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.

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

TikTok Pasta

You may have heard about the pasta recipe that got viral on TikTok. Grosso modo, you put a block of feta in the middle of a dish, surrounded with cherry tomatoes, olive oil and other stuff, you bake it, then in the same time you boil pasta, then finally after about ten minutes you mash cheese and tomatoes and pour the pasta in. Well, we made it recently for the second time. I don't really follow trends, but this one got me at feta cheese.

Le CH et mon état d'esprit

Bon ben je voulais souligner que le Canadien a éliminé les Jets, fa' que...

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Bittersweet anniversary

 I am not sure if I shiuld be celebrating or not, but today I have an anniversary of sort: a year ago, I was having the e-meeting that confirmed that I was made redundant due to the pandemic. But as I hated that job and everything about it, that came off as a relief. One year later, it feels like it's the best thing that could have happened to me. I quickly got another job, then last month I was hired for a new role in a brand new company, in a much better position, for a much better salary and with a better team. It is still early to tell if I will be as happy in my new rol as I have been in others in the past, but one thing is certain: I am far better this year than I was same time last year. I explained my new fortune like this to my parents: "Last year, I was working in a lemonade stand, this year I work in a five stars restaurant." That sums it up perfectly and this deserves to be a new great unknown line. So yes, while I still feel bitter for the three years in professional Hell that I spent working for and with petty backstabbing bastards, last year's e-meeting was truly a liberation.

Le mois de la Saint-Jean

 Il y a une chose que je n'ai pas beaucoup mentionné jusqu'ici, mais que je prépare un peu. Je veux bien entendu parler de notre Fête nationale, communément appelée Saint-Jean-Baptiste, ou plus familièrement Saint-Jean. La quinzième (!) d'affilée que je célèbre en expatrié. Je ne m'y habitue pas et j'ai toujours un sentiment d'étrangeté lorsqu'arrive le 24 juin, le sentiment d'être en décalage à la fois entre mon peuple et entre mon pays d'adoption.

Monday, 7 June 2021

The Dinosaur Chair

Our old Mountain Warehouse garden chairs are all falling apart, so we have been looking for new ones, both for my wife and I and Wolfie. I went last weekend to Mountain Warehouse and found this one, which I thought looked very cool. I took a picture and showed it to Wolfie, just to make sure he'd like it and would not be scared.Like his dad, he thinks that a dinosaur on a chair is very cool. So I just might purchase it next weekend for him, although my wife is far less ethusiastic about it.

Le CH et moi

 Bon, je ne sais pas ce qui me prend, mais depuis que les Canadiens de Montréal ont éliminé les Leafs, je me suis remis à suivre le hockey, enfin un peu. Chose que je n'avais pas fait depuis... 1993. Je ne regarde pas les matchs et je ne connais même plus le nom des joueurs, mais je m'intéresse à ce qui se passe et je recommence à m'enthousiasmer comme le fan que j'ai déjà été et que je n'ai jamais vraiment cessé d'être j'imagine. Ce qui étonne beaucoup ma femme. Mais enfin bref, je tente de partager mon enthousiasme du CH avec mon fils. C'est une tradition familiale du côté de ma mère que j'espère bien continuer de ce côté-ci de l'Atlantique.

Finding thrillers

There is something I love to do when I go to a bookshop, any bookshop, it is to find at random a book to read I knew nothing about. Amazon gives me very accurate suggestions, but it is a bit creepy and it lacks the spontaneity of the bookshop experience, when I know I truly buy it of my own free will. So anyway, on my last visit to the local bookshop I discovered This is Gomorrah by Tom Chatfield. No idea if it is a good or a bad thriller, I don't know the author, I know very little about the book except that it is a modern techno thriller, not a genre I particularly like, but the cover got me curious. I don't know when I will read it either, probably later in the year during Noirvember, or even next year. But it's just nice to find a book at random like that.

Calmar de sable

 Je reblogue une nouvelle vieille photo prise en Bretagne en août 2008, rien que parce que. Si vous lisez ce blogue souvent, vous connaissez ma fascination pour les créatures marines monstrueuses, vraies ou fausses. Je ne rappelle pas où cette photo a été prise, mais ce calmar géant de sable est vraiment bien fait. Il m'a beaucoup impressionné en tout cas.

Sunday, 6 June 2021

A pint of milk and a shot of bourbon

I have recently watched action/crime thriller The Big Ugly. It is not a great film, maybe not even a good one and certainly not a very original one, but I enjoyed it tremendously. Probably more than it deserves. There are many reasons for this, each one of them worth a blog post, but let's start with one for today: the anti-hero protagonists grows fond of a rather unique drink: a pint of milk with a shot of bourbon in it.  He calls it "a pint of a milk and a shot of bourbon". There are probably more sophisticated cocktails, but I find it very cool and very badass.Milk is never a good sign in fiction, see my old post about barbaric milk. Even spiked with a shot of bourbon. Not sure if I'd dare to try it myself, but be warned if you see someone ordering that in a bar: he's up to no good.

Le chat perché sur le mur

Je suis tombé par hasard hier sur de vieilles photos datant de 2008, lors de nos premiers séjours en Bretagne. Du temps que mes beaux-parents y restaient. C'est bien, ça me fera des sujets pour ce blogue. Il y a plusieurs de ces photos dont je me rappelle peu ou pas du contexte, dont celle-ci. Une statue de chat sur un mur. Je ne crois pas que ce soit le seul que j'aie vu, mais je ne sais plus où j'ai pris la photo. Je l'ai peut-être déjà partagée ici, mais je ne crois pas. Dans tous les cas, comme c'est une image assez originale, la voici (à nouveau?).