Monday 31 July 2023
Je commence ce billet par un lieu commun: nous sommes le dernier jour de juillet. C'est toujours un peu délicat quand la fin du mois tombe un lundi et que l'on est au travail. Ce qui est mon cas aujourd'hui. Mon 31 juillet ne sera sans doute pas tranquille. Cela dit, comment a été votre mois? Ici, ce fut somme toute assez plaisant, parce que la température a été assez fraîche, comparée à celle du mois de juin (le plus chaud de l'histoire) mais aussi comparée à celle de juillet 2022, qui nous a donné une très mauvaise canicule. Je n'aime pas l'été, juillet est le pire mois de l'année pour moi à bien des égards, mais cette année il a été clément.
Sunday 30 July 2023
I found this video on the YouTube channel of the National Railway Museum of York. testimonies for the 100th anniversary of the Flying Scotsman. Maybe the coolest and greatest train in history. I found this quite touching. It speaks to me both as a train afficionado and a shameless nostalgic.
Saturday 29 July 2023
I went to the local sweet shop today, after running some other errands. As I chit chatted with the shop owner, he said something that deserves to be mentioned here as a new great unknown line. He said: "I drank everything. In the end, I only love water. And whiskey." I thought it was absolutely brilliant. It made me laugh anyway.
Je suis allé à l'épicerie fine tenue par un Français aujourd'hui. C'est l'endroit où je vais acheter mon vin. Il m'a dit qu'il avait rencontré des compatriotes à moi pas plus tard qu'hier. J'en ai rencontré à quelques reprises, je sais qu'il y a un couple qui demeure dans la même région que moi, mais dans une autre ville pas loin (si mes souvenirs sont exacts). Je crois que je vais visiter l'épicerie plus souvent, dans l'espoir de rencontrer d'autres expatriés.
We went downtown a week ago and we stopped at an Oxfam shop. We often stop in charity shops and we often get out of them with purchases. That comes with the territory when you have a child: he's going to love something in there. Of course Wolfie found a thing he liked. So we bought for £0.99 the first otter in his ever growing plush menagerie. A sea otter apparently. His name is Ottie and I must say, he is very cute. Very cuddlable too. I am not complaining: I love otters and I bought this one for a good cause.
Friday 28 July 2023
Thursday 27 July 2023
Wednesday 26 July 2023
Yesterday I went downtown for a quick grocery shopping as we were short on a lot of things. It was a simple top up. On my way back, I bumped into one of Wolfie's teaching assistants, maybe his favourite TA (and I think he is her favourite pupil too). We had a quick chat, she told me: "I need to go to the shop. I have two boys, one 28, the other 25 and they just eat all the time. The quantity of proteins they need every day, it's mad!" I told her that it was similar with Wolfie as he was growing up and seemed to never feel full. Then I told her: "The males in our household live mainly on a diet of peanut butter." I think it deserves to be a new great unknown line. She agreed that peanut butter was great anyway, because of the protein intake. Anyway, that made my evening. I feel safe knowing that Wolfie has a TA that understands boys so well and knows what's good for them. And I also now that peanut butter is going to be an important part of family life for years to come.
I have started this year a tradition of blogging about police, army or secret service forces around the world, just for kick. Last time I did was in March, so I thought that I should do it again, if I want to make it a real tradition. So today, just for fun, let's talk about the Carabinieri. I went to Italy once, but it is one of the elements of the country that struck me: the distintive look of the Carabinieri, or rather their uniform. Even their ordinary uniform is kind of distinctive, unusually elegant. But what truly sets them apart is that they are both a police force and an army force (although separate from the army, from what I understand). They are (again, from what I understand) a sort of military police. Regardless of their role and reputation in real life (which I know nothing about), I think there is a lot of potential for drama in fiction, particularly of course crime fiction. Anyway, if I have Italian readers, regular or venturing here, please tell me in the comments about the Carabinieri and your experience with them. I want to know more.
Tout ça pour dire que, ben, c'est la Sainte-Anne. Je cite toujours Menaud à la Sainte-Anne, à défaut de pouvoir me procurer des raisins de chez nous, fils du feu car ils poussent en terre brûlée. Par conséquent, je parie que la récolte de l'an prochain sera abondante.
Tuesday 25 July 2023
For someonewho does not do hiking or much outdoors activities, I turned out to be a fairly faithful customer of Mountain Warehouse. I often end up in the local shop when I go shopping for anything else. And, more importantly, I often end up buying something. I am not sure why, but it seems that there is always something I need there. A water bottle, a mug, some socks, travel toothbrushes, whatever. Last time I bought something there, I ended up with a 20% discount voucher. I am not sure if it is because I bought a lot of things or if it was simply because there was a sale going on. Then again there is always a sale going on at Mountain Warehouse. So anyway, I went there last weekend with my wife, who needs a new raincoat. Of course I forgot the voucher. I felt so stupid. So we bought nothing. The voucher is redemmable until the end of this month, so I better hurry up. As we are planning our next holiday, we should stop there anyway. I will make sure of it.
Monday 24 July 2023
Sunday 23 July 2023
Saturday 22 July 2023
Okay, so you probably know about the movie Cocaine Bear, which I must confess I haven't seen and don't really care to watch in any case. Well, my wife sent me this article. Its title is obviously clickbait, nevertheless it is an interesting if scary thing to ponder: we might have to deal with sharks intoxicated with cocaine off the coast of Florida. I am fascinated by sharks, like many men of my generation, so my wife knows my fascination for the apex sea predators
so she sends me articles like this one from time to time. I am also watching a documentary about shark attacks, but this will be for another post. Right now, I just wanted to share with you the clickbait article. Okay, so I really don't think this can be taken seriously for now, for one I doubt that much cocaine is being thrown in the wild so to speak, let alone end up in sharks' stomachs, which are from what I understand very resilient. Nevertheless, it would make for a more interesting dramatic premisse than a bear on coke. If sharks do get high on drugs, then humans are to blame. As always.
Les lecteurs de longue date ici savent que j'ai une certaine fascination pour les animaux empaillés. Quand je vais dans des musées ou des endroits qui en ont, je passe beaucoup de temps à les contempler. Ici, il y a toujours des blaireaux, qui font partie de la faune locale. Je n'en ai cependant jamais vu dans la nature. J'en ai vu en captivité dans des zoos et, bien entendu, empaillés. Celui-ci je l'ai trouvé dans la section visiteurs d'un sanctuaire/hôpital pour animaux que nous avons visités il y a quelques semaines. Il valait la visite à lui seul. Certains animaux empaillés ont l'air misérables, en très mauvais état, maganés comme on dit au Québec. Lui pas du tout. Il a l'air vivant.
Friday 21 July 2023
Petite vidéo humoristique trouvée sur la page YouTube de Biolovik, intitulée La téléphoniste du SagLac. Je n'arrive pas à l'intégrer au blogue, ce qui est dommage, mais suivez le lien et vous ne le regretterez pas. Elle fait des classiques instantanés. À répétition.
Thursday 20 July 2023
During my last health check up, the doctor had told me that, according to my level of activities, I was having a sedentary life, which isn't great for a man my age. I had been wanting to be more active since then. Call it laziness, call it procrastination, but I hadn't really got into it. It is only recently that I have started talking proper walks again, I mean walks that last longer than a few minutes. First to go to Wolfie's school for his sports day. I had to stand a whole morning in the rain. Then walk back home to work. Then on Saturday I went downtown on foot for an eye exam and to run some errands. Then again on Sunday, this time as a family, we decided to take a walk in the neighbourhood. It was rather enjoyable, but my muscles were in pain, especially my legs'. I intend to increase my level of activities in the future. In spite of the pain, it made me feel really good. And walking is quite pleasant as itself, especially in the nice little town where we live.
Wednesday 19 July 2023
Tuesday 18 July 2023
As you now know, since Wolfie loves (among other vehicles) tractors, we practice tractor spotting. We can spot regular tractor going through this town and we can now identify new ones. So this morning, during the school run, we spotted one we had never seen before. A smaller one, orange and white, the white on top. Its frame was pretty angular and my wife thought it looked kind of old, both in design and a bit worn out. Sadly I could not take a picture. So now, even though we cannot pretend we are connoisseurs, we might even be able to identify vintage tractors. We will check in our many tractor books (yes we have tractor books too, quite a few of them) if we can find the specific model.
Monday 17 July 2023
You may remember that a few eeks ago, I had to face a sudden and dire situation of tea shortage. On weekdays. On working days. So I had to quickly run to the nearest corner shop and buy an out of price bag of tea bags. Well, I have temporarily solved the issue and in the meantime, I rediscovered a pretty nice brew. So anyway, I stopped at a Co-op a few days ago and bought a box of their home brand Assam tea. I had forgotten how strong it was and how good a kick it gave, especially in the morning, especially when you needed to get on with things and stay alert. So Assam is now my go-to tea and will be for the next few weeks at the very least.
Sunday 16 July 2023
Saturday 15 July 2023
As some of you may know, it is St Swithin's Day today. Which was mentioned, years ago, in The Simpsons, in one of their best summer episodes. I blogged about the day last year and in 2016. This year, I just show you this short clip, which is nevertheless hilarious:
Friday 14 July 2023
I finally finished watching the Israeli crime/spy drama Fauda, which I got hooked on back in February. Four seasons of pure goodness, with plenty of violence, cool Krav Maga stuff, but also plenty of humanity and genuine emotions to leave me wanting for more.Apparently, there will be a fifth season, but I have no idea when it will be aired. In the meantime, I am trying to get my fix of crime/spy dramas with another series featuring Lior Raz (the main actor in Fauda, also one of its creators), called Hit and Run. It's also on Netflix. So far so good, it is well made, but it is much cleaner, more polished and much less... chaotic, if that makes sense. It is less localized, feels less authentic. I am enjoying it though, if only because Raz makes for a relatable as well as believable hero. But I long for more Chaos.
Comme je le souligne à chaque année sur ce Vraie Fiction, nous sommes aujourd'hui le 14 juillet, la Fête nationale française. Jour de la Prise de la bastille, ah ça ira, ça ira, allons z'enfants de la patrie, etc. Non, j'ai l'air de me moquer, mais plus sérieusement, je souhaite un excellent 14 juillet à tous mes lecteurs français (s'il y en a). Je suis avec vous de coeur, surtout que votre Fête nationale est aussi beaucoup une fête républicaine et j'envie beaucoup la France d'être une république (ça et sa laïcité). J'essaie toujours de célébrer un peu, rien qu'à cause de ça.
Thursday 13 July 2023
Sometimes I get worried and I think Wolfie acts recklessly. Like when he climbs up a tree and I find the branches a bit weak. So I ask him not to climb said tree. After I asked him over and over to promise it, he asked me this question, which is a new Wolfism: "Daddy, if I promise you something, is it okay if I say it, but don't do it?" I told him that it kind of defeats the object. That said, I can't help but think it's kind of how many adults deal with promises. Most promises. So this Wolfism is a very innocent statement that reveals a very cynical truth. What do you think?
Ma mère m'a appris cette nouvelle il y a quelquesjours, qui m'a beaucoup étonné: il semblerait qu'on pourrait y avoir des tornades au Québec. On en aurait même vu une à Sainte-Adèle. Et juste avant que je publie le billet, je vois qu'il y a une alerte à la tornade à Gatineau. Les tornades sont à la fois fascinantes et terrifiantes, mais au Québec, elles ont aussi quelque chose d'exotique. On n'en voit pas souvent. Je me rappelle qu'un ami avait bien fait peur à mon frère PJ quand il était enfant en évocant la possibilité d'une tornade à Chicoutimi. Je ne sais pas si la possibilité d'une tornade était une éventualité sérieuse, mais ça nous avait donné un certain frisson. Mais dans tous les cas, si j'ai des lecteurs à Gatineau, bonne chance, courage et soyez prudents.
Wednesday 12 July 2023
You know how much I grew to dislike summertime. In fact, I dread it. I have been dreading this one since April and May, which were thankfully not too hot. And so far, to my relief, summer has been bearable. Well, we had apparently the hottest June on record, but I did not find it worse than any other year. We had a few truly hot days here and there, but overall it has been in the lower 20s. In fact, last week it went down to 16 degree... In July Let that one sink in. I had to wear a light jumper in the evening. Pure bliss. Oh and it has been raining a lot. Sometimes stormy too. Now I don't even dare to be cautiously optimistic: I have been burned before. In fact, I dread a hot August or worse, a summery September. But for at least a week, they are forecasting cooler temperatures in the lower twenties and plenty of rain, so I will take it as it is.
Tuesday 11 July 2023
Monday 10 July 2023
You may remember from last week that I found a bunch of loyalty cards in my wallet. Well, among them I found a Waterstones card. That is a very interesting finding, on many levels. I haven' been to Waterstones to purchase something for at few years now, even though I we live not too far from one. I visted this one a few times, but bought nothing. No particular reason for it, except maybe now that I have an independent bookshop to go to, I prefer to support it. That said, I used to love Waterstones a lot. The loyalty card is very old: we had to collect stamps, you get one stamp per £10 you spend, you collect ten stamps you get a Waterstones giftcard or £10 in bonus points on your Waterstones Card (I am not sure I have that one). The card was valid until... the 30th of April 2014.
Sunday 9 July 2023
Saturday 8 July 2023
As you may remember from a recent post, I have been (re)reading H.G. Wells' s The Invisible Man, which I had read more than 30 years ago. I noticed something I had not paid attention to the first time I read the novel: a lot of the plot is set in the village of Iping, where the Invisible Man is first, errrr... seen? I checked quickly online and it turned out to be a real village, not a made up one. I thought it was pretty neat, it gives Wells' tale a veneer of authenticity. It also means that an obscure English village got its name immortalised in a classic work of sicence-fiction. And that is pretty cool. Now we don't live near there, so we will not be visiting any time soon, but it could be interesting one day. I wonder if there is anything to see there since its most infamous visitor showed up (sort of showed up). Maybe some H.G. Wells fans? Academics perhaps? If you know anything, please let me know in the comments.
Tiens, ça fait un bail que je n'ai pas posé de question existentielle (en partie parce que plus personne n'y répond). Une m'est venu en tête récemment, alors la voici:
-Quelle est la meilleure confiture pour manger avec des croissants?
Friday 7 July 2023
Wolfie said the cutest thing yesterday and I had to share it here: we learned that one of his friends at school, one he is really close to (they even do the school run together sometimes) is sick. Her two brothers are sick too, and so were their mother. The family has not been lucky. Wolfie's friend has been having a fever for a few days. So we suggested to Wolfie that he sends her a get well soon word, something to let her know he thinks of her. He said: "I don't want her to get well soon, I want her to get well now." So yes, that is so adorable that I had to share it here.
Thursday 6 July 2023
You may know that, Wolfie loving all sorts of vehicles, especially tractors, we practice in this family tractor spotting. Every time there is one rolling nearby, passing through our town, we spot it. It is like a reflex. And we recognise those we see more than once. Well, there is a new kid on the block, so to speak. I mean we saw one recently that we had never seen before: an orange (very orange) tractor. Orange clothes seem to have become fashionable, then we started seeing orange vehicles, but this is our first sight of an orange tractor. Sadly I could not take a picture of it. I love orange things, especially if they are a darker shade of orange, for me it is an automnal colour. So I hope we can see this tractor again.
Wednesday 5 July 2023
Tuesday 4 July 2023
A few months ago, I watched The Night Agent. It was all right and entertaining enough, if a bit light and derivative. But it got me curious about something. You see, one of the characters drinks pu'er tea. Its virtues are discussed briefly, apparently it keeps one's awake and alert or something. I have seen pu'er, or pu-her, or p'u-erh tea in various businesses, but I don't remember ever trying it. Its mention in the Netflix series got me curious, so I have a few questions, which I have decided to ask on this blog:
-Are there anyone among you, my dear readers, who drink pu'er tea?
-How does it taste?
-What are its virtues? Not the alleged ones, the ones you have experienced, if any.
-Is there a proper way to prepare it and drink it?
-Finally, what's the correct spelling? Pu'er, pu-her, p'u-her tea, or something else entirely?
Well, that's it for me tonight.
Triste nouvelle aujourd'hui: Denise Bombardier est décédée subitement ce matin. On dira ce qu'on voudra d'elle et ça m'est arrivé de lui lancer des vacheries, mais elle demeure une grande intellectuelle et une féministe de la vieille école qui a été pour beaucoup de femmes (et d'hommes) une source d'inspiration. Je ne l'aurais pas dit il y a dix ans, mais je vais m'ennuyer d'elle.
Monday 3 July 2023
Sunday 2 July 2023
A few days ago, I was tidying up my wallet from all the old cards I could find in it. I made a few interesting discoveries, which I intend to blog about, one post for each. But I will start with this one: I found among them a Second Cup loyalty card. It must be an old one: it's in a very sorry state, all broken on one side and it's one of these cards that must be punched. Like in the old days. It's only been punched twice, probably some coffee I bought for my wife. I really cannot remember for the life of me where I got it. At first I thought maybe in Québec, but it's only in English. So I now suspect it might have been in Cardiff, "only" six years ago. Sitll, the punching seems weird. do they still use it anywhere? That or stamping? Be that as it may, I doubt it is still valid and the nearest Second Cup is kind of far away, so I don't think I will be using it.
Saturday 1 July 2023
-He calls the game War 2, or War.
-We play a special force, a bit like a S.W.A.T. team mixed with military force and we are a bit of a spy team too.
-The team is called Black Whale, don't ask me why.
-He's the Captain and of course the commanding officer. I'm lieutenant or something.
-He's Max, I'm Joe, but we also have codenames, which change. I think I'm Black Bear or Grumpy Bear, sometimes he's Shark, sometimes he has another codename.
-Our enemy is a terrorist/mob organisation called Phantom. It was called Giant Ghost before, but he thought Phantom sounded scarier, so it changed.
-At the head of Phantom is a sinister and mysterious figure codenamed King Cobra. Real name unknown. He always has a mask covering his face and he is clad in red, "like blood."
The plots are fairly thin so far, they consist of going from A to B in various means of transport (more on that another day) and shooting Phantom mercenaries. We are also trying to discover King Cobra's real identity. There is never a dull moment. Anyway, if you are not bored with it I will blog more about it. I am just very proud of Wolfie's creative mind.
Nous sommes le 1er juillet, ce qui bien entendu au Québec signifie... Le Jour du Déménagement. Ironiquement, c'est en Angleterre que j'ai déménagé un 1er juillet, il y a de cela sept ans aujourd'hui. Dans la maison où nous vivons maintenant. Enfin non, ce n'est pas exactement vrai: nous avons déménagé le lendemain, mais nous sommes devenus proprios un 1er juillet. Je ne crois pas l'avoir souligné, mais nous ferons peut-être quelque chose aujourd'hui afin de célébrer, je ne sais pas quoi. N'hésitez pas à faire vos suggestions dans les commentaires.