Thursday, 17 June 2021

A Sockwork Orange

As you know, I am since my teenage (and maybe before) a big fan of A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess and the movie it inspired. So I got quite excited when I learned of the existence of these socks, featuring one of the classic book covers of the novel. I find them real horrorshow. Burgess allegedly hated this cover, because it was directly inspired by the film and he wanted his novel to stand on its own. Be that as it may, I really want these socks now.

Les 'tites bières d'été

 Je ne suis en général pas amateur de blondes. Je parle bien entendu des bières. Cela dit, parfois, je vais me commettre à boire de la bière blonde, ou bien par curiosité (parce que j'aime essayer de nouvelles bières) ou bien parce qu'il fait chaud. Les blondes, je les bois donc surtout en été. Mais j'essaie quand même d'en trouver des pas trop insipides. Celle-ci, je l'ai trouvée à Marks and Spencer. En cannette, trois pour 5£, un assez bon rapport qualité-prix. C'est vraiment une bière d'été,une bière en cannette en plus. C'est encore plus rare que je boive des bières en cannette. C'est dire qu'il faisait chaud quand j'ai bu celle-là.

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

What to Look for in Summer

 Last weekend, I went to the local bookshop and I mostly behaved. I only bought four books and they were all for Wolfie: the four seasons Ladybird Books which I mentioned in this January post. I thought I might as well buy him something educational. So this month and the next two, we will be reading and consulting What to Look for in Summer. I love reading with my son, it's a nice moment and he is very interested about this book, asking lots of questions about both texts and images.

Tissé serré

C'est la Saint-Jean dans un peu plus d'une semaine et je me prépare très peu ces temps-ci. Est-ce l'effet d'être un expatrié? Peut-être un peu. Mais je veux quand même célébrer,même si c'est pas toujours facile, d'autant plus que j'ai un fils qui est à demi québécois et qu'il faudrait bien entendu le lui rappeler de temps en temps (dautant qu'il n'est qu'au quart anglais, mais c'est une aure histoire). J'ai donc jeté un oeil sur le site officiel de la Fête nationale et j'ai vu quele thème cette année c'est "Vive le Québec Tissé serré". Avec la pandémie, je crois que c'est une belle façon de rappeler nos liens de solidarité, mais pour l'expatrié que je suis tentant de donner à son fils un fond bleu québécois, ç me rejoint aussi beaucoup.

Tuesday, 15 June 2021


We've had a few hot days recently, a few weeks of hot days in fact and I am already getting fed up with summertime. I don't like the season, especially not when it gets hot like this. However, soon I will hopefully be happy as they are forecasting storms for the next few days. Not only this should cool down temperature, but if there is one thing I love about summer it's a summer storm. The weather warning issue for thunderstorms is in place for the next four days, so that should be interesting.

Pâtes au Pesto

Petit billet gastronomique rapide: le Chef Michel Dumas a aujourd'hui fait une vidéo sur comment faire des pâtes au pesto. Or, c'est le repas préféré de mon fils de quatre ans. Je dirais même qu'il fut un temps où il ne mangeait que ça ou à peu près. J'ai donc regardé ça avec Wolfie, qui était bien sûr fasciné.

Dry Well

I was walking a few days ago when I saw this well, or this imitation of a well (I don't know if it ever was a true well of course, but it looks like one anyway). I thought it looked striking, in the front of a house, on a hot and dry day, filled with weeds. I find wells mysterious and fascinating, even a bit scary sometimes, see this post from 2009 for more details. So anyway, I wanted to share this picture because I thought it looked quite nice.

La couverture familiale

J'ai aciethé il y a quelques semaines une nouvelle couverture pour nos pique-niques. Nous en avions déjà une mais 1)elle était vraiment vieille, 2)celle-ci était cheap et vendue à rabais et 3)ma femme aime vraiment beaucoup les cerises. C'est une raison comme une autre. Nous n'avons pas encore pique-niqué dessus, mais nous l'avons déjà utilisée. Enfin, je devrais dire: petit loup l'a utilisée comme aire de jeu, en mettant ses jouets dessus. Je soupçonne que ça sera so nutilité principale et qu'on ne pique-niquera pas très souvent dessus.

Monday, 14 June 2021

How to bluff your way about football

This weekend, we went to a car dealershipbecause my wife needs to buy a new car. The salesman was chic chatting with us, asked me what line of work I was in and he got very impressed when I told him. Without giving any details, it is true that the title and the industry I am in sounds quite impressive. So I could see he was impressed and at some point the conversation switched to football, because it is Euro 2021. I know nothing about football and care even less. But I started talking to the guy as if I knew something about it, saying in an assertive tone that the English team needs to stay focused and disciplined and they should do fine, that I think the French team has the best chances to win, and so on and so forth. It is the tone that matters, and the fact that I talked without hesitation. And maybe, the idea he had that I was a man with a big title and a big job. The salesman was literally drinking my words as if I was a football expert. That was quite funny.

Notre nouveau potager

Ma belle-mère nous a offert il y a quelques jours ces plantes pour notre jardin. Je crois que c'est pour nous forcer à nous en occuper plus et mieux. Il y a un plant de tomates, un plant de courgettes, des plants d'autres choses, je ne sais plus quoi. Je suis étonné, car elle connaît mes très piètres talents de jardinier. Qu'à cela ne tienne, nous avons maintenant de quoi faire un modeste potager.

Sunday, 13 June 2021

Whatever happened to Bass?

 This is a sort of nostalgia post, about one of the first English beers I discovered and enjoyed. I can't remember when exactly I started drinking Bass, but it was when I was around 18. Don't know why, maybe because of its very recognizable red triangle (the first trademark registered in the UK), maybe because I was already an Anglophile, but it quickly became my go-to foreign beer when I was in the mood for something else than local products. And, I am ashamed to admit it, I ended up drinking more than many local products. There was a bar in Montreal, the first regular drinking place I wen to there, that served Bass in draught and in pints. It became my favourite bar partially because of Bass. So I was surprised, when I first arrived in the UK to study, back in 1999, to find it nowhere in pubs and students common rooms. When I asked why I could not find what I thought was the most common beer England, I was told by a barman at uni "it's a good beer, but bad suppliers", or something of the sort. Apparently, the company had proven difficult to work a good deal with the various authorities managing the drinking places in campus. And their bottles were nowhere to be seen in supermarkets. That was not a problem: it's not like this country is short of good beers. But I was very surprised to find a bottle once, back in February 2020, when we went grocery shopping. So I bought it, out of curiosity and drank it the very same night. And it was... OK. I think my tasteshave evolved since then, because I thought the beer both looked paler and taste blander than how I remembered it. Now I know the brewery has been sold to a major brewer a couple of years ago, maybe they don't follow the original recipe, but I suspect it's the explosion of microbreweries that got the better of it. And I am kind of sad that I don't feel this connection with it anymore.

Première chauve-souris

Hier soir, j'ai vu ma première chauve-souris. J'étais sorti quelques minutes dans le jardin alors que le soir tombait pour ranger toutes les bébelles que petit loup avait sorties durant la journée et je l'ai vu voler un instant au dessus de ma tête. J'aime bien avoir des chauves-souris dans le voisinage, je ne sais pas trop pourquoi.

Saturday, 12 June 2021

The "Amoral Afrikaner"

Sometimes, I spend far too much time on TV Tropes, either looking for something specific, or just browsing. So anyway, yesterday I stumble upon the entry on the Amoral Afrikaner, which I found quite interesting. I have developed a certain fascination for South Africa, became my father-in-law is from there and because I love the crime novels of Deon Meyer. Meyer's novels are actually full of amoral Afrikaners, often badguys, sometimes good guys, so I am familiar with that trope and really like it. There is just something about cynical, amoral villains, or antiheros who are almost entirely self-interested. I was also happy, but not surprised, to see that Meyer's novel Blood Safari was mentioned in the Literature section as an example of this trope. I wish there was a Northern equivalent of this trope, maybe I could use it in my own writing.

Mon filleul veut voyager

J'ai appris une nouvelle de la mère de mon filleul récemment: il ramasse de l'argent pour faire un voyage d'un an après son cégep. Il veut aller en... Chine. J'espérais un peu qu'il vienne ici, même si on ne peut pas vraiment l'héberger, en tout cas pas pour longtemps. Dans tous les cas, ça m'a fait un choc de voir qu'il grandit et qu'il a des idées de voyage. Il est très sérieux et discipliné dans sa démarche, paraît-il.

Friday, 11 June 2021

Did I find my editor?

As you might remember, I am working on a crime fiction novel (or novella). Well, I have written the whole story, but it is short of a novel and some things need to be developed and clarified. I can say that I have written my first draft. I have decided to push things forward and go to the next, so I can hope some day to be published. So I got in touch with an acquaintance of my wife, an American living here, who is also a professional editor. We had discussed about my stories in the past and she seemed interested about it. Anyway, long story short, I sent her the draft for a quote, she gave me one which is pretty much what I was ready to pay and gave me some helpful and more encouragingly very positive feedbacks. I think I will accept her offer, after working a bit on the story with the comments I received from her. So yes, I might have found my editor and I am quite happy.

L'anniversaire du SagLac

Petit rappel aujourd'hui aux Bleuets comme moi, expatriés ou non: aujourd'hui, 11 juin, c'est l'anniversaire de la fondation de la région du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. J'ai essayé de l'expliquer à petit loup, à ma surprise il a tout compris d'un coup.

Whole Earth Organic Cola

I knew about Whole Earth, particularly their peanut butter range. It's an ethical food company that produces organic and eco-friendly products. I discovered at the local artisan grocery shop that Whole Earth also sells drinks. I bought their organic cola out of curiosity and also because I kind of like fizzy drinks in general and colas in particular. I was pleasantly surprised. It does not taste as sugary as a Coke or a Pepsi, but it's very drinkable (maybe because it is not sickeningly sweet), if a bit costly for what it is. I think I might actually make it my go-to soft drink.

Le rhume des foins

Photo prise en 2008 en Bretagne, je sais pas pourquoi je l'ai prise, mais elle va bien illustrer le thème de ce billet. Toujours est-il que c'est l'été ici, ce qui veut dire pour ma femme le rhume des foins. J'y suis sujet, dans une bien moindre mesure. Quand je dis que je n'aime pas beaucoup l'été, ben c'est une des choses qui rend la saison moins agréable à mes yeux (ou à mon nez).

Thursday, 10 June 2021

The Green Man of Henley

My wife and Wolfie recently went to Wallingford to meet her parents and she sent me this picture from their time there. And now I love Wallingford a bit more and I really envy them for being able to go there. You can all recognize I hope the Green Man, the legendary creature associated with vegetations and fertility and so on. Just above a public bench somewhere. Now I want to see him myself and I want to see if there are other ones of his kind in Wallingford or nearby.

Erratum: I made a mistake, the Green Man was not in Wallingford but in Henley-on-Thames. Boy that is embarrassing. But hey, Henley is an okay place too.

Pommetier: un pronostic

J'ai blogué le mois dernier à propos des pétales du pommetier familial, qui étaient tombées comme de la neige ou de la grêle sur le sol. Mon père m'a déjà dit que le pommetier que l'on a est un arbre biannuel, donc il donne des fruits une fois tous les deux ans. C'est du moins le cas en principe, je crois qu'il en a souvent donné plus souvent que ça. Dans tous les cas, il m'est venuen tête un pronostic: cette année, à en juger par le nombre de pétales, la récolte de pommettes sera importante. Je ne sais pas s ceci est garant de cela, mais j'en fais le pari. Même si je ne peux pas en profiter, j'espère avoir raison.