Optical Illusions, Reflections and Lacy Architecture

Do you like modern architecture?
Whatever your preferences, this illustrated report
will not leave you indifferent.

Going to visit a new museum called MuCEM
in the town of Marseille in France.
The inscriptions explain in Hebrew, French and Arabic,
the temporary exhibition: "Lieux Saint Partagés" which means
"Shared Sacred Sites".

This imposing face shows the way to the entrance.

The inside structure of this amazing building is made of glass, metal and reinforced concrete.
The walkways, going all around the internal glass walls, 
are made of metal. This creates deformed and fascinating reflections on all sides.

The shapes and designs change constantly as we walk towards them.

This reflection is like a work of modern art.
Notice the blue of the sea below.

The oustide lacy design in reinforced concrete is held together
by metal bars attached to concrete pillars.

At the end of each walkway, you turn either right or left.
See the reflected lacy design in the puddle at the end.

Looking up above our heads,
all this external part of the whole structure is open to the sky.

This is what it looks like from the inside of the glass building.
You can see three levels of external walkways with a visitor on the lower level.
This image feels like a stylised forest.

Coming out of the museum, we can see the entrance to the old port
behind the Saint-Jean Fort.
In the background, high on the hill, is the well-known Marseille landmark
of Notre-Dame de la Garde.

This is the back of the museum facing the open sea
and contrasting with the classical Cathedral Sainte Marie-Majeure
in the Byzantine-Roman style.

Walking away from the museum showing the overhanging lacy roof
and the cathedral reflected in the glass side of the building.

I love the spaciousness in this parting shot.
Aren't the lines and the reflections marvellous in this one?

One last look at the open Mediterranean Sea
before we leave.

Did you manage to get to the end of this photo-heavy report?

If you would like to know more about MUCEM
which means: Museum of the Civilisations of Europe and the Mediterranean.
Check out the link above.


Do you remember when you were a child and something captivated
your attention and you felt totally spellbound?

Last weekend, sitting on my balcony facing my flowers,
I was completely charmed by this colourful image
seen through the glass from which I was drinking.

I went inside to get my camera 
and in passing
peeked through the glass at my garden herbs!
This one is lemon verbena.

The pink begonia clamoured for my attention
so I obliged.

Then I had the idea of picking up a small fluted glass dish
and so enjoyed 
creating new kinds of abstract images.
First the yellow marigolds

Then some purple campanula next to the pink begonia

Orange snapdragons

and red...

Pink begonias again. They're doing so well this year.

No special editing tricks, just a glass bowl and my balcony garden!

A captivating mosaic to bring them all together,

I hope that you will be as enchanted as I am
observing these colours and shapes
and taking it all in with the eagerness and enthusiasm
of a child who finds wonderment
just everywhere!

On a similar theme, you can visit Kim Manley Ort's blog
and see how she talks about the word; Mesmerized

Hollyhocks and Honey-Coloured Houses: A Story

Tall and elegant hollyhocks

against a honey-coloured stone wall

Such vibrant blooms and swollen buds full of promises.


The houses and the hollyhocks are still there, as beautiful as ever, whenever I return, but I should really start at the beginning.

When I was a young working girl, I used to go by train to my workplace. It was all so charming as I lived in the country and the train was accordingly old-fashioned with wooden seats and the ticket-master smiling and friendly. The train went rather slowly and stopped at every single village station and there was plenty of time to enjoy the passing countryside.

Several times a week, I found myself in the same carriage as an older gentlemen. He was tall and elegant in a understated way. Silver white hair, impeccably combed, a debonair moustache and well-chosen clothes with an eye for colour coordination. He wore a panama hat in the summer with a black band. That was my favourite!

During the whole of the month of May, it has always been a sort of tradition, I like to have a bar of soap which is perfumed with Lily of the Valley. Accordingly, I have a very small bottle of Muguet perfume which I dab on my wrists and at the base of my throat.

It was one of those mornings in May, that the elegant old gentleman stepped onto the train and sat in the free seat opposite me. The windows of the carriage were open and my travelling companion said to me: "What an amazing scent of Lily of the Valley, is it blooming already?" As other people got on the train, he suddenly lent forward slightly and asked me if I happened to be wearing the perfume! "Yes", I said and we both laughed! From that day onwards we always said hello to each other and enjoyed exchanging a few words.

I often wondered where the gentleman on the train lived and one day I found out.  As I was coming back from an early evening walk, I saw him take a key out of his pocket and enter a house in my favourite honey-coloured stone with hollyhocks growing tall and elegantly against the walls. Such perfect flowers for this gentleman, I thought. 

I have since moved away from this beautiful area and my daily trips to work in a little country train, but whenever I visit the villages that are part of my childhood and young adulthood, and see those honey-coloured stone houses adorned with hollyhocks, I remember with much fondness the older gentlemen and send up a special thought to him wherever he may be on his continuing journey beyond this earthly existence.

This story is based on real-life facts.
The twentieth century writer J. B. Priestley wrote of Cotswold stone that –
“The truth is, that it has no colour that can be described.
 Even when the sun is obscured and the light is cold, these walls are still faintly warm and luminous, as if they knew the trick of keeping the lost sunlight of centuries glimmering about them.”
Read about
Cotswold Stone

The Lily of the Valley tradition
during the month of May.
The name of this perfume is called Diorissimo
Doesn't that have a lovely ring to it?

Finding Inner Stillness

It seems so easy to find that place deep inside of me

when I'm in nature amongst the wild flowers and swaying grasses

or looking at fields of lavender just coming into bloom

I become lost in sensations and colours

and all that is unimportant and nonessential
just falls away.

This lovely poem by Steve Taylor says it all so well.

There is no Need

There's no need to surround yourself with luxury
to treat yourself to the best of everything
metallic fridges and designer bags
the colours of the season, the car of the year
to show others that you're special.
You don't need daily doses of good news
to lift your mood when you feel glum.
You don't need compliments or presents
or flirtatious smiles across the room
to keep you happy with yourself
or hourly fixes of pleasure
to set your brain cells jingling. 

There's no need to cover up the silence
with the chatter of radio and TVs.
There's no need to fill the empty space
with jobs that don't need doing
or words that have no meaning
or tasks that have no purpose
except to fill the empty space.

You only need to meet yourself
to let the discord within you fade away
and find the stillness underneath
the place where you're already whole
where there is no need to seek or strive
because there is no need.

You can check out Steve's site here and see his book of poetry
and many other books by this teacher and author/poet.

Click below to see this wonderful place
which I visited in June this year:
The Lavender Farm

An English Country Garden

Climb the well-worn steps
where the campanula sprawl
in dainty beauty

Under the leafy boughs
A place for contemplation
and quiet reflection

Where red and green leaves
swathe the walls and frame lattice windows.

We follow the perfumed paths overlooking the fields

and walk beside dry stone walls dotted with overhanging snapdragons
and ferns growing tall.

and here and there through the trees and flowers
a house appears

The peace is hardly broken by the gentle buzz of bees among the flowers
and behind the abundant red valerian sits the house.

The simplicity of a stone wall 
where lichen has etched colour and texture
and plants seek out nooks and crannies in which to grow

Walls have such stories to tell,
don't you think?
This one leads us to a five-bar gate and the fields beyond.

Among the reeds, 
elegant bird sculptures
inhabit a pond

 Old-fashioned roses flounce their petal skirts

inviting us to drown ourselves in their loveliness

until we see nothing else.

Feel the soft grass beneath your feet

and drink in the beauty of an English country garden.

My trip to England in June was full of many joys
and whenever I go to my home-country,
visiting lovely gardens is always at the top of my list!
This one is called Bourton House Garden.
The busy gardeners do a wonderful job of planting
different plants for each season and care for the upkeep.

To learn more about this lovely place in the Cotswolds, 
you can follow this link: Bourton House

Sit outside in the garden at one of the tables
and enjoy a salad or a quiche followed by homemade cakes.
I can thoroughly recommend Carolyn's superb carrot cake!

In her comment below, Sophia has reminded me of this lovely song:

This is sung by an American singer: Jimmie Rodgers
The musical accompaniment is very whimsical
of an unidentified tinny sounding instrument!
Why not?!
I love jumping out of the box into the unexpected,
don't you?
If not, surprise yourself!