Tuesday 31 January 2023

Muddy boots

 Every week, Wolfie has forest school. On this occasion, he must wear warm clothes, water-proof trousers and boots. Which he does. So every week, he comes back with muddy boots. And I mean very muddy boots. The same thing happened last weekend, when we went for a walk in the nearby boots. We all walked back with muddy boots, but Wolfie's looked like they had been taken through a swamp. So recently my life has been about getting rid of the mud under his boots. Moral of the story: that's part of a dad's life.


Nous avons reçu une invitation à un mariage aujourd'hui. Une amie de ma femme se marie dans quelques mois. Je crois que la dernière invitation reçue pour un mariage date d'une dizaine d'années, sinon plus. Sur l'invitation, ils ont épellé mon nom "Guilliame". Nous allons sans doute l'accepter quand même, je sais que ce n'est pas méchant, mais je trouve que c'est quand même un peu nono.

January staycation

I have forgotten to mention it, but the last three working days of January, including of course today, I have been on holiday. I had to take leave before the end of the month, so I quickly booked them. Which means that I have been on holiday quite a lot in January, as I also took the first week off. Since Wolfie is at school, we haven't done anything special, but that is all right, I think January is not for exhausting activities anyway, if one can avoid it. I had done the same thing in 2022 and had enjoyed it a lot. So yes, in sum, I am starting to think that January is a fine month for taking short holidays, as long as they are staycations.

Le cégep de Chicoutimi en hiver

J'ai trouvé cettephoto sur la page Facebook du Cégep de Chicoutimi. C'est l'entrée de l'ancien séminaire, aujourd'hui "Centre socio-culturel" (à moins que le nom ait changé depuis, sait-on jamais). Le Cégep est laid d'à peu près partout, sauf là. C'était bien entendu ma section préférée quand j'y allais. En hiver comme vous le voyez sur cette photo, ça a encore plus de cachet.

Monday 30 January 2023

Dunk Low: Montreal Bagel

Great news I learned from the Facebook page of St-Viateur Bagel: Nike has designed a new shoe wearing the colours and look of a Montreal bagel. Ihad not Not sure why or how they came up with this idea, but it's a great one all the same. I haven't wore Nike since my teenage, but I think it's time I wear them again. Because these are proper sneakers (or trainers as we call them here) for people of taste.

Perdrix sur la neige

Photo prise sur le lot de mes oncles, et en couleur par-dessus le marché, d'une des caméras de surveillance. Des perdrix sur la neige. Je la partage rien que parce que.

Sunday 29 January 2023

Of the usefulness of torches

You may remember that back in 2021, I received a torch as a birthday present. It is actually something I had asked for a number of reasons. I really loved the torch my wife bought me, it turned out to be one of the coolest and most useful presents I had in recent years. But near the end of 2022, for some mysterious reason, the torch completely fell apart: the button could not be pressed and it stopped working. Maybe because I had used it so much. It turned out that I had become dependent on my torch: I used it in the to take the bins out when it got late, I kept it on me when I had to walk at night, or even in the house to find something in a dark cupboard. It is crazy how useful a torch is, once you get used to it. So I asked for another torch as a Christmas present. My wife bought me two. The same model as the one before. I hope they lasts longer.

Le bois, les bûches

 Nous avons fait une petite promenade dans le bois en famille aujourd'hui. Un bois près de chez nous, qui commence à se gentrifier: on y coupe du bois et ça fait une belle photo, en tout cas une photo intéressante. Que j'ai voulu partager dès notre retour.

"Air Patrol"

 You know Wolfie loves everything related to transport and all sorts of vehicles, fast or slow, whether they are used to travel on land, water and air. And thus, he also loves helicopters, which are featured in many of his make-belief games. Of course, he has a few toy helicopters. We even bought him a shirt in Next that has an army helicopter on it. He loves it. I don't know how genuine the information on the shirt is, I don't know enough about the military, but it looks pretty cool. In any case, it's a new source of inspiration for him every time he plays.

Un gorille

Photo prise dans l'Isle of Wight, à Robin Hill pour être exact. Robin Hill est un parc pour enfants que petit loup a beaucoup aimé. On y trouvait notamment de faux et de vrais animaux, dont des faux gorilles qui avaient l'air très vrais. Celui-ci en tout cas nous a beaucoup impressionnés. Par une journée chaude (beaucoup trop chaude) d'été, nous avions l'impression d'être quelque part en Afrique. S'il avait bougé, je n'aurais pas été étonné.

Saturday 28 January 2023

Chocolate cake and ganache

Sometimes I get myself into things.  I had promised Wolfie that I would bake a cake at the beginning of January and I had not done it yet. Last week, he reminded me of my promise. So I baked one and of course, he had his say regarding the kind of cake he wanted. I had preferred a plain Victoria sponge cake, but he wanted a chocolate cake. And, as my wife doesn't like the icing I usually make, I made a ganache for the very first time instead. It turned out all right, to my surprise, if a tad bitter. It probably needed more work on presentation, but I have made worse ones and we all enjoyed it. In any case, I find it far more satisfying to make my own desserts for the whole family than buying one.

Le quêteux (santon)

 Je partage encore une fois une photo prise sur une page Facebook sur les Santons de Charlevoix. Je commence à me faire un catalogue virtuel avant un jour, peut-être, me faire une vraie collection. La figure du quêteux dans le folklore québécois est ambigüe, à la fois mystérieuse et inquiétante. Le quêteux dans les contes québécois aide les protagonistes, mais c'est souvent parce qu'il est un peu sorcier, en tout cas il est familier avec le monde surnaturel. Sinon, c'est son apparence même qui fait peur. Cela dit, j'en veux un dans ma future collection, justement parce que le quêteux est inquiétant.

Friday 27 January 2023

Mozart and his birthday

Today is a seminal date for music and music lovers. Because it is of course the birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Incidentally my favourite composer. I celebrate listening to his music, I mean more than usual, particularly his operas, because it is how I truly discovered Mozart and this is how his music found a way to my heart. I also read books about him, fiction or biographies, or simply essays. On the reading this list, starting today is Mozart and his Operas by David Cairns, a present from my wife. But there are others I will reread. I might do like last year and spend a lot of time on social media today, exchanging reading suggestions about Amadeus. I would not end my post on Mozart without one aria to share. This year, it is from Cosi fan tutte,sung by Elsa Dreisig. I hope you enjoy.

Edmonton en un calembour

J'ai écrit récemment un billet sur Calgary qui a fait réagir mes lecteurs... d'Edmonton. Alors j'ai comme eu une inspiration pour un calembour vraiment atroce, que je ne peux pas m'empêcher de commettre ici: "Edmonton est monotone." Okay, bon, c'est une allitération, mais ça fait dur. Non, non, ne partez pas, lecteurs d'Edmonton! Je ne suis jamais allé dans votre ville, je suis certain qu'elle est très bien, ceci n'est qu'un calembour atroce. C'est une tradition sur ce blogue de partager les calembours absolument épouvantables. Et lui bien il est atroce comme albatros.

Thursday 26 January 2023

The Victorian House in Liverpool

For a while now, Wolfie has been obsessing about mansions. Don't ask me why, I'm have no idea how he came up with this sudden interest. But now he loves the word mansion, the concept of a big fancy house, what have you. So now he often plays "mansion", he build mansion with Lego blocks (my idea) and he draw mansions with daddy. I will tell you more about the mansion games and activities in other posts. He also wants to live in one eventually. It's a way for him to go up the property ladder I guess, so he's been saving money in his piggy bank so we can eventually have enough to move house and live in a mansion. 

    And well, it came to my mind that the Victorian house where I was living back in my year in Liverpool could qualify as a mansion. It was a big fancy house and had a rather imposing back garden. I rented a room there for a year and it did feel very posh, even though I was just renting and the house needed serious work on, which the landlady never bothered to do. Anyway, I wanted to show Wolfie the place where I lived, so I did a thorough Google search and found it on Airbnb. It changed ownership and whoever bought it renovated it and it looks absolutely glorious now. Everything is new, but it does not look too modern, if that makes sense. I have no idea how Airbnb works and I think the price must be prohibitive, but I would love to show it to Wolfie one day and maybe make him live the experience of living in a "mansion", even if it was for a short period of time. Even if he found the place not mansion-like enough for his expectations, it is still a big posh Victorian house.

RIP Boucherie Davis

 Triste nouvelle apprise récemment: la Boucherie Davis à Arvida ferme définitivement, après 80 ans de commerce. C'est triste, mais je sais de ma famille la boucherie avait perdu un peu de son lustre durant les dernières années. Elle avait changé de propriétaires et la qualité en avait souffert. Depuis des décennies, ma famille a acheté sa dinde de Noël chez Davis, sauf l'an dernier. Le Noël d'avant, la farce avait été dégueulasse, alors mes parents ont changé et ont fait la farce eux-mêmes. Quand même, le Carré Davis n'aura plus la même allure sans sa boucherie.

Wednesday 25 January 2023

Shark Plane

 There was a special fayre in the park a few months ago. At the time, I did not have much time to blog about it and what I saw there, because it was early October and Halloween was on its way. But anyway, like in many fayres in this country (and others), there were a few vintage vehicles on display. Among them, this plane, with a painted shark's head at its nose. Wolfie and I were fascinated by it. Vehicles often fascinate Wolfie, vehicles associated with a predatory animal (or indeed any animal) fascinate me, so this one caught our attention. I don't knowthe story of this plane, but I think it needs one.


 Au Québec ces temps-ci, il y a de la neige. Mais ici, parfois, surtout durant les mois de novembre à mars, il y a du brouillard. J'ai pris cette photo dimanche dernier et la photo ne rend pas vraiment justice à l'atmosphère. On dirait plus une brume, mais c'était vraiment un bon brouillard. Quelques minutes avant, c'était plus épais. J'ai pris ma photo un peu trop tard. Il s'est dissipé en après-midi. Je ne me lasse pas du brouillard, tant que je n'ai pas à voyager, alors je prends des photos quand je peux et je les partage sur ce blogue.

Tuesday 24 January 2023

Viking Bookmark

No, no, I do not have a bookmark from the Viking Age. Actually, I don't think Vikings had bookmarks back in the days. I bought this bookmark at the JORVIK Viking Centre in York. Not the most educational place, to be honest, as the term Viking does not describe a people or an ehtnic group, but a trade, that said it was entertaining all the same. When I visit a place, whether it is a museum or a historical building or a landmark open for tourists, I often buy a bookmark as a souvenir, if there are any available in the gift shop. Some people collect spoons, others collect stamps, I collect bookmarks. So I bought this one, which I found uber cool, nice and sober as well as elegant. I use it when I read any book on Norse mythology. Thus it is already worn out. At the moment I am reading this one, so of course the JORVIK bookmark, or Viking Bookmark as I call it, is the one I use.

22 pâtés à la viande

 Mon frère PJ a cuisiné 22 pâtés à la viande récemment. C'est tout. Je m'ennuie des pâtés à la viande. Surtout des journées froides comme il y en a ces temps-ci.

Monday 23 January 2023

Someone from Calgary

We went to the local toy shop this weekend and bought a few things for Wolfie. When I was at the till, the cashier asked me where I was from, probably because of my accent and all. I said Montreal (because it's always simpler than saying Chicoutimi), and she said from Calgary. So we chatted a bit. As I have never set foot on Calgary, I have no idea what to talk about. So of course I brought up hockey and the 1989 Stanley Cup playoffs, which is one of my most vivid hockey related memory. I'm still sad that the Habs didn't win this one. It was before her time and ut turned out she is not a fan of the Flames either. She mentioned another team, can't remember which one. Anyway, so that's it, I spoke to someone from Calgary. I honestly can't remember if I ever did that before.

Le Petit Chaperon rouge (santon)

Tout d'abord je me suis rappelé il y a peu de temps qu'il y a une page Facebook sur les Santons de Charlevoix. je ne sais pas trop où ils vendent leurs produits, mais ça veut dire qu'il y aura moyen d'en trouver lors de mon retour au Québec. J'ai aussi découvert pleins de santons sans leurs photos.
Dont ce Petit Chaperon rouge un peu garçon manqué. J'aimerais bien qu'il fasse partie de ma future collection malgré tout. Le conte me fascinant depuis que je suis tout petit, il me semble qu'un santon à l'effigie du personnage serait une bonne idée.

Sunday 22 January 2023

Pound Puppies are back!

 Well, that came off as a surprise: we went to the local toy shop yesterday and lo and behold, here is what I saw. On the picture, right there. I could not believe my eyes but yes, the Pound Puppies are back! I can still remember the jingle. My brothers and I loved Pound Puppies. What I loved about them and I hope it is still part of the brand, is that not one was the same to the other. There were different spots, different colours, shape and ear size for each one of them. So your puppy was always unique, he was your own. Wolfie did not seem to think all that much of them, but he might receive one or two for his next birthday.

Un bateau nommé Isabelle

 Nous sommes allés au magasin de jouets hier. La raison: j'ai par ma propre maladresse brisé l'un des jouets de Wolfie et il falait trouver un remplaçant. ce fut donc ce bateau. Qui a pour nom Isabelle. Je trouve que c'est une touche de réalisme assez amusante et sympathique. Sinon, quelqu'un sait quelle sorte de bateau Isabelle est et ce qu'elle peut faire? Je ne m'y connais pas en bateau.

Saturday 21 January 2023

Police Set

The treasures one can find at the local toy shop. Anyway, when I went Christmas shopping for Wolfie, I bought this police set, which included a handgun, ID card, badge, watch(?) and of course handcuffs. At £6.99, I think it was a pretty good deal for all the essentials for a police officer. They looked quite real too: we had sets like this when I was a child, but they didn't look that good. Wolfie loved it. Police work is one of his obsessions and he might become a cop when he grows up. Until then, we play our own stories of cops and robbers and it's like living crime fiction stories, lead by the imagination of a six years old boy. It's just so much fun.

Les 75 ans du fleurdelisé

Voici un anniversaire important à souligner pour le Québécois expatrié et nationaliste que je suis: le fleurdelisé a 75 ans aujourd'hui. Il est pas beau rien qu'un peu. Je ne suis pas très porté sur les démonstrations de chauvinisme, mais je peux quand même dire que c'est un beau drapeau, le drapeau du Québec, et que je me sens moins seul aujourd'hui: je sais grâce aux réseaux sociaux (notamment via la Délégation générale du Québec à Londres) que bien des Québécois expatriés comme moi vont souligner l'anniversaire. Certains ici même en Angleterre.

Friday 20 January 2023

A Map of the Nine Realms

I blogged on Wednesday about the world tree YggdrasilAnd I remembered that I had another drawing of the tree in  The Penguin Book of Norse Myths: Gods of the Vikings, with more details of the Nine Realms on it and the mythical creatures. I think I prefer this image to the other. So I decided to share it today, just because it is a very cool picture and a useful map. I intend to blog in more details about the worlds and the creatures pictured on it this year, when I have the time and inspiration. A lot of what you can see here deserves an entry on Vraie Fiction. Anyway, until then, you have a map to find your way if you were traveling between the Nine Worlds. Don't thank me.

Les tubes

Parlons un peu de vêtements d'hiver aujourd'hui. Vous voyez ici deux tubes, le gris est celui de ma femme, le vert forêt c'est le mien. Je ne sais pas si c'est une invention québécoise, mais je n'en ai jamais vu ailleurs et ce fût pour ma femme une découverte majeure lorsqu'elle est venue au Québec. Elle trouve ça plus pratique qu'un foulard. Parce que c'est plus pratique, soyons franc: ça couvre le cou et, si nécessaire, le visage, tout en étant vraiment facile à mettre. Quand on va au Québec en hiver, on se restocke en tubes, cadeaux de ma mère qui semble toujours en avoir pour les expatriés que nous sommes.

Thursday 19 January 2023

Afternoon Tea

 It has been freezing cold outside this week. To cope with it and because insulation in this country is close to non existent, I have decided to take a few drastic measures. Among them, my tea intake has increased exponentially. It usually does on cold days, especially when I'm at work. I have enough stocks for now. Thankfully, among the things I received in the Christmas gift box my employer sent me was afternoon tea. Only ten bags, but that is quite useful when it gets later in the day and you want to warm yourself up, but with less caffeine. So you can sleep at night.

Montreal Pool Room

Mon frère PJ a mangé ce gros repas cochon de hot doye stimé et de poutine au Montreal Pool Room. Jamais été, mais il faudrait. Quoique je ne pense pas que je serais capable de manger de la poutine avec un hot dog. C'est une institution montréalaise, après tout.

Wednesday 18 January 2023

The Tar controversy

You may have heard about this. So my favourite actress Cate Blanchett has performed in Tar, a musical drama about Lydia Tar, a brilliant and famous conductor who is also a sex predator and a monster. She also happens to be a lesbian. I haven't seen it, but according to a wide majority of critics the film is great, maybe even a masterpiece, and it might earn Blanchett an Oscar. Which would make up for all the Oscars she has been nominated for, but did not win (I'm still bitter about the 1999 ceremony because of it. However, it has been harshly criticised by real life female conductor Marin Alsop as an anti-woman, anti-feminist and homophobic movie, because the villain protagonist happens to be a woman and a lesbian. More on the controversy in this article. Cate Blanchett responded to the criticism and I don't think I am being a fanboy if I add that she defended her work very eloquently. Now I have not seen the film, but I found Alsop's criticism utterly unfair and frankly a tad hysterical. Making a woman the villain of a story does not make the work chauvinistic. In art, just like in real life, some women can be evil and predatory. And from all accounts, the portrait Blanchett makes of Lydia Tar is one that is subtle and nuanced, she is not a pantomyme villain. Yes, they could have made a man the badguy, but then he wouldn't have been played by Cate Blanchett. Furthermore, I doubt that a vocal feminist like Blanchett, who also has a wide lesbian fanbase, would make, even subconsciously, a chauvinistic movie. So yeah, in sum, I know I'm a fanboy, but people should get a grip. And while I have absolutely no idea when I can find the time for it, I really want to watch Tar.

Le dilemne du casanier

Une amie a publié ce meme sur Facebook et j'ai trouvé ça très drôle, assez pour le partager ici. Quand tu es introverti comme moi, en plus d'être casanier pour mille et une raisons, ben c'est pas mal ça qui est ça.

Tuesday 17 January 2023

New Snake

 We went to a birthday party last weekend, one of Wolfie's school friends. As usual in these events, the children receive a number of freebies, little party bags presents and so on. Among the freebies, Wolfie got this snake, which he chose as a reward after doing some activities. The snake is not exactly similar, but is pretty much based on the same model as the toy snakes I bought last year, thenselves exactly the kind of snakes that were all the rage when I was growing up. I don't think we can have enough of them, so I am glad we have a new one in our menagerie. Well, Wolfie's menagerie, but you know what I mean.

Question existentielle (378)

Je n'ai pas posé de question existentielle depuis février 2022. Il était temps que je me rattrape. En voici une nouvelle:

-Quels sont les bons aspects de janvier?

J'ai des réponses, mais je suis curieux de connaître les vôtres.

Monday 16 January 2023

Blue Monday (or not)

In case you did not know, today is Blue Monday. Allegedly the most depressing day of the year. Of course, this is according to pseudo-scientific considerations, so for me it is pure hogwash. Not that I never felt dow on a Monday in January and that I did not find it difficult in the past, but there are reasons why I find Mondays in January and Blue Monday in particular to be not too bad, all things considered. Here is a non-exhaustive list:

-I don't have to commute to go to work anymore.

-I don't hate my job. (Three years ago I might have felt differently about Blue Monday).

-I genuinely prefer January to June or July, especially if there is a heatwave. So I don't feel so down.

-I'm way over the post-Christmas blues at this point in the month.

-This year I only got back from leave last Monday, so this working month will be considerably shorter.

Therefore this Monday should not be too bad, touch wood. And worst case scenario... It would still be just a lousy Monday, just like any other lousy Monday you can have in a year.


Mon père m'a envoyé cette photo ainsi que d'autres hier. Des glaçons de bonbon clair, comme dans une certaine chanson. L'hiver comme je ne le connais plus, parce que je ne suis plus au Québec. mais on annonce de la neige (peut-être) pour cette semaine. Sauf que si elle tombe, elle ne restera pas. Et nous n'aurons certainement pas de magnifiques glaçons comme ceux-ci. Mais au moins j'ai les photos que m'envoie mon père.

Sunday 15 January 2023

Zebra plane over the Amazon

I took this picture on Amazon World in the Isle of Wight. It was one of Wolfie's favourite places. It was like stepping into a big Hollywood production or an adventure story, as they had put a lot of of rather dramatic stuff in their decor. Such as this plane, with the skeleton in it. It is just deliciously ominous. Whoever piloted this plane got more than he bargained for and met a gruesome end. For Wolfie, it was a gigantic playground that fueled his imagination. It is still a source of inspiration for his games.

Statue "amazonienne"

 Photo prise à Amazon World sur l'Isle of Wigh. Je ne sais pas si elle est authentique ou si c'est un truc exotique à deux balles (sans doute que c'est la seconde option), mais elle était assez imrpessionnante. Nous avions l'impression d'être hors de l'Angleterre dans un coin perdu de l'Amérique du Sud. Je me sentais dans une certaine série de mon enfance. Wolfie était passablement impressionné. Tout le site était un peu comme un terrain de jeu pour Wolfie et moi, en tout cas elle a nourri notre imagination.

Saturday 14 January 2023

Things to do in January

 My January so far has been spent inside doing very little. Maybe it is the return to normal after the holidays, maybe it is just because the weather has been gloomy, but we spent most of our days in. As we are almost half way through, this might change. I read this article from English Heritage, suggesting five things to do in January. I invite you to read it, it has some useful suggestions. Some of them involve going out on one of their sites and I do think we have some nearby(ish). We don't walk enough nowadays, so we just might do that somewhere this month. So the family's second half of January should be a little bit more active and involve walking.

La tempête du vendredi 13

Une nouvelle qui n'en est pas une: il a fait une grosse tempête de neige hier au Québec. C'est pa première tempête de 2023. Ici, je désespère d'en voir une. Enfin bref, elle est arrivée un vendredi 13, ce qui peut sembler pour certains assez approprié. Moi, je me trouverais chanceux s'il y en avait une ici, je m'ennuie des grosses tempêtes de neige...

Friday 13 January 2023

Friday the 13th of January

So today we are Friday the 13th of January. I hope nobody among you is superstitious. Friday is Friday, whatever the date it is, so for me it cannot be all bad. It is the first of two Fridays the 13th this year, so if you don't like it, you might take solace in the fact that it will be out of the way early on. And January is an unpleasant month for many anyway, so it might as well has its 13th be on a Friday. Otherwise, I have little to say about it, except that I tend to mention every Friday the 13th on this blog, just for the sake of it. I am not superstitious, but superstitions do interest me, if that makes sense.

Conflit de canard

 J'ai piqué ça de la page Facebook d'un ami, qui l'a piqué sur une autre page Facebook. C'est un meme qui donne un calembour si atroce que je ne pouvais pas ne pas le partager. Je ne sais pas si c'est un calembour glacé et sophistiqué, ou un calembour atroce. Mais ça m'a fait rire.

Thursday 12 January 2023

About empty trains

This picture was taken by my brother PJ when he took the train to visit my brother Andrew. I often forget that there are trains in Québec. And I don't know if it was because it was the time of day, the time of year or because railway travels are not very popular, but the train was practically empty. Which from what I understand was heavenly. I don't think I have ever been in an empty train, although I have been in almost empty ones, particularly when I was going from Liverpool to where my fiancée lived, traveling by night. If it does get a bit eerie sometimes, it is also relaxing. I might have to travel by train this month, most likely they will be crammed.

Une promenade dans les arbres

Lors de notre séjour dans l'Isle of Wight, nous sommes allés à Robin Hill, un parc pour enfants avec des jeux et des activités. Parmi celles qui ont beaucoup plu à petit loup, il y avait les passerelles dans les arbres, qui nous permettaient de nous promener d'un coin à l'autre. C'était à la fois mystérieux et exotique, comme jouer à un jeu de rôle grandeur nature. Je l'ai dit et je vais le répéter: l'avantage d'être le père d'un jeune garçon, c'est que l'on peut vivre une deuxième enfance.

Wednesday 11 January 2023


 As you may remember (fron this post), I have on my reading list The Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson, which I have sort of started reading, among other books. And in the book there is a drawing of Yggdrasil, the sacred tree that holds the whole universe according to Norse mythology. I love the image. I am now familiar with Yggdrasil, as I have read a lot about Norse mythology and you can generally find a picture of the tree in every book on the subject.What I find cool is that I can now identify some of the critters and characters on it. I am no specialist, but it's still nice to see familiar elements when you read a book.

Bientôt Pâques?

J'ai trouvé cette photo sur la page Facebook de la Chocolaterie des Pères trappistes. En plus, elle date de quelques jours déjà. Il semblerait qu'il va y avoir bientôt des poules en chocolat en vente. Je me pose la question: déjà? Janvier est à peine commencé! La morale de l'histoire est simple: une fête chasse l'autre.

Tuesday 10 January 2023

New Year, New Books

 First, let's start with some good news I have been wanting to share: indie bookshops have hit a 10years high in 2022. That bodes well for the future of both book retail and literacy. That said, I have yet to go to the local bookshop since the beginning of the year. Shame on me. Even though I already have a lot of books yet to read, buying new books for the new year is one of the rituals I particularly enjoy. And it is good for the local economy. So a visit is in order as soon as possible.

S'encabanner (mot du jour)

 Voici le mot du jour: s'encabanner. Dois-je préciser ce que ça veut dire. Nous avons passé les derniers jours encabannés, justement, parce que la température n'a pas été clémente: il n'a pas vraiment arrêté de pleuvoir depuis le début de l'année. Alors nous sommes sortis pour mener petit loup à l'école et le chercher et pour voir les parents de ma femme. Sinon, nous n'avons pas quitté la maison. Et je vais le confesser: je n'en ai pas trop souffert. En fait, je crois que ça nous arrange tous un peu.

Monday 9 January 2023

First Day Back

 Bit of news of some small importance: this is my first day back to work today, after three weeks of leave. I am always a bit anxious on my first working day in January. Thankfully, I like my job, my employer and (most of) my colleagues, so that should make things much easier. And I still work from home, so I don't have to exhaust myself in commute. Of course, Mondays are generally more difficult, let alone Mondays after extended leave, but the circumstances this year should allow to make the transition easier.


 Bon, bon je sais, ce ne sont pas de vrais cerfs. La photo prise à Hogshaw Farm en octobre 2022.Je la partage aujourd'hui parce que je trouvais que l'image est plus hivernale qu'automnale. Enfin, je dis hivernale, mais je devrais dire que ça évoque pour moi l'hiver anglais: froid, voire même glacial, mais sans neige. Enfin bref je trouvais que des chevreuils dans une forêt, avec des teintes de bleu, de gris et de blanc, c'était joliment atmosphérique en plus d'être saisonnier.

Sunday 8 January 2023


 I took this picture last October at Hogshaw Farm and I wanted to share it today just because. It is a wildcat. I have never seen one in the wild, at least not that I can think of (I know some people confuse them with domestic cats), but I saw a few in petting zoos and animal sanctuaries. I love them, they are like little Northern tigers. Maybe it's only me, but I do think they really do look like feral, untamed little felines. I would not mess with them. Oh and what haunting eyes they have!

L'Apprenti Docte Rat

Quelqu'un parmi vous se rappelle du Docte Rat? C'était un jeu de société qui testait nos connaissances. Je n'y ai joué qu'une fois (j'ai d'ailleurs gagné). Cela dit,je veux vous parler de sa version pour enfants, qui s'appelait L'Apprenti Docte Rat. Nous l'avions reçu à Noël, mes frères et moi, et nous adorions. je gagnais la plupart du temps. C'était un jeu d'érudition amusant, mais aux questions devenues vite beaucoup trop faciles. Cela dit, on ne se lassait pas de l'humour bon enfant plein de calembours pas toujours atroces. Je me rappelle que le gagnant pouvait porter un macaron. Je ne sais pas si mes parents l'ont encore. Je suis trop vieux pour y jouer, mais ce serait amusant d'y jeter un coup d'oeil.

Saturday 7 January 2023


I share this picture which I found on the Facebook page of the British Museum. It is a coin whith the depiction of the Roman god Janus. With one face looking at the past and another looking at the future. January is of course named after the god, so it is fitting that I share it here today. You can find more about the coin here. I have nothing else to add, except that a visit to the British Museum is long overdue. I might add it to my new year's resolutions.


Quelqu'un s'en souvient? Je désespérais de trouver quoi que ce soit en ligne sur Ciné-Famille, l'émission du samedi après-midi à Radio-Canada qui passait des films pour enfants (surtout des dessins animés, selon mon souvenir). À partir de janvier surtout, Ciné-Famille permettait de nous donner du moral pour passer à travers l'année jusqu'aux vacances. Et il y avait plusieurs trouvailles fascinantes. Mais enfin bref, je suis tombé par hasard sur le début de l'émission sur YouTube. Je partage donc aujourd'hui.

Friday 6 January 2023

Bring back personal blogging

I recently read a column on The Verge (don't know this one) from Monique Judge (don't know her at all) titled "Bring back personal blogging." I really enjoyed the article and the arguments brought forward. Because a blog like Vraie Fiction is now pretty much a rarity, in fact personal blogging is a lost art, maybe a dying one even. And I think the online world would be poorer without it.After about 15 years (give or take), I still blog daily and I enjoy it a lot, even though I migt only be blogging for a handful of readers, if that. But I find the interaction more genuine on a blog than other social media platforms, even when we have trivial subject matters (which is often the case for me). So yeah, I hope Monique Judge's call is heard and we see more blogs and more blogging this year.

La Galette des Rois

Ceci est le dernier billet de Noël, enfin des Fêtes. Parce que bien des gens ont tendance à l'oublier, mais nous sommes le jour des Rois, ou l'Épiphanie. Le dernier jour des Fêtes, en théorie. En pratique, on ne célèbre plus guère, en tout cas ici en Angleterre et au Québec. Enfants, on l'a fêtait assez, puis de moins en moins. À Montréal, j'achetais une galette des rois de Première Moisson, rien que pour souligner. Il y avait une couronne en papier qui venait avec. Je la mangeais seul, parce que mon frère était allergique aux amandes. Première Moisson en fait deux cette année, une galette normale et une galette des rois "signature" avec érable et pacanes. Il doit bien avoir un marché pour l'épiphanie, j'imagine, et donc des gens qui célèbrent. Mais pour nous, c'est déjà le retour à la normale.

Thursday 5 January 2023

Spy Meeting in Marlow

 I blogged about this particular subject back in 2019, but thought this would be the right time to blog about it again, sadly I miss the date by one day. Anyway, for those who read John Le Carré's first novel Call for the Dead,you may remember that protagonist George Smiley was summoned by letter to a meeting. The letter goes as follow:

"Dear George, 

    It is essential that I lunch with you tomorrow at The Compleat Angler at Marlow. Please do your best to meet me there at one o'clock. There is something I have to tell you.


Samuel Fennan

The first funny thing is that I have been to The Compleat Angler in Marlow a couple of times. The other funny thing is that the letter by Fennan was dated on the 3rd of January, so the meeting would have been held yesterday the 4th. I wonder if The Compleat Angler was a place of pilgrimage for Le Carré's fans yesterday. Next time I go there or nearby, I will try to take a picture of the hotel.

Il y a 25 ans, la Tempête de Verglas

Voici un court billet pour vous rappeler qu'il y a 25 ans, le 5 janvier 1998, la Tempête de verglas commençait et allait envoyer le début de l'année chez le diable. Dans mon cas particulier, c'était la session d'hiver, qui fût très bordélique. Voici un article de la Presse sur le sujet. Je me rappelle de bien des détails, comme d'avoir manqué d'électricité pendant une journée et d'avoir tenté de faire mes lectures à la lumière du jour, jusqu'à ce que le soir tombe.

The Green Hoodie

My wife hates the colour green, for some reason which I haven't really figured out yet. Unfortunately for her, it is a colour both Wolfie and I love. Nevertheless, in spite of her loathing of everything green, she bought me a green hoodie for last Christmas. It shows how much she loves me. The hoodie is dark green, like olive green or forest green, I'd say pine tree coloured is the best way to describe it. And it is the nicest, comfiest piece of clothing I have now. It is not something to wear outside in public, as it is not elegant by any stretch of the imagination. It is literally a hoodie meant to keep warm on a cold day when you want to relax. And it has a large front pocket to put whatever you need to. And apparently it was quite cheap. So since I received it, it is my go-to piece of clothing. I am very grateful to my wife for buying it, which is a consolation for her.

Un livre sur les Saguenéens

 J'ai appris sur la page Facebook des Bouquinistes l'existence d'un livre sur l'histoire des Saguenéens de Chicoutimi. Dans le Junior Majeur, si tant que je le suivais, c'était bien entendu mon équipe préférée. Plus de détails sur le livre dans cet article du Quotidien. Sinon, je trouve que le titre est un peu long: Les Saguenéens de Chicoutimi depuis 1973, une Histoire de Fierté. Cela dit, une remarque sybilline pour conclure: toute histoire saguenéenne est une histoire de fierté.

Wednesday 4 January 2023

Chronicles of Crime

 A few days ago, we went to John Lewis with some friends. I am always on the lookout for new board games and I saw a few that caught my attention. Among them, Chronicles of Crime, which seems really cool. It looks almost like a role-playing game and some kind of interactive crime fiction, with cool characters and atmosphere. I did not buy it though. Rightly, my wife told me that we better play the board games we already have first. So we will try to invite a few friends in the new year to try some games we already have. That said, I will put Chronicles of Crime on my birthday presents wish list.

Les rideaux de la chambre de Wolfie

Je pensais bloguer sur le sujet depuis un temps, je me suis dit autant le faire maintenant. Je sais que ça peut paraître banal, mais ce ne l'est pas. Enfin bref, voici les rideaux de la chambre de Wolfie. Vous y trouverez dessus ses obsessions: les véhicules de construction, pelles mécaniques, grues et autres, ainsi et surtout que des tracteurs, son dada depuis qu'il a un an. Quand nous avions préparé sa chambre avant sa naissance, nous avions naïvement pensé lui donner un décor forestier, avec un papier peint et/ou des rideaux décorés avec des arbres, des écureuils et des ours, ce genre de choses. Quand ce fût le temps de la décorer selon les goûts de Wolfie, force fût de constater que ses goûts étaient radicalement différents. Morale de l'histoire: être parent, c'est toujours sauter dans l'inconnu, peu importe nos attentes.

Tuesday 3 January 2023

"You always never do that!"

 "You always never do that!" is a a new complaint Wolfie has when he thinks we should do something more often. Like giving presents, preparing certain meals (desserts) or going somewhere he likes. Or he tells me this when I complain about something that we don't do often enough. In other words, it is a new Wolfism which I wanted to share on this blog. He generally says it with vehemence, when he is supremely irritated. Nevertheless, he is so very cute when he says it.

Brique aux fruits

 Sera-ce mon dernier bille de Noël? Commes les Fêtes achèvent et sont de facto chose du passé, je crois que je vais rebloguer sur le sujet aux Rois, puis ce sera tout. Mais enfin bref, toujours est-il que mon père a reçu de son beau-frère mon oncle un authentique gâteau aux fruits du Mélèze. On dirait une brique. Il paraît que ça a un goût assez particulier et très différents des gâteaux aux fruits "ordinaires". J'avoue que je suis assez curieux.

Monday 2 January 2023

Train and Snow

I blogged a few days ago about a snowy train station, which my brother My brother PJ went through to visit myother brother Andrew. Well, after his journey back, he shared a picture that looks far more atmospheric and just so perfect, I had to share it here. I don't travel by train often enough and I have only very seldom been on a train journey after it had snowed. I have nothing to add, except that I love the look and feel of this picture.

L'aéroport de petit loup

Je ne sais pas si c'est parce que nous n'avons pas passé les Fêtes au Québec cette année, mais toujours est-il que Wolfie a décidé de se faire son propre aéroport. D'habitude il est obsédé par les voyages en train, ces temps-ci, c'est l'avion. Il faut dire que je lui ai acheté un avion à John Lewis, que vous voyez sur cette photo. Alors il a peut-être seulement voulu lui donner un environnement. Mais depuis quelques jours, il passe des heures à le faire décoller, voler et aterrir.

Sunday 1 January 2023

"For auld lang syne my jo"

Happy new year everyone! As a tradition on this blog, I am sharing again the classic Auld Lang Syne, sung here by Scottish artist Julie Fowlis. It's not the first time she shows up on this blog and it's been long overdue. She's an amazing artist. And she says "my jo" and not "my dear" and that's a bonus reason for me to choose her take on the song. Anyway, happy new year again.

Mafalda, Felipe et la nouvelle année

Bonne année à tous et à toutes! Pour la commencer du bon pied, je partage un gag de Mafalda. Elle a souvent parlé de la nouvelle année et avec beaucoup de sagesse. Ici, il ne lui faut qu'une seule question pour briser les certitudes naïves de Felipe. J'avoue que j'ai souvent l'état d'esprit de Mafalda lorsque vient le nouvel an.