Friday 31 July 2020

Anglo-Saxon Helmet

This picture comes from the Facebook page of the British Museum. It is an Anglo-Saxon helmet found in a burial mound. More about it here. I share it here today for anyone who reads this blog and who is into history, archeology and buried treasures. Also as a reminder that England has an Anglo-Saxon heritage. I cannot wait to go back to the British Museum and see this artifact.

Dernier jour de juillet

C'est ;e dernier jour de juillet, il va faire chaud, on annonce une canicule. Mais je ne m'en plains pas trop, en tout cas pas tout de suite: j'ai eu droit à deux mois de temps assez frais pour l'été, pour la première fois depuis des années l'été est jusqu'à maintenant supportable, grosso modo. Et juillet, l'un des mois de l'année que j'aime le moins, a été plutôt bien. L'un des meilleurs depuis des années, en fait. Et vous, comment a été le vôtre?

Thursday 30 July 2020

Blogger's new interface

Since two days ago, Blogger has a new interface, for a "better Blogger experience" apparently. I know it was bound to happen, but so far I cannot see why the change was necessary, especially so radical. I could find my way and edit my posts way better in the old interface. Maybe I must just get used to it, but so far I am in a state of mind between underwhelmed and "they changed it now it sucks". For those of you whoalso use Blogger, what do you think of the new interface? Is it just me or does it not look good at all?

Pâté à la truite

Mon frère Andrew et sa blonde ont visité mes parents récemment et ils ont eu l'honneur de manger un pâté à la truite. Je suis un grand amateur de pâtés à la truite, mais hélas je n'en ai pas mangé pendant des années, ans doute pas depuis une décennie. Je me rappelle encore en avoir mangé en 2005, quand mon filleul était encore un bébé de quelques semaines. Alors cette photo me met l'eau à la bouche.

Wednesday 29 July 2020

The Bergamo Connection

Thanks to social media, I had the chance to chat recently to my Italian friend who lives in Bergamo, one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen and which, as you know, has been hardly hit by the pandemic. More about it here. Anyway, she is fine and things are getting better there. It was nice chatting briefly to her, and in the meantime it struck me that we haven't seen each other for almost twenty years now, which is a long time for friends. We both have children and it would be nice one day when this is all over to meet again. I hope it will be possible one day. I feel priviledged to have contacts from all around the world, thanks to my years at uni here, and I always felt particularly proud of my Italian connections, or, in this instance, the Bergamo Connection.

Croissants faits maison

J'imagine qu'on se met tous un peu en mode cuisine ces temps-ci, mais mon père a vraiment pris ça au sérieux: il a fait ses propres croissants, naturels et chocolatines. Cette photo le prouve. Il veut en faire avec son petit-fils, ça ne sera pas pour demain hélas. Mais bon, je partage la photo par fierté filiale.

Tuesday 28 July 2020

Where I will buy tea

I recently found out some more good news. Good news for me anyway: there is a local artisan grocery shop that has opened recently in our little town. they stock a lot of things, including loose leaves tea. I had been desperate to find a place nearby to buy "proper" tea, not stuff in tea bags.They seem to have a really wide range, and not only black tea, but also green tea, rooibos and other types of hot drink. I don't want to get carried away: independent shops in this town tend to be short lived. Be that as it may, I intend to make a few purchases there as soon as I can.

Un lièvre

Parfois, on voit des choses inusitées dans le voisinage. Ou, dans ce cas précis, dans le voisinage chez mes parents. Toujours est-il que mon père m'a envoyé cette photo d'un lièvre. Elle a été prise dans l'entrée de leur voisin, après que le lièvre ait couru sur notre propre terrain. Rien d'autre à dire, sinon que c'est cool de voir un lièvre courir sur son terrain.

Monday 27 July 2020

A promise of autumn?

This summer has been overall and so far relatively cool. We had a few hot days, heatwaves even, but by and large the temperature rarely went over the lower twenties. It has been a bearable summer so far. They are forecasting a hot day this Friday and there is the whole month of August to get through, but at least we are two months into the season and I don't feel the summer blues. And I have now reasons to be hopeful about the coming autumn, that it might, just might, be typically autumnal early on. Yesterday, as we were talking our family walk, I saw the first yellow leaves on trees. Only a few, but it was nice to see all the same, especially since it has not been dry: it's the cooler weather that must have triggered the early change of colours. Let's not get carried away, it's barely anything and yes it is probably confirmation bias, but still, one is allowed to dream a bit. If it's not a sign, then I will take it as a promise.

C'est vraiment lundi de nouveau

Aujourd'hui, c'est mon premier lundi de travail. Je travaille depuis la semaine dernière, mais je n'ai pu commencer que mardi. Cela veut dire que ce lundi-ci est un lundi qui est à nouveau "normal". Pas un lundi de vacances qui vient avec les périodes de chômage. Mes "vacances" auront duré un mois environ, deux et demi environ si vous comptez le temps où j'étais en arrêt de travail. Ça n'est pas trop mal. Considérant que j'en étais arrivé à détester mon ancien travail et à me traîner les pieds à chaque lundi durant la dernière année, mettons que pour une fois, je trouve que le lundi n'est pas si mal. En plus je n'ai pas à me déplacer pendant les prochains mois. Vraiment j'ai été chanceux dans mon malheur. Quand j'ai été mis à pied, je ne pensais pas que la situation se retournerait à mon avantage aussi tôt. Alors touchons du bois et je crois que je vais apprécier les lundis plus que d'ordinaire pendant un moment.

Sunday 26 July 2020

Moving closer

I have some good news on the family front: my in-laws, Wolfie's grandparents, have now moved back in England from France, where they can be closer to their grandchildren. They now live less than an hour's drive away from us. They are now on voluntarily quarantine for two weeks or so, we don't know when we will meet them afterwards and when they do it will probably have to follow strict social distancing guidelines (which may not be easy with a young child). Be that as it may, this is good news for everyone and it will be nice for Wolfie to see his grandparents directly and not via a screen.

"À la Sainte-Anne," etc.

"À la Sainte-Anne les bleuets sont mûrs. C'est le raisin de chez-nous, fils du feu; du sol humble et pierreux c'est l'offrande; c'est le miel des crans sauvages, le frère des éricales dans le royaume infini des sphaignes et des tourbières."

Comme à chaque Sainte-Anne, je cite Menaud maître-draveur, de Félix-Antoine Savard. Je ne l'ai pas vécue dans ma région depuis des années et le raisin de chez nous, je ne le mange plus guère souvent, mais j'ai toujours une pensée pour les récoltes de bleuets à cette date-ci.

Saturday 25 July 2020

New Secondhand Bookshop

I went downtown yesterday late afternoon for a quick top op, and I saw that we had a new local bookshop. A new Secondhand Bookshop to be precise. Not much of one to be honest: it was only a small display of a few shelves in front of a brand new local grocery store. With one blackboard explaining the whole concept, mostly using hashtags (which I always kind of surreal on a blackboard): second hand books, every one of them at £2.00, it's not for profit, it's a local business, and so on. And instead of a till, there is an "honesty jar" where you pay for the book you bought. I quite like the whole concept, I must say, even though the choice of books was not that great. But hey, I still managed to find one interesting enough to buy (more on that another day, maybe). And I know I might stumble upon treasures there. So there you have it, another bookshop is open in town.

Le chocolat aux bleuets déjà disponible

J'ai pris cette photo sur la page Facebook de la Chocolaterie des Pères trappistes. Ils vendent leur chocolat aux bleuets depuis avant-hier. Pour ceux qui peuvent en acheter, n'hésitez pas, allez vous bourrer la fraise, ou le bleuet, c'est le meilleur.

Friday 24 July 2020

Blueberry Martini

I learned on their facebook page that one of our local pubs makes a blueberry martini. I knew there were lots of variations on the classic martini, I even drank one of its variants, but I didn't know there was a blueberry martini. I have no intention to go in a pub any time soon, but one day I hope to try it. I suspect it will be too sweet for me, but the blueberry being the emblematic berry of the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean where I am from, I feel like it is my duty to give it a go. At least it'll have antioxidants. I guess I could try to make one myself, as I found a few recipes online.

La Racine Fermée

Petite nouvelle rérionale: la rue Racine à Chicoutimi est fermée aux voitures les vendredis. Elle le demeurera jusqu'à la fin de l'été. Elle le sera jusqu'à la fin de l'été. Je trouve que c'est une bonne idée, ça devrait rendre la Racine plus conviviale. Et vous, qu'en pensez-vous?

Thursday 23 July 2020

Must work to buy toys

Wolfie told this to his mother a few days ago when I started my new job: "Daddy must work so he can buy me toys". Suddenly, I understood why he has been so sensible with me working from home and why he never bothered me. And this deserves to be a new great unknown line. As for my new job, I will blog about it in the upcoming weeks. I am still in training for now and there is a lot to learn, but there is also a lot of things I know from my previous jobs. Anyway, I can't let down Wolfie, so I will be a hard-working employee.

Quoi faire devant un ours noir?

J'ai trouvé un article sur Rad-Can par hasard qui nous explique quoi faire si on rencontre un ours noir. Ça peut être utile si jamais vous aimez les promenades en forêt t s'il y a des ours noirs dans votre coin, alors je le partage ici. C'est aussi une excuse pour partager une photo d'ours noir.

Wednesday 22 July 2020

The thieving squirrel

My brother Andrew witnessed something when he came to visit my parents recently with his girlfriend: a squirrel that has been stealing the food my parents have left for the birds in the mangers of their garden. The cute little rodent exasperates my dad. But he is just hungry and if nothing else I can't help but admire his determination. Oh and he's very cute.

Le jeu des souliers perdus

Petit loup, quand il se sent malcommode (ce qui veut dire assez souvent) a un jeu pour taquiner les adultes: il laisse tomber ses souliers alors qu'il est dehors et se promène alors en pieds de bas. Ça ne rate jamais. Il dit que c'est accidentel, mais il a un sourire coquin quand il dit ça, alors il ne trompe personne. Je suis sa nouvelle victime, mais il paraît qu'il faisait ça à la garderie aussi. J'avoue que ça me fait bien rire aussi.

Tuesday 21 July 2020

A new first day at the office

Today is the start of my new job, I am officially working again. And I am working at home, for the next few months, if not for the remainder of the year. This is a temporary job, however it is possible that the contract might be extended. In any case, I am glad (and kind of proud, if I may say so) that I found a job so quickly, in a time when finding a new job is extremely difficult. And in July, when it is generally quite difficult even in a normal year. Anyway, I will need to turn my home office into a proper working environment (back in March I did not expect that I was still going to work from home until July and beyond), otherwise I think I'm pretty much ready. And I am carefully optimistic about this new position.

La Baie: "ce qui reste de la civilisation"

Mon frère Andrew s'est promené hier à La Baie (il est en vacances dans notre région) avec sa blonde (enceinte). Nous avions fait la même chose l'hiver dernier et ça avait impressionné petit loup, parce que c'était là où avait grandi son grand-papa. Enfin bref, Andrew a pris cette photo et l'a partagée en disant que c'est "ce qui reste de la civilisation".C'est l'usine de pâtes et papiers de Port-Alfred, aujourd'hui fermée. Je ne sais pas si c'est ce qui reste de la civilisation, mais ça a une certaine esthétique du laid, à défaut d'autre chose.

Monday 20 July 2020

Frying chips in the garden

My brother Andrew shared this picture recently, during his stay with my parents. You can see my parents' back garden and the fryer where chips are being, well, fried. The "frites patio" as we call them, as they are made on the patio, not inside as the grease and oil smell would really make the whole house stink. As I said here, these are the best chips I've ever had.

Rivière aux Rats

Photo prise par mon frère Andrew. C'est la rivière aux Rats, un nom horrible pour un petit cours d'eau sommes toutes plutôt joli qui se trouve à Chicoutimi. Je n'y ai par ailleurs jamais vu de rats, enfin pas dans mes souvenirs.

Sunday 19 July 2020

Easy to be an hairdresser?

As you might remember, I bought myself a clipper about a month after the lockdown started, so I could get a haircut while the barber shops and hair salons were closed. Now that they have reopened, but we are playing it safe and are not going. And it turned out that my wife and I are getting better at cutting my hair, which is not so complicated as I like to keep it short anyway. So yesterday, I got my third haircut since lockdown. My wife said at the end of the task: "I don't see the point of you ever going back to the barber shop, it's really easy to be an hairdresser." I corrected her: "You mean it is really easy to be my hairdresser." And I think this deserves to be a great unknown line. In all seriousness, I'm sure any professional hairdresser would gasp in horror looking at my homemade haircut, so I might actually go back to a barber shop eventually. Just not any time soon as I have been saving a lot of money.

Le Déluge du Saguenay a 24 ans

Comme je le soulign à chaque année, je vous rappelle qu'aujourd'hui est l'anniversaire du début du Déluge du Saguenay. Cela fait 24 ans. Je me rappelle comme il avait plu, mais le 19, on pensait que ça n'allait être que ça: une grosse pluie. Vous pouvez lire mes souvenirs de l'évènement, que j'ai vécu en direct, mais surtout par le biais de la télévision, dans mon billet de 2016 et celui de 2018. Vous pouvez aussi lire ce billet-ci pour d'autres perspectives. Et n'hésitez pas à commenter pour me raconter comment vous avez vécu ça.

Reaping horror stories already

Sometimes Amazon knows me so much it is scary: after I bought this book, it suggested another one, Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge. I had actually heard about it before. I have already started preparing my reading program for autumn and Halloween (which is basically supernatural and horror stories from August to October). I have read fairly little these last few days, I think I just want to binge read horror and I have a busy reading list already. But maybe, just maybe, I could squeeze this one in. Autumn, harvest, Halloween, it will all come soon enough.

Des pivoines et du temps qui passe

Ma cousine Amy l'artiste-photographe m'a envoyé des photos de pivoines, dont celle-ci.Nous avons aussi des pivoines, mais elles sont déjà fanées. Le temps passe vite ces temps-ci, enfin c'est l'impression que j'ai, même si c'est cliché de le dire (et de le penser). C'est peut-être parce que cette année a été riche en drames et rebondissements pour tous, mais dans tous les cas, je trouve que le temps passe vraiment très vite cette année.

Saturday 18 July 2020

The bubonic plague back?

I hate to spoil it for you, but unfortunately the title of my post says it all. There's been suspected cases of Black Death both in Mongolia and Colorado. A squirrel tested positive in the US and in Mongolia a boy died of the plague after eating a... groundhog. A stupide groundhog. As if we didn't have enough of COVID-19, we might also end up having the freaking bubonic plague if we are not careful enough. Which is far deadlier and far more contagious than the current disease we are facing. Just what we needed.

Le jardin de mon oncle

Ma cousine Amy l'artiste-photographe m'a envoyé des photos du jardin de son père à ma demande. Elle est gentille et généreuse comme ça. Dans mon billet du 11 juillet, je racontais qu'on y allait lorsque nous étions enfants pour faire le plein de fruits et légumes. Des framboises surtout (hélas, il n'en a plus), mais aussi des carottes, des oignons, des patates, des laitues, pleins d'autres choses. C'était si je me souviens bien un peu plus tard dans l'année, fin juillet ou début août, selon les récoltes. Tout ça pour dire que c'est ce jardin que vous voyez ici, gigantesque (en tout cas il l'était à mes yeux quand j'étais petit). Ce jardin m'a graduellement enlevé le dégoût de bien des légumes, ne serait-ce que parce que j'ai passé de bons moments à les récolter.

Friday 17 July 2020

Bumblebees and lavender

Yesterday I blogged about arachnids, today it is about bumblebees. So one of our neighbours has lavender in her front garden, lots of plants, from her house to the alleyway. It looks and smells quite nice. For the last few weeks, I have noticed a lot of bumblebees buzzing there (I think they are bumblebees and not bees, certainly they are not wasps). We steer clear of them, but I love the look of them and the buzzing. They make for much nicer neighbours than the spiders.

Border Wolfie

Il s'est passé un gros évènement hier à l'heure du coucher: Wolfie m'a demandé de le border et de lui tenir compagnie jusqu'à ce qu'il dorme. Pas à sa mère comme d'habitude, mais à moi. Ça m'a étonné autant que ça m'a ému et ma femme a pris ça comme une excellente nouvelle: elle a eu beaucoup plus de temps libre que d'habitude. Tout n'a pas été facile: il a fallu une heure environ pour le faire dormir, néanmoins il a fini par y arriver. Je ne sais pas s'il voudra répéter l'expérience ce soir, mais je suis partant si c'est le cas.

Thursday 16 July 2020

The Return of the Spiders

A few days ago, my wife screamed because she felt and saw a huge spider walking on the bathroom floor. I had to take it out, as my wife has a paralytic fear of spiders. It was really a strong one too, I could feel it kicking against the side of the glass and stomping the cardboard. And this was not the only eight legged squatter we've had this month, albeit it was easily the biggest one. Generally, they show up in the house in such number much later, around September or late August at the earliest. Whatever the reason for their presence, I am now this household's official spider catcher.

La "Rolleur Geurl"

Parce qu'elle a joué dans Mrs America, j'ai cette chanson interprétée par Anna Karina (paroles de Serge Gainsbourg) en tête depuis que je suis la série. Je ne connais pas la chanteuse et je connais très peu l'oeuvre de Gainsbourg, mais c'est le genre de rock français que j'aime, avec sa façon de bien massacrer les prononciations américaines. Et de rock tout court, à bien y penser.

Wednesday 15 July 2020

Imperfect Pimm's

My wife is maybe not the most typical Englishwoman: she dislikes tea for instance (which might sound like she's an anarchist). She also very seldom drinks alcohol. But there is one very typical English drink she truly likes and it is Pimm's. Probably because it is fruity. I recently bought her a can of Pimm's. Now, Pimm's is generally drunk with fruits in it: strawberries especially, oranges and for some reason cucumber. For a typical look, see this post. Now, for the first evening, we did not have strawberries and the idea of having only cucumbers in the glass did not seem right, so she drank half the Pimm's with nothing in it, which made it quite boring. The next day, I bought strawberries and decided to prepare her a proper glass. Unfortunately, I cut too many strawberries and cucumbers and there was too little Pimm's left, so it ended up looking like this. Thankfully, she enjoyed it anyway, especially since it was far less fizzy.


Bon, je partage à nouveau une photo de la pompadour fraises et érable que mon père m'a envoyé. Un peu parce que je veux encore une fois faire un billet de food porn, un peu parce que je suis vraiment curieux sur le dessert. J'ai fait une recherche sur Google et jusqu'ici, je n'ai pas trouvé grand-chose. Je me demande ce qu'il y a dans une pompadour proprement dite, ce qui fait d'une pompadour une pompadour et pas autre chose. Si vous le savez, éclairez-moi dans les commentaires.

About the National Railway Museum

I learned some good news on the Facebook page of the National Railway Museum in York: it will be reopening on the 4th of August. Now, I have no intention to go to York in the near future and I would not even dare to go to a museum, any museum, not even what is maybe my favourite museum in the whole world. It is nevertheless good news, if only because it should help them stay afloat. I was really sad when I learned that they had to shut down, even though it was inevitable. They are of course going to manage visitor numbers and they have guidelines for social distancing. If visitors are sensible (and I know it's a big if), this reopening should really bring joy to a lot of people.

Cabiaïs ou capybaras

Photo prise à Branféré il y a plus de cinq ans, pour ainsi dire dans une autre vie. Vous y voyez le plus grand rongeur de notre planète, le cabiaïs, ou capybaras, qui est le nom que je préfère. Mais il en a d'autres: grand cochon d'eau, grand hydrochère et si vous aimez le grec hydrochoerus hydrochaeris. Dans tous les cas, ça ressemble un peu à un hamster géant. La première fois que j'en ai vu, c'était au Biodôme de Montréal.

Tuesday 14 July 2020

About Mrs. America

As you know if you have been following this blog recently, I had planned to watch Mrs. America is now available on BBC, partially because it's with Cate Blanchett, partially because I love these kinds of history dramas. So far, so great and I have been practically binging it since last week or so. My favourite actress is as expected mesmerising as the "villain" of the piece, showing nuance, complexity and even vulnerability to someone who is not easy to sympathize with. I also find fascinating to see the feminists who must have (at least to a degree and albeit indirectly) influenced my mother's own feminism. I don't know if she read any of them at the time, but she went to uni at that time. Anyway, Mrs. America is the best tv series I have watched in years.

Le 14 juillet

Nous sommes le 14 juillet, donc le Jour de la Bastille, donc la Fête nationale française.Je ne sais pas comment nous cousins vont la fêter cette année, moi je le souligne chaque année sur Vraie Fiction, ou en tout cas je tente de m'en rappeler. Pour les visiteurs français, fêtez-vous et si oui, comment?

Monday 13 July 2020

The "lost" tea mug

I remembered something recently, something I had forgotten about the office I left: I think I forgot to take back the tea mug I had brought there since my first day three years ago or so. It was my work mug. It was nothing special, in fact I chose to use this one at work because it was an old mug bought back in 2007 or 2008 from students in an outdoor market. It's not even pretty. So I am wondering if I should ask the former colleague I got along best to bring it to me when he has time, because it is still my mug, or just not bother as it is the past and I am moving forward.

Pompadour fraises et érable

Ceci est un nouveau de billet food porn, mais que voulez-vous, je n'ai pas pu résister. Mon père m'a donc envoyé cette photo, titrée "pompadour fraises et érable". Sais pas s'il y a autre chose que des fraises, du sucre d'érable, du sirop d'érable et de la crème, mais ça a l'air vraiment bon.

Sunday 12 July 2020

Chocolate cake (and dinosaurs)

I baked this chocolate cake last week, just for kicks. Well, in fact, no, it was also to celebrate something. It is my grandmother's recipe. I did it fairly well, although the icing as usual was a tad too liquid, so it got quite wobbly. But it stood and it was delicious, just decadent enough, as chocolate cakes should be. On top of it, there are sugar sprinkles on top of it. You might also have noticed that some of the sprinkles are dinosaurs shaped. This was my wife's idea. Of course, Wolfie added the sprinkles, as he's the assistant baker. He sprinkled generously. In fact, he poured them right on top. That's his signature.

"La Chabot"

Mon père m'a envoyé cette photo hier. C'est une variété de grosses fraises, apparemment délicieuse.

Saturday 11 July 2020

Portrait of Marlowe by Chandler

I have started reading this book again and in it I found a description of iconic private eye Philip Marlowe by his author Raymond Chandler which I found fascinating, for reasons which I will state below. Here it is:

"The date of his birth is uncertain. I think he said somewhere that he was 38 years old, but that was quite a while ago and he is no older today. He was born in a small California town called Santa Rosa about 50 miles from San Francisco. Marlowe has never spoken of his parents, and apparently he has no living relatives. I don't know why he came to Southern California, except that eventually most people do, although not all of them remain. He is slightly over six feet tall and weights above 13st 8lbs. he has dark brown hair, brown eyes, and the expression "passably good looking" would not satisfy him in the least. I don't think he looks tough, but he can be tough. If you ask me why he is a detective, I can't answer you..."

Chandler wrote this in a letter to an enquiring fan. So this descrption his fascinating for many reasons. Even in this letter, Chandler remains literary and evocative, it reads like a part of one of his novels. What is also just as interesting is the level of uncertainty: Chandler describes Marlowe physically in minimalist terms and is vague about his character's background. We get a better idea about his mindset, but even then it is more by evocation and the use of a few words than deep analysis. In sum, Chandler is writing here about someone he knows but not completely and not perfectly, rather than a character he created. So that is why I am obsessed about this quote. Now I want to find and read the whole letter.

Des carottes et des souvenirs

Mon père m'a envoyé cette photo, des carottes fraîches achetées à un marché en plein air (je crois), pas à l'épicerie. Elles ont l'air délicieuses, mais je ne veux pas faire de food porn (je vous jure). Ça me rappelle une tradition de mon enfance, lorsqu'on allait chez mon oncle qui avait un énorme jardin (enfin c'était mon impression) pleins de fruits et de légumes. Nous allions surtout cueillir des framboises, mais aussi des oignons, des patates et... des carottes comme celles-ci, avec la tige et tout, qu'on mangeait crues après les avoir lavées. C'étaient les meilleures carottes au monde.

Lawn mowed? Check!

I know it should not even be worth mentioning, but yesterday I mowed the lawn. It was about time. Only the back garden, the front lawn can wait a little bit longer. I really hate to do it, but like I said it was time, and it was also the right time: not too hot outside, no rain, grass not to dry, just perfect to be relatively comfortable doing it. Some would say the garden looks much better, but I must confess, I do prefer when it is a bit wild with long grass. Maybe it is just that I'm used to it like that. Anyway, now I don't have to do it until... Whenever next time will be.

Les bienfaits de la sieste

Je disais il y a quelques jours que j'avais des problèmes d'insomnie. Pas trop épouvantables, j'ai vécu pire, mais quand même, je ne voulais pas que ça devienne un problème chronique. Je crois que c'est parce que je suis déphasé, en décalage-horaire pour ainsi dire depuis deux ou trois mois sinon plus. J'ai réussi à me replacer un peu avec des siestes de trente minutes environ. Ça me permet de reprendre le sommeil perdu, si je perds du sommeil et je n'ai pas autant de difficulté à m'endormir.

Friday 10 July 2020

Spooky state of mind

I blogged about a month ago about a book I was tempted to buy: Dead Leaves: 9 Tales from the Witching Season from Kealan Patrick Burke. Well, I fell into temptation and I bought it in the end. I know, autumn is still far away, and Halloween even more, but as I know from experience, things come soon enough, especially in eventful years like the one we are having. It is never too early to prepare a reading program of horror literature.  And I'm not the only one who has started thinking about Halloween: Wolfie told me he wants to prepare for it, and the nine year old daughter of a friend we saw told me the same thing last week. Must be something in the air, these last few weeks have been cool and borderline autumnal. But in any case, I now have this book to read when the Witching Season comes.

Souvenirs de L'Aristocrate

Mes parents sont à Québec pour deux jours, pour aider l'un de mes oncles à déménager. J'ai demandé s'ils restaient à L'Aristocrate, ce qui n'est pas le cas. J'ai posé la question parce que L'Aristocrate est l'hôtel où nous allions passer nos vacances à Québec durant notre enfance. J'ai pas mal de souvenirs concernant cet hôtel, ça a été le premier hôtel où j'ai dormi de mémoire. Parce que je ne connaissais rien d'autre, je croyais que c'était le grand luxe. Je croyais aussi que la ville de Québec était le bout du monde. Ce l'est un peu, j'imagine, mais peut-être pas quand on a grandi à Chicoutimi. Bref, j'ai des souvenirs assez plaisants de L'Aristocrate: quand on mangeait des sous-marins dans nos chambres, quand on s'est baignés dans la piscine, quand je me réveillais trop tôt le matin parce que je n'étais pas chez moi et que ça me troublait toujours un peu le sommeil. Nous y sommes retournés assez souvent, jusque dans notre adolescence, parfois pour les vacances, parfois pour voir de la famille une fin de semaine lors d'occasions spéciales. J'aimerais bien y retourner un jour, juste pour voir comment ça a changé.

Thursday 9 July 2020

Mrs America on BBC

My wife gave me some good news yesterday: the historical TV series Mrs America is now available on BBC. This is the kind of historical drama I really enjoy, but this one has Cate Blanchett in it. My favourite actress,. I could listen to her reading the phone book, but apparently she is amazing in it (well, as usual). Now I just need some time in the day, or more likely in the evening, to watch it.

Mon juillet (jusqu'ici) atypique

Bon, le mois est encore très jeune, mais j'ai songé bloguer sur le sujet, puisqu'il est jusqu'ici atypique. Autant mai et juin ont été chauds et annonçaient un été torride, autant juillet est frais, assez gris, frais quand il n'est pas gris et donc assez peu estival. Mais je ne m'en plains pas, car je n'aime pas la chaleur. Ça peut changer d'un moment à l'autre et je ne m'attends pas à ce que le reste de l'été soit pareil, mais j'espère un peu que le temps va demeurer relativement frais jusqu'à ce que l'automne arrive et que ça continue comme ça. Juillet est aussi atypique pour une autre raison, celle-ci vraiment heureuse: alors qu'en général l'été est un très mauvais moment pour les opportunités d'emploi (être mis à pied au moment où c'est arrivé m'a d'ailleurs beaucoup inquiété, j'ai trouvé le mien dès le début du mois. Enfin bref, voici mes réflexions sur mon mois de juillet, comment est le vôtre?

Wednesday 8 July 2020

Sussex: our next holiday destination?

Today, I saw this humorous article on my Facebook feed: 27 reasons Sussex is the worst place in England. Article might be taking things a bit far: it is a list of sarcastic points about Sussex, accompanied with gorgeous pictures. And I do mean gorgeous pictures. I don't know when will be our next holidays, a lot of things must change before we can even start thinking about taking one anywhere, but seeing this, I think I might have found our next holiday destination. The pandemic notwithstanding, an English holiday has been long overdue.

Un puit dans le pavillon?

Nous sommes récemment allés dans un parc avec des amis. Pas dans notre ville, mais dans une ville proche, là où ils demeurent. En respectant la distanciation sociale bien entendu. Nous n'y avons pas fait une promenade proprement dire, c'était un parc tout petit, mais nous sommes restés là pour une heure et plus et c'était très agréable. Il y avait aussi ce pavillon, que j'ai bien aimé et qui m'a assez intrigué, car je me demande si c'était un puit à sec qui se trouvait au centre. Dans tous les cas, j'ai pris cette photo parce que.

Tidying Wolfism

I mentioned to that my son has many cute lines, which I call his Wolfisms. He came up with a new one yesterday, when we asked him to tidy his toys when he was holding some cars or Lego pieces: "I can't tidy when my hands are filled". That is only one of his many objections when we ask him to tidy. That said, my wife asked me to be fair and to add that he did tidy his many toys a few minutes later, without being asked, because he is also "a sensible child".

Oisillon tombé du nid

Mon père m'a envoyé cette photo hier, d'un oisillon tombé d'un nid, enfin c'est ce qu'il croit. Je crois que c'est un merle, je ne suis pas certain. Cela dit, mon père croit que ses parents l'ont retrouvé, alors cette histoire a sans doute une fin heureuse. Je l'espère.

Tuesday 7 July 2020


My father sent me a few weeks ago pictures dating back from our family trip in Austria, during the 200th nniversary of the death of Mozart. We visited a lot of towns and cities, among them Vienna. This is where he took this picture. I am not sure if it is the same as the Mozarthaus, only with a different name, but from my father's memory this is where Mozart composed Le Nozze di Figaro. I must confess I don't remember seeing the Figarohaus of the Mozarthaus, or whatever its official name is, but I do remember quite a few things about that trip, especially the music, the concerts and the operas we went to. I will blog more about our time in Austria it in the future. I also think a post about Vienna would not be quite completed without a bit of music, and that it would be fitting to share something from Le Nozze di Figaro, an aria sung by Luca Pisaroni.

"Bar ouvert"

Je cite le titre de cet article dans La Presse+ sur la réouverture des bars au Québec et les consignes de sécurité qui ne sont pas respectées. Je lis ça et je me dis: "baptême." C'est pareil ici dans les pubs, remarquez et c'est pourquoi malgré que ça me manque, je n'y retournerai pas jusqu'à nouvel ordre. Et comme les gens manquent de prudence, je ne crois que ça va arriver de sitôt, malheureusement.

RIP Ennio Morricone

Sad news from yesterday: the great Italian film composer Ennio Morricone died at age 91. When you come close to be a hundred, this may not be a tragedy, but it is sad all the same for all who appreciate true cinema and a real musician. I cannot remember one of his score I did not like, even in the lesser movies he made. His music was both a character and a setting, which is no mean feast. So to commemorate his death and celebrate his work, I am sharing something from Once Upon a Time in the West which I think has the right pathos for the circumstances. This is as good as anything for a farewell. Grazie mille, maestro.

Le retour de l'insomnie

Je ne sais pas trop pourquoi, peut-être que c'est parce que je suis déphasé à cause d'un long confinement et d'une pandémie qui n'en finit plus de continuer, peut-être que c'est aussi tous les changements en peu de temps par rapport à ma carrière, toujours est-il que j'ai fait pas mal d'insomnie depuis une semaine. J'ai eu des moments pires que ça dans le passé et heureusement ce n'est pas chaque soir, mais j'ai eu quelques nuits pénibles. Si vous avez des idées pour combattre l'insomnie qui ne demandent pas de consommer des médicaments ou de l'alcool, veuillez me les donner dans les commentaires.

Monday 6 July 2020

I Got It

You may remember that I did an interview recently for a job I applied to. Well, I have some good news: I learned Friday that I got the job. It was not the easiest interview I've had as the interviewers were a bit hard to read, but it was not too difficult either and my gut feeling that I had when I started the process turned out to be right. I knew I could do it, I knew sell myself for it. Anyway, it worked. I don't know when I will start exactly, but this should be fairly soon. I will be working from home for the first few months, maybe until the end of the year or so. Almost until the end of the contract, as it is a temporary work of a few months. That said, while they cannot make promises for now, given the current situation, there is a fair chance that they can extend it and it may be for longer, maybe even permanent. But even if it was not, at least I'll have an income in an uncertain time and I can find a permanent position somewhere else in the meantime. And the money is good, in fact pro rata it is better than my previous job. So all good news and a sweet personal revenge, as my last employers has been difficult.

Art urbain

 Mon père m'a envoyé cette photo prise près des pylônes d'Hydro-Québec. Ils doivent maintenant y ajouter de l'art. Assez impressionnant, je dois dire. Il faut aimer l'art contemporain, mais c'est quand même bien pour masquer des pylônes et puis à Chicoutimi on ne se plaindra pas d'un peu plus d'art. Anecdote: je passais souvent par là en revenant de l'école secondaire. Et plus tard en revenant des bars.

Sunday 5 July 2020

About The Wind in the Willows

As I was mentioning a few weeks ago, I was reading The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. I finished it since then and I wanted to blog about it again. As I had mentioned, I first came to this work of fiction through the TV series adaptation, which is one of my childhood's favourite memories. Nothing beats stop motion. It was then, it is still now, the most English thing I ever watched. I cannot say I was disappointed by the source material, but I did not enjoy it as much as I had hoped. Not sure what was lacking. I still had fun reading it, and it was nice meeting again Rat, Mole, Badger and Toad. And it is still the most English thing you can ever read (and I know Grahame was a Scot). There is just something about it that is very old England and timeless, with an appreciation of simple pleasures and a defiance of modernity. It is the book for the Anglophile and for the shameless nostalgic.

Des fraises de l'île

Bon, je ne veux pas transformer ce blogue en chronique gastronomique, alors je vais essayer de changer de sujet prochainement, mais toujours est-il que mon père m'a envoyé des photos des fraises de l'Ile d'Orléans. Ce n'est pas l'été au Québec sans ces fraises. Ici, elles ont trop souvent un goût de plastique.

Saturday 4 July 2020

The UK's Independence Day

Today is the fourth of July, so it is Independence Day in the USA. Today is also the date when pubs and other businesses will reopen here in the UK, so it will be or feel like this country's own Independence Day. An ironic turn of events, given the history of both countries. That said, we are not free from the threat of COVID-19 and not free yet from the pandemic. So in this household, we will remain careful and avoid pubs and restaurants. I say this with regret, as I have been missing pubs for months now. But we will not be fooled by a false sense of security.

Pain maison (mais pas de moi)

Mon père a fait du pain maison et nous a envoyé des photos. Il a l'air très réussi et il est paraît-il très bon. Nous avons essayé de pétrir du pain ici et ce fut une catastrophe, comme une crêpe en pain. L'horreur sans nom. Alors je partage cette photo à défaut de pouvoir me vanter de l'avoir fait.

Friday 3 July 2020

Missing the Friday sandwich treat

I don't miss much if anything from my last job, which I recently lost due to the pandemic. You know the drill, I often mentioned it here: not appreciated enough, not enough good colleagues, not enough of anything good. But there was one pleasant moment in my week: my usual Friday lunch treat, which I bought at a corner sandwich shop. I was lucky enough to have one quite similar to the one in my previous working place. Both shops served chicken baguettes and had olives as condiment. I varied a bit with the chicken, but the trimming was always the same: tomatoes, lettuce, onions and olives. And crisps on the side of course. I don't know when I will have a new job (touch wood it might be sooner than expected), where I will be back in an office even less, but whenever this happens, I hope there is a sandwich shop that sells baguettes like this one.

Question existentielle (361)

Je pose une question existentielle, parce que celle-ci m'est venu en tête hier et parce que ça faisait longtemps que je n,en avait pas posé:

-Entre un moulin à eau et un moulin à vent, lequel est le mieux et pourquoi?

Thursday 2 July 2020

When I first read Carmilla

In a recent vlog, YouTuber and vampire pasionaria Maven of the Eventide reviewed and read the first part of Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu. I quite enjoyed the video, about a vampire story I often revisit during my reading marathon leading to Halloween. The video also reminded me of the first time I discovered Carmilla and I thought I would share it today. It happened 30 years ago or so, at an age when I could pretty much read everything I wanted without my mother interfering. I had decided to discover the old horro classics, such as Dracula. It was actually shortly after I finished reading Stoker's novel (read here the account of this discovery) that I borrowed Carmilla from the local library. It was not in a translation of In a Glass Darkly, but it had other stories of Le Fanu from the same collection, namely Green Tea and The Familiar. I think I had borrowed at the same time as Dracula., so in the summer of 1990, probably in July. After reading what I still consider THE horror novel of all time, I had fairly low expectations for its predecessor. I quite enjoyed all the same, and was surprised a the amount of homoeroticism and how soft the antagonist appeared to be. The Count was an old man looking terrifying in appearance even when he was amiable, while Carmilla was young and seductive. Le Fanu's story was also more old fashioned, its atmosphere more dreamlike and romantic than Stoker's more modernist take, half of it set in then contemporary England. I had less nightmares than after reading Stoker's famous novel, but I still had a few. I think I will always prefer Dracula (being my first love and all), but Le Fanu's vampiric offspring stands on her own and I still have a few pleasant chills reading it.

Longer la Tamise

Photo prise récemment, lors de l'une de nos promenades dans un parc longeant la Tamise. Avec les cygnes et la maison luxueuse sur l'autre rive, disons que c'est une image superbe. On dirait une image de l'Angleterre venant d'une autre époque. Comme quoi vivre dans les vieux pays a parfois du bon, surtout pour moi qui a toujours été très anglophile de nature, allez savoir pourquoi. J'ai souvent fait remarquer ici que nous avons tendance à oublier que la Tamise se voit ailleurs qu'à travers Londres. C'est dommage, parce que je crois que c'est hors de Londres qu'elle est vraiment belle.

Wednesday 1 July 2020

Gamma Ray

Sometimes, it's not that I judge a beer by its bottle, its label or, in this instance, the image on its can, but I just want to drink it just because there is something cool about the container and to heck with the content. This is what made me try the Gamma Ray from the Beavertown Brewery. It's blonde and I don't care much about blonde beers. In fact, it's an American Pale Ale and I don't really care about that either, even though the beer itself is brewed in the UK. I tried it for the first time during our holidays in Derbyshire, where our friends offered one to me. And I found it okay. But I bought another can just for the absolutely uber cool image on it. It has a freaking UFO roasting a spaceman (alien or human I don't know) with a death ray, most likely the gamma ray of the title. It is sinister, it looks vaguely gory in a 50s pulp scifi nostalgia kind of way.  Otherwise, the beer is perfectly fine on a hot summer day with a barbecue (it's meant to be a juicy tropical beer after all, according the the Beavertown Brewery website), and apparently it won a prize, but truly buy it for the cool scifi image.

Quatre ans depuis le Déménagement

Photo prise à dans le Devon, je crois que c'était à Dartington, mais je ne suis pas certain. Je la partage ici car je blogue sur une maison, enfin sur notre maison. C'est je Jour du Déménagement au Québec et par coïncidence ce fut aussi le jour où nous sommes devenus propriétaires. Nous avons emménagé le lendemain et ça nous a pris une semaine pour tout ramener de notre ancien appart. Mais enfin bref, nous vivons ici depuis quatre ans aujourd'hui.