Saturday, 21 April 2018

On being 41

I am 41 today. The big 4-0 last year did not bother me as much as I thought it would. Turning 30 was worse. It felt worse anyway, when it happened. I don't know how I will celebrate, but like last year it will be fairly quiet. When you reach adulthood and middle age, birthdays tend to be less important. especially when you have children: they just take the stage, so to speak. Even my birthday is in a way all about Wolfie now.

Marquise si mon visage...

J'ai 41 ans aujourd'hui. Comme c'est une tradition sur Vraie Fiction, voici les Stances à Marquise, version chantée par Georges Brassens, avec les couplets de son cru vers la fin. Parce que j'ai quelques traits un peu vieux, je suis un grison puisque j'ai les tempes grisonnantes... mais je me console: je suis papa, c'est toujours ça ce pris.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Indian pizza?

This week at work, the girls downstairs (the employees on ground floor are all female, so we call them "the girls downstairs") decided to have pizza. I still have no idea what was the special occasion. I generally don't have special treats unless it's Friday. I had pizza from a local cheap pizza joint. There were not many that inspired me in the menu, so I chose a "tandoori pizza". In other words, this is what pizza would be if Indians had invented the dish. Basically, pizza with chicken and Indian spices. It also had hot pepper and onions. It was spicy. I felt my belly ache all afternoon. Thankfully I only chose a medium size pizza and asked for no side dishes. I enjoy a bit of proper junk food from time to time and this certainly was the proper stuff (see picture), but this was a bit much for me. And I have never been all that keen on fusion cuisine.

L'ancêtre des baleines

J'ai blogué il y a quatre ans en anglais sur le Mesonyx, l'ancêtre des cétacés. Quand j'ai vu il y a environ trente ans cette reproduction au Musée de l'histoire naturelle, j'avais été profondément impressionné. Un mammifère pas marin qui est l'arrière grand-père des baleines et des dauphins, ça m'a donné une idée de ce que signifiait l'évolution des espèces. Rien que de revoir cette photo, j'en suis encore tout émerveillé.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Tea and sea


Sometimes, things change so fast, I barely have time to follow. We are well into Spring and Summer is already being prepared. When it comes to my own little bit of consumerism, it means that David's Tea has released a new collection. A sea theme this year. Now as you know, I love their accessories, but of all their seasonal collections I prefer the autumn one (I never miss blogging about it, by the way). But I do love each and everyone of them and this year's sea life collection, of whatever its name, is a particularly nice one. Having tea by the sea to warm yourself up when a cool breeze or a cold wind is blowing, it kind of makes sense. Let's put it this way: tea and sea go together. I will miss this collection like all the others, but I wish I could buy one of these mugs as my tea mug for summertime.

Le temps des jonquilles

Il y a pleins de petits signes qui font qu'avril ces temps-ci a l'air d'un printemps idéal: il fait chaud d'abord et les jonquilles sont en fleurs. J'ai pris cette photo il y a deux semaines au parc près du travail où je vais me promener lors de ma pause de dîner. Ça ne lui rend pas vraiment justice, parce que sur la photo il fait nuageux, mais ces temps-ci, avec un soleil qui plombe, ça me donne vraiment le goût de prolonger ma pause et ma promenade jusqu'à la fin de l'après-midi. Les printemps trop chauds ont bien des défauts, mais au moins je peux marcher dans les jonquilles en fleurs.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

The fox, the bee... and the dinosaurs?

I blogged before about the fox raincoat of Wolfie. Well, it turns out that the fox is not his only totem animal: he has a bee backpack (with that cord thing my wife forbid me to call a leash and allows her to keep a hold of him for more safety) and rubber boots (wellies as the British call them) that have a crest and sharp teeth of dinosaurs. Wolfie is fully equipped and ready to go on an adventure. He often does, in fact. It's a fitting uniform: the fox for cunning and naughtiness, the bee for his cheerful nature, the dinosaurs for his strength and fearlessness.

Le vin rouge à nouveau?

Il y a quelques semaines, j'ai décidé de vivre dangereusement: j'ai acheté une (petite) bouteille de vin rouge. Petite, car je suis le seul à boire du vin rouge ici, d'abord, et ensuite, parce qu'étant allergique aux sulfites, le vin rouge me fait éternuer violemment et fréquemment. La dernière fois que j'avais bu du rouge, c'était durant les Fêtes et tout s'était bien passé, sauf que je m'en méfiais toujours. Mais j'avais vraiment envie d'en boire, alors j'ai acheté cette bouteille. Pas un grand cru, on va s'entendre, mais un petit vin italien honnête. ou presque Or ainsi donc, j'ai survécu à ma soirée, sans avoir éternué une seule fois. Je ne sais pas si c'est une aberration, il me faudra réessayer. Mais j'espère pouvoir en boire à nouveau.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Travelling first class by train?

I took this picture at the National Railway Museum of York, maybe my favoruite museum in the world. I love everything train related and I am eager to go back on a train journey (see my recent post about it). Thinking about it, it struck me that I never travelled first class. Not by plane, not by boat, not even by train. Of course, first class on short journeys is borderline useless (fron what I saw of First Class wagons) and I wonder if it ever was as glamourous as it was used to be. Trains journeys are, generally speaking, already the most comfortable and pleasant ones. That said, part of me is wondering if we should not give First Class a try one day, for a very long journey, if we can afford it (fat chance).

Les humeurs d'avril

J'ai beau être loin du Québec, je sais qu'un "cocktail météo" (ce cliché n'est pas de moi, mais de la grosse Presse. le frappe méchamment ces temps-ci. Ici, on a une alternance de temps doux et de temps frais, d'un jour à l'autre, au point où je ne sais jamais quoi me mettre sur le dos. Mais ça ne m'étonne pas: c'est ça le mois d'avril. Ma mère me raconte souvent cette anecdote: quand je suis né, mon père est allé chercher son lunch en manches courtes. Quand je suis sorti de l'hôpital, il y avait une tempête de neige. Enfin bref, il fut un temps où c'était mon mois préféré. Plus maintenant.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Gifts for an old man?

It is my birthday soon and my wife asked for a list of suggestions for presents to give me. I generally love making a list of things I'd love to receive, I always have plenty of ideas. But this year, something irked me among the suggestions I gave her. Among other things, I asked for a new wallet, as my current one is about ten years old, if not more, and falling apart, and for a fancy traditional shaving kit, with an old fashioned razor and so on. And tonight I started wondering: are these gifts you would give an old man? I suddenly felt very old asking for them anyway. And it is not even something a man from my generation would ask for.

Les lapins

Hier, nous sommes allés dans une animalerie pour acheter un truc ou deux pour Domino. Les animaleries en Angleterre ne vendent ni chats ni chiens, mais ils vendent des oiseaux, des poissons, des souris, des hamsters et d'autres rongeurs. Dont des lapins. Ils étaient dans un grand enclos large avec baies vitrées. Notre petit loup était trèes impressionné. Je me demande si je vais devoir un jour acheter un clapier...

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Crimes on sale (at £1.99)

I decided to take a break from epic historical novels and I am now reading crime fiction again. Well, I say I have decided but it is not quite true. As I have a pile of books to read, I just showed the couples of novels I was considering to Blonde Tickler during her last visit and she said: "this one looks like the best of them all". So I followed her advice as I trust her instincts. The book she was referring to was The Gutter and the Grave by Ed McBain. I know McBain a lot, but this is a new reading experience for me as the novel is not from his 87th Precinct series. It features an ex private eye now drunkard homeless Matt Cordell, who lost his license after beating up his wife's lover, and a few femmes fatales. I bought it at £1.99 at the local Oxfam. That is a true bargain for quality crime fiction and one of the few times when Ed McBain ventured into proper hardboiled territory.

Prendre une bière dehors

J'ai bu cette bière de la Brasserie Lancelot lors de notre denrier séjour en Bretagne. Comme ce fut le cas pour la plupart des bières bues lors de ce séjour, je l'ai bue dans le jardin de mes parents, par une journée juste assez chaude pour apprécier. Il y a une semaine, je me désespérais un peu de pouvoir boire dehors. Ça n'est pas encore arrivé, mais hier il a fait des températures plus douces et il semblerait qu'enfin je vais pouvoir en profiter dans les semaines qui vont suivre. Je songe d'ailleurs m'acheter une petite table de jardin comme celle de mes beaux-parents.

We are going to a First Communion

A friend of my wife invited us to the First Communion of her daughter. That will be the first time we set up foot in a Catholic church since the... First Communion of a former work colleague of hers, who had invited us every friends and acquaintances she had. That was four years ago or so. I had then forgotten when was the last time before I had been in a church for a Catholic ceremony. I guess we do not participate in it, we just basically witness it, like everybody else, but as an apostate I always find a bit strange to see my former fellow Catholics. We are a family of godless heathens, my wife has been since childhood, in my case I had to go through a "deconversion" in my late teens that took a while to figure out. Now I am an outspoken atheist, but I will be on my best behavior on that day, or will do my best not to stir any controversy if anyone asks us any questions (they do sometimes).

It is nevertheless a bit strange: her friend knows I was baptized a Catholic, she thought Wolfie might thus become one, we explained (nicely) that we are not religious and have no intention to have him baptized anything. When he grows up, he can choose to follow whichever God he wants, or none. But I am a bit weary of these invitations to churches. My wife goes to a church group for babies and toddlers sometimes, to keep herself and our son busy, and the ladies there keep asking her whether Wolfie is a godly child (whatever that means) and compliment her on choosing such a Biblical name for him. Her friend adores Wolfie and I suspect she secretly hopes that I will change my mind and have our little cub werewolf baptized, and maybe go back to the flock as well, so we will all be in a state of grace. But anyway, it will give us something to do one weekend. And like I said I will be on my best behavior. Although I can never guarantee if Wolfie will be.

De nouveaux mystérieux feux d'artifice

J'ai pris cette photo un certain 5 novembre. Je l'utilise ici parce qu'hier on a entendu des feux d'artifice pas loin. Enfin, ils étaient peut-être loin, c'est difficile à dire, puisqu'on ne les a pas vus. Aucune idée de la raison pour laquelle il y avait des feux d'artifice hier. Il y en a de manière récurrente et épisodique en Angleterre et à chaque fois, je me demande la raison pour laquelle il y en a et quelle est la raison pour laquelle les Anglais on un pareil engouement pour les feux d'artifice.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Wolfie and the Rebellion jumper

I blogged before about my jumper from Rebellion Beer, which has been my favourite jumper since 2015 when my wife bought it as a birthday gift. I just find it comfy and nice. I am not the only one in the household to love it: since he is three months old or so, our son has been fascinated by the gold and red label with the brewery's coats of arms (I think it can be called that). Every time I wear it, which is pretty much every weekend, Wolfie loves to touch it, grab it, tap it, stare at it. Must be the bright colours, although sometimes I suspect he also instinctively loves rebellion.

Le temps de la tonte...

C'est le printemps, c'est le temps de la tonte. Ou, devrais-je dire, le temps des tontes. Il me faut en effet: 1)tondre le gazon, qui a pris les allures de savane parce que je ne suis pas très discipliné côté entretien de la pelouse et 2)me faire couper les cheveux, parce qu'ils commencent à être longs. Je ne sais pas laquelle des deux tontes m'ennuie le plus. Et vous?

Friday, 13 April 2018

Friday the 13th...

Today is Friday the 13th of April. The first Friday the 13th of the year 2018, in case you have not noticed. I hope nobody among my reader is superstitious. I am mentioning it because... Well, because I might as well. Like everybody, I get all excited when Friday comes, it means the weekend is almost here. I usually barely notice when it falls on a 13th. As a child, it was slightly different: Friday the 13th was a moment of excitement, with the added shiver of superstitious fear. I did not truly believe the day was bad luck, but my imagination made me ponder about potential doom.

Le petit loup et les pâtés à la viande

Ça fait un bout de temps que je n'ai pas blogué sur la bouffe en général (pas depuis Pâques) et encore plus longtemps que je n'ai pas blogué sur les pâtés à la viande. Pourquoi le faire maintenant? Parce que je m'en ennuie, d'abord, puisque je n'en ai pas mangé depuis les Fêtes. Aussi pour raconter une petite anecdote triviale sur le sujet: je crois que de tout ce qu'on lui a fait découvrir de gastronomie québécoise lors de son séjour dans sa terre d'origine (sa patrie paternelle, pour ainsi dire), le pâté à la viande était sans doute ce qu'a préféré et de loin notre petit loup. Il en mangeait avec si bon appétit que même sa mère végétarienne trouvait ça cute. J'avais oublié de le mentionner alors, j'ai cru bon de bloguer sur le sujet aujourd'hui.