“Black and White, plus Red” – by Debbie Ambrous

A silly riddle goes like this.  What is black and white and read all over?  Did you get it right away?  The answer is a newspaper, of course!  In print it is easier to solve since you see the obvious word read, but when you hear the riddle you fill in the color red.

Now, I have an opinion question for you instead of a riddle.  Do you prefer black and white, or red?  I’m speaking about photography.  Does your taste lean toward brilliant, popping-off-the-page color?  Or, do you prefer the subtle, soft, romantic or somber black and white photos? 


Some years ago when I was using a camera with film, I visited the beautiful village of Collonges-la-Rouge with my Canon loaded with black and white film.  On second thought, I do have a riddle for you.  Who is a dumb blonde and takes black and white pictures of a bright red town?  Yep, you got it.

I was smart enough to return to this beautiful town and capture the color pictures, but bad weather was creeping along the horizon with black clouds chasing the puffy white variety.  I moved quickly among the crowds of other tourists, trying to grab my pictures before the rain reminded the tourists who is boss.  I hope you like the results.





See the same window in black and white. What a difference!










Which picture of the men do you prefer?  I prefer the one in living color, in sharp contrast everyday with comments that riddle my blonde mind.

Storm clouds herded the tourists to the parking lot.  I was in the herd, and I took the right fellow home with me leaving the less colorful one by the well. 

I wish I could have taken the time to get the color of the building bright against the dark sky, but rain was already pelting my uncovered head. No parapluie with us this time either! See more pictures, click here for the France-storytelling and pictures page.

Collonges-la-Rouge, or as my automatic translation computer says, “La Red; Ruby the Bottom” is a must-see, very popular tourist village in Southwest France. The entire village is built of red sandstone, red with iron oxide, resulting in one of the most beautiful villages in France.  The tourism literature describes the winding narrow streets reminding one of tales of knights and princesses, but you are more likely to see tee shirts with rhinestones spelling PRINCESS instead.  Continuing the tourism temptation to the colorful town, they lure you in with promises of rich heritage and architectural treasures.  Collonges-la-Rouge delivers on all counts since the village dates from the 8th century and the founding of a priory by monks.  In the 13th century the inhabitants were granted exemption from taxes by the Viscounts of Turenne.   Houses and a castle were built, and the village prospered with income from the vineyards.  Tourism is the cash product now.  It is a wonderful place to visit if you can find a time when the tourists are otherwise occupied.

I hope you are enjoying your summer wherever you are.  Thank you for visiting.  Come again.

All pictures and stories are property of Debbie Ambrous – even the ones that are not so good.  Say please, and I may possibly be willing to share.

“One Year Old!” – by Debbie Ambrous

Alabama watermelons are the best!

Just one year ago, on July 14th I took my first steps on the internet with a juicy watermelon story – Alabama Watermelons Are The Best!  I hoped you would take a bite, savor the taste and come back for more.  Errors and glitches continue to pop up like watermelon seeds.  I’m hoping you spit out the seeds and keep asking for another slice of A French Opportunity.

I keep looking for the best variety, a combination of sweet and salty and a pinch of spice for my stories. Of course the unexpected comes along often when you least expect it.

During the past year I’ve experienced happiness and sadness.  Leisurely jaunts into the country in our red Jeep were fun for Mama and me. (Read Sunflower Politesse if you missed this story.)  Then we suffered the loss of Mama, who would no longer join us on our sweet rides.  I had to open my heart for A Look Inside to tell you why Mama would no longer appear with us on sunny afternoons, instructing Jim and me still like we were teenagers.  Ironically, my book was released just a few days from this time.  Happiness mixed with sadness.

I kept walking along with your support.  Husband Jim is the leading man in my life and a central character in my stories with his constant humor; he is always there to pick me up when I stumble.   Then, I never know what he will do next.   He took up science fiction writing in Science Fiction in the Laundry Room.  His cell phone camera kept taking pictures in a strange place with an antique car show underway in Opp Fest.  He decided to eliminate a phrase from the English language in Wings and Things Jim Said.  Jim is a great cook!  Dueling Gondoliers has Italian recipes and photography of Italy.

This story is shaping up to be summer re-runs.  If you missed any of the stories just click on the hi-lited titles to read.  Which story did you like the best during the past year?

How would I connect the little town of Opp, Alabama with France?  That was my initial challenge, but surprisingly I’ve found petite connections along the way such as the one in Japanese Magnolias (MADE IN FRANCE).

A special announcement was made in April.  Our only grandson Daniel was born.  We’ve gently introduced him to France already as you will see when you read All About Daniel.  You might skip some of the summer re-runs, but don’t miss Daniel!

Daniel in his Lion’s Den, full of energy as you can see with his arms and feet waving in the air.

May was a wonderful month for us since we spent the entire month in France.

This was our neighborhood castle in France. We could see the tower from the garden behind our rental house.

I thought it would seem like a long time away from our little house in Alabama, but it went by much too fast.  I thought I would write a story each day saying we went here or there.  It didn’t happen that way.  First of all, I was working each day from 2:30 PM until around 9:30 PM, using my laptop connected to my work for the construction company.  I admitted also that I might be Just Plain Lazy since the writing didn’t flow, but I still have the stories and many beautiful pictures for the coming months.

I have so much to learn. I’m just a beginner. I will keep walking. I’m looking forward to the future.

At my true age I’m bouncing happy inside to be associated with the one year old A French Opportunity blog, a toddler with enthusiasm to explore new areas especially in ancient France with Opp, Alabama as the current playpen.

I’ll sit on the bench and dream of being youthful. Very soon Daniel will ride a bike like this.

Just in case you missed the obvious – July 14th, the day I published my first story, is Bastille Day in France!  Believe it or not, with all of the hurdles of setting up the website and finally getting a story on the page, I didn’t even notice this coincidence until I looked up the date of the first post recently.

Jim said we will celebrate one year of blogs with a big slice of watermelon!

Click the photo to celebrate with a copy of “A French Opportunity”

Ya’ll come back!   Are you on a bench on the sidelines, or ready to ride a bike and play? Click “Ahh! To Be A Kid Again!” for more pictures on the France – storytelling and pictures page. Feel like a kid again!