Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Boo Tea Ful

My wife went to Sainsbury's yesterday for a quick top up and she bought me this tea mug. This Halloween tea mug. It changes colour when you add tea and it shows more ghosts. I was so happy when I received this. Now I have not one but two Halloween mugs, however one is getting old and the other well... Well the other is fine, but we never, ever have enough Halloween mugs. And this one has ghosts. Halloween and tea go hand in hand in my book (more on that in another post), so I am so very glad to have this new mug. Better still: I'd like to think that my wife is finally, finally, finally getting into the spooky spirit. Well, one can hope. Maybe it is motherhood, but I do think she got more into it this year.

L'automne à Montréal

Nouveau billet saisonnier, rien que parce que jepeux, etau cas où il y en a ici qui n'aiment guère l'Halloween. Je ne crois pas, mais on sait jamais. Donc, des fois je publie des photos de l'automne montréalais que mon père m'envoie, comme maintenant. Je n'ai pas de raison spécifique, sauf que je veux que ce blogue prenne la couleur des saisons, surtout de MA saison préférée. Et c'est aussi par fierté de Montréalais d'adoption et également expatrié. Ici, les couleurs ne sont jamais aussi vives et c'est plus tard dans le mois, sinon au mois de novembre, que l'on voit des changement comme celui-ci.

Monday, 18 October 2021

Crocheted Jack O'Lantern

My mother-in-law does crochet and she is very good at it. Yesterday, we went to see Wolfie's grandparents and she had made this for him. When we arrived, it was merely a pumpkin, but at Wolfie's insistance, she turned it into a proper jack o'lantern. I think she used one of my old designs to create the face. Daddad did the cutting of the features. So now we have a new jack o'lantern that will not rot or go bad, it is a permanent one. We cannot put a candle in it, but it's pretty cool all the same, like a new soft toy for Wolfie. He is very happy with it and very proud for taking part in its creation.

Le vol de la sorcière

On ne fête pas l'Halloween autant en Agleterre, mais je je suis rendu compte en fin de semaine que dans la petite ville de Wallingford, on semble être plus au fait de la fête. Ainsi donc, il y avait des décorations dans certains quartiers et aux vitrines de certains commerces. Comme on dit au Québec, ça a fait ma journée. Cette sorcière a eu de la difficulté avec son vol, en tout cas elle a souffert à l'aterrissage. Sa complice, elle, est tombée tête première. Un classique qui ne vieillit pas.

Sunday, 17 October 2021

The (other) Phantom of the Opera (animated)

For tonight's third (!) countdown to Halloween post, a bit of a mystery for the classical horror fan that I am. You may know that The Phantom of the Opera is one of my obsessions. The original novel, NOT the musical. Although I do enjoy the various adaptations of the book. I blogged about my discovery of the novel in this post from 2019. Well, I discovered that there was a fairly recent animated adaptation, dating back from, well, err... I don't think it has been released yet, but here is its IMDB entry and here is its webpage. You will find below the trailer, dating back from 2014. It seems fairly faithful to the novel and the animation does not seem half bad. Has anybody seen it? If so, what did you think of it?


L'été des Indiens cette semaine?

Il a fait frais ces temps-ci, enfin assez frais: aux alentours de 15 au plus doux, températures froides le soir et la nuit. Ce n'est pas le mois d'octobre idéal, mais c'est endurable. Cette semaine, les températures devraient monter à presque 20. L'été des Indiens, en somme. Sauf qu'on avait déjà eu un mois de septembre assez chaud, surtout au début, alors je me passerais bien d'un été des Indiens en octobre. Mais bon, je ne devrais pas me plaindre: les températures devraient baisser dramatiquement au milieu de la semaine, alors on aura une continuation d'octobre comme je les aime.

Two Sinister Witches

For tonight's countdown to Halloween post, I am blogging again about this book, Charlie Brown's Fourth Super Books of Questions and Answers. Not the book itself, but a specific picture in the book. As I mentioned before, I was obsessed as a child with its section on Halloween. I did not have the book myself, a friend of mine had, and I tried to check it every time I could when I was visiting him. He thought very little of it. And there was a picture in there, not of the Peanuts gang but of two witches around a cauldron, tending it, that both terrified and fascinated me. I think it gave me a few nightmares, yet I still wanted to know more about them. I don't know where they took this picture, but I was shocked to see in a book featuring my beloved comics characters something so lifelike and belonging to a horror story. I look at it today and it still gives me shivers. I know there is a scary story or more to be written about these two obviously evil witches.

Le Prince de la Nuit

Des fois, je lis aussi des histoires d'horreur en français pour l'Halloween, même si c'est plus rare. Il y a quelques années, je suis tombé par hasard justement sur la série de bédés Le Prince de la Nuit, que j'ai achetée pour mon petit frère Andrew en cadeau. Lors de mes derniers séjours à Montréal en automne, je les ai relus et je dois dire que j'ai bien aimé. L'histoire n'est pas très originale: son antagoniste est un Dracula du pauvre et elle mélange divers lieux communs de la littérature d'horreur sur les vampires. Cela dit, l'atmosphère était vraiment bien et l'intrigue assez solide. Amener le vampire dans l'Europe des années 30 lors de la montée du fascisme était aussi assez inspiré. Je n'ai lu que les six premiers tomes, je ne sais pas si la série a empiré après ou si elle est demeurée solide, mais si vous voulez de l'horreur de facture classique, très traditionnelle, cette série vaut le coup.

Saturday, 16 October 2021

Spooktacular Bookmark

For today's countdown to Halloween post, a bit of literature, sort of. For me, since I am an adult, or even a teenager, Halloween is a lot about horror stories, mostly written horror stories. More than food, more than horror movies, As you may know, I collect bookmarks and things that I use as bookmarks. Back in the days, when I was in Milton Keynes, I found this leaflet in a pub. It was around August or September, I can't remember, but it was advertising some spooky activities for children and adults. I took it and kept it as a bookmark for the season. I use it exclusively for scary stories. It is fifteen years old this year. All collector's considerations aside, I'm glad that I gave this leaflet a second life.

Les fantômes à la courte-échelle

Lors de sa promenade de santé d'hier (enfin je crois que c'était hier, mais il en fait au moins une tous les jours), mon père a pris plusieurs photos des décorations qui commencent vraiment à se montrer à Chicoutimi. Je le dis, le répète, je le maintiens: on fête l'Halloween en grand là d'où je viens. Je ne suis en général pas un grand fan des trucs gonflables, mais ceux-ci sont excellents.

Friday, 15 October 2021

Reese's for Halloween

For today's countdown to Halloween post, something I found in the local sweet shop. They have lots of Halloween sweets (or candies as Americans call it) and a few classics. I don't know much about Reese's, I mean I had some in the past, but I understand this is a classic for trick or treaters in the US. For me, it tastes like a spoonful of peanut butter, coated in chocolate.I do remember having some from time to time, I ate then dutifully, but otherwise I never felt overly impressed by them. Well, it turned out they invented the most perfect Reese's for Halloween: shaped like a jack o'lantern. In milk or white chocolate varieties. It still tastes like chocolated sweetened peanut butter, but all the same, I could not help but buy them. And I really enjoyed eating them. Because they were shaped like pumpkins.

Des ogres pour l'Halloween?

Je reviens encore une fois sur Les dires de Piloé et sur la pièce de théâtre dans laquelle j'avais joué, appelée La Nuit de l'Halloween. Parmi les antagonistes de la pièce, il y avait... des ogres. On associe les ogres aux contes de fées, mais beaucoup moins aux créatures de l'Halloween. Ceux-ci n'étaient pas tant mangeur d'hommes que simples carnivores, voulant dévorer les animaux de la forêt. Ils avaient notamment capturé un cochon de lait qui s'était enfui d'une ferme. Les implications morales m'avaient échappé à l'époque. Enfin bref, depuis j'associeles ogres à l'Halloween.

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Kerfol (a ghost story)

 This is my fourth (fourth!) countdown to Halloween post today, but I am feeling inspired. An there is so little time left until my favourite holiday and so much to read, watch, blog about and overall enjoy. So I wanted to recommend a ghost story for you, which I mentioned before here. If you like classic ghost stories and ghost stories that are perfectly seasonal, I suggest you spend some time tonight to read Kerfol by Edith Wharton. It's set in autumn and it is full of atmosphere. It aslo shows that to create unease and fear, you don't need walking corpses. And you'll see there that ghosts can take many forms, even the most inconspicuous.

Question existentielle (373)

Je pose ce soir une question existentielle qui est le pendant de la question 336, datant de 2018:

-À quel âge devrait-on cesser de passer l'Halloween?

Je raconterai peut-être un jour mes deuils quant à cette question.

Is there really a Great Pumpkin?

I blogged back in September about Charlie Brown's Book of Questions and Answers Book series, and the fourth book in particular, which I always wanted to have. There are many reasons for it and I am sharing one now: there is a whole section about Halloween in it. A whole section with a lot of useful information, some strips from Peanuts and some really, really, really gorgeous pictures not related to the comic strip. It has been haunting me, literally, ever since childhood, so I am so, so, so happy to own a copy of the book now. I will probably come back to it another time, right now I just wanted to share with you this very important question about the holiday: "Is there really a Great Pumpkin?" The book provides the best possible answer, based on all the knowledge we have on this subject which is so important for Halloween lovers.

Elsa Dreisig et l'Air des Bijoux

Je sais que j'ai déjà partagé sur ce blogue et pour l'Halloween l'Air des Bijoux de Faust de Charles Gounod. En 2015, pour être précis. Mais je veux mettre plus de musique pour l'Halloween, d'une aprt, et Faust est un opéra halloweenesque. Et je suis tombé sur cette interprétation de la soprano Elsa Dreisig qui est rien de moins que magnifique. Elle fait une parfaite Marguerite, enfin elle est Marguerite comme je l'imagine. Et pourquoi cet aria pour un billet musical de l'Halloween? Parce que ça a une dimension sinistre. Comme je le disais dans mon billet de 2015: "sachant à quel prix Marguerite paiera les bijoux ultimement, il y a une dimension particulièrement macabre à un air qui dans un premier abord semble éclatant et sensuel." J'ajouterais que parfois le Mal et l'horreur se manifestent d'abord dans la lumière.

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Halloween Tricks and Treats

For tonight's countdown to Halloween reading suggestion: Halloween Tricks and Treats by S.A. Alba (no idea who she is, I found this book at random on Amazon because it's scary how much it knows me). Described on he front cover as "A collection of haunting Halloween inquiries and short stories." It's a pretty small book with a few supernatural stories verging on horror, divided by a bit of pondering about the holiday or aspects of it. Nothing outstanding, but a quick and pleasant read, that never gives pure frights but a few pleasant shivers, with a bit of humour here and there and sometimes that's just what the doctor ordered.

L'automne montréalais

 Des fois mon père m'envoie des photos de Montréal en automne... Sur le Plateau, bien entendu. Et puis, c'est tout.

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

A Hobgoblin for Halloween

I took this picture back in 2015 and I shared it on Facebook then. I don't think I ever shared it here. It came back asa memory a few days ago. You can recognize I love Wychwood Brewery's Hobgoblin, in a special bottle for Halloween. Because the brewery claims it is the Unofficial Beer of Halloween. And I tend to agree. Or I used to, anyway, until they decided to change the label and not to make a special edition of the bottles and labels for October. To my great sadness. I blogged about it last year, wondering whatever happened to the Hobgoblin. Well, at leastI have my sentimentality to thank for pictures of the old bottles, so I can still share it on this blog for the countdown to Halloween.

L'Halloween sur le Plateau

Mes parents étaient en visite à Montréal (le sont peut-être encore) pour la fin de semaine de l'Action de grâce et ils ont donc passé quelques jours à "notre" (leur) appart sur le Plateau Mont-Royal. Mon père m'a envoyé des photos du coin, de l'automne et de quelques photos d'Halloween. Parce que les gens ont déjà commencé à décorer, sur le Plateau (enfin certains). Alors ils transforment déjà leurs perrons en cimetières hantés, comme c'est le cas sur cette image. Je sais qu'il fait trop doux à Montréal ces temps-ci, mais je m'ennuie quand même des Halloweens du Plateau.

Monday, 11 October 2021

Dark Halloween

For today's countdown to Halloween reading suggestion: Dark Halloween. A "holiday flash fiction anthology." There's a lot of stories in it and a lot of good ones. Mostly horror of course. While I usually don't read much flash fiction and I think horror and supernatural need some time to establish settings, atmosphere and the subversion brought by the supernatural, I must say I quite enjoyed thus one. You will find plenty of the iconic critters of Halloween, real and fake: ghosts, vampires, witches, zombies, a few murderous maniacs, animated jack o'lanterns (well of course) and quite a few original ones. Not all of the stories are good, but even the bad ones are somewhat enjoyable. There's also a pretty decent series of fanfic of John Carpenter's original Halloween movie. All in all, a solid seasonal read

L'Action de grâce

Je sais que c'est l'Action de grâce aujourd'hui, enfin la canadienne, pas l'américaine. Que je ne fête pas, étant expatrié. Je ne l'ai jamais beaucoup fêtée anyway, mais j'aimais quand même le congé férié, les petites vacances automnales que cela nous donnait et la symbolique païenne larvée. Je veux dire que l'Action de grâce est une fête des récoltes. Je ne sais pas si je la fêterai encore un jour, mais à tous ceux qui peuvent aujourd'hui: joyeuse Action de grâce.

Sunday, 10 October 2021

This year's Danse Macabre

As it is a tradition during the Halloween season, I am sharing a version of  the Danse macabre by Camille Saint-Saëns. This particular one is a bit truncated unfortunately, but I loved the story and narrative so much that I wanted to share it. It is both sweet and spooky, with a violin playing friendly ghost, a black cat, witches and Satan himself. In a creepy old cemetery. It's just perfect.

Une Hobgoblin pour PJ

Aujourd'hui, c'est la fête de mon frère PJ et, comme c'est la tradition sur Vraie Fiction, je lui présente une bière virtuelle, la Hobgoblin Gold de  Wychwood Brewery.Avec leurs bouteilles spéciales de l'Halloween, ça date du temps pas si lointain où leurs bouteilles avaient de la gueule. Il y a plusieurs raisons pour laquelle je lui envoie cette bière-ci comme bière virtuelle: 1)l'Halloween approche à grands pas et la Hobgoblin, c'est LA bière de l'Halloween, 2)j'ai toujours associé son anniversaire à l'Halloween et 3)lors de son séjour en Angleterre en 2017 pour la fête de son neveu, la Hobgoblin Gold est la première bière qu'il avait bue. Alors voilà, à la tienne frérot et bonne fête encore.

Saturday, 9 October 2021

A haunted house for £5

Last weekend, I went to M&S for a quick top up of food and I was happy tos ee that they have a decent display of Halloween stuff. Among the many nice things they sold, there was a box of cookies that is shaped like a haunted house and that is also a lantern. It looked so cool and for a fiver it was such a bargain that I had to buy one. No but seriously, look at how detailed it is! It has black cats, bats, fiery orange colours and of course Jack O'Lanterns! And this is only one side! Wolfie loves the biscuits (shaped as ghosts, pumpkins, etc), but they are just ordinary butter biscuits. I would have bought the house even if it had been empty. I will take more pictures of it, in all its angles, and share them here. For any Halloween lover living in the UK, this is a must-have.

J'ai la trouille

J'ai pris cette photo sur la page Facebook de la Panthère verte, elle date de 2016. J'ai tojours voulu manger leur spéciaux de l'Halloween, alors je le mentionne ici. Mais je voulais bloguer sur le sujet pour une autre raison: j'ai appris récemment, toujours sur leur page Facebook, qu'ils ont dû fermer leur restaurant sur Mont-Royal. Je crois comprendre qu'ils en ont fermé un autre et j'ai peur qu'avec le manque de main d'oeuvre et la pandémie, ce soit le début de la fin pour eux. Or, c'est mon restaurant végétalien préféré de Montréal. Je serais triste s'ils fermaient, mettons.

Friday, 8 October 2021

The return of the Scarecrow Festival

You may remember that last year we went to a "Scarecrow Festival", organised in a nearby village to celebrate, well, the upcoming Halloween, mainly. But to me scarecrows also represent autumn and harvest. The Halloween aspect of them, and of this festival in particular, is in the end a bonus. So this year again, we will have a nice spooky festival, with monstrous scarecrows, a lot of them sporting a jack-o-lantern and a map of the village which we can buy at the village hall (and where I took this picture). I can barely wait. I think now we can safely say that it is a new local tradition. And I'm very grateful for it.

Les lutins contre les sorcières

Je reviens sur Les dires de Piloé, le livre de français de quatrième année qui avait la pièce La Nuit de l'Halloween, dans laquelle j'ai joué. Je l'ai relu il y a quelques jours et je me rappelais encore des répliques. Je jouais Luco, un lutin qui avec son ami Polo protégeait les animaux de la forêt des sorcières et des ogres, qui voulaient les faire rôtir dans un feu pour ensuite les manger. C'était assez violent, à bien y penser. Luco était le lutin en rouge, je crois. Je ne pense pas gâcher le punch à personne en racontant la scène résoluant la pièce. Les lutins utilisaient du sable pris dans le sac du Bonhonne Sept-Heures afin d'endormir les ogres et le Bonhomme, pour finaleent aveugler les sorcières, afin de les brûler vives dans le feu qu'elles avaient préparé. Une immolation, c'était pas mal barbare, pour une pièce destinée aux enfants. Mais j'adorais.

Thursday, 7 October 2021

Dr Jekyll, Mr Hyde and me

For today's countdown to Halloween post, I have decided to blog about a classic horror story that is maybe neglected this time of year:I am referring to The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. Everybody knows it, yet I don't think that many people have read the novella. It inspired many adaptations,yet neither Jekyll nor his alter ego Hyde have an iconic image like Dracula or the Monster of Frankenstein, images which we can transform into Halloween decorations easily identifiable and so on. Hyde is ugly, but in the end he is physically a man. I discovered the book in 1990, in my library, just like other horror classics. That year, I read them many of them: Frankenstein, Dracula, Carmilla. I became a proper horror fan, absolutely obsessed by old horror stuff. Yet I did not develop the same fascination towards Stevenson's classic. I don't know why. I rediscovered it in 2006, during my literary countdown to Halloween and really enjoyed it. I wanted to read it in original English and bought the edition you see here (not the greatest cover, but the Introduction was interesting). I still think it deserves more than it has. My Halloweens are sometimes dominated by different themes or tropes, when I read and watch mostly horror fiction about a certain creature: the year of ghosts, the year of vampires, the year of werewolves, the year of Lovecraftian horror, etc. Maybe I should have the year of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, where I will reread the book, its unofficial sequels (I read one which was great), and watch its many adaptations. And of course blog about it when Halloween comes again.

Dernières frites patio

Je quitte mes sujets sinistres pour l'instant afin de parler bouffe: mes parents on fait sans doutes leurs dernières frites sur le patio de l'année. Ce que, dans ma famille, on appelle des "frites patio". Parce que c'est frit sur le patio. Ce sont pas mal les meilleures frites au monde, je dis ça de manière objective, bien entendu. Mes parents ont titré l'email "dernières frites de l'été". Je leur ai dit que c'est faux: l'été est terminé depuis déjà longtemps. Et les frites, c'est bon à l'année.

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

New Witch

Something arrived yesterday at the door. Something that I had ordered: a new witch. I don't have so many witches here, except of course Grizelda (remember her?). This one is super cute in an ugly, evil way, and it  a nice addition to spookify the house. You cannot have a scary house for Halloween without an ugly old witch or two. Now we need to find a name for her. Wolfie will probably find it, he's goot at it, but if you have any suggestions, please let me know in the comments.

Du thé pour l'Halloween

Je sais que David's Tea (je devrais peut-être l'appeler les Thés David, mais je n'arrive pas) a eu des mauvaises passes et c'est sans doute encore le cas. Je sais que ses thés ne sont pas toujours bons, mais je vais lui donner une chose: son pumpkin chai est parfait pour ce temps-ci de l'année. Je n'en ai pas, hélas. Mais après bien de la recherche, j'ai trouvé des marques anglaises qui font du thé à la citrouille. Il faut le commander, mais je vais peut-être me laisser tenter. D'ici là, j'ai quand même ma tasse de thé de l'Halloween de David's Tea, achetée en 2013. Elle commence à prendre de l'âge.

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Vampire Crumpets (!)

I know I am a sucker when it comes to Halloween. And I fall into stupid traps. So anyway, I went to M&S recently and looked at everything they got on Halloween. And I must have bought the sillest thing in all their food stocks: vampire crumpets. Basically just crumpets looking like a stereotypical vampire. It looks very silly, yet it looks so cool. The packaging is great too, with its bats and coffin. And I'm not the only one thinking that: Wolfie was very impressed and has been asking for them every breakfast or so. I haven't had any yet. But I don't care: I have never been that into crumpets, I literally bought these for the vampire.

Première citrouille

Petite étape simple dans nore préparation au grand soir: lors de notre dernière commande d'épicerie, nous avons acheté une citrouille. Une "grosse" citrouille qui au Québec serait au plus moyenne. Mais bon, on ne s'en plaindra pas: il faut un début à tout, ce ne sera pas la seule citrouille de l'Halloween et puis elle a vraiment une très belle forme. Petit loup voulait la sculper dès qu'on l'a reçue, je lui ai expliqué qu'il faut attendre. Maintenant, il faudra songer à un design de visage.

Monday, 4 October 2021

Pumpkin seed

This is my fourth (!) countdown to Halloween post today. Because I have so much to blog about and so little time. So anyway, there you go. A few weeks ago, we went to a garden centre and I bought these pumpkin seeds, at Wolfie's insistence. I have wanted to grow our own pumpkins for ages. Now it is way too late this year, but I will have the seed ready for next year, so hopefully, in spite of my very limited gardening skills, we can have our own pumpkins to carve Jack O'Lanterns. Watching them grow will also remind us of the coming autumn, which is always great.

Latte à la citrouille

Petite vidéo du Chef Michel Dumas sur comment faire un vrai de vrai pumpkin spice latté. Pas que j'aime ça et je ne bois pas de café, mais je vais peut-être m'essayer à en faire pour ma femme.

The Monster Club

For today's countdown to Halloween reading suggestion: The Monster Club, by R. Chetwynd-Hayes. One ofthe best horror books I have read this year, to my surprise. It's a series of short stories that was the source material for a cult movie. The film is enjoyable enough and has its moments, but this is far, far superior. In fact, reading this, you will be surprised at how tame and often silly the adaptation was. Yes, the book has humour a plenty, but it is of the darker kind and even in the lightest moments you will find gruesome horror. The monsters of the title can be likeable, sometimes even sympathetic figures. They are nevertheless monsters in the proper sense, often malignant, always predatory. Even when they have the best intentions, they can inflict suffering, if not death. Many of the humans are unpleasant, if not downright evil, they also get their comeuppance, often in gory fashion. And they do not always deserve it. The Monster Club will make you laugh, it will make you shiver, probably at the same time.

Une pièce pour l'Halloween

 

Je reviens sur Les dires de Piloé, le livre de français de quatrième annéequi m'avait beaucoup marqué. La raison pour laquelle j'ai eu des souvenirs aussi précis d'une livre d'école: un chapitre portait sur une pièce de théâtre pour l'Halloween, pièce que notre classe a montée et dans laquelle j'ai joué. Je pense encore que voir ou jouer dans un pièce de théâtre portant sur l'Halloween est une excellente façon de célébrer et j'aimerais que l'on en fasse une nouvelle tradition. Le titre de celle-ci était La Nuit de l'Halloween, mais jusqu'ici, je n'ai trouvé aucune référence en ligne sur une quelconque présentation, à Montréal ou ailleurs au Québec. Si quelqu'un a des renseignements sur le sujet, dites-le moi dans les commentaires.

Sunday, 3 October 2021

What's in a ghost?

Well, it would not be Halloween without a few ghosts and I thought I would blog about them early. Sometimes(often), I share ghost stories here (and watch this space for more of that later), sometimes I muse about them, but today I just decided to share something silly found online. I often wonder about the nature of ghosts, in folklore, account of "real" ghosts encounters (I'm very skeptical), horror stories and so on. But sometimes I just want to have a laugh, and this one I thought was hilarious. It also makes perfect sense. On a side note, I am working on a ghost story that may or may not be scary myself, where characters ponder about the nature of ghosts and what they are made of. If I can finish it this year, I might share it with you.

Maison décorée pour l'Halloween


Mon père m'a envoyé des photos de sa dernière promenade dans le quartier et j'ai eu le plaisir de voir qu'il y a une maison dans le voisinage de mon enfance qui a déjà décoré pour l'Halloween, avec des sorcières, des chauves-souris et je crois avoir vu une sorte de citrouille aussi. C'est encore modeste, mais c'est un début et beaucoup c'est mieux qu'ici.

Saturday, 2 October 2021

Dracula, the board game

For today's countdown to Halloween post, I decided to blog again about my favourite horror icon and one of my biggest obsessions: Dracula. I first read it back in 1990, please read my post from 2018 for more details. It was a revelation to me and since then I looked for every piece of literature or derivative products about the character I could find. So one day, I discovered, in one of the role-playing shops I used to go to, a board game based on Dracula, called... The Fury of Dracula. The box was already open, I don't remember its price, but maybe because I suspected it did not have the full content, I did not buy it. I did, however, read the rules quickly and had a look at the boardand pieces. I got very impressed with the gameplay. It was a sort of sequel to the novel and you could play Dr. John Seward, Arthur Holmwood (Lord Godalming) or Pr. Abraham Van Helsing. The setting was Europe and there were different ways, you could use various weaponsseen in the novel and everything looked nice and it seemed to be quite an atmospheric game. But I did not buy it and to this day I regret not finding another board game. I know there has been other editions of the game. I hope to get my hands on one of it.

Le coeur de l'automne

Mes billets en anglais vont porter exclusivement sur l'Halloween ou presque, je tenais donc à bloguer sur mon autre sujet préféré ces temps-ci et préciser gentiment que nous sommes mainteant vraiment au coeur de l'automne. Voilà, c'est tout.

Friday, 1 October 2021

Countdown to Halloween

This is the first of October, so the begining of our official Countdown to Halloween. As I am a Cryptkeeper, this blog will now be all about my favourite holiday. I hope you don't mind. A lot of my post will be about scary stories, but all aspects of the holidays will be touched. And to kickstart the countdown, I thought to share this picture taken at Sundown Adventureland back in 2019. That year, they had spooky Halloween displays (especially a Halloween house, where I took the photo) as early as September. I love that attitude. So enjoy the countdown and watch this space.

La grande bière à la citrouille

C'est octobre enfin et j'ai une petite nouvelle pour les amateurs de bière, d'automne, de citrouilles, de bières d'automne, et de ceux pour qui toutes ces choses se mêlent: la bière à la citrouille de McAuslan est disponible. Elle l'était depuis un bout, c'est leur bière de l'automne après tout, mais j'en fais l'annonce aujourd'hui car c'est ma bière d'Halloween quand je suis au Québec. À cause de sa saveur de citrouille bien entendu, mais aussi parce qu'elle a bien des épices automnales. Elle porte bien son vrai nom, qui est La grande bière à la citrouille.

Thursday, 30 September 2021

I'm a Cryptkeeper

Tomorrow is the official start of the countdown to Halloween. That said, I start counting down since the first of November, or almost and I prepare myself mentally to Halloween and to this time of year from August onwards. And every year, for the month leding to my favourite holiday, I become a Cryptkeeper and blog almost exclusively about Halloween. I also get my cool badge from the Countdown to Halloween blog, THE big online gathering place for Halloween lovers. And what a cool badge it is this year: it is a changing one! It has an image of witch, of zombie rising from the grave and of a raven. My favourite is the raven. Anyway, I cannot wait for tomorrow and please keep reading this blog.

Des champignons partout


Autre photo prise par mon père durant une promenade en forêt. Il y avait des champignons partout. Les champignons étant un signe de l'automne, je partage.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Brain on Tea VS Coffee

You know I am a bit of a fan of the comic strip Sarah's Scribbles, so I hope you will forgive me if I share another one. This one shows, in a nutshell, why I prefer tea to coffee and why it is my performance drug of choice. Both provide energy, but one is like disgusting tasting liquid cocaine, where you feel just as tired, only with a brain working overtime on empty nutrients, the other is like the essence of life. Anyway, this is funny because it is true and more to the point, it is wise.

Les couleurs de l'automne

Des fois, mon père va dans le bois et il prend des photos. Des fois, c'est l'automne et les couleurs sortent. Il m'envoie alors les photos. Et j'ai le mal du pays, même si ici ce n'est pas tro pmal non plus. J'espère que vous ne vous en lassez pas parce que moi en tout cas, je ne m'en ai jamais assez. Et encore, ça a beau être beau déjà, ce n'est pas encore à son degré maximal de beauté, comme ce sera le cas dans deux ou trois semaines, où ça sera encore plus magnifique.

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Autumn Soda

Sometimes I find fun things in some local shops and it makes my day. Sometimes also, it makes my season. This was the case last Saturday: I found this apple based soda from Square Root. A company I never heard of before Saturday. Real apples, apparently (30%). Their Apple Soda is special for a specific reason: apples being the emblematic fruit of autumn, it is literally sold as an autumn soda. The soft drink of the season. It will for mine for this autumn anyway, and it might become a tradition.

Mafalda la pessimiste

Si jamais vous vous sentez un peu mélancolique, je vous offre ce gag comme remède,tiré bien entendu de de Mafalda. Je ne m'en rappelais plus du tout de celui-là, ça fait du bien de le redécouvrir. je ne crois pas que vous ayez besoin de parler et lire l'espagnol pour comprendre et apprécier.

Monday, 27 September 2021

New train travel soon?

Of  the few things I have been missing with the pandemic and the lockdown, one of the most important is that we stopped traveling by train. This is probably what I miss the most. Not commuting by train on a daily basis, I really enjoy working from home (although if I had to commute I would rather do it by train), just going from point A to point B via railway. Well, I just might travel by train soon. Not for a very long journey, but long enough to enjoy it. The company I work for has its HQ outside England and one of the seniors is going to be in London next month. He said he wanted to meet the team for a drink, in an informal setting, so we should have an afternoon off to go there and back. And,of course, have a drink with the boss inbetween. I generally don't like these kinds of company events, but since it is not on an evening and it will allow me to meet the team in person, I am almost looking forward to it. If it works of course, as these sorts of things can get cancelled easily. But if nothing else, it will be the occasion to travel by train again. Not in ideal circumstances, but I will be careful, and at least the journey should be pleasant. I honestly cannot remember when I last took the train.

Les couleurs de l'automne


Mon père m'envoie des fois des photos des arbres en automne. C'est pas mal plus coloré qu'ici. Sinon, rien, je voulais juste partager ça.

Sunday, 26 September 2021

Charlie Brown's Books of Questions and Answers

I don't know if I am the only one remembering them, but back in the days, like inthe early 80s, there was a series of books, called "Charlie Brown's Great Books of Questions and Answers" It featured the Peanuts gangs in their usual comic strips, of course, but with lots of educational articles about thigns: means of transports, biology, traditions, etc. We had the book on transports, I remember one of my friends had a few of them, including the fourth one, about customs and traditions in various cultures around the world. It is the one I liked the mos and I spent a lot of time reading it when I was visiting him (I know, I was a lousy, socially inept friend). He thought little of it, but then again he was not as much of a reader as I am. Anyway, I found it online, second-handed, at a decent price, so I decided to buy it for my son, because I think it is quite educational. Yes, that's the excuse. I have another reason which I will explain in another post, when I receive it. But going through this will taking another pleasant trip through memory lane.

L'Abbaye de Paimpont


Je suis retombé sur des photos de l'Abbaye de Paimpont datant de 2008, du temps où nous avions visité la Forêt de Brocéliande. J'aurais aimé y retourner, mais puisque mes beaux-parents ne vivent plus en Bretagne, ça n'arrivera sans doute pas, en tout cas pas de sitôt.

Saturday, 25 September 2021

Scarborough Fair

Here is a bit of music for you, just because you might feel like listening to something today. I hope you don't mind melancholy, but if like me you are rather melancholic, you must know how to appreciate the feeling and even embrace it. I rewatched The Graduate and as ever, I really enjoyed it. The soundtrack is amazing, thanks to rom Simon & Garfunkel and I thought I would share one of their tune. Well, sort if, as Scarborough Fair is not originally their tune. But anyway, here is the long version you can hear in the film.

Le Salon du livre (replogue)

Petite plogue pour ceux qui peuvent y aller: le Salon du livre du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean débutera ce lundi. C'est un peu tard et j'aurais espéré qu'il débute en fin de semaine, mais enfin bref. Comme il est semi-virtuel, vous pouvez sans doute y aller un peu sans y aller physiquement. Je vais peut-être tenter de le faire moi même. Dans tous les cas, c'est pas mal le meilleur Salon du livre auquel j'ai assisté, à une époque idéale de l'année pour tenir un Salon du livre, surtout au Saguenay.

Friday, 24 September 2021

A real life secret passage

Here some bit of uber cool news I have found out yesterday, although it dates back from a few days. So anyway: I read in the Metro that a man found a secret passage in his family home. Just let that sink in for a moment. A real, true, historical secret passage in his home, used by servants back in the Victorian era (and before?). I have a sort of secret passage here, which I blogged about, but it's not a real one. I mean I and Wolfie call it secret passage, but this was never conceived as a secret passage. And it's not really secret. I guess the guy's secret passage is no longer a secret one, but that's the principle: it is still there, it was built as a secret passage. And I can think of many games one could play in there. It's like owning the Clue/Cluedo manor! The moral of the story is: ideally, I wish I could afford to buy a much older house.

Le guêpier

 Il y parfois des guêpes qui viennent me visiter quand j'ouvre la fenêtre de mon bureau. Et hier, alors que l'on se promenait en famille sur notre rue, nous avons vu pleins de guêpes en train de siphonner ce qui restait de fleurs dans un arbre au coin de la rue, près d'un bosquet. On aurait dit tout un essaim dans un seul arbre. Je soupçonne donc qu'ils ont leur nid dans le boisé près de chez nous, ou alors accroché à l'une desmaisons de nos voisins (je crois et j'espère que ce n'est pas la nôtre). Ou alors c'est que les guêpes sont attirées par ce type d'arbre (je ne sais pas lequel),  néanmoins je soupçonne qu'il y a un guêpier à proximité.

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Return on the "Dracula Game"

Maybe I should wait for my countdown to Halloween to blog about it, but anyway there you go. You may remember a few years ago, I blogged about the Dracula Game, based not so much about the famous novel (which I hadn't read at the time), but on a gamebook written by J.H. Brennan, Dracula's Castle. Well, I made a few rough calculations and if I'm not mistaken we played it on Thursday the 21st of September 1989. A day before the autumnal equinox, when teachers had been on strike for a week. Anyway, I blogged the story before: a friend brought this book and we decided to play a make-belief gme based on it. I think our intention was to bring the story to its conclusion around Halloween, but it was not meant to be and we played it only once. But we had such fun with it. Why I still remember it fondly and why was it so fun? Part of it is due to my fascination for the Count, which had started even back then. I wanted to know more about Dracula and this was the nearest and easiest source of info. I think it was also a well designed make belief game: a simple dungeon crawl in a castle, but in a real-world, contemporary setting, so it had relatability and atmosphere. Finally, there was Halloween already looming and this got us in the spirit of the season. These last few days, I only have to go out and smell the air and I remember how I felt that day. The boredom that suddenly triggers creativity.

La tarte aux pommes et moi

Mon frère PJ a fait une tarte aux pommes parce que l'équinoxe hier. Voici la photo d'une pointe. La pomme est sans doute LE fruit de l'automne, celui des récoltes, celui de l'abondance, le fruit aussi qui est associé au surnaturel de la saison. Donc, la tarte aux pommes est sans doute le dessert le plus typique de la saison. Et tout le monde aime la tarte aux pommes. Sauf moi. Enfin, je peux en manger si on m'en offre, mais je n'ai jamais envie de manger plus que ça. J'ai déjà blogué sur le sujet ici. Or, j'ai pris la résolution de l'apprivoiser, ou de me laisser apprivoiser par la tarte aux pommes cet automne. Je ne sais pas trop comment faire. En fait si, ou bien trouver une recette que je en trouverai pas fade, ou bien en acheter une dans une pâtisserie ou un commerce quelconque qui changera mon avis sur la chose. On a bien des résolutions de nouvel an, on peut avoir des résolutions de nouvelle saison, surtout que septembre c'est un peu une nouvelle année qui commence (année scolaire, nouvel an juif, et tout et tout). Mettons que c'est une résolution d'équinoxe.

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

All Hail Autumnal Equinox

Well, nobody can deny it now: we are the equinox, so however you want to split it, autumn is here. For me it starts with September, but some people want summer to overstay its welcome and make it last until, well, today. So I wanted to find an image to celebrate today and I found this meme, which isboth hilarious and represents everything I am feeling about right now: Halloween is getting closer and I'm feeling spooky. I don't know which artist draw this image, but I want to find him or her.This is just so deliciously spooky, with its Pagan imagery and the Jack O'Lantern as a sort of living idol greeting his children. If there is a scary story associated with this picture, I want to read it. If there is none, somebody please write one! On a side note, that might be a challenge for our countdown to Halloween.

Un 22 septembre...

Plus personne ne peut le nier aujourd'hui, nous sommes en automne, parce que c'est l'équinoxe. Alors donc, je partage cette chanson de Brassens, qui est délicieusement mélancolique.

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

A Princess Party

Having a young boy of school ages brings a lot of new things for a family. For instance, a new kind of social life for both the child and parents: Wolfie has new friends, or at least knows more children his age who will become his friends, and we have started knowing their parents and hanging out with them. Well, hanging out might be taking things a bit far: we had a few meetings in a public park and we are members of an online chat group with parents whose children have started reception at the same school. So anyway, we have now been invited to the first birthday party of the year. A little girl who is turning five will have her birthday this weekend and all the children in her class AND their parents are invited. And it will be a "princess party", where girls are coming disguised as princesses (talk about gender stereotype), but boys are thankfully invited too. Wolfie was not thrilled. Then we managed to convince him that there will be plenty of food (i.e. cake), so he warmed up to the idea. And there will be food and drink(s) for the parents, so I won't complain.

Couleurs automnales (encore)

Bon, c'est l'équinoxe demain, alors je partage encore une fois des photos prises par mon père sur le lot de mes oncles, dans la forêt. Vous ne viendrez pas me faire croire qu'avant le 22 septembre, c'est encore l'été. Ici, ce n'est pas aussi coloré, mais le fond de l'air est toujours frais, baptince!