My reaction to spiders has changed since living in Australia. I am still uncomfortable when I first notice a spider but after a moment the rush of fear subsides. After Australian spiders, justifying a fear of spiders in France is impossible.
It is difficult to really fear insects in Europe once you have lived in Australia. That is not to be macho or suggest bravado. I can claim neither. Instead living in a country where a real fear of spiders is justified provides perspective on those times when the fear is utterly pointless.
I remember the first spider I saw crawling on the wall in my Sydney apartment. That moment of not being sure quite how nasty that tiny creature might be. Tracking the tiny black creature moving disturbingly quickly along the wall.
Since that first Australian spider I encountered all manner of nasty insects. They exist but despite the perception that Australia is full of lethal animals, you rarely come across them in your daily routine. Locals do however take more care than tourists and immigrants. This extra care can go unnoticed and that can lull you into a false sense of safety. That care is also not explicit but instead just a childhood habit instilled by parents and teachers over many years.
Australian kids are taught to never never prod and poke around under fallen branches and rocks. Adults are careful when gardening and working around the borders. Venturing into the bush requires good shoes and covered legs. Fridges are home to magnetic leaflets with silhouettes of spiders identifying those with nasty bites.
Explaining the joys of a childhood nature trail to an Australian results in tears of laughter and shock. You were encouraged to lift up rocks and seek out hidden creatures? Crazy.
After a couple of days with brilliant blue sky, today has been overcast and wet. A hailstorm rolled in this afternoon.
I stood watching the hail falling for a few moments before realising I could probably create a short film from the event. I rushed to my camera, captured some footage, then rushed again for my microphone. Better sound makes all the difference.
The hailstorm was uneventful but it was fun filming and putting together this film. All done within an hour – including the YouTube administration.
The first flowers are appearing in the park. Winter is nearly behind us and warmth is returning to the days.
We walked in parc feyssine yesterday. Compared to the refined and cultivated feel of parc de la tête d’or, feyssine feels less managed. The two parks almost touch and both are well looked after, but they seem designed for different audiences.
We are heading towards the in-between season for fresh fruits and vegetables. Those few months between when supplies of winter items dwindle, but before the summer delights begin.
These months can be difficult to shop for in our local market. The contents of the stalls become more erratic between our weekly visits.
As Megan was busy with one stall this morning, I stepped aside and took photos of the colourful dried fruit nearby. The colours and tempting sugary pieces contrasted with the largely green produce available next door.
We have a habit of visiting places in their off season. The season counter to the best time to see the city, sight, or spectacle. Our habit is not deliberate. Just a matter of when our time is available to take a break and explore somewhere new for a weekend.
We took an early morning train to Chambéry. A pretty town with a beautiful lake and stunning surroundings of alpine mountains.
Navigating Lyon‘s large Part Dieu train station is difficult enough for a sighted person but for a blind person it must be a nightmare. Thankfully the station has something installed that I have yet to notice elsewhere.
Around the station are tracks denoted with raised markers on each edge. The markers are plastic strips that form static permanent ridges, effectively paths, around the station complex.
A simple, presumably effective, addition that makes the station a little more accessible.
A Christmas market appears in Lyon near the beginning of December. It is held in Place Carnot infront of Perrache train station.
The square is full of Christmas themed stalls. Most of the stalls are dedicated to food and drink, with a good mix of trade crafts and other bits as well. A small internationally themed cluster of stalls makes an appearance and is always fun; these stalls sell local treats from each represented country.
We have made a habit of going with the intention of treating ourselves to a food item from a stall. This year, partly in honour of our Belgium trip, we choose freshly cooked waffles. The waffles were on sticks, shaped like a Christmas tree, and had Nutella smeared on them.