Monday, September 22, 2014

Les Patates

"Les patates" from Claude Autant-Lara is a curious little movie, blending comedy and drama in a historical context.
The story takes place during World War 2, in Occupied France. Clovis (Pierre Perret, a very famous French comedic singer in his convincing screen debut) is trying desperately to cultivate potatoes, despite the restrictions decided by the Nazis, and the jealousy of his neighborhood. Soon, his little garden becomes an obsession, which leads to marital crisis, and beyond...
The film is clearly not as moving and ambitious as Autant-Lara previous work (such as his masterpiece, "La traversée de Paris") but there are many funny parts, and good performances all along.
Overall, a decent satire of Occupied France, with a good balance between comedy and drama.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Cigarette Cards, with Beret

Cigarette cards are trade cards issued by tobacco manufacturers to stiffen cigarette packaging and advertise cigarette brands.
From a time nobody thought twice about tobacco advertising. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Boris in Trondheim

Please meet my Dutch friend Boris, from CycloMedia, a high-tech company from the Netherlands. Boris is presently filming all the streets of Trondheim (Norway).
CycloMedia offers solutions for collecting, processing, and hosting street-level panoramas allowing professionals to leverage the intelligence of updated geo-referenced imagery. Technical language that will make complete sense when watching this video clip
Boris proudly dons a boina Tolosa Tupida

Coffee in Wellington

I can't help but feeling proud of my city, Wellington, when reading this article. 
Being a coffee snob myself, I totally recognize what this is about. Coffee, the drug that I'd find difficult living without, is worshiped and treated with the utmost respect here.
And it is only on a holiday to Queensland (AU) or a trip to Europe, that I realize that the situation is very different in other places around the world (that's putting it very mildly!). 
Numerous cafe's in the Netherlands unashamedly have their latte's and cappuccino's made by pushing 2 buttons on a machine (a combination of Nescafe and some sort of instant formula milk) and in Germany the 'flat white ' I ordered came out as a weak coffee with whipped cream on top. It's tough. 
In Wellington we are blessed with many small boutique coffee roasters; Havana (my preference) has a beautiful organic bean of Vanuatu, while Peoples Coffee do a great runner up in the form of their Mexican Chiapas. 
Of course, you can't underestimate the influence of a barista on the quality of what you actually drink, but so is the vessel that holds your coffee of utmost importance. When on the go, this is the absolute best you can get! Remember your ABC: Attitude, Beret, Coffee. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Maquisard Roland Degueurce

On October 1, 1944 Roland Degueurce from Montceau was awarded the Croix de Guerre with bronze star under Résistance. The decoration was well deserved ... especially as the recipient was only 13 years old.
The resistance in Montceau les Mines was well organized. Roland acted as intermediary and carried various documents and memorized messages to members of the Résistance.
He was usually accompanied by his dog Diamond. During an attack by Germans or Italians in the Alps, it was Diamond who made the soldiers stop shooting and rush for their vehicles.
He wore an admirably large Tarte Alpin too.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Antoine Blondin aka Tenorio

Antoine Blondin (1922 – 1991) was a French writer who belonged to the literary group called the Hussards. He was also a sports columnist in L'Équipe and wrote under the name Tenorio.
Blondin was a bon-vivant known for generous drinking in the Parisian district of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, playing at bull-fighting with passing cars and collecting numerous arrests for drunkenness. He chronicled this life in his autobiographical romance, Monsieur Jadis ou L'École du Soir. He was frequently pursued for unpaid tax.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Bash Street Kids

The Bash Street Kids is an ongoing comic strip featuring in the British comic The Beano. 
The strip was created by Leo Baxendale under the title When the Bell Rings, and first appeared in The Beano in issue 604, dated 13 February 1954. 
It became The Bash Street Kids in 1956 and since then, it has become a regular in the comic, featuring in every issue. 
Since 1961 David Sutherland has drawn the strip, and has drawn roughly 2,100 strips.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Keith Douglas, Soldier Poet

Keith Castellain Douglas (1920 –1944) was an English poet noted for his war poetry during World War II and his wry memoir of the Western Desert Campaign, Alamein to Zem Zem. He was killed in action during the invasion of Normandy.

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Weekend with Lulu

A Weekend with Lulu is a 1961 British comedy film directed by John Paddy Carstairs and starring Bob Monkhouse, Leslie Phillips, Alfred Marks, and Shirley Eaton.
Fred, Tim and Deirdre plan a fun weekend break on the coast. What they didn't make allowances for was the company of Deirdre's mother who insists on coming along as her daughter's chaperone.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Tom Wintringham

Thomas Henry (Tom) Wintringham (1898 - 1949) was a British soldier, military historian, journalist, poet, Marxist, politician and author. He was an important figure in the formation of the Home Guard during World War II and was one of the founders of the Common Wealth Party.
In 1915 Wintringham was elected to a Brakenbury scholarship in History at Balliol, but during the First World War he postponed his university career to join the Royal Flying Corps, serving as a mechanic and motorcycle despatch rider.
At the end of the war he was involved in a brief barracks mutiny, one of many minor insurrections which went unnoticed in the period. He returned to Oxford, and in a long vacation made a visit of some months to Moscow, after which he returned to England and formed a group of students aiming to establish a British section of the Third International: a Communist Party.
At the start of the Spanish Civil War, Wintringham went to Barcelona as a journalist for the Daily Worker, but he joined and eventually commanded the British Battalion of the International Brigades. Some socialist commentators have credited him with the whole idea of "international" brigades. He also had an affair with a US journalist, Kitty Bowler, whom he later married. In February 1937 he was wounded in the Battle of Jarama. While injured in Spain he became friends with Ernest Hemingway who based one of his characters upon him.

On returning from Spain Wintringham began to call for an armed civilian guard to repel any fascist invasion, and as early as 1938 had begun campaigning for what would become the Home Guard. He taught the troops tactics of Guerrilla Warfare.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Simin Palay

Simin Palay (1874–1965) was a French writer and (generally seen as) Béarns greatest  poet of the 20th century.
In his youth, Palay worked as a travelling tailor and taught himself to write, mainly about his Béarn and Gascony. He worked all genres; drama, novels, lexicography and poetry.
Simin Palay was the greatest poet in Bearn early xx th  century . He is the author of poetry , of drama and various works in prose . It was journeyman tailor in his youth.
His bust, with beret, stands at Beaumont Park in Pau.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Gascons of Bordeaux

Who are the Gascons of Bordeaux? They live in South Gironde, between Bordeaux and the Landes forest. They do not shun the pleasure of the Bordeaux city offerings for a small urban trendy evening, but also like to hang out in the Landes forest in search of porcini to prepare a good meal to go with the wines of Graves and Sauternes.
Above all, the Gascons of Bordeaux are generous and sharers. They like to share, fight, sing, meet.
The name of Gascons of Bordeaux appeared from the desire to value the people who make South Gironde but also enhance the collaborations between the tourist offices of Graves Sauternes, Gironde Landes and of Montesquieu. Gascons of Bordeaux stands for the art of good living that prevails south of Bordeaux. The warm, festive atmosphere, the food and wine but also the rich history of this area are highlighted in a unifying banner by the promotional organisations.
How to recognize the Gascons of Bordeaux in one glance? Ah, that’s easy: they wear trendy sunglasses and a beret ... 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Historic Motorbike Races in Bilbao

The first motorbike race in Bilbao (Spanish Basque Country) took place on 5 November , 1911. 
Newspaper praised the quality of the roads and, since this was a Sunday, there would be no movement of cattle to hinder the racers. The race was only open to participants from the Basque Country and Navarra.

The first prize went to Perico Sorriguieta, at 1 hour, 48 minutes and 42 seconds. How long the track was, I have no idea…

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Shepherd Saturnino Iztueta

Saturnino Iztueta  was a traditional shepherd who died at 92 after spending most of his life working on Mount Hernio. Hernio is an iconic summit in the Basque Country very popular with the Gipuzkoans and located right at the heart of the province. The peak is the highest point of a massif extending north-west to south-east, the summit rising by the pass of Zelatun.
Apart from the batteries for his transistor radio, Saturnino pretty much lived a life not different from his collegues of the Neolithic period, 3000 years ago.
An interesting article (in Spanish) can be found here

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Vazandu is the artist’s name of Vazquez Mariano Andujar  ( 1919). Born in Navarra de Erro, he moved with his family to Irun, where he grew up and has lived most of his life. From an early age, he expressed an interest and talent for painting and studied at the Municipal Drawing Academy, under the tutelage of Professor Larzábal Gervasio.    
He continues to study every day.  In 2003, he was appointed a brother of honor of the Brotherhood Salmon Bidasoa.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Juan José Ibarretxe Markuartu

Juan José Ibarretxe Markuartu (1957) is a (Spanish) Basque politician and a leading member of the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV). He was President (lehendakari) of Spain's Basque Country autonomous community from 1999 to May, 2009.
In October 2003 he released the highly controversial Ibarretxe Plan (Plan Ibarretxe), which foresees a future Basque country freely associated with Spain, with its own separate legal system and European Union (EU) representation. Ibarretxe grew up speaking only Spanish, but now speaks fluent Basque and English.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Greek Civil War Berets

Greek commando, wearing fur-collared jacket supplied by the Americans and a sewn beret, waits for a guerilla target to emerge during the Greek Civil War.
Surprisingly, not many Greeks have adopted the beret, although popular in neighbouring countries Albania, and Macedonia. The enormous popularity of the Greek Fisherman's Cap may have something to do with it.
Greek army commandos on the move during the Greek Civil War.
Looking for material on Greeks and berets, I didn't get further than the military; in this case, from the Greek Civil War.
Greek government commandos near Karpenisi, equipped with British berets and American fur-trimmed jackets.
Interesting pictures in their own right though. 
Monarchist soldiers armed with a machine gun guarding a mountain garrison at Karpenisi during the Greek Civil War

Saturday, September 6, 2014

How to saddle your horse, Gaucho style

Watch some Argentinian boinas in their natural environment!
How to saddle a horse, authentic Gaucho pampas style, as shown by the horse riders at Estancia La Margarita in Argentina.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Estancia La Margarita

Estancia La Margarita started back in 1870 when Enrique Forgues, who was born in France, purchased 7000 hectares of land in Tapalqué and proceeded to create what is now known as Estancia La Margarita. In those times, La Margarita was a stopover for travelling gauchos and occasional courageous explorers who crossed the pampas on their way south. 
At La Margarita they changed horses and rested under the shade of eucalyptus trees, many of which still stand today.  The region at that time was a relatively dangerous place; marauding Indians were an occasional threat as they pillaged private property (on the land that was once theirs) and kidnapped colonizers.
A century and a half later, peace and calmness reigns at La Margarita.  The estancia is in the heart of gaucho country, and the life of the pampas goes on in much the same way as it did in the 1800s. Horses are still the preferred method of transport when working on the estancia; just as asados are cooked and mate drunk in the same way as they were in those bygone days. In fact in many ways not much has changed in this vast, beautiful area, and one cannot help but be uplifted by the tranquil and stress-free way of life that visitors can experience when they visit La Margarita and surrounding areas.
A great tourist destination for those interested in gaucho life and boinas.