Friday 29 February 2008

Beer, beer, beer

I complain a lot about England. Deservedly so. Not that I don't like it, but this country is a mess. Too expensive, too small, politicians too mediocre (now anyway), an anachronistic monarchy that they couldn't keep to themselves (they had to export it in the Commonwealth), the cult of Lady Di in lieu of Mariolatry, reality tv shows, etc. I mean, no wonder they lost their empire. But there is one thing I have always loved about England: their beers. They have the best microbrewery beers in the world, the best beer tradition (IMO anyway), and say whatever you think about their gastronomy (which has improved tremendously, by the way), there is nothing that cannot be saved by a pint. Of course, too many brits nowadays drink lagers, or those silly fruit-juice alcoholic treacherous beverages. And not even all pubs have real ales. But one can find real ale in any town in England, and it makes everything more ebarable. Like a token of their past glorious days.

I say that, and Anthony Burgess once said that beer was the cause of England's fall and they should have kept opium as the intoxicating substance of choice.


Je vais bientôt terminer For Whom the Bell Tolls d'Ernest Hemingway (une brique monumentale et fascinante sur la Guerre civile espagnole)après ça je n'ai plus beaucoup de bouquins disponibles. Je compte faire des lectures un peu plus légères. Je n'ai guère le choix, étant donné l'importance que les autochtones semblent donner à la vie littéraire. Non, sérieusement, il me reste un George Pelecanos en réserve (Hard Revolution), que j'ai acheté au Borders de Milton Keynes, un Lawrence Block, alors ça ne me fera des lectures quand même bien substantielles. Et ensuite je compte (re)lire Kingdom of the Wicked, que j'ai acheté récemment en version originale anglaise (au Oxfam du coin). Quand même, j'aimerais bien récupérer les bouquins que j'ai à Montréal et que je n'ai pas encore lus, même si ma femme trouve que je tiens trop à posséder les livres que j'aime.

Thursday 28 February 2008


Well, the visitors are coming tomorrow after all. And Saturday we have other guests, so that will be a busy weekend. Carrie wants us to bake cakes or something. If we have time after the tidying up.


My sister in law and her boyfriend might be coming to visit us today. We might go for a drink in the many pubs of Marlow (hey, there is something good about this town: it has a few very nice pubs, with real ales). Probably the Marlow Donkey or the George and the Dragon, but most likely the Donkey, as it is our favorite. Nice drinks (nice beers especially), a bit of a posh décor, really nice and varied music (sometimes French) and a menu both delicious and filling. It was the very first pub I have been in Marlow.

Wednesday 27 February 2008

Marlow gériatrique

Une autre raison pour ne pas aimer Marlow: c'est habité par des vieux. Il y a aussi pas mal de familles, mais le ratio de vieilles personnes est passablement élevé. On est le seul jeune couple de l'immeuble où l'on habite.

Tremblement de terre

Y'a des soirées comme ça. On l,a senti quelques secondes ici. Presque rien, juste un léger tremblement. J'ai quand même eu des réminiscences du tremblement de terre de 1988. Lui valait un peu plus la peine.

An earthquake. In England. Go figure. Anyway, been there, done that.

Tuesday 26 February 2008

Another reason why Marlow sucks

Too much traffic...

Birds of prey

There are birds of prey flying over the town where we live. I am not sure if they are falcons or sparrowhawks or what, but they are too big to be commo birds. My wife and I saw a couple of them since we came here, we will try to take a few snapshots and put them on the blog soon.

Confession of a lapsed Catholic

I loved that title so much, I always wanted to write a text starting with it. I haven't practised in years, last time I went to a Catholic church was in October 2005 for the baptism of my godson, when a crazed vicar (or something of the sort) talked about deacon of light and the Original Sin and Godless schools run by Godless teachers making Godless Quebeckers turning to Satan. I feel pretty much like a Godless man myself, so I guess becoming a godfather was something of an hypocrisy. I dropped all the holy water bottle the priest gave me on my suit. It didn't burn my skin, so I guess I am still in a state of Grace...sort of. At least I will not need an exorcism. I visited churches afterwards, but they were Protestant ones (of the Church of England denomination), either to see weddings, to prepare my own wedding and subsequently to marry a unbaptised Anglican-by-culture-because-British wife. Shame on me. I might roast in Hell after all. Anyway, I lost my faith around the age of 16-17, ironically enough by reading the novels of Anthony Burgess, another lapsed Catholic who never really quite got over it (he even went so far as to write the script of Jesus of Nazareth). Religion is as much a cultural invention as a spiritual/moral compass, and as a desperately shallow man, I was always attracted to those often silly rituals, the cultural aspect of faith, but never quite got round the rest. Nowadays, religious people practice their faith before they bother practicing the moral coming with it, and said moral is subservient to the faith. Anyway, spiritual rewards are often an excuse to give Earthly Hell. So I can live happy with my shallow Godless, agnostic conscience.

Monday 25 February 2008

Marlow suce

Je vis présentement à Marlow, un no man's land culturel en Angleterre: la bibliothèque n'a rien et les deux seules librairies sont un Oxfam pour livres de seconde main et un WH Smith qui ressemble plus à un dépanneur. C'est trop cher, c'est petit, on en fait vite le tour, mais Dieu merci il y a des pubs avec de la bière digne de ce nom. Ah oui, et il va y avoir un concert de Mozart quelque part dans une des nombreuses églises du coin (en mars je crois). Marlow a beaucoup de potentiel: d'un point de vue architectural c'est une jolie petite ville (enfin parfois) et il y a plein de restaurants. Mais c'est mort. Je m'ennuie de Liverpool, qui était laide mais au moins qui avait de la gueule (et tout était moins cher).

My wife says this blog should be called the complaints department. Two posts and I am grumpy already. I'll promess I'll try to be more positive next time. I'll try.

Un, deux, test

Premier post de mon blogue... Tant qu'à vivre en apatride dans un pays étranger (l'Angleterre), autant immortaliser l'expérience. Toute autobiographie étant une forme de fiction, le nom du blogue m'est venu naturellement.