Sunday 3 December 2023

First Mulled Wine

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

Les marchés de Noël

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

Saturday 2 December 2023

The Christmas Connection

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

Les beignes de Noël, 2023

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

Friday 1 December 2023


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

La Marche des Rois

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

Thursday 30 November 2023

Railway Journeys

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

Un polar pour l'Avent

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

Tuesday 28 November 2023

Will it snow?

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

Les réserves de clémentines

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

Sunday 26 November 2023

The Ivy's Polar Bear

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

Calendrier de l'Avent et confitures

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

Saturday 25 November 2023

The Darkest Season (from #Noirvember to Christmascrime)

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

Complainte Pour Sainte Catherine

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

Friday 24 November 2023

Mysterious torch/tuque

We saw this in our street, on the ground. It is a Light Hat Torch. The hat part, the English call it a beanie hat. In Québec, it is a tuque, which sounds way better and somehow fits better. I bought one to my wife a few years ago, as a Christmas present, but it is not this one: my wife's one is pink. This one seems warm enough, but my wife's tuque-torch (or torch-tuque) is a bit on the thin side. I quite like the charcoal grey colour of the lost tuque. It would look if it wasn't so dirty. The torch bit is really useful: it gives a lot of light and it is easy to operate. Moral of the story: this is a real loss for whoever lost it.

Le Salon du livre de Montréal

J'allais oublier: c'est le Salon du livre de Montréal jusqu'au 26 novembre. J'y suis allé une fois ou deux, j'ai bien aimé, mais ce n'est pas mon préféré. Et une observation comme ça: je dois dire que c'est vraiment un design pas vraiment beau. Trop pastel. Ils font pas de bons designs au Salon du livre de Montréal. Ou suis-je trop sévère?

Wednesday 22 November 2023

30 Years After Anthony Burgess

I had to commemorate it: today is the anniversary of the death of Anthony Burgess. The author of A Clockwork Orange , which made me discover him. I posted in 2017 about how I learned of his passing. It was the same kind of experience people have when they learned of the death of JFK. You might also want to read this post from 2008. Anyway, 30 years after his death, he is still my favourite author.

Le dressage du chat

 Un ami a partagé sur Facebook ce meme, que j'ai trouvé très drôle. J'ai donc tenu à le partager ici.

Tuesday 21 November 2023

November in one painting

I found this picture on the Facebook page of the British Museum. I loved it and I am sharing it here because, well, because it is a beautiful painting for one, and because it is very fitting. It is called November evening in a Welsh wood, from artist James Thomas Watts. I have never been in a Welsh wood, at least not that I can remember and I have never been to Wales in November, however this is very much how I see the month: cold, bare, a tad eerie and deliciously autumnal, with a dash of winter peeking.

Les brouillards de novembre

La semaine dernière, nous avons eu droit à un retour du brouillard au matin. Bon, c'était peut-être une brûme, une belle brûme même (trouvez l'allusion littéraire et télévisuelle québécoise ici), mais pour être honnête je ne fais pas vraiment la différence. J'aurais aimé pouvoir l'apprécier pleinement, mais je n'ai pu que prendre cette photo un instant, avant de retourner au bureau (qui heureusement est chez moi). Sinon, j'adore le brouillard et pour une raison quelconque je l'associe surtout au mois de novembre, ou j'associe le mois de novembre au brouillard plus qu'un autre mois. C'est souvent ces mois-ci qu'il se manifeste.

Monday 20 November 2023

James Bond for #Noirvember?

You know my love for James Bond, both the films and the novels. You may also know that On Her Majesty's Secret Service  ismy favourite James Bond novel. It is one of my favourite Christmas reads, but it struck me that it could also be used for #Noirvember. Because it is one of Ian Fleming's most tragic novels, but also because only a portion (albeit a large one) is set during Christmastime. This quote form the novel suits perfectly the month: there is beauty, but we know evil lurks.

Ciné-cadeau 2023: beaucoup de neuf?

Comme je le disais il y a quelques jours, la cuvée de Ciné-Cadeau 2023 a été révélée récemment. Dites-moi ce que vous en pensez. Je ferai une constatation: je trouve qu'à part quelques classiques incontournables, c'est beaucoup, beaucoup, beaucoup de neuf. Un peu trop à mon goût. Bon, je me plains de la même chose à chaque année, mais je m'ennuie des oeuvres plus anciennes et des oeuvres plus obscures. Et vous?

Sunday 19 November 2023

Odin, In Memoriam

My long time readers remember Odin the one-eyed black cat who we used to have. He was the best, sweetest cat we ever met. He died ten years ago today. You cna read his eulogy here. We miss him to this day. I had to commemorate his tragic passing.

Une étoile filante (RIP Karl Tremblay)

Je saisque je suis en retard sur les nouvelles, mais celle-ci est une nouvelle triste et je ne savais pas trop comment la commenter, sinon en musique. Voici donc une des chansons du répertoire des Cowboys Fringants, chantée avec l'OSM. Je crois que c'est de circonstances. Les Cowboys ont chanté le Québec comme peu de groupes. Ils sont les descendants directs de Beau Dommage et des Colocs. Je ne sais pas s'ils vont survivre à la mort de Karl Tremblay, mais l'étoile des Cowboys, comme celle de leur chanteur, brillera toujours pour le Québec et les Québécois.

Saturday 18 November 2023

The "Secret Battle" Game

You may remember before that Wolfie has invented a sort of War Game, which is more a kind of crime/spy thriller. It is very elaborate, you can find the details here. We use many props, I mean toys, mostly but not exclusively toy guns I bought for him at the local toy shop. Like this dangerously genuine looking M4. We did not play much in October, I guess he was like me in a spooky mood, but it is as if he channeled #Noirvember too. That and G.I. Joe, which he discovered recently. Anyway, we played for a good portion of this afternoon, as my wife was away helping her friend preparing her wedding. The game has evolved a bit since. Our nemesis is still King Cobra, who is now a lot like Cobra Commander in mannerism, but we don't play Max and Joe anymore, we are Wolfie(!) and Levi. And the name is no longer "War" but "Secret Battle" for some reason, although there isn't anything really secret about two guys fighting a terrorist organisation with heavy artillery. It is great fun and it sure makes a November afternoon go fast. It reminds me of similar game we used to play, my brother and I, round the same time of year. But I'm sure you could have guessed it already.

Les clémentines en novembre

 J'ai acheté ces clémentines la semaine dernière. C'est assez tardif: d'habitude j'en achète dès le premier novembre, à tout le moins dès la première fin de semaine de novembre. Pour une raison quelconque, on dirait que cette année les agrumes disponibles ne comprenaient pas les clémentines. Je n'en ai trouvé que samedi dernier. L'ennui, c'est que je n'aime pas vraiment les mandarines, les satsumas et le reste. Les oranges oui, mais je préfère et de loin les clémentines. En novembre, elles me donnent de la vitamine C et j'aime leur parfum. Qui plus est, elles donnent de la couleur à un mois gris. Un mois que j'aime quand même, mais je le préfère quand il a plus de clémentines, pas moins. Enfin bref, ce n'est pas vraiment novembre sans clémentines.

Friday 17 November 2023

Christmas on the Flying Scotsman

I  got some great news from the Facebook page  of the National Railway Museum in York, where I found this picture: the Flying Scotsman is back in action and you can travel on it Shildon, County Durham during Christmastime. From the first of December until the 7th of January, this is Christmastime as seen in the old days. Tickets available for free(!) at Locomotion. Sadly we are just a tad too far for it, but I'll see what we can do, as this seems like a dream holiday/seasonal activity. Okay, I  promise I will not write too many Christmas posts before December, but this had to be announced.

Avent Macabre (polar de Noël?)

Alors que je cherchais en ligne ce bouquin, dont je vous rabats les oreilles depuis des années, je suis tombé sur celui-ci par un total hasard. Deux romans différents, mais le principe est le même: un chapitre par jour, chaque jour de l'Avent jusqu'à Noël. Ce n'est pas un Série noire, mais la facture est assez semblable, avec une couverture très sombre malgré les lumières festives en haut de page. Il est peut-être très mauvais, mais j'ai assez envie de l'acheter malgré tout. À défaut d'avoir le polar de l'Avent, je pourrais lire un polar de Noël... durant l'Avent. C'est peut-être pas Série noire, mais au moins je sais que j'aime le concept.

Wednesday 15 November 2023

Of kids and clothes

We were waiting for Wolfie to get out of school yesterday when I heard a mum ask another mum, who was wearing some trendy suede shoes that looked like slippers: "How can you keep your shoes so clean when it is so muddy everywhere?" The reply of the trendy shoed mum: "I keep my children at arm's lenght when we go out." It made everyone laugh. It is true that kids can get quite messy. Anyway, this deserves to be saved here as a new great unknown line.

La cuvée Ciné-cadeau 2023

Je dois toutde suite commenter une nouvelle importante pour les Fêtes qui s'en viennent: la grille-horaire de Ciné-cadeau 2023 est sortie aujourd'hui. La cuvée Ciné-cadeau, comme je l'appelle. Qu'en pensez-vous? Je vais regarder ça tranquillement et donner mon avis (ou pas) dans un prochain billet. On peut commencer à penser à Noël au Québec quand on connaît la teneur de la cuvée Ciné-cadeau.

Binge watching and reading for #Noirvember

 So as you know, I now spend my whole month of November celebrating #Noirvember, the month where people watch noir movies. That is my big activity this month. Not only watching crime fiction movies (and tv series), but also and especially reading crime fiction. I do this all year round, to be honest, but I have decided that I put the emphasis on it this month. People complain that November is grey, let's make it Noir. So yeah, I am very slowly reading a very noir book and in the meantime I have been binge watching crime films. Mostly on Netflix, sometimes on BBC. I intend to speed up my reading a bit, so I will binge read as well as binge watch. But I would love to receive suggestions from you: what movie or tv series would you recommend? And what crime novels? It has to be violent, maybe even nasty, it does not have to be pure Noir, but it cannot be light. Please leave a comment with your suggestions.

Entre l'automne et l'hiver

 Photo prise par mon père, la première neige de fin octobre. Il a neigé un peu plus depuis. C'est le terrain de jeu de l'école primaire la nuit. Tout ça pour dire que nous sommes dans cet entre-deux entre la fin de l'automne et le début de l'hiver. Enfin, c'est le cas au Québec. Ici c'est plus monochrome, pour ne pas dire monotone. Les entre-deux saisons avec de la neige, je les aimais vraiment enfant.

Monday 13 November 2023

The cry of an owl

It happened a few nights ago, just when I was in bed, trying to sleep. I heard a hoot, I think it was a hoot anyway. I heard it before, back in 2016, but I am not sure I heard an owl in the neighbourhood ever since. Or at least I don't remember. I got up and looked at the window, to check if I could see the owl in question. We have a few trees behind our house, I suspected it might be hanging nearby Not a trace, but obviously it was dark. I will be on the lookout for owls in the neighbourhood from now on, will eep my eyes and ears open. Owls are cool, so I'm glad we have one nearby.

Le blogue hiberne (un peu)

 Bon, j'ai passé la barre des 700 billets depuis un bout et l'année n'est pas finie. D'habitude, j'essaie d,avoir environ 730 billets, deux par jour, un en français et un en anglais. J'ai quelques projets d'écriture d'une autre nature qui vont me tenir occupé, sans compter le reste (lecture, vie familiale, etc.) Je vais donc tenter de ralentir le rythme d'ici à la fin de l'année. Le blogue va hiberner un peu, en quelque sorte. Je dis un peu, parce que je risque de trouver l'inspiration pareil, surtout que les Fêtes s'en viennent. Mais ne vous étonnez pas si je saute un ou deux jours de temps à autre.

Sunday 12 November 2023

War Games (and a tank)

We went to one of Wolfie's friends' birthday party yesterday. It was nice and Wolfie enjoyed it a lot. The main activity was a warn game with Nerf Guns. Kind of fitting, given that yesterday was the 11th of November. Maybe we should not be trivial about war, but since I am a child I always found war games both fun and cathartic. Wolfie and his friends enjoyed it greatly anyway. He usually gets bored at birthday parties, but not this time. And there were not only Nerf Guns: the whole décor was rather well done, really elaborate, with a cool and huge inflatable tank. Ironically, the birthday party was in a church. I must confess, I would rather play war than listen to a sermon.

Parmentier de poisson

Parlons encore une fois de bouffe. Pour la fête de ma femme, il y a quelques jours de cela, nous sommes allés dans un resto français, parce qu'elle ne voulait pas se taper des pâtes ou de la pizza. Moi, quand on sort au restaurant, c'est une excuse pour manger du poisson. J'ai donc commandé un "fish parmentier", ce que les Anglais appellent chez eux un fish pie. Pas une coquille Saint-Jacques, mais pas loin. C'était délicieux.

Saturday 11 November 2023

Crime Fiction News for #Noirvember

If you have been reading this blog, you may know that South African crime writer Deon Meyer was writing a new novel. Well, it has been published late last month. In Afrikaans. I learned that it will be released in its English translation in October next year. Right in time for #Noirvember 2024. I can't wait.

Photo de neige (encore)

Photo prise par mon père il y a quelques jours. Rien que pour dire que c'est l'hiver ou presque au Québec.

Friday 10 November 2023

"Easy" Chocolate & Mint Cake

It was my wife's birthday a few days ago and she wanted a special birthday cake, not something bought or my old family's recipe. So she found an Easy Chocolate & Mint Cake recipe on the Waitrose website. She bought it and, as I was too nervous to mess it up for her birthday, she baked it herself. But I did the washing up, don't worry. It turned out not so easy after all: instead of three layers of cake, we got two and the cake looks and feels more like a giant brownie. But it tastes really nice and the presentation isn't too bad either. I would have made it much worse looking in any case. Anyway, there is no such thing as a failed cake. This one was certainly a success, although a bit of trouble.

Une talle de champignons

 J'ai pris cette photo il y a quelques jours dans le voisinage. Je ne sais pas ce qui a provoqué pareille éclosion (on peut parler d'éclosion?), mais c'est vraiment un spectacle à voir. Ma femme trouve ça dégoûtant (parce que c'est de la moisissure), j'espère que ce n'est pas votre cas. La talle de champignons est vraiment énorme, la photo ne lui rend pas justice. Enfin bref, c'est toujours l'automne, alors je partage, car les champignons font partie des signes de l'automne.

Wednesday 8 November 2023

Guessing game at work

Quick anecdotal post, I have something to tell. We have team building activities at work, about once a week, we spend time on a Zoom or a Teams call and we play a game or two, sometimes there are incentives with it (early finish on Friday, freebies, etc.) We played one this afternoon, when we had to guess what objects was hidden in a bag held by our manager. We could ask questions about the nature of the object. One of them, our manager explained that it was "something you put on your body to protect yourself". I could not help it, I said: "Is it a condom?" It made everyone laugh. But no, it was sunglasses. Still, I think my little witticism deserves to be a new great unknown line.

Première "vraie" neige

Photo prise par mon père hier. On dirait bien que la première "vraie" neige soit tombée et que l'automne laisse déjà la place à l'hiver. Voir l'école primaire de mon enfance sous la neige comme ça me rappelle bien des souvenirs.

Tuesday 7 November 2023

The bear in the train

 Here is a bit of railway amd zoological news that caught my attention recently: a rescued bear travelled from Sweden to Devon via the Eurotunnel. I love bears and trains, I enjoyed my time in Devon a few years back, I love Sweden too on top of all that, so of course it caught my attention. No but, you read this and there are two things that come to my mind: 1)this is such a cute, heartwarming story, like most stories involving rescued animals, especially bears. 2)A bear travelling by train? That is epic, no matter the details. So welcome to your new home, Diego. I hope you like it here.

Les neiges d'automne

Autre photo prise il y a une semaine à peu près par mon père. Je la partage rien que parce que. L'automne qui déjà annonce l'hiver. Il n'y a à peu près jamais de neiges automnales ici. Même au Québec, c'est surtout relégué aux souvenirs d'enfance. Je crois comprendre qu'elles ne sont pas restées, mais qu'il fait froid et que l'hiver montre sa présence. Je ne m'en plaindrais pas.

Monday 6 November 2023

The Third Man for #Noirvember

I have started celebrating #Noirvember with a bang, with The Third Man. Not, not the movie, which I have watched quite a few times including and especially in November, but the book that was written at the same time by Graham Greene. I know the plot, but I don't mind one bit, it's like knowing the taste of a Sachertorte, you read it for the sheer pleasure. It is very fittingly and perfectly Noir. It's a very short one, a novella, so I will need something else soon after. Nevertheless, it is a very strong start for Noirvember. Now I must find suitable films as well.

Vin et fromages

Pour la fête de mon père, mes parents ont préparé un vin et fromages. Un modeste: trois fromages, un pâté de foie et c'était pas mal ça, ils ne sont que deux après tout. J'ai demandé une photo,mêmesi c'était modeste, parce que j'ai insisté mon père en a pris et me les a envoyées.Le vin et fromages représente pour moi depuis des années LE repas parfait, à la fois simple et gentrifié. Depuis que j'ai appris que mes parents en avait fait un, j'ai comme le goût d'en préparer un ici aussi.

Sunday 5 November 2023

Bonfire Night (and what else in November)

Tonight is Bonfire Night. Not my favourite special day, I quickly get bored with fireworks, which seems to be all it is about, when you think of it. In this country, it is the big event in November, at least the biggest celebration in November. Unfortunately, it is also set early in the month. After that, all we are left with here are the fireworks. But hey, I do like the smell of bonfire if nothing else. That said, there are other fun things to do in November in this country. The English Heritage mentioned its top five. Here we have my wife's birthday in a few days. That should keep us entertained. And you, what are you planning to do this November?

Le Japon automnal

Comme vous le savez, mon petit frère PJ est allé au Japon le mois dernier. Il est de retour depuis peu et il nous a envoyé des photos. Celle-ci m'a beaucoup plu. On dirait presque un paysage suisse ou en Europe centrale, je n'imaginerais jamais que c'est le Japon. Mais enfin bref, c'est le Japon automnal et c'est vraiment très beau, alors j'ai décidé de la mettre ici.

Saturday 4 November 2023

About the Springboks

 With all the busy month I had last month, I did not have time to blog about one bit of exciting news that made my in-laws very happy. Well, my father-in-law that is: South Africa won the Rugby World Cup. He is South African and a lifelong supporter of the Springboks. Wolfie was happy too: he wanted South Africa to win. I have yet to watch a full match and understand any of it (I had a crash course, but that was a long time ago.) Yet, I have decided to support South Africa on principle: because of my in-laws, because Wolfie now supports South Africa, because I love many South African artists  (okay, not that many, but those I love, I really love) and well, these are all very good reasons. So yeah, I come late at the party, but congratulations Bokke, you were, you are, amazing.

Le S'quatre Novembre au Soir

Je 'drais voudrais vous dire que ce soir ce sera...

Thursday 2 November 2023

#Noirvember Now

So as this is November, it means that it is the beginning of the #Noirvember season. An online event (and a hashtag)for fans of film noir. But I have extended it to crime fiction in general. So I will be reading crime fiction this month and blogging about it at least a bit. Now I already read this book by Lawrence Block. I am sharing the picture of the cover because I ended last Noirvember watching a film adaptation of another of his novels and because you can't go wrong with Block and his creation, private eye Matt Scudder. Anyway, November is a grim month. Make it Noir.

Neiges automnales

Je partage une autre photo prise par mon père de la neige qui est tombée au Québec il y a quelques jours. Je ne crois pas qu'elle soit restée, mais je suis toujours heureux de voir la neige tomber une fois novembre arrivé. Une petite neige automnale comme celle-ci. Je me rapelle encore de celles de mon enfance. Ce n'est pas fréquent en Angleterre. Au Québec, ce l'est moins que c'était. Quand j'étais enfant, il y avait au moins une neige automnale par année, une neige en octobre, plus souvent au début de novembre. Une neigequi ne durait pas, mais qui annonçait celles à venir.

Wednesday 1 November 2023

Post-Halloween Blues

Here we are again, here we go again. Halloween is over already. It goes way too quickly. And sorry for the clichés. And it is on a Wednesday on top of that, so the month starts right in the middle of a week, when I am at my most exhausted, generally. I have made my peace with November, a month I used to dislike, partially because it is still autumn. And for other reasons, which I mentioned before and will blog about soon enough. So now I kind of like November. Except, of course, today. On the first of November, I have the post-Halloween blues, no matter what. I think I have to process that there is a year to go until my favourite holiday is back again.


"Je suis l'océan Pacifique et je suis le plus grand. On m'appelle ainsi depuis très longtemps, mais ce n'est pas vrai que je suis toujours pacifique. Je me fâche parfois, et alors je donne une raclée à tous et à tout. Aujourd'hui par exemple, je viens de me calmer mais hier, je dois avoir tout raflé sur trois ou quatre îles et autant de coquilles de noix que les hommes appellent bateaux... Celle-ci... Oui, celle que vous voyez ici, je ne sais pas comment elle a pu s'en sortir. C'est peut-être parce que le capitaine Raspoutine connaît son métier et que ses marins viennent des îles Fidji. Ou bien parce qu'ils ont fait un pacte avec le Diable. Mais cela n'a pas d'importance, aujourd'hui c'est "Tarowean", le jour des surprises, le jour de tous les Saints, le 1er novemvre 1913"

C'est une tradition de Vraie Fiction: je cite le début de La ballade de la mer salée d'Hugo Pratt, qui est aussi la première aventure de Corto Maltese. Parce que c'est la Toussaint, ou "Tarowean", comme ils disent dans le texte. Une fête que je n'aime pas, sauf dans cette page.

Tuesday 31 October 2023

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween 2023 everyone! It is both with great joy, with a pang of sadness, because it comes and goes so quickly, that I start this day. This will be a day and a night I hopefilled with laughter, screams of excitement, sometimes of fright and a few spooky moments. Wolfie and I have been preparing it for weeks. We carved only four(!) pumpkins this year, but they look really nice. This is one is my design, but Wolfie vetoed each pumpkin we carved. Tonight, I will go with him for trick or treat while his mother will be at home receiving the little spooky monsters. We don't get many visitors, but I am prepared just in case. I might not blog anymore this month, but to all my fellow Cryptkeepers, thank you so much for a lovely countdown and enjoy Samhain.

Un Halloween blanc au Québec?

 Tout d'abord, joyeuse Halloween à tous et à toutes. Mon père m'a envoyé des photos de la neige qui a tombé avant-hier et hier au Québec. Si elle reste, ce sera donc un Halloween blanc, le premier depuis 2008, si ma mémoire est bonne. Je me rappelle des Halloweens blancs de mon enfance. Ils étaient rares, mais il y en avait parfois: celui de 1988 notamment. Idéalement, je préfère mes Halloweens froids mais secs, mais je préfère et de loin un Halloween blanc à un Halloween doux. Et puis c'est joli dans tous les cas, une petite neige automnale.

Monday 30 October 2023

Trick or Treat

 This is a picture of the bags my mother prepared for trick or treat. The big bags are for the children she knows well, children of friends  or neighbours. The smaller ones are for the other children. There are about five or six treats in the big bags, maybe more, "only" four in the small ones. And not just anything: chocolates and crisps. You know, the stuff children love. A labour of love. Really, I wish Wolfie could celebrate Halloween with his grandparents.

La citrouille de (grand-)papa

 Mon père a creusé une citrouille. Celle-ci. Jetenais bien entendu à la partager ici. Je tiens mon talent de designer et de creuseur de citrouilles de mon père, mon fils semble suivre les mêmes traces, à en juger par le travail qu'il a fait hier.

Sunday 29 October 2023

The Spider and the Witch

For today's countdown to Hallwoeen post (the post in English anyway, I already wrote one in French), another picture taken at the "Scarecrow Festival." They had so many great entries this year. And it is kind of a shame that there is so little time to share them all. Anyway, one of the critters I particularly loved is this gigantic spider. If you look at it carefully, you can see there are the feet and the broomstick of a witch peeking out of the spider's mouth: she is literally eating the witch. I suspect the witch used her spell and some accursed potion to increase the size of a common spider, to use the arachnid for some nefarious plot. But the beast turned wild and out of control and took the witch for a fly. There is definitely a story to be told about this and I might just write it one day.

Saint Saëns- Danse Macabre Op. 40

Bon, une fois par année quand l'Halloween approche, c'est une tradition sur ce blogue: je partage une vidéo de la la Danse Macabre, celle de Camille Saint-Saëns. Une vidéo toute fraîche d'hier faite exclusivement pour l'Halloween.

Saturday 28 October 2023

No More Scarecrows?

For today's countdown to Halloween post, a bit more of the "Scarecrow Festival."This was one of the cutest displays: one sympathetic to the crows. The only scarecrow there was, well, this faux scarecrow.
Well, crows need love too. And we need to see more of them come Halloween, they bring their own spookiness to the season. We found the display very sweet in any case.

Vaisseau pirate fantôme

Mon père a pris cette photo lors d'une de ses promenades. Un vaisseau fantôme qui est aussi un bateau de pirates. Pirates et fantômes vont bien ensemble, je trouve.

Friday 27 October 2023

Knobkerrie (against the Forces of Darkness)

Okay, one last countdown to Halloween post before bedtime. A spooky one because let's remain macabre. I know I blogged recently about the Forbidden Gateway gamebooks serie. In it, you play a psychic investigator (whatever the job entails on a normal day is never explained) fighting supernatural forces. And your weapon of choice is, rather originally, a knobkerrie. My long time readers may remember that about a decade ago I mused on the weapons to use against the forces of darkness. It struck me that a knobkerrie would be pretty useful: it is strong, sturdy, it could easily crush the skull and break the bones of of a living dead (orthe jaws of a monster!) and in the meantime it could pass as a mere walking stick. So yes, if you fear you miht come face to face with a supernatural fiend, if this creature is material and not epheral, a knobkerrie is a pretty good weapon.

Trois épouvantails...

Photo prise lors du "Scarecrow Festival". Il y en a des comme ça, des épouvantails qui ne sont pas faits grâce à un artisan amateur, mais achetés. J'en ai trois à peu près pareils sur mon bureau. Cela dit, pour moi l'Halloween et l'automne, ça veut dire des épouvantails et plus il y en a, mieux c'est. Des gentils, des sinistres, des avec citrouilles, des sans citrouilles comme tête. Juste de voir ça rend l'environnement plus automnal et je crois que l'on devrait avoir des épouvantails partout, dans la maison et sur le terrain. Donc, je tenais à partager la photo de ces trois-là.

Halloween Fun and Food

Today's countdown to Halloween post could have been titled Lost and Found. You may remember that I bought a Halloween book years ago (in 2010 I believe), Halloween Fun and Food. It has a number of recipes and party ideas, but more importantly the nicest cheese fondue recipe, with gruyère, emmenthal, apple cider and other stuff. It tastes lovely and it is meant to be enjoyed in a pumpkin, so it makes it perfect for the holiday. Well, I couldn't see it among my slef of Halloween books this year, until a few days ago where I found it again among Wolfie's books. So I think we will eat the fondue this weekend.