Author Archives: Nicola

R.I.P Pete Seeger: So Much More than a Musician

The passing of Pete Seeger at the remarkable age of 94 is one that will be felt deeply by many of my generation across the world.

I was born in the late 1950′s, a year after “If I had a Hammer” was first released, I learnt nursery rhymes and Christmas carols as a child.

My first “grown up” songs were “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” shortly followed by “We Shall Overcome” — the words of which I still know by heart.

These, of course, became part and parcel of any and all peace marches, Vietnam Protests and civil resistance.

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The Last of My Treasures from Pau

These are little treasures as opposed to the wonderful wooden artifacts and furniture I was gifted, they are personal gifts to me from Mr P’s mother that she squirreled away for me as a thank you for my help.

She knows of my love of glass, especially as she heard all about our adventures in Murano several times over!  In light of this, and Mr P’s love of wine, we were gifted a beautiful set of cut crystal wine glasses that have been in the family for many years.

They have followed her on her travels from France to Morocco to Portugal and then back to France again.  I am so glad that after all that traveling I managed to get them back to Portugal all in one piece. They are quite exquisite and have a gorgeous feel to them and an incredible tone when “pinged”

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Wooden Yoke Treasures from Portugal via Pau

As well as my beautiful fountain, I accumulated some more treasures from Pau which I promised to share.  These are both made of wood, a material I have a great affinity for in all its states. I love trees and what they are crafted into. I love having pieces of history around me and our new house allows me to do just that.

Once again, these are huge, heavy, pieces of wood that were once fully functional equipment in rural Portugal.

In its previous life, this piece was a yoke for oxen who were attached to it and then were used to push – as opposed to pull other equipment around.

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The Nunnery Door

As you know by now, I spent some helping clear out the aged aunts house at Pau.  The upside of this was that I was offered my choice of the goodies on offer — i.e first dibs on the treasure. There was one thing I particularly wanted, and I had the perfect space for it.

The piece looks unassuming — like a tired old door — which it is. In itself, it is an interesting object — showing its history in the layers of paint and the markings where the ornate hinges were once placed. It was recovered by Mr P’s aunt from a derelict nunnery in the south of France.

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Science Park: A Last Look Around Pau

Pau is a small provincial city, it has long been a haven for the British wanting to escape Blighty for the good of their health. There are many spas in the area and the climate is reputed to be good for your health. The older architecture is a mix of “alpine’ grand villa and a good dose of British garden. There is a cathedral and a university and the small provincial airport is now opening up to fulfill Pau’s emerging status as the gateway to the Pyrenees.

The airport’s development and the expansion of the scientific departments at the University have led to the development of a science park on the outskirts of the city.  I have, on past visits, caught tantalizing glimpses of some of the buildings and was determined to explore further before we left Pau for good.

After one particularly frustrating afternoon, I declared a time out and went exploring and headed straight for the science park.

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