Friday 8 December 2023

Christmas Gnomes

 My wife went to an art and craft evening with some friends last week. She does that sometimes. We spend a boy's night in Wolfie and I. When my wife came back, she had made these two gnomes. She used two old wornout  Christmas socks for the hats. Socks I bought her ages ago as Christmas present. I'm glad we granted them a second life. Anyway, these two fellas are our new Christmas ornaments. We haven't decided of a name yet. Please feel free to provide suggestions in the comments section.

Le Plateau et l'hiver

 Photo prise par mon père. Une image pour dire que c'est l'hiver au Québec, même à Montréal. Ils auront peut-être même un Noël blanc, les chanceux. Je l'espère pour eux, dans tous les cas.

Wednesday 6 December 2023

I missed Krampus Night

I learned yesterday that it was Krampus Night, a night dedicated to, well, Krampus, the Christmas baddie, enemy or at least adversary of Santa Claus. I understand this is a relatively new thing, maybe I'm wrong, but anyway, I am not sure if I will properly celebrate it, since I observe something else on the 5th of December and it has all my attention. But I thought I would mention its existence here. I love Krampus, it shows a more sinister side to Christmas. I wished I had knownhim when I was a child.

La Légende de Saint Nicolas

Nous sommes  la Saint-Nicolas , donc je partage l'une des légendes associées au saint, celle qui est si délicieusement sinistre. D'habitude, je partage la verison chantée, cette fois-ci, c'est une pièce de théâtre avec des marionnettes trouvée sur YouTube. Et, comme je viens de me rendre compte qu'on ne peut pas la partager directement sur les autres sites, vous trouverez le lien ici. Dites-moi ce que vous en pensez.

Tuesday 5 December 2023

Mozart: Requiem Aeternam

Here is a sad anniversary that I have to commemorate. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died on that date. As it is a tradition around the world, his Requiem is  played. We commemorate his death, we are still in grief, even centuries after his departure, but we celebrate his work. Mozart is eternal.

Le Plateau sous la neige

 Mon père m'a envoyé des photos du Plateau sous la neige. C'est tout ce que je voulais dire. J'en partage une.

Sunday 3 December 2023

First Mulled Wine

 We went to a Christmas fair yesterday, at Wolfie's school. It was rather bare, far less animated than the previous two years. But it was still enjoyable. And I was lucky enough to buy myself a cup of cup of mulled wine. My first since a long time, maybe 2021. Last year I did not drink any because I got sick during the holidays. Most of Christmastimelast year was a dry one for me. There's also another reason why I say I was lucky: in the previous years I always went to the stand selling it once they'd ran out. On a crisp, cold day, as it was yesterday, there is nothing better than mulled wine to warm you up. Even my wife loves mulled wine, and she neither likes alcohol nor red wine.

Les marchés de Noël

 Photo prise par mes parents à Québec, lors du marché de Noël allemand l'an dernier. Un calendrier de l'Avent géant en bois. Les marchés de Noël, c'est une tradition de l'Avent que j'aime beaucoup, bien que j'y aille rarement. Il y en a un ici dans notre petite ville, un très local et pas exotique. Il aura lieu cette semaine et nous ne sommes toujours pas certains d'y aller.

Saturday 2 December 2023

The Christmas Connection

You probably know my love for The French Connection. What you might not know is that it is one of the movies I like to watch for Christmas. I consider it a Christmas movie, or to be more precise a Christmascrime film. I think I need to hashtag that term and make it a thing on social media. But I digress. The French Connection is a Christmas film because a good portion of it, from the beginning to its middle at least, is set around Christmastime. And main character Popeye Doyle is introduced wearing a Santa Claus costume, which is in itself an excellent reason. It happens in a scene that is both comical and yet genuinely immersive. Doyle comes off not as a joke, but like a driven cop ready to do what it takes to get his man. The chase and the subsequent interrogation scene are a piece of anthology and I am sharing it here for you to appreciate. For some people, Christmas is about Hans Gruber falling from Nakatomi Tower. For me, it's about Popeye Doyle dressed as Santa running after a drug dealer and not caring one bit about what he's wearing.

Les beignes de Noël, 2023

Mes parents ont fait des beignes. C'est une tradition gastronomique des Fêtes au Québec. Une tradition que ma famille suit avec zèle. C'est dommage que petit loup ne pourra pas en profiter cette année. Mais enfin bref, rien que pour la photo, je partage.

Friday 1 December 2023


 Well, we do not have snow yet, not as I am typing this, but it may come yet. It is cold, in any case, or at least as cold as it can be in this country. Winter, by any practical means, is here now, as long last. And we might actually get a wintery one this year, for Christmas. I took this picture yesterday morning before the school run. It is frosty on the ground. Not as nice as snow, but nice all the same. It does put me in a festive spirit.

La Marche des Rois

Premier décembre, premier jour de l'Avent, c'est le temps d'écouter de la musique de Noël. Comme je le fais chaque année, je partage une version La marche des rois. Sans doute mon cantique de Noël préféré, en tout cas en français. Trop peu connu en dehors du monde francophone, d'ailleurs. Sinon, attendez-vous à ce que Vraie Fiction prenne les couleurs des Fêtes d'ici à la fin de l'année.

Thursday 30 November 2023

Railway Journeys

I took this picture during our last holidays. It is one of the activities in 100 Things to do on a Journey, one of the most useful books you can have when you are travelling on long journey with a young child and you want to keep him entertained. It is kind of meta: you are in a train and you do activities about trains. Daddy loves this book just as much as Wolfie. it just struck me recently that we haven't been on a train journey, short or long, for months. And I wonder when the next one will be.

Un polar pour l'Avent

J'ai blogué il y a environ deux semaines d'un polar que j'ai découvert au hasard de mes recherches en ligne. Il a pour titre Avent Macabre et c'est un "polar de Noël". Je n'ai pas pu résister et je l'ai acheté. Je vais commencer la lecture demain, un chapitre par jour jusqu'à Noël, en espérant que ça soit bon. Mais dans tous les cas, j'adore le concept et j'essaierai d'en trouver des semblables l'année prochaine. Ca pourrait devenir une nouvelle tradition de lecture pour moi.

Tuesday 28 November 2023

Will it snow?

It is getting colder and colder here, which makes me very happy. It feels like winter in everything but one point: there's been no snow so far. In other words, it does not look like winter, not like the winters I know anyway. My wife told me yesterday that it might actually snow by the end of the week. I don't know where she got that from. I double checked the weather forecasts for our area and, while the temperatures will drop slightly below zero, there is so far no risk of snow, not even a low one. I will not hold my breath, I won't even hope. But maybe, just maybe, these lower temperatures are a sign of things to come, maybe not this week, but next month.

Les réserves de clémentines

S'il y a une chose dont je suis friand ces temps-ci, ce sont les clémentines. De novembre à janvier, c'est ce que je mange comme fruit. J'ai transmis mon amour des clémentines à petit loup. ce qui veut dire qu'on vient à bout de nos réserves assez vite merci. Hier, j'ai vu que son école se stocke en clémentines. C'est une très bonne chose, mais je me demande alors pourquoi Wolfie insiste pour me voler la moitié de mes parts de clémentines quand la fantaisie me prend d'en manger. J'en prends toujours deux, pour la portion de fruits. Mais quand il est près de moi, il a la plupart des quartiers. Je vais peut-être manger ce qui nous reste lorsqu'il est à l'école. C'est pas comme s'il n'en avait pas.

Sunday 26 November 2023

The Ivy's Polar Bear

Not very long ago, we went for a quick trip to the town of Marlow. The weather was nice, and by this I meant suitably cold for this time of year, as if winter was finally here. The only thing missing was the snow. Of course, the whole town is already dressed to welcome Christmas. The Season is there for sure, and it does not even look tacky. I particularly love what The Ivy put near its entrance: this polar bear. Rather friendly looking in spite of his size. Anyway, I love how they didn't go halfway to do Winter Wonderland.

Calendrier de l'Avent et confitures

Mon père a reçu de son plus jeune beau-frère ce calendrier de l'Avent. Au lieu de chocolats, ce sont des pots de confiture de Bonne Maman. Mon père m'a envoyé une photo, avec cet article sur la diversification des calendriers. Je crois que j'en veux un original pour l'an prochain. Rien que pour varier un peu. Dans tous les cas, ce calendrier est superbe, une décoration de Noël en soi.

Saturday 25 November 2023

The Darkest Season (from #Noirvember to Christmascrime)

 It is still #Noirvember, but there is only one month left until Christmas, so I have decided to find a novel that bridges both events. I am going from Noirvember into Christmascrime, in a way. As I discovered last year R.J. Ellory and enjoyed him quite a lot, I thought I would carry on this year with another of his novels. So I went for The Darkest Season. When I saw that it was set in Québec, I knew I had to read it. So far it is a pleasant read, suitably Noir, but it is rigged with inaccuracies: the protagonist smoking in a bar (there has been a smoking ban years before the events of the novel), some geographical references that are meaningless for a Quebecker but sound very British, I could go on. It doesn't spoil the read, I just find it funny, as if Québec is this really exotic place the writer does not quite understand. But hey, I have seen worse and at least the novel is as Noir as they come.

Complainte Pour Sainte Catherine

Parce que c'est la Sainte-Catherine...