photography

Laundry day..

Whether we love it or hate it, it needs to be done. Laundry. Washing. Some of us are lucky enough to just fill the laundry basket and someone else does the washing. And the ironing. Some of us do it all ourselves. I am one of those. Partly by choice and partly by force.

Laundry isn’t one of my favorite chores..but isn’t that why they are called chores? Anyway, a chore needs doing and in our house, it comes down to me. Whenever I think back on the washing days in my Maman’s house, I remember them as fun days.  But I have come far enough in life to know that memories are tainted. Maybe Maman also did the washing simply because she had no choice either. There is little bit of a romance to doing washing in summer. Who doesn’t reach for the camera when driving through the country side and seeing washing on long lines drying in the breeze. Or laundry hanging over fences. Or even on chairs or poles. Where there is a ray of sunlight, there you’ll find washing.

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*Join me now for a  typical summer’s washing day here at Coin Perdu.

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I love the smell of fresh, natural non perfumed soaps. The Marseilles soaps are wonderful, as is the “Pierre des Landes”, an artisanal soap which works for just about everything. To soak my mother’s old doilies and all white cloths which has stains, I grate some savon de Marseille into a bowl of water, leave the pieces to soak and rise. Or I spread thickly soaped pieces out in the sun to remove the stains. It is the perfect way to remove stains without using any chemical stuff, since the sun is a natural whitener. when it has dried, I rinse the pieces in clean water and spread out to dry.

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Beware..not just any soap marked Savon de Marseille is the real thing! Le véritable Savon de Marseille needs to consist of a  minimum of  72% pure olive oil and 28% sodium carbonate.  Many other savons de marseille also have other oils as well as some animal fats added.

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We all know that feeling of getting into bed at night, sliding your body inbetween crisp linen sheets, smelling of sun and  wild herbs. Exactly the reason why I don’t iron my sheets in summer. I might iron the foldback at the top which has a monogram or lace. And the way to do it? Turn the sheet wrong side up and place a double folded towel under the monogram. Place a damp cotton fabric on the top of the monogram and iron so that the right side of the monogram sinks into the towel, seeing to a nice embossed monogram. It also prevents the iron from damaging the yarn/thread in the long run. Fold your linens ans store in a cupboard or shelf along with some cedar balls and some dried lavender if you wish. I also place pieces of soap in the corners of all our closets/armoires/ cupboards…you know, those last pieces of the soap we don’t use. I don’t like perfumed sachets.

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I don’t have a laundry room..yet…and it will be quite a while before I do have ma petite buanderie. In the image below is the barn which will be converted into a laundry room. I am already dreaming of that day…a huge farm table on which I can do my folding… a deep porcelain sink for washing and rinsing and soaking… an old armoire(cupboard) for equipment and products…a window to let in light and a large sill to set out crumbs for the birds and always have an enamel jug with flowers…drying lines across the ceiling, working with pulleys, like the olden days(for winter time), large old baskets, enamel bowls and jugs for soaking, poaring…some old bric and brac for ambiance, just because it is pretty…oh..to dream…

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Well..come to think of it…it might be that I actually enjoy doing washing. In summer. For I am doing it exactly the way Maman did! My washing needs to be neatly hung. All the socks together, pinned on the toe. The T-shirts hangs over the line at the chest and are pinned under the sleeves..no stretching from hanging from the pins. The shirts opened up and pinned at the side seams at the bottom. Dresses are hung on hangers, lingerie are pinned on the top at the sideseams. Everything has to be grouped together and hung straight..I hate loops and droops. Dish towels and pillow cases..straight, no drooping! That is how my Maman did it.

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Whenever I have a stain on a sheet or tablecloth,  I rub the stain with savon de Marseille(or whichever natural soap you use) and hang it over two lines so the sun gets to bleach out the stain..see no need for stain removers! It works, really  it does. Of course, if you use coloured linens and clothing, you have to fall back on the stain remover, for the sun will bleach spots on your fabric. Dark fabrics are hung in the shade to prevent fading. They don’t need sun, only a bit of heat..and fresh air!

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In winter, when I don’t have the beautiful blue skies as in the image below, I have my linens washed and ironed at the blanchisserie, where they are washed and ironed on large rollers.. some day I hope to visit our blanchisserie with my camera and do a post on how they treat the old linens..it is so interesting. After all, they have been doing it for centuries; taking care of the different textile; linen, or cotton or mixtures, hemp, flax.. They also take good care of the monograms and lace and hand embroideries that go along with antique linens and tablecloths, serviettes. But that is all for next winter..I am now basking in summer linens!

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Now tell me you don’t have the desire to go hang out some washing?

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à bientôt

Ronelle


A spring poulain!

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Spring is supposed to have arrived, but on some days? I wonder if I made a mistake with the seasons..maybe we are moving into winter? Noo..n..it is spring, surely. In spite of icy weather, we have lilacs blooming profusely, wisterias drooping low with heavy blooms, tulips swaying their hips and young ones grazing in the fields..like our adorable poulette who arrived this weekend.

On Friday night we saw that Gubi was getting restless, walking up and down, snorting, and we knew the hour would not be far. At 3:00 on Saturday morning it started. She lay herself down in the écurie and those first two feet appeared. It was cold out, raining, wet and we piled on the hay so Gubi’s new poulain could enter the world soft and warm.

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After an hour of hard work, the process was over and Gubi could take a break, while the poulain found its strength, its breath and while we could also take a breather!

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Of course the first thing we searched for…a girl or a boy..and yippeeee..a little poulette…a little girl! We called her Duméla, which is “hello” in Sotho, one of south Africa’s 11 official languages.

As tired as she was, on shaky legs, Gubi raised and took on her role as mother. From that moment on, we hear the sound we haven’t heard before..a gentle, soft  throat whinny, which is of course her mothering voice.

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Duméla just went from strength to strength and she is already taking a run on those cute long legs.

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Mon chéri is of course blooming too! He is surrounded by girls here on Coin Perdu, but does he complain..non..how can he, when he he has only excitement and challenges and happiness around him!

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Duméla is today 2 days and a few hours old and cute as a button!

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Sleeping, brushing against Maman and drinking that delicious milk freely, is her biggest happiness at the moment. And what can I say, watching them happy and healthy, is our biggest happiness!

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à bientôt!

Ronelle


A sunny 15 January

Smack in the middle of January, gorgeous sunshine exploded on us and being here at Coin Perdu, in the barn, for the winter, it was a gift from heaven. We were outside all day whole day, even though the low temperatures of -3 degr. C( about 26.6 degr F).

By the afternoon, we were still out, and doing all the things (almost) we(and all our animals)would do on a normal summers day..

..wheeling around the bed..

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…rolling in the fields…

…lighting a barbie fire at 16h30…

…while sipping a red wine and munching on a sauccisson

…and the chickens were following the sun…

…a smoke trail is a good sign…

… silhouetted against a perfect day at 18h30…


Friday photo – Argiope bruennichi.

Nature is magnificent.. it reflects, captures, shimmers, brightens, captivates..effortless and with elegance. We have much to learn from nature.

…web of Argiope Bruennichi…


Moving forward

A lot has happened at Coin Perdu. We’ve really moved forward in the restoration process. We’ve also fiddled a bit in the garden, established a whisper of a vegetable patch and now, in the summer of 2011, we reap the wonderful benefits of freshly picked vegetables just before our meal!

Wondering where I should start writing again, after such a long time of silence here on coin Perdu, our mountain home, I figured the vegetable garden could be a good place.

It gives me such pleasure and I worked hard, not to mention the hard work Hartman put in as well, taking breaks from the work on the house to help me move rocks and stones, dig trenches and stabilize terraces! But oh, I have to talk about my moving heavy rocks, or rather, boulders all by my own self! With the help of “the lifter”, a shovel and some heavy language, I could move a boulder at a time for my terrace walls. A lot still has to be done and with my impatient nature, I have often remind myself of Rome which took more than one day.

…a new potager at Coin Perdu…

Because it is so up and down hill, we need to make terraces for our potager. I already bought some shallots right in the beginning of the season and was impatient to plant them. This was after all, my very first vegetable garden! So we dug in an made a box early in March. I planted my shallots and waited for them to do their thing, which I’m so proud to say…today, 4 months later,  we feast on shallots every day!!

In the meantime I also got my rosemary bushes and lavenders in the ground…all still very informal and and not really worked out strictly on any kind of plan. I know it will all change again once the house is finished and then probably again after! Which is exactly what happened a few weeks later and the house is not even close to finish yet! I changed my mind about how the terraces should look and we started all over. dug up, moved, covered, raked, drank liters of water, got sunburned, dug again, weeded…and then came the nice part; sowing the seeds!

We brought the gargoyle from Montlouis sur Loire, our fountain and installed it in the potager as well. Built a stone wall, some steps going down and for now, we’ll enjoy your veggies until the fall, when we’ll do some more work in the garden. Now, the house comes first!

…some clover between the stepping stones, courgette flowers and dug up radishes…

…potager for 2011…

…and always I have company and help!!…

…only small for this year, but already healthy, all organic veggies…

…à bientôt…

Ronell


Autumn at coin Perdu

A spectacular show awaited us when we arrived at Coin Perdu to lock up for the winter. Autumn in all its splendour. Our woods next to the house were blazing with colour and the far off hills were winking to be gazed at.

We have locked up for the rest of 2010 and will start work again in spring 2011. In the near future, some posts will appear on our work done in 2010. We have done a lot of work, but not enough to have our house finished and lived in yet…it will probably take us another season to get to that point.

..à la prochaine..

Ronelle


Restoration – opening up for windows to the south.

 

The restoration process is back in full swing here at Coin Perdu. We have actually become quite the pro’s  now in the rhythm and routine of logically  advancing the process. Well, to be completely honest, I’ve stepped aside more and more and leaving my poor husband more and more to himself in the grit and grout of restoration. But he doesn’t mind, he tells me every time that I express my guilt….that comes down to almost every day. “This is just not me, I hate this dirt and dust and bruises and scrapes…after all, I am a lady…a least, I’m trying my best  to be a lady!”, is my most uttered phrase. I can see Hartman’s lips shaping each word as I say it.  But I still say it every day. And he still tells me it is OK every day. so from now on, when I say “we” , it actually means “he”. I do other stuff. A lot of other stuff.. But I’ll be sure to use “I” when I talk about that. It is important  stuff too after all.

After ripping up some floor planks, which was before we got into the rhythm of logical restoration thinking, we now started knocking out the south facing wall for large future windows to allow for plenty of light streaming in.

As Hartman knocekd out the south facing wall, taking out the stones one by one, he constructed horizontal wooden beams and pillars to hold it all up temporarily, preventing the whole lot from tumbling down at some time. The permanent beams and pillars will be constructed from concrete later on, which will be hidden by wooden lintels, beams and pillars and enduit.

Almost the whole of the southern wall will become full length windows with wooden outdoor blinds which will swivel to let in light but cut out the direct sun.

The future door of the top floor(bedroom) to the balcony outside.

In the meantime there is also a lot of going back to the plans, reconsidering, changing, rechecking.

And somewhere in between all this breaking down and dust and building beams which Hartman does, I feature also. I provide the coffee en cookies, food,  the cold water and of course, I take the pictures!


Have a great new year!

Hot chocolate. To bring warmth to a cold January 2010. And happininess.

…a happy 2010 to all…

An entry for sundaystills-food


Evolution of technology

Next year is 2010. It arived too quick. Life is fast. Sometimes too impersonal. Sometimes too evolved. But we’re here. Living it.

…1930…

…2009…

…then…

…now…

…hand written…

…elctronically animated…

An entry for Sundaystills.


Tokala and Aiyani

Few things are as satisfactoryas filming or photographing animals. So rewarding.

These two cats run their kingdom with a firm hand. They took us into their kingdom a few years back when they were still tiny kittens and today we still serve them happily…

…two kittens sleeping together…

…Tokala discovering a garden…

…ayiani joining in the dicovery…

…tokala’s first snow…

…ayiani’s amazed by her first snow…

…another year in the garden for tokala…

…another year in the garden for ayiani…

…tokala now getting used to snow…

…ayiani now used to snow…

…another year, another photo…

…photos again!…

…my year at coin Perdu…

…and mine…

…a great life in summer 2009…

…oh yes, i agree – bliss!…

An entry for Sundaystills.


Wine harvest in Vernou(Vendange 2009 à Vernou)

The wine harvest in France happens in October. Fall. L’automne. I present some images here from two weeks ago when we had a day of harvesting grapes/vendange in the biological vineyards of friends, where picking is still done by hand.  A family/friends day, where all family and friends started the Saturday off early morning with coffee and croissants, picking with vigour, enjoying a big lunch, restarting with heavy limbs, but still enough energy to engage in grape fights, and ending the day sticky, dead tired, but content and with fun memories. Until next autumn.

…early morning start…

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…fit as a fiddle…

vendange-pickers

…empty the buckets…

vendange-ramasseur

…into the remorque…

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…piling up…

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…picking some more…

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…soon to be…

vendange-grappe de raisin

…wine…

vendange-casse croute

…afternoon picking…

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…taking a break…

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..going home…

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An entry for Sundaystills.


Catching the wave.

With time speeding towards the end of the year, our Hawai’i  holiday feels far in the past. But the memories of a holiday spent in beautiful weather and in beautiful surroundings will stay vivid and and alive.

Having spent a whole morning just watching and capturing the surfers gave me some real burnt shoulders, but also some nice images. I used my long lens to get hold of the surfers deep in the ocean. The waves and surfing were much more spectacular the previous day, but as is always the case, I didn’t have my big lens on me. This young surfer caught my eye as he really showed no fear, took absolutely every wave he could, sometimes “literally eating dust ” (if that can happen inthe water!) and took such pleasure in his board and the waves that he became the focus of my camera. Such uninhibited joy can’t go unnoticed and should be recorded!

…catching the wave…!

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…cool riding…!

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…climbing high..!

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…calculated tumult…!

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…courageous flip…!

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More pictrues of the Hawaii trip can be seen here at Myfrenchkitchen: travel.

An entry for Sunday stills.


Mechanical transport – vintage models

Some vintage models still frequently in use for everyday living, especially in the country side. Although, the Citroën 2CV is now quickly becoming “trendy” with the status conscious, middle aged section of the population. Could it be midlife crisis?

…cuteness with an enjin…

citroen 2cv

…pedal the enjin…

cycles

An entry for sundaystills.


My world on a Wednesday.

Wednesday is a day like any other day. My world on a Wednesday is nothing special. so why my world on a Wednesday? I don’t know. No spesific reason. It came into my head. When something comes into my head, I must live it.  Voici my world on a Wednesday!

Cleaned uo the garden after coming from from 5 months at Coin Perdu. Met my old friends and new friends among the plants and weeds…famous for their presence in eurpoean gardens.

What did you do on this Wednesday? Nothing? Then create something to do on a Wednesday; go for a walk and pick leaves and go look them up at home; try a new recipe; buy a magazine you have never bought before and read it front to back; arrange one drawer; plant a tiny plant every Wednesday,take a photo of nature every Wednesday,  learn 5 words in a foreign language every Wednesday; choose any topic and read up on it for 10 minutes every Wednesday(an animal, a culture, a culture, a country’s history…)…there is a lot to do on a Wednesday, simple things that can be fun and can take only 5 minutes. so. What didyou do on this Wednesday? Do show and tell.

Je vous présente:

…Araneus diadematus(European garden spider)-female…

Araneus diadematus(european garden spider)

…fleeing…

Europeangarden spider (Araneus diadematus)


A second birthday in the French countryside.

August gave way to the celebration of a second birthdya here at Coin Perdu. This time round, we only took a break in between work for early morning croissants and coffee, a gift, a song and continued later the evening with a meal around the fire…where else!

…starting off the day…

starting off the day

The day started off like any other ay the last few months…old clothes, gloves, work and sweat. But no, nowhere on the chantier(construction site)  was I to be seen. After all, I was birthday girl! So for this dayI roamed about in pretty clothes(to be simply translated as clean clothes !)

…brunch…

taking a break for a croissant and tarte peche

And for early morning coffee break, we sat in the shade of the walnut tree. Took of the gloves and feasted on croissants and tarte peches.

…froth on a cup…

frothing a cup

Gifts were unwrapped…no boughs and pretty paper this year though! In the spirit of the working year, they came clothed in newspaper and wrappings from the brocantes where they were bought. I giggled at the gifts, clearly seeing the attention that was paid to my comments on our stroll at the brocantes.

…olde worlde…

memory on a spoon 8-31-2009 8-14-26 PMold plates crumb scoop

And last, but not least. An end to another birthday here at Coin Perdu. A special day with all my loved ones close to me.

…santé!..

Petillante - Vincent Carême


Fire bug..Gendarme(Pyrrhocoris apterus)-Macromonday

In English called a firebug and in French very appropiately called gendarme. The young nymphs don’t have their wings devloped yet, which gives them that difference in appearance(smaller bug top left in photo).

firebug(Pyrrhocoris apterus)

Fire bugs(Pyrrhocoris apterus)..gendarme suisse 8-26-2009 12-48-26 PM

nikon D70 camera with AF micro Nikkor lens 60 mm

An entry for Macromonday


Sound – The bells of Nonards

The bells still ring  at the church in the little hamlet of Nonards, echoing across our valley, just to be anwered by the bells of Marcillac la Croze…beautiful!

…love song for esmeralda…

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…playing solo…

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…duet…

bells of Nonards 3

An entry for Sundaystills – sounds.


Brushes – Macromonday

I started cleaning our barn this morning and stopped with a brush in my hand, thinking it could make for quite a nice photo…the brush I mean, not me…

I use a lot of different brushes when cleaning and I love natural bristles. They don’t scratch and at the end of their days, they make me feel good – seeing how derelict they look in old age, I feel comforted that I at least still look a bit better and last a bit longer…after the same amount of work!

…young and healthy…

brush 2

…ready and able…

brushes 3

…firm and willing…

brushes 4

…soft and gentle…

brush 5

All photos with Nikon D70s camera and AF micro nikkor lens 60 mm

An entry for macromonday


The open road.

I didn’t have time to hit the road with my camera, so I hit the archives instead. The following series of photos are from last Febrary holidays in the Cape, South Africa.

We drove down fromJohannesburg in the north to the Cape in the South, through the extrordinary Karoo with its delicious Karoo lamb meat and dry, captivating, almost desert like atmosphere, its heartbeat steady and undisturbed.

…looking into your future, on the long,  empty roads in the Karoo, Cape

looking into the future

…sizzling heat on the Karoo roads…

south african heat on the open road

…entering the winelands of the Cape at De Doorns…

entering the winelands in the cape

…the open road leads to school…

the open road leads to school

…the road along the coast to Gordons bay…

gordonsbay

…knights of the highway(Africa baboon)…

knights of the open road


An entry for Sundaystills


Lizard (Lacerta vivipara) – Macromonday

While taking a break from loading gravel yesterday, this  little baby lizard came into our circle of relaxation. It amused us for quite a while with its typical child like behavior and I could’ve sworn it loved the attention!

Photos taken with Nikon D70 camera and AF micro nikkor lens, 60mm,1:2.8D

…looking to see if we’re looking…

lizard 1(Lacerta vivipara)

…stopping by Macdonalds…

lizard 2(Lacerta vivipara)

…playing shy…

lizard 3(Lacerta vivipara)

…finally  a smiling pose…

lizard 4(Lacerta vivipara)

An entry for Macromonday.


Clouds

One of the wonderful things about living in the country, is that you can have undisturbed views on the moon and stars and skies …and clouds. To photograph and paint them, is a major challenge and of course a major delight.

Clouds have each their own atmosphere; a threatening storm, soft and rain filled, stark white agains a cold winter blue sky, grey mists rolling in…then there are the tales they tell; a dragon flying through the air, a ballet dancer in pirouette, a crocodile yawning, an old man smoking his pipe…Who hasn’t stared at the clouds sweeping by while stretched out on a green lawn -lazy after indulging in too  much watermelon – and wondered what goes on up there and beyond.

The first four cloud images were taken at Coin Perdu in Correze. And the last one was taken at the Loire right opposite our home in Montlouis sur Loire, Touraine.

All photos taken with Nikon D70 SLFR and 28-90mm zoomlens.

the explosion

orage 2

…a sunset in April…

sunset in April

…a threatening storm at dusk…

approaching storm at dusk

…sunset and airoplane lines…

sunset with airoplane lines

…a sunset on the river Loire across our home in Montlouis sur Loire…

sunset on the Loire

An entry for Sundaystills – clouds.


Macromonday – Raindrops

After the good rains of yesterday, this morning’s walk provided many opportunities for photos. Drops on plants and fences, water puddles, the snails were abundant and gay in their feasting, the mud stuck optimistically to my hiking boots, making them heavier with each step and I arrived wet and dirty back home. Nothing a shower and good coffee couldn’t fix.

I played around with some water drops on fences and leaves. Back home I realized there wers some dust particles on my lense which shows up on my photos. I was in no mood to go all the way back and redo it all. So it comes down to living with it. I can do that. A lesson for the future:  clean lenses more often.

…water drops on washing line…

water drops on washing line

…water drops on leaf…

water drops on a leaf

An entry for Macromonday.


Elements of life-water, fire, earth, air and ether.

…water…

ruisseau a le pescher

…fire…

fire 2

…earth…

earth 1

…air…

air 3

…life…

serenity

An  entry for Sundaystills.


Macromonday – Scottish thistle

The Scottish thistle(Onoporon Acanthium) is a  wonderful source for photography(and painting!). The cows graze all around them and we walk wide circles around the thistle, but it seems the insects are fearless…

Every stage of flowering has its charm and right now, here in France, they are  in full bloom and  just starting to burst open to set free those feather light plumes…how can we not revel in its beauty, like the insects obviously do!

…fearless!…

thistle 2(Shield bug)

…freedom…

thistle 3

An entry for Macromonday