Jewellery pics

I'm in the middle of sorting through pictures from the weekend - Paul's sister came over (Hi Claire!) and we did touristy things. The weather is still lovely, so we might go somewhere new and exciting this week. Or not.

I've finally got around to taking some photos of new pieces of jewellery I've done - you're the very first people to see them, don't you feel special? The turquoise piece is a companion piece to Isis, a lapis pendant that sold the other week, the carnelian bracelet is as far as I'm going with anything remotely related to Halloween colours, and the last piece, the sardonyx and pearl pendant is so pretentious, I'm not sure even I can bear it - it's a pendant inspired by a religion I've created in my head for the book I'm still planning to write next month. Religion doesn't even play a huge part in the book. The listing of that one may have to wait for a bit, til I work out whether it plays a role in the story...


The sun's back!

After the dismal weather Fran bought with her from Manchester, we've finally got sunshine back! So, since I know those of you in the UK aren't overly familiar with the concept, I thought I'd share some photos with you from yesterday afternoon, before we head off to the beach with a couple of beers to enjoy the afternoon sunshine...

On a side note, Flickr have made it difficult to get the direct picture link for your own photos. Apparently this is a feature not a bug, and we shouldn't complain. Should you still wish to be able to paste photos into blogs/forums/anywhere else you need the direct image link, you can get a Greasemonkey script here (only useful if you're using Firefox).


A working title and even a draft cover page

My book is going to be awesome. It has a draft title and a cover page, and I even have names for (most of) my main characters, (most of) the places they live and the boat. I have the beginnings of a plot and everything.

Most important is clearly the cover art though. So far, I'm working with:

It may change as I work out what the storyline actually is... But it's a start! Soon I can start writing!


Italy for lunch

Bringing the total of countries I've been to just to have lunch up to three (the others being, of course, Luxembourg and Monaco), our weekend trip to Italy almost managed to make Ventimiglia look pretty. I will go back for the Friday market, one day, maybe in the Spring...

Fran came over on Friday night, bringing with her presents from England - proper teabags, bacon, Cadbury's buttons, chocolate digestives (perfect for accompanying a book-writing-month, I feel!) and a whole host of other fabulousness! As well as a copy of the Daily Mail, which didn't fail to disappoint, in its description of Stalinist school policies... On Saturday, we decided to go to Italy for lunch, Monaco for afternoon drinks and then back through Villfranche. (We skipped Villefranche in the end because the rain followed Fran from Manchester. She's not invited anymore, if she's going to bring rain with her.) Monaco was gain hosting an International Championship of something - go-karts, this weekend:

Bloody noisy. Boring. It's safe to say I am not a fan.

Photos from Italy, then:

Ventimiglia old town:

T Hanbury - about which, more another day, he fascinates me!

Padlock Art:

Bike. Could have used some of the padlocks from the padlock art.

Sunshine and the sea:



Unknown bird! - seagull?


A sad day

Today is the first day I have had to wear socks and shoes since we arrived. (Although there have been some nights when it would have been advisable. Like Saturday.) It is officially winter. So different from the weekend, when it was bright sunshine, dry (apart from Saturday night) and we went to Italy for lunch. More about which soon. I'm mourning the loss of summer now.

OK, over it now - at least it's not raining yet. And I can make rum hot chocolates now it's winter. Which is good. And I woke up to find I'd sold two pendants while I was sleeping, so that's good news too!

I shall sort out my photos from the weekend and write about Fran's visit to a magical world with a big yellow shiny thing in the sky...


Bureaucracy - the easy bit!

Today has been a day of dealing with bureaucracy. Fortunately, it's been the English half, so it's at least been easy to communicate. I've got a form for the Student Loans Company, telling them I've moved and run away, so they should stop expecting any money from me. I've rung the very helpful Overseas Health Team at DWP in Newcastle and requested an E106, which means I can get healthcare in France as if I were French. (Wonderfully helpful, thank you DWP people who will never read this! Unless you're googling yourselves, in which case, hi!) I need to not get ill until that gets here, though, because I'm not actually sure I'm technically covered by anyone at the moment... Assuming work send me my last payslip, and I can find a fax machine, I should then be able - French bureaucracy permitting - to get healthcare up until the end of 2011. By which time, I really need to have found a job!

Tired now, going for a nap. It's exhausting, all this phoning people.



In a fit of boredom (at least it's cheaper than impulse buying!) I have just signed up for this. I appear to have committed to writing a 50,000 word novel over November. Any suggestions for plots, characters to include, character names, or anything else relevant will be gratefully received. The sillier the better, it's easier to write a silly story!


The Russian Church in Nice

Nice has a long history with Russia's rich and famous, and the Tsars (plus entourage) regularly came to Nice to escape the bitter Russian winters. They bought their religion with them, eschewing French Catholicism for Russian Orthodoxy, and the Cathedral of Saint Nicolas was built as a worthy place for a Tsar to worship. Note the abundance of Romanov eagles.

These days, the Russian community in Nice is still a strong one, and restaurants and estate agents often advertise their ability to speak Russian. The Cathedral of Saint Nicolas remains a focal point for the Nicois Russian community, despite a recent effort by the Russian State to claim that the church and its land belongs to them.

This site tells me:

[The church] has 6 onion domes and is built in the form of a Greek cross (ie. 4 equal arms). The exterior is richly decorated in mosaic. The style is based on the Laroslavl church in Moscow. Particularly striking is the large representation of the Turin Shroud held aloft by an angel. Before this made its way to Turin it was one of the holiest relics of the Russian Orthodox Church, kept in the city of Odessa on the Black Sea. There is a small charge to go inside. The interior is also richly decorated, with icons in silver gilt cases and jewel-encrusted treasures.

We didn't go inside - on principle, I dislike buildings that charge a fee to go inside, particularly churches - so I will take their word for the description of the inside; photos of the outside follow, though... Isn't it pretty?


English bookshop in Antibes

I forgot! We found a bookshop! With English books! For cheap! This was the best discovery yet! And the owner is lovely. So, if you're in Antibes and looking for a bookshop, you should go and see Heidi in her bookshop at 24 rue Aubernon, Antibes.



Today was a good day right from the start, waking up to bright sunshine, American pancakes (this recipe is good, if you're looking) and plenty of coffee.

After (a late) breakfast, we went back to Antibes - last time, we got as far as lunch, and then went home, scared of the tourist's influx, as the Chemin de Fer de Provence would have it.

Today, the tourists are much less influxing, although the place is still packed with English people. It's beautiful here today (many photos to follow...) and everyone was outside enjoying the sun. Which meant after going weeks at a time without hearing an English person other than us, I don't think I heard a single French person speaking in Antibes. Almost a culture shock!

Anyway, some photos of Antibes, and the gorgeous blue of the Mediterranean...

First glimpse of the sea from Antibes old town:

Street in Antibes old town:

I don't speak Corsican (I am assuming this is Corsican) but I think this sign says "Napoleon never slept here". Which is worth noting.

Photos of the sea:

A pretty doorway (one suspects they don't get many tramps round here...)

Church tower - and beautiful blue sky!

Antibes might have some of the best bar names:

At least these people are honest!

"And the prize for Drunkest Bus Decorating 1968 goes to...":

Lastly, small fountains near us in Nice:


Copyright Nicole Hill, 2009-2010

All photos and text are mine - ask me *before* you use them elsewhere. Don't just copy them and hope I won't notice, it's theft.

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