Friday, 13 September 2019

"Happy Birth Dya"

Finally, this is the cake which Wolfie had for his birthday. A chocolate cake, but not my mother's family recipe. It is something my wife found on BBC Good Food, an easy chocolate cake with some coconut in the icing. Wolfie did the baking of the cake with his mother, then his mother and I did the icing. Then finally, Wolfie himself added the candles. He insisted on doing it. You might now see it, but some of the candles are letters, meant to create a "happy birthday" message. Wolfie got creative putting them on, so the message says: "Happy Birth Dya". I thought it was too cute to put the candles in the right order.

Vendredi 13

Nous sommes le vendredi 13. Le premier de l'année, ce qui est assez tardif. Je tenais à le souligner.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

The Star of Cate Blanchett

My borther is on holidays and he is spending some time in Los Angeles and Hollywood. And he took a few pictures and shared this oneon Facebook. I know I am silly, because it is just a star on the pavement and the person it pays homage to is not, was not nearby, but I was still dying with envy. As the regular readers of this blog know, Cate Blanchett is my favourite actress, bare none. So not many starts in Hollywood impress me, but this one does.

Les cadeaux cette année

Voici tous les cadeaux que l'on a emballés pour notre petit loup cette année pour sa fête. C'est sans compter ceux que la Chatouille Blonde et sa mère nous ont apportés. Je crois que l'on a su modérer nos transports, comparativement aux années précédentes. Je vous jure.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

18 years of 9/11

Today is the 18th anniversary of 9/11. When the new century in which we live in truly started, in blood, fire and death and history was made and more importantly lived. I will not say that I remember it like it was yesterday, that would be a cliché, but I do remember it vividly. I guess it is difficult to avoid commonplaces when one talks of such event. For my own experience and my reflection on 9/11, please read this post from 2008 and this one from 2009. They are the posts I am most proud of of all my years as a blogger. Talking of years, 18 is, in man's age, the one when he reaches maturity. I know at least one child the daughter of my friends (the big sister of my godson), who was born late in August and was actually on the 11th of September. Strange to think of her as an adult, stranger to think of her as having spent the first weeks of her life among the chaos and horror of that time. Thankfully and of course, she was oblivious to it. And on a sadder note, I don't think we matured much as a species, if at all, since the 11th of September 2011.

"Social traître" (cocktail)

Mon frère Andrew a inventé un cocktail, qu'il a appelé "social traître", allez savoir pourquoi. Il l'a fait pour le lundi, ce qui ne serait pas dans mes habitudes (je ne bois pas les soirs de semaines). À caue de cela, je voulais bloguer la recette lundi, mais finalement je n'ai pas eu le temps. La voici:

"Cocktail bourgeois du lundredi:
1 once (ou deux) de vodka
1 cuillère à soupe de crème de cassis
Le jus d'un quartier de lime
3-4 glaçons

1/2 canne de soda
J'appelle ça un social traître
.
"

Je ne sais pas si j'aimerais ça, mais je suis curieux d'essayer. Dans tous les cas, la recette et le nom, ainsi que l'allusion au "lundredi", tout cela mérite d'homologuer la citation plus haut en nouvelle grande réplique inconnue.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

An almost perfect September

This post is of course part of my autumnal chronicle. I have been quite happy since the beginning of September, mainly because it has been so far almost perfect for the autumn lover that I am. I am counting my blessings:

-We've had a few cold days where I could wear warm clothes. For the first time in months I have been able to wear my thick jumpers that are so comfy.
-Even when most of the days so far have been warm, it is always quite cool in the early morning and in the evening. And it has that kind of chill that you can only feel in autumn.
-The trees are still quite green, but some leaves have started changing colour.
-The ground is often already covered with leaves in any case.
-Sometimes in the evening, you can already smell bonfire.

So yes, not the ideal September, but has been a very pleasant one so far. The temperature should go up in the upcoming days, but given how the month started, I am fairly confident that it will not last. And for you, how is the month so far?

Cabane à oiseaux

Je partage aujourd'hui une nouvelle photo prise par mon père dans le Vieux-Montréal. C'est bien entendu une cabane à oiseaux, mais pas mal plus belle que celles qu'on trouve d'habitude. Elle est artisanale. Je ne sais pas si on peut dire ça d'une cabane à oiseaux, mais elle a pour ainsi dire un charme rustique. En tout cas elle a beaucoup de personnalité. J'aimerais en avoir une pour ici, on pourrait attirer de nouveaux voisins. Mais bien entendu, allez trouver quelque chose de joli comme ça pour des oiseaux ici...

Monday, 9 September 2019

What cake for Wolfie?

For some unknown reason, my father sent me pictures he took at a Première Moisson, one of the most famous chain of bakeries in Montreal. Including this one, of very decadent cakes. And it reminds me that the birthday of Wolfie is going to be very soon and that we haven't decided yet of what cake to give him. We will most likely bake it ourselves, based on one family recipes, but we are not sure of which particular sort of cake to have. We showed a few pics to Wolfie, asking him to decide, he seems to like them all. Any suggestions, please let me know in the comments.

5$ pour entrer au Salon du Livre

Comme ça se rapproche, je pensais faire un rappel:le Salon du Livre du Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean se tiendra du 26 au 29 septembre. Et ça coûte rien que 5$ l'entrée, une véritable aubaine. Du temps que je vivais encore au Saguenay, c'était mon moment fort de septembre et je m'en ennuie encore beaucoup. J'ai retrouvé mon laisser-passer catégorie cégep parmi mes cartes récemment, rien que pour retourner le fer dans la plaie. Je crois qu'il a dû me servir une fois. Enfin bref, à 5$ l'entrée, vous n'avez pas besoin de laisser-passer.

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Rebellion Red (autumn chronicle)

This was tonight's poison: Rebellion Red by Rebellion Beer. I am very familiar with it: their products, especially this particular beer, are sold all around the South East of England. In fact, it is one of my favourite mcirobrewery in the country. There is a special reason why I drank this one and no other tonight: the Red has become their seasonal beer for autumn. I am of two minds about it, as it used to be available all year round. And while I love the beer itself, which is dark and dark reddish brown as I love them, I always thought that the name is a bit meh. I wish Rebellion had chosen something more evocative. But hey, with this colour, it is suitble enough for autumn.

Cochons de bois

Photo prise encore une fois par mon père dans le Vieux-Montréal. Je ne sais pas trop s'ils ont une autre utilité que de faire joli, mais je les aime bien. Ils ont une bouille sympathique.

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Writing Workshop updates

Today I had another writing workshop. It started earlier than usual, 9:30, but to my surprise I got there on time. We were not many this time, only six, but it went on for two hours and a half. I showed them a bit more of the novella I wrote a few years ago, they enjoyed it a lot, I was told that I write really sharp dialogues. So all positive feedbacks. Next time we meet it will be October and I will share a ghost story for Halloween. Something I already wrote and shared on the blog. I will let you guess which one.

Les chuchoteuses

Mon père s'est promené dans le Vieux-Montréal aujourd'hui et a pris beaucoup, beaucoup de photos, de petites et grandes choses, dont des sculptures. Celle-ci s'appelle Les chuchoteuses et je la trouve très québécoise. Comme quoi les matantes peuvent être le sujet d'une oeuvre d'art.

Calvin, Hobbes and my Saturdays

As it is the first Saturday of the month, I am sharing tonight for the first time in a long while a strip from Calvin and Hobbes which made me laugh a lot. My son is of preschool age, nevertheless this is the story of my Saturdays since I became a dad.

Question existentielle (350)

Voici une nouvelle question existentielle, saisonnière étant donné mon état d'esprit:

-Quel est selon vous et votre expérience personnelle l'endroit dans le monde où l'automne est à son plus magnifique?

Friday, 6 September 2019

"What did the Roman ever do for us?"

There is a parody video about the ahem, current political situation in the UK that has been going on social media a lot recently. They used an audio from a very funny scene in Monty Python's Life of Brian. Now I must confess, for all my love of British humour, I have never watched Life of Brian. I will try to do it before next Easter or something. But in any case, if the new video was funny, the original is absolutely hilarious and as it is trendy, I thought I'd share it tonight here. The new one you can find here, the original below. Tell me which one you prefer.

Camion de pompier

Photo prise sur le Plateau par mon père. Les pompiers sont venus colmater une fuite paraît-il. Ils ne se déplacent pas seulement pour des incendies. Je crois qu'il a envoyé cette photo pour que son petit fils la voie, car notre petit loup est très impressionné par les camions de pompier. Il aurait peut-être eu un peu peur, mais je crois qu'il aurait néanmoins aimé voir ça en personne.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Geese (autumn chronicle)

This evening, as the sun was almost completely set, we saw and heard (boy did we hear) a whole flock of geese flying. We had seen them the month before, more and more, but it was this evening that they were more numerous and loudest. It was very impressive. One goose, or even many of them, do not make the season, but migrating geese is another characteristic of autumn. It was a short moment, but I very much enjoyed it and it was the highlight of my evening.

Nouveau foyer

Photo envoyée par mon père, ils ont installé un nouveau foyer dans le condo à Montréal. C'est franchement laid comme ça quand le foyer lui même n'est pas fini et j'espère (j'imagine) que ça aura plus d'allure quand le tout sera rénové. Cela dit, je tiens à faire un commentaire: ça va être vraiment plaisant les soirs d'automne quand il fera frais et qu'on pourra l'utiliser. J'ai vraiment hâte de pouvoir en profiter. Quoique pour les foyers, je n'en ai jamais trouvé qui battent les deux qu'on a à Chicoutimi. Ils ont vraiment de la gueule.

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Making coffee

You know that Wolfie might be a talented barista, but it seems that I might actually be, to my great surprise, a skilled coffee maker. I made the drinks this morning for my colleagues and I, and one, instead of tea, asked for coffee. She told me later that the cup I had prepared was quite good, enough for her to mention it and to ask me how I did it. It was just instant coffee, lots of it, and a bit of milk. Like when, in another life, I used to make it for myself when I was drinking coffee just to stay alert. I found out that I hated the taste and the effect, so I stopped, but apparently, I know how to make a good strong coffee. Go figure.

Petit loup et l'avion jouet

Il y a quelques années, ma femme et moi avions donné en cadeau à son père ce modèle d'avion de chasse que vous voyez sur la photo dans les mains de mon fils. C'était un modèle assez complexe, avec divers matériaux et composantes, des roues, un hélice et un élastique pour la faire voler. Je dis c'était, parce que notre petit loup a adoré et ça n'a pas pris de temps qu'il l'a eu à l'usure. Mais enfin, l'avion aura vécu, et aura également volé, même si ça aura été brièvement (le grand-père l'ayant monté à la demande de son petit-fils). L'avion me rappelle mes propres avions en jouet de mon enfance, qui étaient un peu comme celui-ci, sauf plus simple, un truc en carton ou en foam et une hélice, avec une image de superhéros dessus. Ils ne duraient pas longtemps non plus, mais je les aimais beaucoup le temps qu'ils duraient.

Autumnsong

For a while, this blog is going to be mainly a celebration of autumn, an autumn chronicle if you will. What can I say, I love the season that much. So anyway, as I was recently looking for autumnal music and autumn song, I found on YouTube... Autumnsong by Manic Street Preachers. I know nothing of the group, but they do good old rock and I find this tune quite catchy. Auutmn is not really featured much if at all in it, to be honest, which is kind of weird for a song with that title, but there is a line about the best time yet to come, which is fitting enough. By the way, the clip is may look minimalist and stupid, but there is a reason and story behind it. Anyway, enjoy:

Observations sur la rentrée scolaire

J'ai constaté que beaucoup de mes amis sur Facebook publiaient des photos de rentrée. Je crois comprendre qu'elle se passe à la fin août au Québec, ici c'est début septembre et plus précisément aujourd'hui ou demain. Quelques observations: 1)fin août, c'est beaucoup trop tôt, 2)le temps passe beaucoup trop vite et 3)je suis heureux que je n'ai pas encore à vivre ça. Être devenu père sur le tard (enfin, relativement tard) a du bon.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Rediscovering the Railway

Picture from the National Railway Museum in York, uploaded here as it illustrates this post. For our last holiday, I enjoyed for the first time in more than a year train travel. As you may remember, I had been waiting eagerly for it. Wolfie is becoming quite an enthusiastic train traveler too. Although he gets upset when he hears loud noises and he was scared to enter the train when we started our journey, he really enjoyed the rides in the end, marveling at the view or every little feature of the train itself. It is far more exciting to travel as a family, even though it brings its share of extra stress. But we are getting used to it. And there are more journeys to come in the near future. I can barely wait.

Se promener dans la nature

Je partage une autre photo du coudrier (donc de l'arbre à noisettes) qui se trouve (je crois) sur le lot de mes oncles. Je cherchais une photo pour aller avec le sujet. Nous avons fait quelques promenades en famille récemment, dans les bois et certains sentiers dans certains petits villages, en France et ici en Angleterre. Je veux en faire une nouvelle tradition familiale. En tout cas petit loup adore, il faut même le surveiller car il se met à courir un peu trop vite parfois et il tombe, ou encore (et surtout) il peut nous distancer.

Monday, 2 September 2019

"BANDITS at 12 o'clock"

The treasure one can find among the bookshelves of a house. So checking among the rather large library of my parents-in-law, I found this book: Commando: Bandits at 12 o'clock. An anthology from the Commando comic book magazine of "the 12 best air-combat commando books ever". I didn't even know this was a genre, or a sub-genre. War stories, yes sure, but air-combat commando stories? That is completely new to me. I might sound ironic, but I am actually very curious about this book, which is as you can imagine a doorstop. I can tell this belongs to my father-in-law. And I intend to borrow it from him on my next visit.

Breizh Cola

J'ai profité de notre trop court séjour en Bretagne pour boire au moins une fois du Breizh Cola, leur boisson sans alcool locale. C'est au moins la première fois que j'en bois. À l'aveugle, je ne crois pas que je ferais la distinction entre ça et un Coke, et encore, il faut s'attarder sur la bouteille pour voir que ce n'est pas la marque de boisson gazeuse la plus populaire mais un produit local. Autrement, qu'en penser? J'ai cru décerner un fond d'épice (cannelle? gingembre?), mais c'est sans doute une fausse impression, car il n'y a pas d'épices dans la liste d'ingrédients. Je suis donc un peu confondu. Si quelqu'un qui lit ce billet a bu du Breizh Cola, j'aimerais bien qu'il fasse part de son expérience dans les commentaires.

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Celebrating September

Happy first of September everyone! It is also the first day of autumn, at least methodologically and in my mind. When it comes to my favourite season and this blog, it is all that matters. So to celebrate the month and the new autumn, as it is a tradition on Vraie Fiction, I share a picture taken by my parents of a sort of horn of plenty, showing the bounty of autumnal harvest: apples, the fruit most associated with the season, crab apples and crab apple jellies. I hope it puts you in the same frame of mind as me.

Le Roi des Korrigans

Petit retour sur notre séjour en Bretagne avec ce qui est peut-être une belle occasion manquée. Je suis tombé par hasard dans un magasin de jouets sur un jeu de société basé sur le folklore breton: Le Roi des Korrigans. C'est un jeu "écolo-fantastique" qui se passe dans la forêt de Brocéliande. Je n'en sais pas plus, mais je regrette déjà de ne pas l'avoir acheté, même si je ne sais pas quand je pourrais prendre le temps d'y jouer et où trouver des joueurs.

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Time for crab apples jelly

My parents made these jars of crab apples jelly, from the crab apple tree they have, which produces a lot of fruits. It is harvest time now. The jelly will last for the rest of the year, easily. This pic just shows a small part of the production. I love crap abble jelly, but also what it represents: as you know, it is for me one of the first autumn harvests. When we start making the jelly, or spread the content of a new jar on our toasts for breakfast, it means autumn is either here, or at least very, very close.

Le ciel se marie avec la mer

Aujourd'hui, c'est notre anniversaire de mariage. Nous n'aurons guère l'occasion de le célébrer aujourd'hui, mais nous avons pris le temps de le faire hier, avec les grand-parents maternels de petit loup et petit loup lui même (quand on a des enfants, les anniversaires tournent autour d'eux, forcément). Sur Vraie Fiction, je partage cette chanson de Lucille Dumont. Je l'ai toujours beaucoup aimée.

Friday, 30 August 2019

One observation about walking with a young child

We went on a little family walk in the evening recently, with Wolfie's maternal grandparents and us. Something struck me about it, which I wanted to share here: Wolfie, who is nearly three, ended up in our arms for most of the walk. He does not always do that, but for some reason was eager for us to carry him.

Les champignons sauvages

Photo prise par mon père, encore une fois sur le lot de mes oncles. Il faut peut-être chaud, mais c'est un signe indubitable que l'automne est en chemin. J'ai hâte.

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Meatloaf

Sorry I could not take any better picture, but this is the meatloaf my mother-in-law made for us a few days ago. My wife is vegetarian, so she had something else. I suspect my in-laws to think that I am being deprived of meaty food all year round. Wolfie and I loved it. Before last year, when Wolfie's maternal grandmother made me rediscover it, I hadn't had meatloaf since childhood and I had forgotten how good it was. In fact, I don't remember the meatloafs my babysitters made tasting as nice as this one. I kind of wonder why it took me so long to rediscover it, because mhis is the kind of hearty dish which I love to have. I think it is becoming some kind of tradition for our visits here. I will not complain.

De l'eau au moulin

Photo prises il y a quelques jours, au début de nos vacances en Bretagne. C'est bien entendu la roue d'un moulin à eau qui est encore utilisé (enfin parfois utilisé). On a eu droit à une démonstration et c'était très impressionnant. J'aime bien les moulins, je ne sais pas trop pourquoi. J'aime plus les moulins à vent que les moulins à eau (allez encore savoir pourquoi), mais quand même, j'ai vraiment aimé voir la machine fonctionner et surtout cette grande roue activée par l'eau. Petit loup a aussi été très impressionné. Il a même déduit que c'était l'eau du lac qui faisait fonctionner le moulin. J'étais fier.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

A visit to the dolmen

I haven't really shared any "typical"picture of Brittany since the beginning of our holiday. Here is one of a nearby dolmen. We had visited it before (and you probably saw a few pictures of the dolmen if you have been visiting this blog in the last few years), but this time it was with little Wolfie. I had wanted to show the dolmen to him for a long while. I try to explain to him what it was (well, what little we know about it) and its folkloric aspects (mainly that it is a gathering point for korrigans). What he got from it is that it was "a big rock". And he really was eager to walk in the surrounding woods. It was a short visit, but a lovely one and I hope a memorable one for our little Wolfie.

Un castor est passé par là

Photo prise par mon père dans le lot de mes oncles. Je n'ai jamais, autant que je me souvienne, vu de castors dans leur habitat naturel. Je n'en ai jamais vu sur leur lot, mais je savais qu'il y en avait dans le lac. C'est la première fois que je vois un signe de leur présence et je trouve ça très impressionnant.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Wolfie the barista

Unlike my wife, I hate coffee, but today I will have to blog about coffee and with a good dash of paternal pride to top it up My mother-in-law received yesterday some coffee making machine. Little WOlfie was really curious about it, asking the machine to be unwrapped and taken off its box asap. When the machine was out, he was absolutely fascinated by it. So his grandmother decided to make coffee for herself and her daughter and had her grandson participate in the process. Safely of course. Wolfie is the one who poured the milk in this mug for instance. So what you see on this picture is the first cup of coffee prepared by my son. I guess that is the first step for him to become a barista. I am a very proud dad.

Le sorbier en fruits

Mon père m'a envoyé cette photo du sorbier familial. Les feuilles sont encore vertes, mais les fruits sont mûrs. Autre signe de l'automne qui s'en vient. Ces temps-ci, ce n'est pas trop automnal là où nous sommes, alors je me mets dans l'esprit de la saison qui arrive comme je peux, avec cette photo par exemple. Et dans tous les cas, c'est beau un sorbier.

Monday, 26 August 2019

Shadow of a Panama hat

Well, summertime is back and with a proper heatwave. I hope it does not last long. So to try to endure the hot weather, we all wore hats yesterday. I borrowed from my in-laws a Panama hat. I know it's a Panama hat because it says so on the label. With shades, it makes me look properly badass, like a character from a spaghetti western or something. Well, maybe not that much, but it does look cool, even for me who does not have a "suitable" head for hats of any kind. So anyway, I took this picture of my shadow yesterday. I couldn't resist. This gives the most mundane setting and circumstances some sense of drama.

Coucher de soleil sur le Lac-St-Jean


Autre photo envoyée par mon père, d'un coucher de soleil sur le Lac. Je la partage ici juste parce que. J'espère que vous ne faites pas grand-chose et que c'est beau comme ça aussi par chez vous.

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Seasoned travelers

We are on holidays to visit my wife`s parents and Wolfie`s grandparents. Yesterday evening, after hearing the story of our long journey to them, with three changes of train until we reached the airport, my mother-in-law said the sweetest: "You are now seasoned travelers, taking very long journeys with many connections and all this with a little boy." This was very kind, although I don`t find us that admirable: we only have one child, some families have to take the same kind of journeys with a whole troop of children. Nevertheless, there is some truth in what she said and I wanted to share it here as a new great unknown line.

En direct de Bretagne

Comme le titire du billet l'indique, nous sommes donc en Bretagne, pour la première fois depuis un an. Au moment où je tape ces lignes, petit loup est en train d'accaparer l'attention de ses grand-parents maternels, ça me permet quelques minutes pour bloguer. Je ne suis guère imaginatif en accompagnant mon billet de drapeau de la Bretagne, mais je le trouve plutôt joli dans sa simplicité (le noir et blanc) et puis je n'ai pas encore de photos de notre séjour ici. Je compte bien entendu partager nos découvertes et expériences sur Vraie Fiction dès que je peux.

Thursday, 22 August 2019

How far is Winnipeg from Montreal?

The answer is 1424 miles. At least according to Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps. Something we learn on the very first scene, set in a music-hall. In the movie adaptation, Richard Hannay is no longer a Scottish returning to the UK from South Africa, but a Canadian, probably because John Buchan who of course wrote the original novel was then General Governor of Canada. It felt strange and actually quite pleasant hearing my city being mentioned (I mean Montreal of course, not Winnipeg) at the start of the film, and in a Hitchcock movie on top of that.

"Patience dans l'azur..."

"Patient, patience,
Patience dans l’azur!
Chaque atome de silence
Est la chance d’un fruit mûr!"

Je cite Paul Valéry. C'est mon frère PJ qui m'a rappelé ces vers, pour me dire de patienter sur certaines choses qui n'arrivent pas. Je mets la sagesse de Valéry à l'épreuve et je n'en dis pas plus pour le moment. On verra bien à quel point c'est véridique.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Mushrooms

Here is another post in the autumnal chronicles that is my blog. I saw these mushrooms recently in the park near my work. It is a new sign of the upcoming autumn. I am not saying it arbitrarily, it is true: read this article from the Woodland Trust for evidence. Mushrooms grow more when autumn comes. So every time I see them, especially when I see a lot of them and often in places such as this park, I get excited. Apparently, unlike what I had predicted, we are soon going to have one last blast of summertime and I don't know for how long. But at least, mushrooms are already here and they are already plentiful. Now if only the rest would follow and follow quickly.

Aller-retour au grenier

J'ai assez souvent blogué sur les greniers en général et parfois sur notre grenier en particulier. J'ai mentionné dès 2008 à quel point j'aimais les greniers. Maintenant, nous en avons un bien à nous, mais j'y vais peu: c'est un espace de rangement. J'y vais pour y ranger des choses (livres, décorations) et pour y ranger ou chercher la valise avant et après les vacances. Quand c'est avant des vacances, j'ai toujours un moment de trépidation quand je vais chercher la valise. Le grenier, c'est peut-être un coin isolé de la maison, il est rempli de choses que l'on n'utilise plus ou pas, mais je trouve qu'il a le charme d'une caverne d'Ali Baba et qu'il est le point de départ de bien des aventures.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

It's No Time to Die

Well, I had stopped hoping that Bond 25 would get any kind of title, but here it is, it has been revealed today: it's No Time to Die. And that is a great title. I love it. Far better than most of what I have seen in rumours. It has a ring of urgency and menace to it, it is also a neat little allegory of what a secret agent's duty is in a nutshell. When you work for Queen and Country, you literally have no time to die. Anyway, here is the title reveal. I'm very excited:

"C'est fête aujourd'hui..."

"C'est fête aujourd'hui
Pour tous les amis
Qui ont répondu
À l'appel de Cthulhu"

Comme j'ai gaffé hier avec la date de sa fête, j'ai voulu au moins fêter l'anniversaire de naissance de Lovecraft avec cette chanson parodique sur laquelle j'ai déjà blogué. Je l'ai eue en tête toute la journée, sans rire. Enfin oui, en riant.

I saw the local Travelodge

Before I start this post, a quick disclaimer: H.P. Lovecraft was born on this date and not on the 19th of August, as I mistakenly blogged yesterday. No idea how I made such error. I knew the exact date. Moral of the story: I need holidays. Talking of holidays, I saw last weekend the new local Travelodge. I blogged about it about a month ago. I did not go in it, just quickly had a look at the outside. It is further away from the train station than I thought, right by a business estate. Not the most picturesque setting for a hotel, but it is a Travelodge and thus the rooms will be cheap and it is still at a reasonable walking distance from the centre of town. I slept in a Travelodge once in my life. It was not the fanciest hotel, but I have seen far worse. At least the room was clean and comfortable. I kind of hope that the presence of this new Travelodge at a few minutes walk from our home will convince some friends to visit us.

Trouvez le hibou (la chouette?)

J'ai pris cette photo dans le Derbyshire, dans une réserve pour animaux, dont des hiboux et des chouettes. Les photos n'étaient pas toutes bonnes, mais celles qui sont floues me permettent de faire un petit jeu d'observation ici. Il y a un hibou ou une chouette sur cette photo. Essayez de trouver.

Monday, 19 August 2019

Celebrating Cosmic Horror

Let's get this out of the way now: today is the birthday of H.P. Lovecraft. Every year, I try to commemorate it on this blog. This is a fitting time to celebrate the inventor of cosmic horror as we have been having quite a few gloomy days recently, often cloudy, cool and rainy. The ideal kind of day for playing the role-playing game Call of Cthulhu, based on Lovecraft's work. Back in my late teenage and early twenties, this is what my brothers, my friends and I used to do on such days, around this time of year. As we are slowly getting closer to Halloween, I wish playing the game was part of my countdown's ritual. But I still have the horror stories of Lovecraft.

Salon du livre (informations)

Je sais qu'il est encore un peu tôt, mais petit rappel pour ceux qui seront au Saguenay en septembre: le Salon du livre s'y tiendra du 26 au 29. Laissez-vous tenter, comme le dit le slogan de cette année. Vous avez sur la bannière plus haut les horaires, l'adresse du site web, le numéro de téléphone pour les rejoindre, ainsi que les prix d'entrée. Moi je ne profiterai toujours pas de mon laisser-passer à vie catégorie cégep, qui m'aurait permis d'y aller gratos et d'économiser un gros 5$. Si vous êtes du Saguenay et que vous y allez, dites-moi dans les commentaires ce que vous pensez de la campagne de promotion de 2019, avec son serpent et son fruit défendu. Ou dites-moi ce que vous pensez de l'évènement en général, de vos souvenirs, etc. Je suis curieux.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Signs of an early autumn?

I thought I would blog about something else, but sometimes circumstances force me to stick to the same subject. In any case, today I have seen many signs of a coming autumn. The weather was going from warm to cool, in a matter of minutes, to the point where we did not know what to wear. Then, walking in town, I saw this tree, which had already changing colours. This is no longer wishful thinking. Everyday, there is a new sign that autumn is on its way and that it will be early this year. Well, it always comes at the same time, but it will look and feel like autumn early. So Vraie Fiction is pretty much from now on an autumnal chronicle. I'm glad.

L'ostie d'chat, l'intégrale

Vous savez sans doute que j'ai vraiment adoré la série de bandes dessinées L'ostie d'chat, qui était d'abord une série de bédés sur le web, avant de disparaître (sans doute parce que ça décourageait l'achat). Grosso modo, c'était une saga racontant l'histoire de jeunes adultes (avec des flashback sur leur enfance et adolescence) à Montréal sur le Plateau, parfois aussi ça tournait autour de leur chat. Je suis sans doute en retard dans les nouvelles, mais l'intégrale est maintenant disponible. Je ne l'achèterai pas, ayant déjà la série complète, avec les bonus. Mais je vous recommande de l'acheter et de lire la série. C'est épique.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Arctic char

My dad sent me this picture recently, it is of an Arctic char. With bok choy and roasted potatoes. I did not know this kind of fish, I don't think I ever had one. But it looks delicious. On the Wikipedia entry, and from the other pictures I have seen on the internet, it looks kind of nasty. Like many fishes, the Arctic char has an ugly face. Which would fit the general rule one of my cousin told me about fishes: the uglier the fish, the tastier it is.

Pas le pouce vert

Photo prise au Totnes Museum dans le Devon. Comme d'habitude elle illustre mon propos. Je regardais notre jardin ce soir, et je trouvaisqu'il manquait de... ben de tout. Je suis capable d'enlever les mauvaises herbes, mais ça ne va pas plus loin. Je manque de temps, d'énergie, de volonté, mais aussi il faut se rendre à l'évidence: à la quarantaine, si tu sais pas jardiner, ben c'est un peu tard pour apprendre. En d'autres mots, je n'ai pas le pouce vert.

Friday, 16 August 2019

"An air of autumn"

Before I tell this anecdotal story, I want to say one disclaimer: I swear I did not made it up, or put words in someone else's mouth. So yesterday, as I was chit-chatting with my boss and a colleague about the weather (that's what happens when you live in the UK, you talk about the weather a lot), my boss said that the day had "an air of autumn". So I am not the only one feeling the season coming. There is nothing more to say. The days have an air of autumn to them. Autumn is coming and I am very happy about this.

Une alarme

Hier soir, juste après souper, l'alarme antivol (je crois que c'est le nom qu'on lui donne) de l'un des voisins a sonné. Ça a duré quelques minutes et puis elle s'est arrêtée. Ce n'est pas la première fois. Ça m'a rappelé un incident semblable durant l'un de nos étés à Chicout, je devais avoir dans la vingtaine. L'alarme antivol d'un voisin a sonné des heures de temps, alors que lui et sa famille étaient absents. La police était venue et même eux ne pouvaient rien faire. Ça nous avait tous irrité pas mal, déjà qu'on n'aimait pas trop le voisin en question. Je ne sais plus s'il reste toujours près de chez mes parents, j'espère qu'il a déménagé depuis, parce qu'il était pénible. Morale de l'histoire: les voisins emmerdants, ils le sont même absents.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Wolfie playing in the rain

It rained a lot yesterday, all day. My wife was wondering what to do with Wolfie to keep him entertained,she even considered opening a sand bag and put it in a bowl... in the living room. I thought this was a terrible idea: Wolfie brings enough sand in as it is! So I said: "It's not raining too hard, keep him warm, put his best raincoat on and wellies and have him play in the garden!" Which, as you can see on the picture, is what she did. I wish I had been there. Playing outside is one of the little pleasures of childhood and one I want my son to know. There is nothing I find more depressing than kids staying in all day playing video games or watching the television because it is a bit wet outside.

Pas de photo du mois pour moi

Une chose m'a frappé récemment: ça fera bientôt trois ans que je ne participe plus officiellement à la photo du mois. J'avais pris une pause en septembre 2016 parce que je suis devenu papa, puis pour une raison quelconque lorsque j'ai publié des photos par la suite, le quinze du mois, je n'ai quasiment personne pour commenter. Je croyais pourtant avoir simplement demandé de passer mon tour un mois. Dans tous les cas, j'ai donc fini par arrêter de publier. Ma dernière officielle était en août 2016. Comme à chaque 15 du mois, je me demande si je devrais me réinscrire officiellement.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

You too, Placido?

This news really devastated me: tenor Placido Domingo has been accused of sexual harassment. Unlike most of the many public figures and celebrities condemned in the wake of the #metoo movement, Ialways admired Domingo. He is one of the first famous opera singers I discovered as a child. If other kids were fans of pop stars, I was a fan of Placido Domingo. At the top of his game, he was the greatest tenor ever recorded, and maybe the greatest of all time. With a greater voice than Pavarotti and, unlike him, capable to be a convincing being the lead on stage. I recent years, I remember him being interviewed by the BBC and I always thought he came off as a kind, elderly gentleman, with many fascinating anecdotes in the world of music he knew so well. Now he may be a sex fiend. I am speechless. You too, Placido?

Coudriers

Mon père m'a envoyé des photos de noisettiers, que l'on appelle aussi, plus rarement coudriers. Joli nom, coudrier, dommage que ce soit tombé en désuétude. Ce sera notre mot du jour. Je ne sais pas où mon père les a prises. Dans le lot de ses frères? Toujours est-il que j'apprends qu'on a des arbres à noisettes par chez nous. Ils plient sous le poids, semble-t-il. Et il faut les ramasser avec des gants. Dans tous les cas, le temps des récoltes est bel et bien commencé.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Travel Journal

I took this picture at the National Railway Museum in York, I share it tonight as it illustrates my topic. In our next holidays, we will be traveling by train for part of the journey. This made me think of one family tradition we had when I was a child. My parents always brought with us a travel journal, which we all wrote in every night, sometimes in the train itself, or whatever means of transport we used. Of course, at no moment we had the luxury to write down in a cabin on such old fashioned secretary, as sadly trains that offer such amenities are extremely rare. Even though they remain the comfiest means of transport, I don't think I will ever have the chance to write down my traveling experiences on such desk, in such place. And I guess now, my blog has replaced the travel journals of my childhood. Still, this picture reminded me of this old family tradition, which I hope to recreate one day with Wolfie.

Bleuets brouillés

Je sais, je sais, encore un billet sur la bouffe. Je vais essayer de varier dans les prochains jours. Mais celui-ci, il porte sur l'emblême de ma région: le bleuet sauvage. Pactole de mon père cette année: il a acheté tous ces bleuets.La photo est brouillée, mais vous avez une idée de la quantité toute saguenéenne. Rien n'est petit au Saguenay.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Pot roast

You might notice that I often blog about food these days, but there you go. So my parents recently made a pot roast and they sent me this picture. Because they really make on hell of a tasty, delicious pot roast. I love pot roasts, because it's a simple dish, yet very tasty and hearty like I love them. And for me, the pot roast is the sign that harvest has started. It is the meal for the ending summer and the starting autumn.
 Even Wolfie, who is never very keen on vegetables (except sweet pea and tomatoes, and tomatoes are fruits) said when he saw this picture: "Daddy, want to eat it!" Maybe I should make one.

Le 12 août... (édition 2019)

Je tiens à vous rappeler que le 12 août, si vous êtes au Québec, bien vous devriez acheter un livre québécois dans votre plus proche librairie. La page Facebook est ici. Je le manque, comme je suis expatrié. Mais si je vivais encore au Québec, je le ferais aussi.

News from Ancient Egypt

Picture taken in Totnes in Devon. We are far from Egypt, but the image kind of goes with this post's topic. It is now old news, without making a bad pun, but I wanted to mention it here: they have reopened the sarcophagus of "cursed" Pharao Tutankhamun so they can save the coffin which is falling apart. I have always been into ancient history, but not nearly as fascinated into Ancient Egypt as I was with Ancient Greece, or even Ancient Rome. Yet I had some interest in Egyptian history: when there was a Ramesses II exhibit in Montreal back in 1980 something (I visited it) and it did trigger some interest from me. I learned a thing or two about the Egyptians following this visit. So I hope the millennial sleep of the forever young King Tut is not too troubled by the recent events and that they manage to restore his coffin.

Putois

Photo prise dans un refuge pour animaux du Derbyshire. C'est un putois. Enfin, je crois. Je connais assez peu les putois, je les ai souvent confondus avecles mouffettes à cause de Pépé le Putois,tu parles d'une triste réputation que ce stupide personnage ainsi que d'autres leur ont donnée. Les putois ont donc une mauvaise réputation "empruntée" à un autre animal, qui plus est ont un nom répugnant, qui pue, littéralement. Mais ils sont plutôt mignons quand on les voit en personne, pour ainsi dire. Ils ont même un air timide, qui va bien avec leur mode de vie nocturne.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

A cat sitter for Domino

Here is Domino napping in one of Wolfie's toy boxes and isn't he adorable. We seldom see our cat these days: he spent a lot of time outside hunting mice, when he comes back in it is to eat or to sleep. But however independent he is (and wary of Wolfie's affection for him) he's still our cat and we are responsible for him, so as we are preparing for the upcoming holidays we need to make sure he is okay. We thought about putting him in a cattery, but the ones near us are either booked already, out of price or sadly closing down. Then we had a stroke of genius: we will pay Blonde Tickler to look after him, feed him, clean his litter and so on. She will be our cat-sitter. She has a cat of her own and loves cats, so it makes sense. And she always got along well with Domino. That will give her a bit of pocket money, a bit of responsibility and we know our Domi will be in good hands.

Rhubarbe en rose et vert

Ma mère a fait de la compote (ou confiture, en fait je crois que c'est plus de la confiture) de rhubarbe. Deux versions différentes, car elle avait deux sortes de rhubarbe différentes: de la rose et de la verte. Enfant, j'aimais beaucoup la confiture de rhubarbe sur mes toasts pour le déjeuner. Je ne me rappelle pas en avoir mangé de la rose, mais de la verte oui. J'aimais bien son goût assez acide.

Saturday, 10 August 2019

"Write what you know"

You probably heard that one before: when you want to become a writer, write what you know. I never agreed with it, and I could write a long essay debunking this claim, but I think this line by scifi writer Joe Haldeman (whom I never read), sums up perfectly in a single one example why this is a rubbish advice: "Bad books on writing tell you to "WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW", a solemn and totally false adage that is the reason there exist so many mediocre novels about English professors contemplating adultery." That's spot on.

Les galettes aux raisins

Nous avons passé l'après-midi ensemble, petit loup et moi, maman étant allée chez une amie pour la fête de celle-ci. Nous avons fait des galettes aux raisins. Elles sont pas mal meixu réussies que la dernière fois. J'ai été plus précis dans le dosage des ingrédients et dans le temps et la température de cuisson. Mais j'ai pris du sucre au lieu de la cassonnade, parce que j'en avais pas. Alors elles ne sont pas aplaties comme la dernière fois. Mes parents font mieux, mais petit loup et moi, nous étions fiers du résultat.

Friday, 9 August 2019

"Yellow warning of wind"

This is what I read on the BBC weather webpage for our area. We therefore have a yellow warning of wind. Which means this:

"Strong winds are expected to cause some disruption, particularly during Saturday daytime.
- Coastal routes, sea fronts and coastal communities affected by spray and/or large waves
- Delays for high-sided vehicles on exposed routes and bridges, with some bus and train services affected, with some journeys taking longer
- Some delays to road, rail, air and ferry transport expected with fallen trees possible
- Some short term loss of power and other services"

Well, for once, I don't mind (except the potential loss of power). It means a quieter weekend in the comfort of our home spent relaxing. And listening to the wind blowing. I love strong wind blowing, as long as we are in a safe place. I find it very atmospheric.

Pour remplacer les anglicismes

Un ancien prof de cégep, maintenant à la retraite, a partagé cet article du Figaro sur sa page Facebook. Il y a une chose qui m'agace en France comme au Québec, c'est cette utilisation systématique de mots anglais quand des mots français (ou des québécismes dans notre cas) existent et décrivent aussi bien (sinon mieux) une réalité. Avec l'avènement des médias sociaux, ça s'est empiré. Alors je partage l'article sur Vraie Fiction.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

My son's obsession for tractors...

As you may know, Wolfie loves a lot of engines: trains, trucks, cars, construction machinery and... tractors. He loves tractors. He has tractor toys, he loves watching real tractors when we are on the countryside, he is obsessed by them. So much so, in fact, that at his last visit at the local library, he asked (loudly) his mother to borrow Tractors of the World. The book you see on the picture. I knew you could write books on anything, I never thought such book could interest a little boy who is not even three yet. The librarian was not sure borrowing this book was such a great idea, but my son was adamant that he wanted this one and no other. And he really loves it. He now can tell the difference between a new tractor and an old tractor. I just wish I could share his enthusiasm.