Monday, 20 November 2017

A red kite on a branch

No, what you can see on the branch is not a bald eagle. The photo is not great, but it is a red kite, a sort of bird of prey that is very common here. We often see them flying at low altitude in this part of England, in the little town where I live more than many other places, so much so that I call them my neighbours. This picture was taken by my wife, on the very spot where she took this other picture. You can often find them sitting on a branch of that very tree. I like them a lot and seeing them so close never gets old.

Les lumières de Noël

J'essaie de ne pas bloguer sur Noël trop souvent avant le début de décembre, mais le hasard me force un peu à le faire ce soir. J'imagine que c'est un peu comme ça partout, on a hâte que les Fêtes arrivent, alors on consacre du temps à les préparer et à y penser. Toujours est-il qu'hier, Facebook me rappelait qu'en 2015, les lumières de Noël avaient été allumées sur la rue principale le 19 novembre. C'était prématuré. Cette année, ce sera le 23 novembre je crois, ce qui est un peu plus raisonnable. Fin novembre, ça passe encore, en fait c'est à ce moment que je suis moi même en mode festif, ou que j'essaie de l'être.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Time for mulled wine

Something struck me recently: I haven't had mulled wine yet. This glass was drunk by my wife about a year ago in a local pub. And I am in the mood for it. Mulled wine is of course a drink associated with Christmas and I try to have one glass of it then, but we can have it before Christmastime starts officially. I usually find it all right to drink it as early as November. When it is cold outside, like now, I find it a very comforting drink. Not my drink of choice, but something I like to have to put myself in a seasonal mood. We also have a few bottles ready to use, but my wife and I cannot drink a whole bottle alone, we need guests. So ordering mulled wine in a pub is easier. Plus, the atmosphere of a pub adds to the enjoyment.

Lectures lentes...

Vous aurez sans doute remarqué que je fais dans le billet littéraire assez souvent ces jours-ci. Mais ce blogue s'appelant vraie Fiction, c'est donc un peu d'adon. Mais enfin bref, je me rends compte que, depuis quelque semaines, je lis lentement les livres que j'ai dans ma liste de lecture. Je ne suis pas certain de la raison. Ce n'est pas mon statut de père, je m'y suis maintenant habitué et ça ne perturbe plus mon rythme de lecture. Pour les films, c'est autre chose. Mais je me traîne les pieds (les yeux?) pour terminer les livres en cours.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

The Manchurian Candidate

It is still a bit too early for Christmas reading suggestion, but thought I would give you one that fits this time of year. November, after all, is when American elections are held and we are still living the aftermaths of the last presidential ones. So I suggest The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon, which I read a year ago and had wanted to come back to it since. The source material of a great movie and a very poor remake (seriously why remake a classic into a cheap techno thriller?), it's a powerful novel in its own right. It is a spy novel, it's a satire, it's science fiction, it's a cautionary tale and it's fully and perfectly all these genres. Raymond Shaw is a POW, Korean War veteran, he won the Congressional Medal of Honor... Yet he did not deserve it. He is a fake, fabricated hero turned mindless assassin, after being brainwashed by the Communists. Thus completely rewired, he is a slave of both the East and his own anti-Communist mother, whom he loathes. In one of the many paradoxes of the novel, that makes Shaw a true tragic figure. The Manchurian Candidate of the title is his stepfather, Senator John Iselin, a vulgar and stupid man manipulated and dominated by his wife, a modern Lady Macbeth and the true villain of the story. And there's Ben Marco, Shaw's former commanding officer, the only man capable of stopping a conspiracy that could turn the USA into a dictatorship and lead to World War III. Read this, watch the movie and don't bother with the remake.

Le Salon du livre de Montréal.

Petite plogue de Montréalais d'adoption expatrié et amateur de littérature: c'est le Salon du livre de Montréal en ce moment, du 15 au 20 novembre. Sa quarantième édition, le Salon du livre a donc le même âge que moi. J'y suis allé une fois, en 2003, je n'ai pas particulièrement aimé, je ne sais pas trop pourquoi. Trop bondé? Trop tard dans l'année? Même son symbole, je le trouve moins sympathique que celui du Saguenay, auquel je suis très attaché, Mais bon, c'est quand même un évènement littéraire important alors je me fais un devoir de le ploguer. Vous me direz par la même occasion comment vous l'avez trouvé dans les commentaires.

Hurricane Wolfie

Something became obvious when baby Wolfie became a strong enough to stand on his own: my son is a force of chaos. He just takes stuff away from drawers, DVDs off the shelves, he throws books off the shelves, toys off the boxes, you should just see the look of our living room when he feels energetic. Sometimes I wonder if it worth tidying up. I might take a picture for the blog one day. I said yesterday on Facebook: "If they are looking for a name for the next hurricane, I suggest Wolfie." I think it deserves to be a new great unknown line.

Trouvez le chat

J'ai déjà écrit un billet très similaire en 2015. Dans la catégorie je ne sais pas trop sur quoi bloguer et c'est encore l'automne et j'aime les félins, voici une photo prise par ma femme hier en revenant avec petit loup de sa classe pour bébés. Il y a un chat sur cette photo, c'est pour ça que Veggie Carrie l'a prise, d'ailleurs. Trouvez-le. Je sais, c'est assez facile, mais avec les couleurs de l'automne et la lumière, c'est moins évident que de trouver un chat noir et blanc. Ça m'a pris un bon trois secondes.

Friday, 17 November 2017

The new Friday sandwich treat

Back in my old job, there was a sandwich shop where I went every Friday to treat myself with a baguette filled with chicken mayo and olives. Oh, and tomatoes, onions and lettuce as well, but what made it a treat was the olives. This was my way of celebrating the coming weekend and start it on a good note. Well, I got lucky in my new job, as there is a sandwich shop right down the corner where I work and they have... green olives! And the woman at the counter knows that I love them, so as you can see, she gives me extras. Although it does not quite taste the same as the old baguette, this is my new Friday treat.

Un Noël cathodique

Petite plogue littéraire pour les nostalgiques des Noëls québécois de leur enfance: le livre Un Noël cathodique est sorti. Ouvrage collectif portant sur Ciné-Cadeau, dont la programmation officielle devrait sortir je ne sais trop quand. Je l'ai déjà demandé pour Noël, que je fêterai cette année au Québec, alors je pourrai voir la cuvée 2017 en personne. Et si je suis sage, le Père Noël devrait me donner en faire une meilleure expérience encore. Sinon il y a ce blogue, dont l'auteur a d'ailleurs participé au collectif.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Demeter... or maybe Ceres?

I am blogging again about yesterday's topic, this neo or pseudo classic sculpture I saw in Derbyshire. I mentioned that it was probably the Greek goddess of harvest and agriculture Demeter. But it could just as well be Ceres, its Roman equivalent. I say equivalent, but Greek and Roman deities are never quite the same and not always even related: Romans associated their gods to the Greek ones, but one could question this association. I always preferred the Greek gods to the Romans's. I always found the Greek ones far cooler, same as their mythology. All the same, some people get lazy and just give gods Roman names, which always gets on my nerves. So my money is still on Demeter for this one, out of principle.

Les moitiés de mois et de semaines

Petite lapalissade pour commencer: hier c'était mercredi, le milieu de la semaine donc, c'était aussi le 15 novembre, donc le milieu du mois. Nous sommes par conséquent dans la deuxième moitié de novembre, ça n'a pas d'allure comme ça passe vite. J'apprends tant bien que mal à aimer novembre, peut-être que ça commence à faire son effet si j'ai l'impression que le temps passe vite. Pour ce qui de mercredi, ça poisse tout le temps et je n'arriverai jamais à aimer, pas avant que vienne le soir en tout cas. Mais j'ai trouvé que c'était un jour intéressant pour faire tomber un milieu de mois. Et lapalissade est notre mot du jour.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Is this Demeter?

I took this picture in the Derbyshire,in a manor or rich family's house whose name I cannot remember, where there were lots of art and lots of pseudo-classical sculptures like this one. The Greek mythology geek that I am took lots of photos of these statues, hoping to identify them later. I think this one represents Demeter, the goddess of agriculture and harvest. I might be wrong, but the basket full of... something (flowers? fungi?) she has on her head makes me think of a fertility goddess at the very least. Maybe her daughter Persephone? I might be wrong, but my bet is on Demeter.

Des dolmens et des korrigans

Tiens, ça fait un bail que je n'ai pas blogué sur le folklore breton. Je regardais mes photos de notre dernier séjour en Bretagne, qui date de 2015, il y a déjà longtemps. On n'a pas encore prévu de voyage chez mes beaux-parents, on en parle plus qu'on essaie de le préparer, mais c'est que nous avons beaucoup à faire ces temps-ci. quand ça se fera, il faudra aller voir des dolmens. Je sais que je n'y verrai pas de korrigans, mais je peux les imaginer. Peut-être qu'on les voit mieux de soir.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

"...can we start thinking about Christmas yet?"

This is what a friend of mine asked me on Facebook two days ago (the same one who was our host not long ago), when I was putting on my Wall a picture of some Halloween drinks leftovers which I had for poison that night. So, at this time in the year, can we start thinking about Christmas yet? Rhetorical question, but I think it also deserves to be a great unknown line. She also said that she was waiting for the Christmas reading suggestions. I wonder what to read these days (when I have time to read), let alone suggest! But getting the Christmas reading list ready would be a good idea all the same.

Monsieur Bonheur

Pour vous aider à passer la semaine, qui est encore jeune, voici l'un des tous premiers gags de François Pérusse. Pas sa meilleure, mais c'est quand même drôle dans le genre absurde. Les calembours sont volontairement atroces et encore plus volontairement tirés par les cheveux, mais ça fait partie du gag.

Monday, 13 November 2017

A troll in York

I took this picture in a shop in York, you can see here a proper Scandinavian troll. The monster, mind you, not the Internet creature. This one looks very much friendly (not to mention clean, with his reddish cheeks and nose) to be much of a monster. I love trolls and other mythological critters, especially from Norse folklore. I was very tempted to buy it, but he was too big for the flat we had back then, or to bring home. I actually knew that brand of trolls already: my family bought a similar one in Sweden, with the same colours and features. If I remember correctly, it is a Norwegian brand. All the same, I want to start a collection, but we still don't have much space here.

Des feuilles mortes partout...

Photo prise dans le Derbyshire, comme d'habitude le la télécharge ici car elle illustre mon propos. Qui est le suivant: les feuilles mortes. Il n'y a pas grand-chose que j'aime plus que les feuilles mortes en automne, surtout de marcher dessus quand elles sont bien sèches lors d'une promenade, ça fait crounche, crounche et j'adore. Mais voilà: il y en a vraiment tout plein et elles rentrent partout, jusque dans l'entrée chez nous. Moi je ne m'en plaindrais pas, petit  loup non plus, elles le fascinent, mais c'est quand même une pénitence à tout ramasser et donc ma femme aime pas mal moins les feuilles mortes.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

An invitation to Derbyshire

My wife has a childhood friend, the oldest one she ever had, who lives with her husband and child in Derbyshire. We visited them once, a few years ago, when it was only her and her husband. They have a lovely big house in the middle of nowhere. It looks great and is very comfy and they have something that really triggers my envy: a proper fireplace. We really enjoyed our time there and we had been wanting to visit them again. My wife's friend had her child the same year little Wolfie was born, only a few weeks later. So she invited our now little family to visit her little family. We have not decided of a date yet, it will probably be at some point after the new year, but this is really something we look forward to. They are excellent hosts and Derbyshire is beautiful and full of character. And we have grown a bit more adventurous since we've had Wolfie, who is now far more sociable with other children and we are eager to travel more with him. So anyway, we are really looking forward to it.

Novembre en un tableau?

J'ai pris la photo de cette peinture je ne sais plus trop où à York. Je regardais mes photos un peu plus tôt ce soir et j'ai pensé que ça illustre bien ce qu'est le mois de novembre: froid, souvent rébarbatif, une transition entre l'automne et l'hiver. J'ai l'air de détester, mais je commence petit à petit à faire la paix avec novembre, en fait c'est un mois que j'aime presque maintenant, rien que parce que c'est encore l'automne. Mais c'est néanmoins un mois rébarbatif et ce tableau semble le décrire.