All posts by Graham Miln

Along the Riverside

The riverbank of the Saône is being renovated. New paths, walks, and facilities are being constructed. The result will be grand, impressive, and well trafficked.

This post is about a different, less grand, bank of the Rhône river. A somewhat less trodden section that thanks to a new footbridge is now easily accessible from our apartment.

Three new bridges have been built in Lyon recently. We set out this weekend to cross one and then walk down towards the city centre.

The new bridge has a clever design that combines two paths into one structure: one flat and one curved.

Two paths join two levels of the river banks.
Two paths join two levels of the river banks.
Seats where the two paths join on the bridge.
Seats where the two paths join on the bridge.
A wide flat path spans the higher bank edges.
A wide flat path spans the higher bank edges.
Curves meet straight edges all over the bridge.
Curves meet straight edges all over the bridge.
One of Lyon's new bridges.
One of Lyon’s new bridges.

The walk from the west bank down to Lyon’s opera house was a mixture of delightful, narrowing, and surprising.

The crisp dry leaves on the path were delightful. I enjoyed kicking up the leaves with each stride. A simple pleasure.

A bird sits on a mooring in the river.
A bird sits on a mooring in the river.
Leaves cover the path at a junction.
Leaves cover the path at a junction.
Crisp dry leaves crunch underfoot
Crisp dry leaves crunch underfoot

The path narrowed along one section. Enough for us to question if the path would suddenly stop or become impossible to continue along.

The road and path follow the same route along the river.
The road and path follow the same route along the river.
The path transforms along the route.
The path transforms along the route.

The surprise came near the end. A small encampment appeared. We knew of larger encampments on the outskirts of the city, but I had not seen one in the centre.

An encampment near Lyon's Opera House and Town Hall.
An encampment near Lyon’s Opera House and Town Hall.

We walked through the camp and emerged onto the street near the opera house and town hall.

Pavement near the Opera House and Town Hall
Pavement near the Opera House and Town Hall
Road tunnels in Lyon.
Road tunnels in Lyon.
Autumn peaks through at the end of the street.
Autumn peaks through at the end of the street.

Crafting Furniture

There is something strangely cathartic about recreating furniture in SketchUp. Given good measurements, I can craft something recognisable in about ten to fifteen minutes.

As we wait for our planning permission to move through its various stages, I have been building up a model of our future home. The bulk of the building model is finished.

Now I am entertaining myself with little models of our existing furniture and, in a few places, items we are going to need.

A log burner modelled in SketchUp
A log burner modelled in SketchUp

Putting together these models reveals all kind of details I had not appreciated before. Dimensions, weights, and volumes all need consideration. You can not cheat with a three dimensional model.

SketchUp is surprisingly productive. It has taken a long while to understand its approach. The software’s demands on you, the operator, are not obvious but they are not too difficult to adopt. I have turned to YouTube tutorial videos many times. Little tips and tricks about typing dimensions, mass copying with keyboard adjustments, are wonderful but utterly hidden in the visual user interface.

As a tool I have found SketchUp impressively productive. The notion of pushing and pulling away material is effective. I initially tried Blender but it never felt enjoyable; a tool I likely need to invest more time into before I get the results I want out.

My growing collection of furniture looks surreal. Floating in a gray space. Ready to be copied and pasted into the house model.

Our growing collection of furniture recreated in SketchUp
Our growing collection of furniture recreated in SketchUp

Festival des Courges / Pumpkin Festival

The pumpkin festival is taking place in our park. Pumpkins sit in flower pots, on wooden palettes, in trays, and on the grass.

Festival des Courges / Pumpkin Festival in Lyon, France
Festival des Courges / Pumpkin Festival in Lyon, France

They are mostly left alone. I wonder why more are not taken. A few have been stolen but the bulk remain in place.

The largest pumpkin would be difficult to move by hand. A few weigh more than 130 kilograms. Signs proudly name the grower and final weight of the oversized vegetable.

Giant pumpkins in Lyon's parc de la tete d'or.
Giant pumpkins in Lyon’s parc de la tete d’or.
148.9 kilogram pumpkin
148.9 kilogram pumpkin

Over the last two weekends stalls have been set up selling pumpkin based treats and, of course, pumpkins. Given our regular wanderings we did not need to make a specific visit to see the stalls. They were waiting for us as we walked around our route.

Wide range of pumpkins for sale
Wide range of pumpkins for sale
Pumpkins for sale
Pumpkins for sale
Pumpkins on display
Pumpkins on display
Pumpkins on display
Pumpkins on display
Pumpkins on display
Pumpkins on display

A bar formed one of the temporary stalls. Two life sized wooden statues stood out as curiosities. They stood motionless behind the bar.

Wooden bar staff
Wooden bar staff
Wooden bar staff
Wooden bar staff

The pumpkins were a magnet for children. One stall had children decorating smaller pumpkins and all around the kids climbed on the largest pumpkins.

Children decorating pumpkins
Children decorating pumpkins
Children playing on a 131 kilogram pumpkin
Children playing on a 131 kilogram pumpkin