Warmth Returning

The first flowers are appearing in the park. Winter is nearly behind us and warmth is returning to the days.

First flowers of 2015.
First flowers of 2015.
Winter colours.
Winter colours.
Leaves clinging on through winter.
Leaves clinging on through winter.

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.


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If you are visiting Lyon and have limited time, visit parc de la tête d’or.

If you live here and want to escape the city without travelling too far, visit parc feyssine. While you are in the area, you can walk across one of the new bridges.

Between Seasons

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.

Bowls of dried foods in a French market
Bowls of dried foods in a French market.
Dried orange slices.
Dried orange slices.
Dried kiwi slices.
Dried kiwi slices.

Imminent Changes

I am growing keenly aware that our world is about to change dramatically. Every aspect of our surroundings and lifestyle will alter when we move.

We have been here before. Having that experience only highlights the coming change.

When we moved from Australia to France, we had time to absorb the decision and make the move at roughly our own pace. We spent time with friends and family before getting on the plane. We packed our apartment up in Melbourne, knowing we would be unpacking into another apartment in Lyon. We were not hurried and we planned all we could.

It was a shift in country and culture, but ultimately a move from one city to another. The lifestyle shifted with the change in cultures but the surroundings were still of the cityscape variety. Cities tend to operate in the same way around the world. Any variation in the differences are highlighted and often celebrated; consider the praise a city can garner for their public transport or greenspaces.

Beautiful French balcony in Lyon
Beautiful French balcony in Lyon

Our pending move is different and likely more dramatic. We will remain in France – with all that entails – but our move is from city to countryside.

We have lived and loved living in city centres for the last decade. We have deliberately placed ourselves in the city centre. Central enough not to need a car, often not even needing any public transport.

For me, the coming move will be a return to more greenery. For Megan it will be her first time living in a smaller community. We both relish the impending change and challenge.

Where we hope for is not a rural retreat, it is not an isolated house, or vacated farm in the middle of vast tracts of countryside. We are not seeking the ex-communication and solitude that many moving to France’s countryside seek.

If all goes to plan, and we are not yet there, we will become part of a small community with neighbours, a few streets, and a church. A larger town with facilities is a walkable distance away. Our views will change from cityscape to countryside. Greenery and forest will replace the apartment blocks and buildings that surround us today.

Lyon's Notre-Dame de Fourvière
Lyon’s Notre-Dame de Fourvière

The move is well over a year away. The first sod of earth has not been shifted. Yet our weekends and most evenings are being spent planning this aspect and that of the change. There are countless details and decisions to be made.

The largest decisions have been made and are being slowly put into place. The single largest decision was choosing where to settle. Not the specific plot but the continent, the country, the region, and only then the community. That first grand decision, made almost unconsciously, has the greatest bearing. It influences every decision that follows.

It is easy to forget the biggest decisions. They come and go so quickly. The detail overwhelms and the broadest strokes are lost.

Now we are focusing on the small and sometimes tiny choices. We can plan for our next year and we can plan for our future life. But planning for the transition, for the setting up, for the putting in place, that is still vague, still unknown, and still ongoing.

Chambéry

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.

Early morning frost from the train
Early morning frost from the train
Inside the older SNCF train
Inside the older SNCF train
Mountains form a background to most views of Chambéry
Mountains form a background to most views of Chambéry
Monument and mountains in the distance
Monument and mountains in the distance
Elephants at the base of a monument
Elephants at the base of a monument
A group protest outside the Town Hall
A group protest outside the Town Hall
Fortifications within Chambéry
Fortifications within Chambéry
Balconies
Balconies
A courtyard in Chambéry
A courtyard in Chambéry
Tree lined street in Chambéry
Tree lined street in Chambéry
Building being restored
Building being restored
Modern building in Chambéry
Modern building in Chambéry
Glass structure around a building
Glass structure around a building

Musee Savoisien

Umbrella display outside the museum
Umbrella display outside the museum
Coin collection
Coin collection
Coins held for closer inspection
Coins held for closer inspection
Wooden objects from the region's past
Wooden objects from the region’s past
Ceramic pots
Ceramic pots
Wooden farming equipment
Wooden farming equipment
Swan feeding with neck below the water
Swan feeding with neck below the water

Lac du Bourget

Plane taking off over Lac du Bourge
Plane taking off over Lac du Bourget
Looking out over Lac du Bourget
Looking out over Lac du Bourget
Lac du Bourget
Lac du Bourget

Hefty Mac Pro

The older Mac Pro is heavy. Particularly when you are lifting it above your head trying to find a balance between delicacy and suppressed panic. After all, you have thousands of pounds of equipement above you and a lot of potential wasted time, if you make a mistake.

After continuing problems with the remaining NVidia GT120 graphics card in my Mac Pro, I decided to remove the second graphics card. I had previously switched to a new Radeon card and that was good. A few OS X updates later I heard the original problems were fixed, so I re-installed one of the spare GT120 cards.

Mac Pro with two graphics cards installed
Mac Pro with two graphics cards installed

Since then numerous graphical problems have returned. All of the type that suggest the graphic’s card memory is still being mismanaged or not freed properly. Applications using IOSurface are subject to the faults.

After running a few experiments I concluded just having the GT120 card in my Mac Pro, even without a display attached, was enough to cause problems.

I opened up my Mac Pro, trivially removed the card, and began to close the computer back up.

Then I made a mistake.

The screw head on my screw driver fell off into the computer.

What followed was not fun or even remotely entertaining. Over the next half hour to an hour I found myself stripping out all I could from the Mac Pro. Lifting and tipping the still very heavy box around. Listening all the time. Tracking the location of that lost screw head.

Somehow it got trapped between two layers of shielding. I could not see it but I could hear it.

Leaving the screw head in the computer was not an option. A loose piece of metal inside a computer can only lead to catastrophic problems. The screw head had to come out before I could get on with my day.

Eventually I had the Mac Pro above my head, slowing lifting and lowering different edges, hoping for a sighting of the screw head – even a sight behind a grill or enclosure would have been something.

Nothing. I saw nothing.

I am persistent. I also have few other choices but to carry on.

After what felt like too long and after my arms were straining to control the weight, I saw the screw head. It had fallen out. There was no reward of a tink sound, just silence, but I could see the screw head now and hold it close in my hand.

Nervously I put the computer back together. The seconds between pushing the power button and hearing the “hardware is fine” chime were eternal. It was going to be alright.

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