Here's a small selection of photos I took yesterday in the region around Hénin-Beaumont, a provincial town in Le Nord of France. In fact I covered a small circle around a pointy slagheap that dominates the surroudings, and forms a landmark along the highway between Lille and Paris.
The High Speed train races closely past it too, at a speed of 300 km/h. So closely and so fast, most passengers won't even notice it.
This is the fourth time I have visited this part of the region, and the slagheap has been hard to approach. Yet there are holes in the fences, but they've been discovered by the poorest of the poor as well. The people have created their bidonvilles, mostly consisting of rickety caravans around the artificial mountain, and somehow I feel they are territorial about it. I might pick up the courage some day to try and make contact. Not this time yet though.
I have an ongoing fascination with level railway crossings. They seem to be energy points in the world around us.
The children in this picture illustrate the intensity of this level crossing. I don't think I've ever seen such serious determination in the faces of two five-year-olds. Heeding their parents' warning to cross the rails as quickly as possible, they came running across as fast as their little feet could carry them, loose shoe lace and all. It was a scene of great beauty to me.
The light was gorgeous, so I had a field day. I spent all Sunday editing the photos - there are 200 of them. So I can easily promise there is more to come.