Muscat Noir. It's wonderful! Sweet, fruity, with an excellent bouquet. I compare it favorably to Muscat des Beaumes de Venise, my favorite muscat.

We return to the hazelnut harvest and the afternoon passes quickly. I ride back "home" with the falling night, and have some roast chicken for supper.

Life's grand, meeting Gypsy and her friends Marco and Catherine was a definite highlight today.
friuduric 11 years ago
Hazelnut harvest? Yum!

(Oh, and I looked for the sunglasses, too. I love games.)

Adventures on Sabbatical
jrayfarm1980 11 years ago
Hmmm...I think I may have found the glasses! :)
ebilflindas 11 years ago
Quel cool that you and Gypsy get to meet!

psst, jray, I don't think you're lookin in the right place... ;-)
CollardGreens PRO 11 years ago
Daniel - Wonderful recount of the day flying (and hazards of landing), hiking, loosing, finding what was lost, boars, boar meat, hazelnuts and lastly meeting a long time friend for the first time. You are making a strong case for life in the positive lane ! Really good stuff here !

CollardGreens: Oops!
Dragonhide 11 years ago
being on dialup internet, I only saw all this now. I started the catch-up download then went to bed.. then in the morning went to work.... So I'm terribly behind, you probably have a few posts I have not seen yet because I have not refreshed this since last night.

Wild boar.. Superb! I have never seen one in person.. that's so cool. I am sure it tasted wonderful.

I need to call Chiama on the walnuts here, they're almost ripe and getting ready to fall off the trees. The chiama we usually have is during summer over Hay.. it's hard but rewarding work.

Thanks for teaching me such an useful word! Is Chiama a French tradition?
LIfe is good.
RobW_ PRO Posted 11 years ago. Edited by RobW_ (member) 11 years ago
Indeed it is, and furthermore, good stuff here! I like the look of that outdoor oven. And I'm liking all the recent Flickr meetups. (I had another Flickrite visiting the bar last night - Dr3wie, who had seen my pictures of Tsilivi on Flickr while researching his holiday and sought us out).

"Chiama" looks like it may have Italian rather than French origins, or may well be a local Corsican word, but I leave it to the on-the-spot experts for clarification.
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
Imperatrix, the hazelnuts were harvested and will be taken to the cooperative. They'll probably get used by bakers and sweet makers in Provence. You win the beer! We'll have to make arrangements...

Jim, you get second prize for the glasses. Glass of wine?

Emil, we're having a blast!

Ted, you hit the nail on the head: meeting a long-time friend for the first time: I like it, particularly because we're at the beginning of the long-time, and there's plenty ahead...

Tim, no new posts. With all there is to do here, I tend to fall a bit behind on the posting. I'll probably only get up to date when I get back home, if it rains...

I misspelt Chiama, using the Italian spelling of the word (litterally translated it means the call, or the calling. In Corsican, the correct spelling is Chjama, and some people pronounce it the Italian way kee-uh-muh, others Tjuh-muh.
It's fairly common in rural cultures, where gathering a lot of manpower increases the efficiency and lets people finish time critical tasks in good time. Obviously, in our profit driven, individualistic, selfish society, such practices tend to decline... Particularly because the manpower exchanged in those circumstances can't be taxed by the owner's class.
It's not a particularly French tradition, although I remember a similar thing when we first moved out of town and we often got with neighbours to help with hay harvesting, or "killing" the pig. Mormons have barn raisings, if I'm not mistaken.

Gypsy, we do know that, don't we? ;-)

Rob, that oven indeed is practical, unpretentious and yet very well suited to the task. To me that's how everything should be: the minimal that does the job.
Regarding "Chiama", see above for some answers to your on-the-spot remark.
Bien sûr, mon ami
Annette and I are working this evening in the bibliotheque. Every once and a while, we look up wondering where you are.
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
2007-09-15 - Samedi 15 septembre.

Early start again on the bike to go and join Gypsy for a hike this morning. There is a meeting of Corsican Polyphonic singers in Taglio this afternoon, and we decided to hike from Marco's house to the top of Mount Taglio before we come back down to the village for the start of the singing meet.
We progress very slowly, as there are many things (especially small critters) to photograph along the way.
We bypass the village, using Jean-François' driveway to get on the path to the mountain. The going is easy, but we keep getting distracted and still make slow progress. Anyway, there's no point in rushing to the top, as a thick cloud layer surrounds it. We stop under the fog to have lunch, the temperature is quite pleasant. We have some bread, cheese and saucisson de sanglier to keep with the local colour, and some tomatoes from Marco's garden.
It is then time to descend, as the festivities are supposed to start at 15:00 with the showing of a movie. The first drops of rain catch us on the downward path not far from the village. We go past Jean-François' studio and this time he's there. My first meeting with him leaves me with the feeling of inner strength, carried by a powerful gaze.

Down at the village, the movie is not showing as nobody brought a screen. TV sets aren't as plentiful around...

We wait on the village square, dodging the rain and playing around with our cameras, until my battery dies. That's my second one, the charger is at home, eight hundred kilometers away, and my second camera is at Annnette's place, so I won't be able to take anymore photos until tomorrow night.

The festivities start quite a while later, when singers arrive and start gathering in and around the church. First, a group from a confrérie, a quasi-religious group, sings various religious and non-religious songs, followed by more traditional singers, amongst which Anna Rocchi.
After the concert in the church, singing carries on outside, in front of the bar counters setup under the starry skies. The feeling is amazing.

I was a bit reluctant to attend at first, as religious celebrations have become rather repugnant to me, but this is a celebration of life, and I already look forward to the next day's events.
RobW_ PRO 11 years ago
Bright little critter that! Shame about your not having battery to take photos of the event.
Dragonhide 11 years ago
I know the feeling about being hesitant of religious events.. but some of them are just simply too wonderful, as you discovered, to pass up on..

Celebration of life is a good way to put it!

That's a wonderful macro of a grasshopper!
bunæn PRO 11 years ago
Noooooo! Get out of the driveway you crazy Caelifera!
ParaScubaSailor 11 years ago
Rob, Gypsy got some wonderful pictures of that grasshopper, notably while he was busy eating another bug. Not having been able to record the event means I'll have to go back...

Tim, it was wonderful, not as mindlessly religious as I expected, but the artistic aesthetic made up for the negative parts in my mind.

Buns, we had to get up and out of the way quickly, and the driver looked at us a bit funny... ;-)
ParaScubaSailor Posted 11 years ago. Edited by ParaScubaSailor (member) 11 years ago
2007-09-16 - Dimanche 16 septembre.

Lazy start this morning, we're not in any rush as the festivities start at 11:00, and we are less than an hour's drive, and a half hour walk, away.

The walk is very pleasant, there are quite a few people on the path, and a few horse-riders pass us along the way. Cooking smells announce the proximity of the gathering. As we get to the ridge and discover the little church, I can see the event is popular, there must be over a hundred persons milling about. We hang our rucksacks to a tree and join the crowd in front of the bar area to get some drinks. The atmosphere is very festive and more people arrive on the path. It's a pitty the weather is not cooperating, the cloud layer is a few meters above us, and mass starts shortly so we can eat early in case it starts raining.
Inside the church, the atmosphere is a little subdued. The building, dating back to the XXth century, is very small, about five by eight meters, with benches against the walls, where twenty women are already sitting. The far wall is almost taken by a simple altar, and the singers are huddling in the corner next to it. The only light comes from a single tiny window in the middle of the wall (the one Gypsy showed on her diary entry), the open door and the dozens of lit candles on the altar.
The priest is very young and mass starts shortly with the singers giving us the introduction. I find the acoustics in this little church better than in Taglio's.
The service is simple, punctuated by traditional religious singing, and the crowd files out into the mist when it ends. When we emerge from the church, we discover that yet more people have arrived while mass was in progress, and more are still arriving on foot or on horse.
It's now time for more singing, secular this time. Most people are crowded in front of the bar, where the action takes place. I'm there with Gypsy, Marco and Catherine, and I find myself right against the circles of singers forming almost spontaneously. It's an unbelievable experience. Their singing triggers vibrations, I can feel my ears and my lungs humming at times...
The queue starts forming for lunch, but we're in no rush to join it, a hundred and sixty kilos of boar are roasting on the fire, we figure there will still be some left when we get in line to eat...
We carry on enjoying the singing, and when we finally decide to eat, there's no salad left, but plenty of meat. It is absolutely delicious, with crispy cracklling, melting fat and moist meat. I'm no vegetarian, but meat is not a systematic part of my meal, contrary to the local tradition. When I do eat meat, I tend to enjoy it, and this wild boar is one of the best I've ever tasted. Obelix is my newfound hero...
The singing resumes, we are treated the whole afternoon to paghjella and a guitar appears in the crowd and gets put to good use.
The clouds gather and the rain chases us from the mountain in the late afternoon.
Fortunately, it doesn't rain too hard, and when we get back to Marco and Catherine's place, the roads are dry.
Gypsy and I get on the bike and we ride back to Annette's place, where I can finally grab my other camera to snap a shot of Pierrine:


There are defining moments in my life, and this week-end is one of them. There is my life before, where Corsica was a holiday destination, and hardly more, and my life after this week-end, where Corsica is a place where I will spend a lot of time in the future...
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