FRENCH SCENERY – a fringe benefit of my fear of flying…

Given the amount of travel related material I present here, it might come as a surprise to regular followers of this site, that for about ten years, from the late 80’s to the late 90’s I suffered from a suddenly acquired, debilitating fear of flying.

Debilitating for about the first seven or eight years, to be accurate, as I gradually cured myself of the affliction over the final two or three years with a combination of judiciously applied strong alcohol and the advent of budget airlines – specifically easyJet. But thanks to that magical cocktail of Jack Daniels blended with Stelios Haji-Ioannou’s heroically mundane approach to commercial air-travel (a story for another post perhaps) I thankfully managed to rediscover my inner Frank Sinatra. However, unluckily for us, the height of my phobia coincided with our move to southern Spain.

If the move had been the total success we had originally anticipated then my fear of flying wouldn’t have been thrown into such sharp relief, but because of constant need to migrate, firstly to northern France, and then later, back to the UK, things became tricky.

For a period of about three years we had to make the journey, firstly from Malaga to Boulogne and then from Malaga to London, between six and twelve times annually.  And, while some of these journeys anyway necessitated the need for a car journey, most of them would have been quicker, cheaper and easier by plane. But, as there was no way I could fly, and short of Dido giving me the Mr “T” Novocaine treatment (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaJOeLuUD94), this meant that for all of those dozens of trips, we had to drive.

More often than not, and especially towards the end of the period, when “getting there” had become the sole objective, we would stick to the main roads and cover the route in as little as two and a half days (our record was 18 hours – Malaga to London – 1400 miles – door-to-door), but on occasion we would make a small vacation out of a drive, and take some significant detours, in France and/or Spain.

The images presented here are from some of those early excursions compiled into one virtual tour. Their yellowed, grainy texture reflect golden memories of the beauty and the unsurpassed variety (in Europe at least) of the French landscape; in this case from the Pyrenees in the south, to the beaches on Normandy in the north, via Provence and the Auvergne. It’s amusing to consider now, that if it had not been for my fear of flying I might not have got to visit some of these extraordinary places…

 

 

 

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PADUA – Stone and Water

Padua is most famous in the anglophone world at least for being the setting for Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, but it’s true importance lies in it’s role as one of the oldest and most important university cities in the world.

Arguably, the home of modern western medicine – indisputably the cradle of modern pathology – with strong associations to the likes of Galileo and Copernicus it’s legacy as a historic center of scientific learning is only surpassed by Cambridge. (This is particularly interesting when one realises that Padua University emerged from Bologna University in a way very similar to the way Cambridge emerged from Oxford – at about the same time.)

However, as a warning to the prospective visitor to Padua, it should be noted that for all it’s academic glories (and a couple of fabulous artworks by Giotto and Donatello) it falls far short of most of it’s city neighbours so far as things like charm and gastronomy are concerned. Nevertheless, like all Italian towns, it finds a way to smile back when one points a camera at it.

Presented here are a series of enhanced photographic images through which I make an attempt to transmit the feeling of a stroll through Padua’s  cobbled streets and along her narrow waterways…

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MY POSTER PHASE…(1)

For a while during the late 1980’s and early 90’s there was a resurgence of classic poster design in British commercial illustration. For about ten years add agencies got a nostalgia pang for the poster images of the early half of the century—especially the great travel posters of companies like Cunard and P&O.

Photo-sourced images, distilled into simple, screen-print-like blocks of colour were once again all the rage which meant for me, as a keen exponent of the form, a fairly regular stream of commissions.

One of these days, when I’ve completed the transfer of all my old work copy onto a digital platform I’ll put up one or two gallery posts showing the sort of stuff I did for the likes of Thomas Cook and Legal & General.

For now, here is a small gallery of highly disparate images I made for my own pleasure and exhibition.

They comprise a truly odd bunch, including as they do some kind of anti-communist poster (can’t recall if it’s aimed at Russia or China?) and a slightly weird self-portrait of me looking very miserable (suffering with heat-stroke) at a bus stop in Israel. Somewhere, I have dozens of colour slides of many more, less quirky; mostly travel related images which are now all happily sold. They too await digital conversion.

Meanwhile, these are fun—I think!

 

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NETANYA – SUN, SEA AND SAND – VARIATIONS ON AN ISRAELI THEME

THE GREAT THING ABOUT PHOTOSHOP IS THAT IT MAKES THE EDITING OF PHOTOS AS IMPORTANT AS TAKING THEM. IT ALSO MEANS THAT ONE CAN OFTEN EXTRACT / ABSTRACT GOOD MATERIAL FROM OTHERWISE ORDINARY SHOTS. THIS GALLERY OF “VIRTUAL GOUACHES” OF THE ISRAELI COASTAL TOWN OF NETANYA ILLUSTRATES THIS PERFECTLY – ALTHOUGH I MUST ADMIT THE INCREDIBLE SENSOR ON MY CANON CERTAINLY HELPS BRING OUT THE DETAIL…

CHILE – OUR REAL CARTOON ADVENTURE (part 3 of 11)

(SEE PART 2 HERE: https://adamhalevi777.com/2014/12/31/chile-our-real-cartoon-adventure-part-2-of-11/)

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One of the most exciting aspects for me in particular regarding our adventure was that it was my first time across the Atlantic Ocean – in fact, it was my first journey into a significantly different time-zone. So, when by our third evening in Chile I still hadn’t suffered any apparent symptoms of jet-lag it made me sceptical about the whole concept. That evening, following our long bus journey from Santiago, we were spending the night in the coastal city of Antofagasta before catching our next ride to Calama the following afternoon. Dido was still sort of vegetarian in those days (she ate some fish) and often got a craving for pasta, and as luck would have it, our Lonely Planet guide recommended an Italian restaurant as being the best place in town. After almost a day on a coach eating nothing but snacks, we were both ravenous and ordered extra large portions of pasta and we must have been about half-way through our respective plates of spaghetti when I was struck by an acute attack of something known as “delayed jet-lag”. The last thing I remember was feeling as if I’d been given a sudden heavy dose of anesthetic gas. Then, the next thing I knew, I was staggering into the street with my arm over Dido’s shoulder with Bolognese sauce all over my face. According to my mortified wife, I had fainted head-first into my pasta, and the maitre d, assuming I was drunk demanded that we leave – immediately…

 7 Jetlag

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We had one night in Calama to kill before catching another bus to our final destination the next day, San Pedro de Atacama. Following our expensive dining fiasco of the previous evening, Dido opted for a hostel described as “modest” even by our Lonely Planet Guide. Perhaps, because it was called Residencial Splendid, we hoped that it might not be all that bad, which only goes to show that one should never be deceived by a mere name. The Splendid was utterly awful. The rooms were filthy and more like prison cells than holiday accommodation and as for the state of the bathrooms – well, I’ll leave that to the reader’s imagination. But by far the worst feature of our night at the Splendid, was the bed itself – a grubby, smelly, piece of foam rubber, suspended in a steel bed-frame, devoid of support of any kind. The picture below describes exactly what happened when we got into bed, and that our extreme discomfort was accentuated by the fact that during the night icicles formed from the light and on the metal window grates due to the freezing desert night air of Calama…

8 Residencial Splendid - in name only!

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The breakfast turned out to be about as “Splendid” as the sleeping arrangements. As we took our table in the dingy breakfast room we were confronted with a pot of hot water, a jar of instant coffee and two slices of dry toast. When I asked the lady of the establishment – a stocky little woman with unkempt greasy grey hair, a cigarette stub apparently glued to her lower lip, and wearing a grease splattered pinny –  if there was any butter, she grunted in the affirmative. Then, to my amazement and horror, she went over to the neighbouring table where an elderly man in a dressing-gown was eating his breakfast and took the piece of toast from his hand, picked up his knife and scraped all the butter she could from it. She then came back to us and spread his butter scrapings onto my toast…

9 Splendid breakfast included

BALTIMORE – BEYOND ‘THE WIRE’

A SERIES OF DIGITAL “GOUACHES” REVEALING THE RICH ARCHITECTURE COLOURS AND TEXTURES OF AMERICA’S MUCH-OVERLOOKED EAST-COAST CITY

GLORIOUS BRITAIN – CORNWALL – COAST AND RIVER

HERE IS A SERIES OF DIGITAL “GOUACHES” OF CORNWALL. THE RIVER SCENES ARE ALL OF THE EXQUISITELY PICTURESQUE HELFORD RIVER. THERE ARE ALSO PICTURES FROM COVERACK, THE MINACK THEATRE, THE LIZARD PENINSULAR AND SAINT MICHAEL’S MOUNT.