Author: Benoist

Randoseru

I now understand why these Japanese school-bags or randoseru (ランドセル) are so expensive : beautiful craftmanship ! According to wikipedia, the term randoseru is a borrowed word from the Dutch “ransel” meaning “backpack”, a clue to its origins nearly 200 years ago as used in the Netherlands. Traditionally, the randoseru is red in colour for girls, black for boys. While in more conservative schools the colour (and often the brand and design) is mandated and enforced, the backpack is available in a variety of colours, partly as a compromise for parents to retain some tradition within modernized schools which no longer require the use of traditional uniforms or of the randoseru. Traditionally given to a child upon beginning his or her first year of school, the randoseru’s materials and workmanship are designed to allow the backpack to endure the child’s entire elementary education (six years). However, the care usually given to the randoseru throughout that time and afterwards can extend its life and preserve it in near-immaculate condition long after the child has reached adulthood, a testament to its utility as an accessory and the sentiment attached to it by many Japanese as symbolic of their relatively carefree childhood years. The randoseru’s durability and significance is reflected in its cost: a new randoseru made of genuine leather often carry a price tag of over 35,000¥.

landoseru-13

landoseru-02

landoseru-01

landoseru-03

landoseru-04

landoseru-05

landoseru-06

landoseru-07

landoseru-08

landoseru-09

landoseru-10

landoseru-11

landoseru-12

landoseru-14

Mondaye Abbey

Saint-Martin de Mondaye is a French Premonstratensian abbey in the Bessin countryside at Juaye-Mondaye, Calvados, nine miles to the south of Bayeux. Founded in 1200, it is the only canonial abbey still active in Normandy. The church is wholly as conceived by Eustache Restout, who also painted the paintings and designed the woodwork for the choir. 60m long, the building presents a blind portal, leaving space for the organ. The nave has 5 spans, with wide pillars supporting arches and with the south side illuminated by two two openings on the north side. The altar is in the centre and the arms of the transept are large, as is Premonstratensian tradition. The dome above the altar is a copy of that of the now-vanished chapel of the château de Sceaux, painted by Charles Le Brun. A fine example of Louis XV-era art, the organ was made by Claude Parisot from Lorraine. Its case was carved by the Flemish artist Melchior Verly. Completed in 1741, the instrument was restored in 1965 and in 2004 by the organmakers Jean-Baptiste Boisseau and Jean-Marie Gaborit. With 27 pipes, it is regularly used for concerts [ref].

mondaye-abbey-01

mondaye-abbey-02

mondaye-abbey-03

mondaye-abbey-04

mondaye-abbey-05

mondaye-abbey-06

mondaye-abbey-07

mondaye-abbey-08

mondaye-abbey-09

mondaye-abbey-10

mondaye-abbey-11

mondaye-abbey-12

mondaye-abbey-13

mondaye-abbey-14

mondaye-abbey-15

mondaye-abbey-16

mondaye-abbey-17

mondaye-abbey-18

mondaye-abbey-19

mondaye-abbey-20

mondaye-abbey-21

mondaye-abbey-22

mondaye-abbey-23

mondaye-abbey-24

mondaye-abbey-25

mondaye-abbey-26

mondaye-abbey-27

Nuclear Submarine

The Redoutable (S 611) was the lead ship of her class of ballistic missile submarine in the French Marine Nationale. Commissioned on 1 December 1971, she was the first French SNLE (Sous-marin Nucléaire Lanceur d’Engins, “Device-Launching Nuclear Submarine”). She was fitted with 16 M1 ballistic missiles, delivering 450 kt at 2000 kilometres. In 1974, she was refitted with the M2 missile, and later with the M20, each delivering a one-megatonne warhead at a range over 3000 kilometres. The Redoutable (“formidable” or “fearsome” in French language) was the only ship of her class not to be refitted with the M4 missile. The Redoutable had a 20-year duty history, with 51 patrols. She was decommissioned in 1991. In 2000, she was removed from the water in a purpose built dry dock, and over two years was made into an exhibition. This was a monumental task, the biggest of which was removing the Nuclear Reactor and replacing the midsection with an empty steel tube. This opened in 2002, where she is used as a museum ship at the Cité de la Mer in Cherbourg, being now the largest submarine open to the public [ref.]

le-redoutable-54

le-redoutable-01

le-redoutable-03

le-redoutable-08

le-redoutable-07

le-redoutable-09

le-redoutable-10

le-redoutable-11

le-redoutable-12

le-redoutable-13

le-redoutable-15

le-redoutable-16

le-redoutable-19

le-redoutable-20

le-redoutable-22

le-redoutable-24

le-redoutable-25

le-redoutable-26

le-redoutable-27

le-redoutable-29

le-redoutable-31

le-redoutable-32

le-redoutable-36

le-redoutable-38

le-redoutable-39

le-redoutable-40

le-redoutable-41

le-redoutable-43

le-redoutable-44

le-redoutable-45

le-redoutable-51

le-redoutable-47

le-redoutable-52

le-redoutable-49

le-redoutable-48

Wheat

Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East and Ethiopian Highlands, but now cultivated worldwide. Wheat is grown on more land area than any other commercial crop and is the most important staple food for humans. World trade in wheat is greater than for all other crops combined. Globally, wheat is the leading source of vegetable protein in human food, having a higher protein content than either corn or rice, the other major cereals.

Wheat was a key factor enabling the emergence of city-based societies at the start of civilization because it was one of the first crops that could be easily cultivated on a large scale, and had the additional advantage of yielding a harvest that provides long-term storage of food. Wheat contributed to the emergence of city-states in the Fertile Crescent, including the Babylonian and Assyrian empires. Wheat grain is a staple food used to make flour for leavened, flat and steamed breads, biscuits, cookies, cakes, breakfast cereal, pasta, noodles, couscous and for fermentation to make beer, other alcoholic beverages [ref].

No wonder the UN has selected wheat for the logo of its Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Below some photos of wheat a few weeks before harvest in Calvados, Normandy. France is the world’s fifth wheat producer.

wheatscape-16

wheatscape-03

wheatscape-04

wheatscape-05

wheatscape-06

wheatscape-07

wheatscape-08

wheatscape-09

wheatscape-10

wheatscape-11

wheatscape-12

wheatscape-13

wheatscape-14

wheatscape-15

wheatscape-17

wheatscape-19

wheatscape-25

wheatscape-26

wheatscape-27

wheatscape-28

wheatscape-30