Thursday, November 30, 2006

Good Harvest


As each tractor load of grapes come into the winery the trailer is weighed in and then once the grapes are off-loaded the trailer is weighed out, the difference is the amount of grapes that have been added to each persons account.

A great number of grape producing areas are made up of cooperatives of small individual producers who at the end of the grape harvest "Les Vendanges" know how much wine they will have 'on account' for sale also through the cooperative.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Wine Drinker

Wine Drinker

Wine, wine everywhere and lots and lots to drink.

It is a way of life, it's what happens even at 9.30am, a leather wine pouch is produced and a little livener before work continues in the vineyard. The guy had it down to a fine art and never spilt a drop.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Grape Juice


Soon, very soon the color red will no longer be ‘just juice’ but will be turned into wine, in this case red wine of course.

Whether it was the Romans or even earlier in those ancient times that first planted and harvested the grapes and made them into wine I am not sure. Certainly the Romans were here in the 118BC, the regional capital was Narbonne and the Romans harvested salt in the village of Peyriac De Mer. The layout of the salt area can still be seen and you can still get a taste of the wine.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Unloading Grapes


This is one of those tractors worth photographing. The tractors are specially made to be able to work though out the year in the vineyards. They are produced to a width that allows the tractor to work between the rows of vines, and sometimes I can't help looking at them and thinking how cool these miniatured tractors are.

After arrival at the winery it's time to tip the load into the "hole" where the grapes are collected and conveyed to the where the juice is squeezed out. No more tramping of the feet however, those day are long gone!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Have a break!


Once the first early morning load of grapes have disappeared to the winery it's time for a break and something to eat.

It is hard work picking grapes and although the mornings can sometimes be a little fresh the temperatures in the south of France can soon heat up so you have combination of hard work and as the sun climbs higher is can be very warm work.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Ready for the Journey


During the month of September throughout the south of France motorist have to be very tolerant of slow moving tractors as they make they may to and from the vineyards to offload the grapes that are being picked.

Some of the tractors are new but most have been used for many, many years and make a great sight and are definitely worth a photograph.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Grape Shower

Les Vendanges - Grape shower

So once you have filled up your 'Hotte' it's time to get rid of that heavy load.

The grapes then get tipped into a trailer which has to be water tight, or in this case grape juice tight, so none of those essential ingredients are lost before it reaches the winery.

Lots of hard work even before the grapes leave the vineyard.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Les Vendanges - Grape carrier

Les Vendanges - Grape carrier

Once the grape carrier with his "Hotte" full he then unloads the collected grapes into the container which will then transport the grapes to the winery.

All of these images were taken during a morning spent with a group of grape pickers near to the village of Peyriac de Mer in the Departement of Aude in Les Corbières.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006



Once the grapes have been hand picked or cut and placed in buckets the heavy lifters come by with a large container on their backs called a “Hotte” and collect the grapes ready to be taken to a tractor-trailer ready for transporting to the winery.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Picking the hard way

Les Vendages - Grape picking

Picking the bunches of grapes the hard way.

Cut the grapes and then drop them into you container, once filled it is time for the next step of emptying into the grape carriers big container!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Ready for the picking

Grapes ready for the picking

All along the south of France, sometime during the month of September, Les Vendanges takes place. In the good old days all the grapes were all hand picked, now there are massive machines that zip along the vines to collect the grapes.

With this series we will be going with the traditional method of hand picking. These look ready to pick.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The wine country of Les Corbières

The wine country of the Corbières

Les Vendanges – the grape harvest – is finished down in the south of France and even this years “new” Beaujolais Nouveau has hit the market. I have wanted to show these images taken in Les Corbières for a while and now seem a good a time as any.

This images is of the wine growing region of Les Corbières to the south west of Réal and about and hour and a half drive from here.

This is a series of images taken a few years ago so check back and watch the progress.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Morning Light Magic

Morning Light

As the sun begins to rise and the slowly the mist starts to clear then you get the morning light magic.

A lovely time of year to be out and about and watch the season change.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Kids Corner

Gaillac Color

Amongst the autumn leaves and flowers I found this wonderful colorful kids corner in Gaillac.

Still lovely sunshine to enjoy wandering around.

Tree House

Tree House

Gaillac is the local wine center of this area; it is also a lovely town to wander around exploring the little allies that appear round every bend. It’s not so big that you won’t get lost and you can find yourself back to where you started very quickly, but that is the magic of Gaillac.

Yesterday was another day where the temperatures were unusually high, lovely and warm with autumn colors to enjoy a stroll around the town.

This tree house shows off the colors of autumn and the warm south of France sunshine.

I tried unsuccessfully to post this yesterday. There seems to be some glitches in the system somewhere!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Rabastens Door

Typical French doorway of once upon a time!

Photographed in the town of Rabastens about 8 Klm from Réal.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Fun Tree

Time for a fun photo taken in a fun tree. My wife as the ever ready model.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Give it up!

There has been some posts about the new law that will be effective at the begining of next year 2007.

This post on Erics photo-blog give more info Tobacconists strike back

As an ex-smoker I found this image quite powerful. I wonder over the years how many ashtrays full of cigarettes butts I filled up?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

War – what is it good for?

Absolutely nothing is the answer in the song.

Today is Remembrance Day, or Armistice Day, a National Holiday in France, which remembers the end of the First World War on a very poetically set time and date of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month 1918 after about 20 million people died over a period of four years.

I fall short, just, of calling myself a pacifist but I am definitely anti-war. It is pointless; no lessons have ever been learned so why continue the killing? I have visited many of the war graves of the 1st and 2nd World War that patchwork the country side of northern France and Belgium. On this day I try and urge politicians and would be war mongers to visit these places where in the silence former so called enemies lie peacefully without argument.

On the 11th November 2004 my wife Ghislaine and I visited the Chemin des Dames, 80 kilometers of East of Paris. One of the killing grounds of WW1, this image is of the German War Cemetery from the Second World War at Le Fort de la Malmasion. It is case of when wars get mixed up, or at least the dead!! There are over 11000 German dead laid to rest here which is in front of an area that was heavily fought over in the First World War.

In the UK Remembrance Day is marked by the wearing of a poppy. A nice story on the BBC website of how this began can be found here: Wearing a Poppy

If you would like to see a larger image of the above image go here: large image of the WW2 cemetery at Le Fort de la Malmasion , or if you would like to view a slide show of images taken at the French and German WW1 cemetery at Cerny en Laonnois click here: Chemin des Dames

Friday, November 10, 2006


From which big oak tress grow and plenty of food for the squirrels.

Photographed in the garden today.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Global Warming

Is it global warming, or is it just an unusually warm period that has fooled nature into thinking springtime has arrived?

Trees are changing colour and shedding their leaves and yet today when I took this photo the afternoon temperature was 22°C and this bush is budding with new leaves.

I think it is due to change this weekend, but it is still nice to enjoy magical days like today – warm, sunny and only 45 shopping days to Christmas.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

How many days?

How many shopping days are there before Christmas?

I have kept this image which was taken in Heidelberg, Germany in September. It is of the inside of a Christmas shop where you can buy are sorts of decorations, trees, in fact all the paraphernalia for the festive season. The amazing thing is that the store is open all year round, although I think it might be closed on Christmas day.

Just thought I would remind you it’s not that long until……………..

Check it out the Christmas Special

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Lisi asked about cutting the grass.

Well here is a photograph I prepared earlier, in fact taken by my wife Ghislaine, of me hard at work in the garden at Réal.

Monday, November 06, 2006

November Light

This scene I have posted before. It is a view from the bottom of the garden in the tiny hamlet of Réal looking towards the village of Roquemaure in the Tarn, France.

This is where I live.

Just in case you have forgotton where Réal is!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Aix Fountain

I have not had time to get out with my camera lately so I am having to post photographs taken on my travels in France.

I do like fountains and this is one of the many fountains in Aix en Provence, and if you have ever visited this beautiful town you will know that there are quite a few.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Lucky the cat

This photograph is for our friends in Germany Michael & Kerstin that we spent some time with earlier in the year.

This is stray cat called Lucky (I hope I have the right one) that is fed each day my Michael & Kerstin.

And thanks you Michael for all your web help!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Cahors Fountain

As a reminder a week ago we were enjoying the last sunny warm day of a very late summer.

We can't really complain as the weather, although now a lot colder, the days are still lovely and sitting in the sun is still a pleasure.

No frost here but way up north there has even been snow.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

La Pigeonnier

Le Pigeonnier is something that can be seen though out the region. I need to do some more research that’s for sure. I thought it was for keeping pigeons for their eggs and eating the pigeons themselves.

However I am told that it was for producing manure for the fields. Pigeon dropping make good fertilizer so I have been informed although I will make other enquiries.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Parking Reservé

The theme for the beginning of the month is about something that is about to disappear. Well I am not sure where to find out about the monthly theme but time will tell when this sign will eventually disappear – eaten by a tree!