Sunday, April 15, 2007

Your life is what you do

I've had a lovely couple of weeks. Friends visiting, new friendships starting through a shared interest in music, and lots of time in my garden. All that with work mixed in too. A pleasant phase in my work-life balancing act.

As the land begins to transform the views in response to the lengthening days and rising temepratures, it's been a pleasure to rediscover the simplest of sensations. A warm breeze on my face, early morning sun and bird song, and an outdoor fire to help make breakfast a bit more interesting. All shared with children and their delight at sometimes new, sometimes familiar, but always simple experiences.

I get a warm fuzzy feeling when I see children abandoning the DS (the Nintendo not the Citroen!) for a toasting fork and some bread. When the 'Bang-bang' of plastic guns and the 'Mummy mummy' of plastic dolls is replaced by the 'What a wonderful day!' , I am reminded of the reasons why I took the hard steps to move here. I remember why I travel back and forth to sustain this bizarre work-life balance.

Perhaps a little less travelling and a little more local work wouldn't go amiss. That would be a nice thing to look back on at the end of they year. Along with a successful debut year for a new member of the Batala family, if that all comes off.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The biggest tree in ...

OK OK, I did say it was the biggest tree in the world, but I didn't mean it. I corrected myself to the Auvergne, and maybe just the Haute-Loire. Even that was a wild stab in the dark since I'd only seen it twice, and have no idea what else is knocking about the region in the way of big trees. But it looked very big to me. No-one believed me, but everyone seemed to be happy to go and see it anyway. And here it is - a sequoia or giant redwood ...

Not easy to appreciate its size this way, but how about this one?

Still sceptics, I decided to have a wee scan on the Interweb thingy, and guess what? A marvellous site about notable trees in the Auvergne. And our tree is listed at about 250 years old, a circumference of 7.8m, and a height of 42m. From the list it appears that there are two trees up in the Puy de Dome in La Bourboule that are 43m high. But otherwise, ours is the tallest! And who measured them and when, that's what I'd like to know. I was probably a bit too chuffed with myself at this discovery, but since no-one else seemed to be in the least impressed I quickly lost the self-righteous glow that developed ever so briefly.