This post will be heavy on pictures. You may wish to skip it and come back another day when there is more actual writing. You may be pleased I'm shutting up for once, and enjoy the pictures. Either way, the pictures from our climb up a baby Alp follow...

Entrevaux is a small medieval village set in the beginning bit of the Alps in between (as the name suggests) two river valleys. There's a medieval citadel at the top. A long way at the top. Of a mountain. A steep mountain. We climbed it anyway this morning, and though it nearly killed me, I'm pleased to say we made it all the way up to the top. And back down again. Without me falling over even once!

Citadel. On top of a very steep hill:

Bridge into the medieval village:

Entrance to the medieval part of Entrevaux:

View through a doorway on the path up to the citadel:

Postcard-pretty restaurant:

View over Entrevaux through a window in the wall on the pathway up:

Statue carved into the cliff on the way up:

View through the prison cell bars. If you've got to be in prison, there are probably worse views:

View from the top:

Someone who got to the top first:

You'd have to be a really thirsty dog...

We do get autumn here, look, dying leaves:

An odd place for a grave, at the top of this citadel. No markings to indicate whose it is.

Back down the bottom of the hill, a mad but pretty statue:

In Entrevaux village:

More Entrevaux village:

And more Entrevaux:

Pretty house just by the bridge into Entrevaux. I want shutters that colour.

More autumn:

Lastly, one of my favourite translations ever. Why would anyone ever need a professional translator?



I've been trying to take photos of waves as they break. It's harder than it looks.


Today has been a good day!

After wasting the whole morning struggling with French bureaucracy and working out where I fit in the various tax structures and the like (painful, I'm still not there, I gave up at lunchtime before my eyes started bleeding), I went to the beach in the afternoon, since the weather is still lovely here. (Hi, people of Britain. How was the weather today?)

And, then, when I got home, I found out one of my previous customers wants to place a custom order with me because my workmanship is superb, my products are gorgeous and my customer service is wonderful. Yes, I am boasting. Wouldn't you, if someone said such nice things about you?


New earrings

Lest you think I'm just sitting around doing very little, I thought I'd reassure you that I'm learning new things (in addition to sitting around doing very little, and lying on the beach) - I learnt to make a new kind of earring yesterday. It took me forever, since I'm not very gifted at these things, but with enough practice, I might be able to make these properly.

For a first attempt, I don't think it's so bad:


Summer's back!

Those of you at work today will no doubt be particularly pleased to learn that summer's back in Nice, and I've spent the morning at the beach. It's a hard life, really. I've had to come back inside for a bit to make sure I don't burn. I'll go back in a bit, via the bank. The day is not all roses, having to deal with French banks requires significant amounts of courage and fortitude. And the promise of sunshine on the beach afterwards...

I woke up today to find someone had bought a pair of my earrings, so they are now winging their way to Canada. By bye little earrings, I hope your owner likes you! More people buying overnight would be good - I quite like waking up, having coffee and packing up orders, it's a nice way to start the day!


Never. Ever. Again.

You know, I'd never been into the restaurant at the end of our road, except once, to ask if they'd change a 50 for me. They did. I quite liked them for that. So when the bus was late, it looked like it was going to rain, and the normal local restaurant we go to was closed, we thought we might go to this place for dinner.

Never, ever, again.

The people who drink there - and they were all drinking, we were the only people naive enough to eat there - are, to put it politely, eccentric. Batshit insane, if we're being more honest. The 50-something woman in a red sequined cowboy hat, too much makeup and too much wine serves as a life lesson to us all. Particularly when she sings along (badly, needless to say) to country music and bitches loudly about her husband.

However, none of these - nor even the crap quality of the wine - would be enough to make me hate the place. Nor would the badly painted, and frankly scary, paintings of white horses on the walls. (Horses shouldn't have eyelashes like that, for a start. Just wrong.) No, it takes roaches to get me to utterly hate somewhere. Lots of roaches. Crawling along the walls. Luckily, I'd finished eating by that point - the food was actually very good, but not good enough to make up for roaches. I left, as quickly as I could, without actually running outside. Paul asked for the bill, and explained we were finishing our drinks outside because of the roaches. Owner shrugged and ignored us for half an hour, at which point he came outside to see if we wanted another drink. You would all have been proud of me for not actually hitting him, or screaming at him, or doing anything other than asking again for the bill. You can joke around when your establishment isn't filled with vermin, thankyouverymuch.

Anyone know who I report health and safety violations to in France? Can one do such a thing?


Cannes for breakfast

OK, so it wasn't raining when we left the house to get breakfast. We decided to go to Cannes, since we hadn't been there, and have breakfast. As one does. The further east (I think east - Cannes is east of Nice, no?) we got, the darker the sky got. By the time we got to Cannes, it was pissing it down. But, I did find a shop selling umbrellas, and we had breakfast. Walked around a little bit - with umbrellas, the rain is much easier to deal with! - and then went home again. When we got back to Nice, the rain started again, but not particularly heavily... Due to be on-and-off-again rain and storms for the rest of the weekend, sadly. But by Tuesday, the sunshine is supposed to be back. If I were in the UK, it would be rainy from now until about May. So that's not so bad...


In which I resolve never to leave the house again while it's raining

It's still raining. And Nice isn't designed for rain. Everywhere is covered with a thin layer of water. Or, indeed, a deep layer of water, on some roads. This will be important later in the story.

I, stupidly, decided to go and get stuff done. It's just rain. I'm English, dammit, this is practically the driving force behind our cultural heritage. Wanting to escape the bad weather built an Empire. We may not be able to cope with a thin dusting of snow, or temperatures above about 12 degrees, but even our shoddy public transport system manages to mostly cope with the rain. So, I went to the post office (sent out bracelets to their new owner! Yay for selling things!) and then decided, while I was soaked already, I might as well go to the supermarket.

Supermarket sells everything I want, except umbrellas. They've sold out of umbrellas. Really not a country that gets a lot of rain... Anyway, I'm now so wet it doesn't matter much about an umbrella, so I trudge home, slipping a couple of times. (You can see where this is going now, can't you?) I didn't actually fall over til I was crossing the road though. On a red light, just as the traffic lights were about to turn. Lying on the floor looking up at a car about to drive at you is, well, slightly unpleasant. I think I may have broken my leg and my arm - I twisted a bit oddly as I fell. On the plus side, twisting oddly meant that the glass bottles in my bag didn't shatter and stab me in the back. So a swollen painful arm and hurty leg might be prices worth paying. But I'm not leaving the house ever again when it's raining.


More rain!

It's... raining! It been nearly 2 hours now! And almost cold! I might have to actually find some jeans from whatever bag in the mezzanine we put our winter clothes...

(I know, you all sympathise deeply, I can hear your sobs of grief even from here.)

Paul's parents are over at the moment, hence the comparative silence from me. I've been making some bits and pieces, and being domestic - I can't count the number of plates and glasses I've washed up! I need to chase the people who have my CV and see if they want to hire me or not. I'm thinking not, if I haven't heard anything so far, but they might have other opportunities going; it will be more interesting than washing up!

Couple of photos of new stuff, since I don't have anything particularly interesting to write about (I thought I noticed you noticing that!)


I've been busy making things the last few days (that and sitting on the beach; unemployment is so hard...) so below are some photos...



We went to Grasse at the weekend, it's a small town an hour and a half away from here, back in the mountains. It's beautiful (helped by the sunshine, I'm sure) and I took a million photos. Standing at the viewing point (is that what we call them in English?) you can see all the way down the mountain, across the forest and to the sea; stunning!

Below are a whole heap of photos, which I've handily combined into one picture. Hopefully it will work and be big enough to see. If not, do shout!


Moon in the Morning

I've got a blog post about Grasse to write - we went there on Saturday - and some pics of jewellery I've been working on (ETA: these have appeared in the post below this one; blogger has a funny sense of order...), but those take effort. And I'm ill. So I'll write them later...

This morning though, the sun is rising and the moon hasn't set yet; the view from our living room window is lovely:


Things I've been working on

Now we've moved, in between unpacking, I'm slowly getting back into making things. Quick set of pictures below, of a pendant, a pair of earrings and a couple of bracelets, in styles I've not made before. That, and spending time on the beach - it's so much quieter on the beach now August has ended, it's fabulous!


Bracelet 1:

Bracelet 2:


Oh, and a photo of a palm tree that was sitting on my phone. Just because it's still summer here.


Advice to women

This song might be one that you know, but I've just found it. It is the most amusing advice I've seen since the wonderful advice to men in the 1950s who had to learn how to manage those emotional, temperamental women.

It's a song by Jack Jones, called Wives and Lovers - my favourite part might be:

"Day after day
There are girls at the office
And men will always be men
Don't send him off with your hair still in curlers
You may not see him again"

Do you think it makes it better that I don't wear curlers at all, or worse?

For those of you not lucky enough to see that advice to managers yet, http://utahvalleybusinessq.com/features/then-later-now/ reproduces the sheet I had up in my office and didn't manage to scan before I left... There are so many gems that picking a favourite is difficult!

"Get enough size variety in operator’s uniforms so that each girl can have a proper fit. This point can’t be stressed too much in keeping women happy" is high on the list though, as is:

"Give every girl an adequate number of rest periods during the day. You have to make some allowances for feminine psychology. A girl has more confidence and is more efficient if she can keep her hair tidied, apply fresh lipstick and wash her hands several times a day."



Copper 2.4mm rings in a European 4-in-1 weave, with a sodalite coin bead and celtic-style copper accents.


We have moved!

Success! We are installed in our new, cozy little flat which is fantastic. It has doors, and storage space and a giant telly, and loads of windows and plug points, and a lack of irritating theiving people right outside the window.

It doesn't have a balcony, though it does have giant windows in the living room and the bedroom, and it has a mezzanine with 2 single beds on it which is actually possibly usable (unlike the other flat, where it would have been a ludicrous idea, and not just because of the safety hazards...)

All in all, am tres pleased with this flat. Absent anything going horribly wrong (like the sink trying to kill me again, or something) I might even be willing to stay here!


Officially unemployed!

OK, so, dissertation completed and handed in yesterday. Back in France where it hasn't rained, but looked like it might this morning - it's cool enough to wear jeans without dying now though, summer must be over!

Moving into a bigger flat in the same house this afternoon, which will be nice. An actual bedroom and everything. Awesome.

Photos today are from sunset on the plane last night. On the way over on Monday we had stunning views of the Alps, but my camera was in the overhead compartment, so couldn't get to it. Sunset last night was almost as pretty, though the pics aren't great...

Now I'm properly unemployed, and don't need to worry about any essay deadlines ever again, I'm going to get started on making some more chainmaille pieces, something nice and simple and easy. Or, at least, once we've moved over into the new flat. And unpacked again. It may be a while...


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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