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.

Les fantômes de l'Halloween

Mon père a pris cette photo lors d'une de ses prommenades. On ne fête pas l'Halloween autant ici.

Thursday 26 October 2023

Baron Ausbach

For today's countdown to Halloween post, I give you another trip down memory lane as well as a villain. All good stories need a good antagonist and horror stories are no exception. You may remember that I am found of the Forbidden Gateway gamebooks, a horror series that sadly had only two titles: Where the Shadows Stalk and its sequel, Terrors Out of Time. The first book ends on a cliffhanger, where an artifact your character brought is stolen by a mysterious figure. In the next book, this figure is introduced: it is Baron Ausbach. He is the main villain of the story and a really cool one at that. Not a vampire, although he does share some characteristics with them, but a sort of undead who looks like a mummified corpse(later on he also sports a pair of giant bat wings). What I like about him is that he is very much like classic horror monsters of old: as smart and resourceful as he is repulsive. He is not a mindless beast or a dumb zombie, he has a plan and he knows what he is doing. And his scheme involves world domination, of course. There should be more villains like Baron Ausbach in horror.

Les journées d'un automne idyllique

 Photo prise le 25 octobre 2015, dans un parc local. Je l'ai retrouvée dans mes affaires, je ne suis pas certain si je l'ai publiée avant, mais la voici, car elle sert mon propos. Depuis quelques jours, c'est comme ça qu'est le mois d'octobre: ensoleillé, frais et vraiment parfait. J'aimerais pouvoir sortir chaque jour au lieu de rester enfermé toute la journée à cause du travail. Mais je fais un point d'honneur à sortir après ma journée de travail en fin d'après-midi pour marcher quelques minutes et profiter de ma saison préférée.

Wednesday 25 October 2023

Macabre Butler

For today's third(!) countdown to Halloween post, another picture taken from the Scarecrow Festival. Which uses the term scarecrow rather liberally, but that's all right. Some "scarecrows" were no scarecrows at all and were rather macabre. Take this charming fella, for instance. A skeleton butler who looks like the Grim Reaper's cousin. Some Halloween decorations deserve their own horror story. Because I think there is a story to be told about this guy: elegant, probably polite, even amicable, but definitely oh so sinister. Like the villains in old Gothic stories. Somebody wants to imagine his life (so to speak) story? Write your ideas in the comments.Starting perhaps with a name.

Mont Fuji vu du train

 Autre photo prise au Japon par mon frère PJ. On voit le Mont Fuji à gauche. Rien à ajouter pour le moment.

Fiendish Fancies and Me

 For today's countdown to Halloween post, let's talk about food again. For that reason. All year round, I don't care about French fancies one bit. I remember discovering them for the first time, before a lecture one Thursday afternoon during my first year at uni here, and I was no impressed. tIt's just sugar poured over a bit of cake. But come October and they change the name into Fiendish fancies and I'm a sucker for them. Maybe it is the pumpkin colours, maybe it is the packaging with the jack o's, but Mr Kipling, you got me there. Given the quantity of sugar in a single one of them, calling them Fiendish is far more fitting. And thus it is far more fitting to eat them for Halloween.

L'araignée dévoreuse

 Je partage encore une fois une photo prise au "Scarecrow Festival" d'un village pas loin. Comme je le disais avant, certains épouvantails ne sont pas vraiment des épouvantails, en tout cas l'interprétation était assez large. Cela dit, il y avait des horreurs, sans faire de mauvais jeu de mots. Des trucs vraiment propres à l'Halloween. Dont cet "épouvantail", une araignée géante qui a pris dans sa toile un homme et qui le dévore. Épouvantable.

Tuesday 24 October 2023

A Headless Horseman for Scarecrow

 For today's countdown to Halloween, a bit of local news. Last weekend, we went to a nearby village's "Scarecrow Festival," a tradition started in 2020, which is also a bit of a Halloween festival before the big night. It was a perfect autumn day when we went, sunny and cool. They had lots and lots of scary scarecrows, some not so scary, some just funny, others sweet. One of them was this one, a headless horseman of sorts, with his "head" a Jack O'Lantern, held under his arm. And with the autumn wreath by the door, it was just perfect.

Train nippon

Mon frère PJ est au Japon, il a donc eu le privilège d'essayer les trains japonais. En bon oncle consciencieux, il a aussi pris des photos des trains pour envoyer à ses neveux, lesquels aiment tous les trains, semble-t-il. Comme leurs pères et leur grand-père paternel. Mon petit loup à moi est très reconnaissant. Avouez qu'il est magnifique.

Monday 23 October 2023

Vampire Repellent Meal (A Transylvanian Recipe)

For today's fourth(!) countdown to Halloween post, a recipe I found on the YouTube channel Tasting History. I have been following it for the last two years or so and I particularly love the seasonal stuff Max Miller does. He often gets some really nice videos for Halloween. This one is about a meal that comes straight from Transylvania and is full of garlic, thus perfect to keep vampires away. There are also lots of information about one of Halloween's favourite monsters, the reasons why vampires hate garlic and it looks like a great roast beef recipe, so it's definitely worth a watch.

Kouign Amann

 Mon père m'a envoyé il y a peu de temps une photo d'un kouign amann, acheté je ne sais trop où à Montréal. Je le partage rien que parce qu'un kouign amann vaut toujours la peine d'être partagé (d'une part) et je tiens à faire la promotion de ce dessert breton parfait (d'autre part). Je pourrais même donner à cette photo une tournure vaguement (en poussant un peu) halloweenesque. Le kouign amann est breton, les Bretons sont celtes, les Irlandais qui ont créé l'Halloween aussi, ça pourrait être un dessert parfait pour l'Halloween. Bon, comme je disais, c'est poussé un peu...

Literally Dead

For today's countdown to Halloween reading suggestion: Literally Dead,:Tales of Halloween Hauntings. Another welcome discovery this year. There's a lot of ghost stories in this anthology, and very solid ones too, but there's also a few creepy critters. Among them, a candy monster and a creature living in a fridge, both generous and nasty, if not dangerous. There are proper horror stories and dark (as in very dark) comedies, but if I had to give a general feeling to the whole body of work, I'd say it is nostalgia. With what it entails of sorrow, loss and melancholy. One doesn't always gets scared reading these stories, but they're terrifying in other ways. Oh and on a side note: what a cover.

Les crayons de l'Halloween

 Nous sommes allés au "Scarecrow Festival" hier. J'ai pris beaucoup, beaucoup, beaucoup de photos et je crois que je vais les partager encore longtemps après l'Halloween. Que voulez-vous, j'aime les épouvantails et ce sont des créatures que j'associe avec l'Halloween. Il y avait beaucoup de créatures qui avaient peu à voir avec un épouvantail, mais le travail était impressionnant. À l'entrée de la salle communautaire du village, il y avait donc ces Craoylas, entourés de citrouilles pour éviter toute ambiguïté. Le rapport avec les épouvantails, le rapport avec l'Halloween? Aucun. Nous avons songé à aller prendre un verre dans la salle communautaire, qui est un pub sans en avoir le nom, mais le décor intérieur était passablement plus sinistre (macabre en fait) et petit loup n'a pas beaucoup aimé. Comme quoi il ne faut pas se fier à l'apparence externe d'un lieu.

Sunday 22 October 2023

Preparing for trick or treat

For today's countdown to Halloween post, a quick one, just for the sake of sharing a cool picture my father sent me last year I think. I did not share it yet. This is their front yard on Halloween night, before the arrival of disguised children for trick or treat. You can see my mother in the frame, at least her silhouette. So no worries: she is not a ghost. Neither is she Jamie Lee Curtis on the set of yet another Halloween movie. The only ghosts on this picture are the ones on the cedar trees. Still, it is deliciously eerie. Anyway, I hope my front yard will look as nice as this. I am looking forward to the 31st, but in the same time I think it is coming way too fast.

Les arachides de l'Halloween

 Oh des fois l'Angleterre offre des trucs cools pour l'Halloween. Ce n'est pas encore assez célébré à mon goût, mais il y a de l'espoir. Toujours est-il que j'ai trouvé à Lidl une gamme de produits spécialement conçus pour l'Halloween, avec un emballage parfait: un épouvantail à tête de citrouille en guise de mascotte avec une maison hantée en arrière-fond. J'ai acheté pleins de trucs, de desserts surtout, mais aussi ce sac d'arachides à différentes saveurs. Pas si tant génial, je préfère les arachides salées "ordinaires", mais ça se prend bien avec une bière et je l'ai acheté rien que pour l'image.

Saturday 21 October 2023

Shining City

Today's countdown to Halloween reading suggestion, or rather watching suggestion, as it is a play: Shining City by Conor McPherson. I saw it thirteen years ago on stage in the Lake District and loved it so much that I bought the play that very night. It's a sober but very efficient ghost story set in contemporary Dublin (the shining city of the title). In it, therapist Ian, former Jesuit with a few inner demons of his own, is treating a new patient. It's John, an ordinary man if there ever was one, claims to have seen what seems to be the ghost of his recently deceased wife. As he tells his story and as we follow in parallels the troubled life of Ian, the existence of ghosts, whatever their true nature may be, seems less and less implausible. In a world where normality is often oppressive and corrosive, guilt becomes a presence, a force that can break you. It's for you if you like psychological horror (like me) and it is all the more fitting for the season that Halloween comes from Ireland originally.

Les trois citrouilles...

Nous avons acheté deux citrouilles de plus hier. Ca nous fait trois citrouilles en tout et par tout à creuser pour l'Halloween. Le pire, ou le meilleur, c'est qu'il y en aura sans doute d'autres: je compte bien en acheter une plus grosse et nous irons sans doute dans une ferme pour enfants en fin de semaine, où il y a un "pumpkin patch". Petit loup risque de faire des ravages. Et je ne compte pas mesurer ses ardeurs. Sa mère peut-être, mais pas moi. Mais enfin bref, trois citrouilles de taille correcte, l'Halloween se rapproche de plus en plus. Je suis content, mais ça passe beaucoup trop vite.

Friday 20 October 2023

Spooky Stories and Gruesome Tales

 For tonight's fourth(!) countdown to Halloween post, something from the English Heritage. They have a page on their website called Spooky Stories and Gruesome Tales. About scary stories set in some of their many sites. It's a quick read, should give you a few chills, maybe inspiration to write your own horror story and you might actually want to visit some of these places one day. I thought the countdown lacked a bit of scary stories lately.

L'Halloween chez les Pères trappistes

 Photo prise sur la page Facebook des Pères trappistes. Ils font un tirage de chocolats pour l'Halloween, vous trouverez le formulaire ici. Quand même amusant que des moines célèbrent l'Halloween, ou du moins prennent part aux célébrations.

The Scarecrow Festival is Back!

For today's countdown to Halloween post, a bit of local news. You might remember that a nearby village has been organising a "Scarecrow Festival" since 2020, just around Halloween. We have been going there since and loved it. The mascot scarecrow is, as you can see, very seasonal, with a Jack O'Lantern as the head. I think both Halloween and autumn need scarecrows, after all it is the season of harvest and Halloween is originally a celebration of autumnal harvests. You can buy a map at local businesses, it costs £3 for one and £5 for two. I might buy two, just in case. So yeah, we will most definitely go there. And more than once. It is so perfect a place to be on an crisp autumn day.

Un spectacle de nuit pour l'Halloween

Je partage encore une fois aujourd'hui une photo d'une page dans Les dires de Piloé, la première de leur pièce de l'Halloween intitulée... La Nuit de l'Halloween. Dire que j'ai aimé cette pièce et y jouer (mon premier vrai rôle au théâtre) serait un euphémisme. Je vais peut-être la montrer en entier un jour sur Vraie Fiction, d'ici là je compte la lire à petit loup, peut-être faire un spectacle pour lui avec les toutous et les jouets en guise de personnages, ce serait bien. Mais enfin bref, l'idée suggérée dans cette page, d'un spectacle de nuit pour l'Halloween, je trouve que c'est une idée inspirée. J'en ai vu un il y a une quinzaine d'années, c'était assez génial. Ca peut prendre la forme d'une histoire effrayante pour adultes ou une pièce pour les enfants comme celle-ci, mais ce serait une bonne idée.

Thursday 19 October 2023

Witches Cauldron Mac and Cheese

For today's countdown to Halloween post, I will not go for the horror and macabre aspect of the holiday. Instead, I will blog about food. Halloween is, after all, a celebration of gluttony, read this post from 2011 for more details. So anyway, my wife cooks from Hello Fresh and these days they have Halloween themed dishes on their menu. So she recently made a Witches Cauldron Mac and Cheese. With pesto and other stuff. I took this picture. I should have taken it in the pan, it would have looked more like a cauldron. Be that as it may, it was delicious and it might become a staple for future Halloweens.

Mon frère est au Japon

Petite nouvelle familiale: mon frère PJ est en vacances au Japon et il nous a envoyé une première photo, celle-ci, que je partage ici rien que pour faire exotique. C'est je crois la première fois qu'un membre de notre famille va dans l'Orient lointain, ou en Orient tout court. Par conséquent, ça mérite d'être souligné ici. Vous voyez bien entendu Godzilla, à l'écran et en modèle, pas le vrai, enfin j'espère. C'est qu'il a l'air très réaliste.

Wednesday 18 October 2023

The Ideal Pumpkin Patch

For today's countdown to Halloween post, I will blog again about the romcom graphic novel Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks. Sort of. I wrote a post about it on the 6th of October this year. The book has a map of the pumpkin patch where the story is set and I find it the ideal pumpkin patch for Halloween. Sadly, this place does not exist, although I understand it has been based on existing ones. Wolfie is fascinated by it. It's a perfect setting for a love story for Halloween freaks like me, but I find it almost wasted. It could be the perfect setting for a scary story as well. All the same, here it is for you to enjoy. What attractions are you most curious about?

Une champignon sur le chemin de l'école

Nous revenions de l'école avec petit loup et sa copine (pas sa blonde, je veux dire une amie qui demeure pas loin). Elle a vite trouvé un gros champignon blanc. Qu'elle a malheureusement poussé du pied avant que je puisse prendre une photo. Nous sommes au beau milieu de l'automne, c'est finalement automnal et j'aime voir des champignons comme celui-ci, alors je l'ai pris en photo, rien que pour le mettre sur le blogue. Ca me rappelle le temps où à l'école justement nous allions cueillir des champignons.

Tuesday 17 October 2023

Abraham Van Helsing

For today's countdown to Halloween post, I have decided to give an homage not to a horror villain or monster, but one of the classic heroes ofthe horror genre. You probably know that Dracula, is my favourite horror novel. I often blogged about it, for my first experience of it, please read this post from 2018. Well, the novel does not only have a great villain, he has great heroes fighting him. Among them, there is of course the Professor Abraham Van Helsing.The archetypal vampire hunter, which I blogged about in 2014. Yet he has seldom been portrayed properly in the many adaptations. He is often depicted as an action man, far younger than he should be, or sometimes like a raving lunatic, more dangerous than the vampires he hunts. But in Bram Stoker's original novel, Van Helsing is first and foremost an ageing and kindly academic, doctor, metaphysician, philosopher, one of the greatest minds of his time, as well as a faithful Catholic (or at least the latter is implied). In sum, he is a XIXth century superhero, a Sherlock Holmes, without the coldness. In fact, at times he somehow reminds me of Gandalf: a mentor, a leader, but also a powerful and selfless man. I found this portrait in this entry, which I think is one of the few where he looks at least somewhat like he did in the source material. So yes, in sum, let's hear it from Abraham Van Helsing, Dracula's foil and the saviour of human civilisation. Without him, we would all be vampirised by now.

L'asphaltage pour Wolfie

 Mon père a pris cette photo sur le Plateau, des travaux d'asphaltage (enfin je crois), rien que pour Wolfie qui aime les grosses machines. C'est moins typique qu'une souffleuse à neige, mais ça l'impressionne quand même.

Monday 16 October 2023

The Whisperer in Darkness

For today's (first?) countdown to Halloween post, a reading suggestion. For horror fans like myself, it can never be fully Halloween without a dose of H.P. Lovecraft. I haven't read his whole work as of yet (too many horror writers to discover and rediscover), but do consider myself a fan and I enjoy a lot of them. Lovecraft helped me make my enjoyment of Halloween reach adulthood, when I got too old for trick or treat, but still loved the dark and scary atmosphere of the holiday. Reading him became a classic. I have a few favourite Lovecratian stories, including The Whisperer in Darkness, which I recommend today. It is a story between science-fiction and supernatural, like many Lovecraft stories. I generally prefer "pure" supernatural horror, but this one stands out merely for the perfectly paranoid atmosphere. On a cold, dark October night, it is a perfect read. Heck, the title alone should give you shivers. If you haven't read it yet, you can do it online here, among other places. Enjoy. If you have read it, please leave a comment telling me what you thought of it.

Une citrouille...

En fouillant dans mes vieilles photos d'Halloween, j'en ai retrouvé une qui date de l'an dernier et que je n'avais pas encore partagée: une citrouille creusée par mon père. Je la partage maintenant juste pour vous montrer qu'on a un talent de creuseurs de citrouilles dans la famille et pour vous mettre dans l'ambiance.

Sunday 15 October 2023

More than 50 years of the Great Pumpkin

For today's countdown to Halloween post, another reading suggestion: It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. I mean the book adaptation (novelization?) for its 50th anniversary (which was in 2016, if you'd like to know). Okay so it's basically the beloved children's classic in book form. It's funny, witty, sweet, atmospheric, with just a hint of sadness. I bought it to Wolfie because in this country, it's hard to actually watch the original on the telly. he did it only once, last year, and he loved it. So this book allows us to enjoy the Great Pumpkin every year.

Première citrouille

J'ai acheté notre première citrouille pour l'Halloween.J'aurais pu en acheter une plus grosse, mais celle-ci avec le reste de l'épierie était déjà lourde à charrier, alors j'achèterai une plus imposante la prochaine fois. Ce n'est qu'un début.

Saturday 14 October 2023


For today's third(!) countdown to Halloween post, I am revisiting another horror classic, or rather one of its setting. We all know of Transylvania and at least one of its eerie castles, but there is another horror classic which settings have been far less featured and celebrated. I am talking of the German city of Ingolstadt. Never heard of it? You probably did, or the name must ring bells. In Mary Shelley's  Frankenstein, it is where the titular character goes to study medicine, makes his famous discovery and creates the monster. So it should be on every horror afficionado on their list holiday destinations. Or macabre pilgrimage. You can find its tourist webpage here. In any case, when people think of old Gothic horror stories, they should remember that they're not all in castle ruins, they also take places in the students' laboratories in old Germanic cities. So Ingolstadt, birthplace of the Creature, this is my homage to you.

Les santons des sorcières

Photo trouvée sur la page Facebook sur les Santons de Charlevoix. Une superbe photo de sorcières bien traditionnelles avec des chats noirs et des citrouilles pour faire bonne mesure. Il me faut des santons pour l'Halloween prochain. Je partage rien que pour le plaisir, mais aussi parce que j'ai eu mon atelier de création littéraire aujourd'hui et que j'ai présenté une histoire d'horreur avec une sorcière justement. Elle a eu un franc succès, ce qui m'a bien fait plaisir.

The Dracula Game Coda

For today's countdown to Halloween, another trip down Memory Lane featuring one of horror's greatest villains. I am talking of course of Count Dracula. Twelve years ago, I wrote about the Dracula Game. It was a make-belief game my brothers and I invented with a brand new friend we'd made. We freely used  J.H. Brennan's gamebook Dracula's Castle as inspiration, as we had not read the original novel then. It was basically a hack and slash, shoot em'up dungeons crawl, where we played vampire hunters fighting various critters (zombies, ghouls, devils, lesser vampires) in Castle Dracula and it's surroundings, trying to destroy the Count himself. Anyway, you can learn more about the game in this post. I said in the original post that we only played once, but this is not quite true. A few weeks later, while our friend was away in his parents' cottage, we convince our neighours, twin brothers who werenot really into horror, and their friend, who was, to play Dracula as well. It was for me a continuation of our initial game, but for some reason it didn't work as well. Not at all in fact. Even though it was October, the air was way crisper and it felt far more autumnal. The atmosphere was borderline perfect, it felt like a good day for a horror game. Maybe because we did not have the visual aid of the gamebook, but I think mostly because our friend was not there. To fully appreciate certain games, you need to be in the company of a kindred spirit, who understands the appeal of spooky things and the macabre. Like I said, the twins were not really into horror and view gamebooks like this one with suspicion. Their friend was enthusiastic, but he saw the Count as a glorified Big Bad Wolf, or something like that. Not really an invader who wanted to conquer the world, starting with London. Our characters had true motivationsand purpose. Dracula too. So the Dracula Game never had a proper finale, it first ended abruptly in one afternoon, then it ended in a whimper in a second episode that truly wasn't one. Maybe I can convince Wolfie to play it with me one day. Who knows.

Bouquins: ratio 5 pour 1

Une amie sur Facebook a partagé ce meme il y a quelques temps. Je n'ai pas pu résister, il me fallait le partager ici. C'est pas mal mon ratio livre lu/livres achetés. Et donc ça m'a bien fait rire. Dites-moi si vous êtes comme ça aussi.

Friday 13 October 2023

Odin for Friday the 13th (and Halloween)

For today's countdown to Halloween post, given that it is Friday the 13th, I propose a trip down memory lane: ten years ago, I had a black cat named Odin. he was named because of his right eye that was white due to a cataract. We loved him very much. My wife found an old picture of him recently, taken round this time if year. destiny was calling. I had to share it today, because you need a black cat for Friday the 13th and for Halloween.

La bière à la citrouille

Petit rappel pour ceux qui vivent à Montréal et ailleurs au Québec et qui veulent boire une boisson d'automne et parfaite pour l'Halloween. Trouvez-vous la St-Ambroise à la citrouille de McAuslan. Ce n'est pas leur meilleure, en fait comme toute bière à la citrouille elle ne goûte pas vraiment la citrouille, mais elle est de saison et c'est une incontournable quand je suis au Québec en automne. Ce qui ne m'arrivera pas de sitôt. Et sinon la cannette est cool et fait très Halloween. Cette photo date de 2021. Maintenant ils l'appellent "la Grande Bière à la Citrouille", ça fait plus dramatique.

Thursday 12 October 2023

Drawing Halloween

For today's countdown to Halloween post, a book I found on my last trip to the local bookshop. So yeah, I went to the bookshop earlier this month and I behaved, almost to my surprise. But I wanted to buy something for Wolfie, a Halloween book that was not too scary but that he could enjoy in part for its spookiness. And I found Draw with Rob at Halloween. The Rob is Rob Biddulph and he has a YouTube channel, apparently. It has lots of games and activities and a lot of time involve drawing all sorts of Halloween critters. Wolfie loves it and so do I. A lot of our preparation for Halloween when my brothers and I were children involved exactly what this book encourages: drawing scary things and letting our imagination wander. So yes, this is not the first Halloween activity book I bought him, but this might be the best yet.

Bouquet et mariage d'automne

Je partage une photo envoyée par mon père il y a quelques semaines, des marguerites (gerberas?) aux couleurs de l'automne. Petite nouvelle qui n'a pas rapport, mais peut-être que si: mon frère Andrew va se marier bientôt, avec sa blonde et la mère de ses enfants, dans une petite cérémonie toute simple et sans grands sparages. Ce sera un mariage d'automne, je soulgine avec un bouquet d'automne, comme de raison. Et je trouve que souligner cette nouvelle avec des fleurs aux couleurs de l'automne, c'est une bonne idée.

Wednesday 11 October 2023

A Halloween Tea Advent Calendar?

 For today's countdown to Halloween post, I will blog about tea. You know that the Spiced Pumpkin Pie Tea from Bird & Blend is now my go-to tea for autumn, especially Halloween. Well, they also do a special Halloween Advent Calendar. I'm not sure about the name: surely Advent is a Christmas thing. But I love the idea. One different tea a day until Halloween, from their autumn collection. I'd be sure to have enough until the end of the month. And the haunted house design is just brilliant. I didn't buy it, maybe I should have had, but we are a bit late in the month now. I might do it next year, if only to show it during the countdown.

Le hérisson de l'Halloween

J'ai trouvé dans nos affaires des serviettes de table de Morrisons, achetées il y a quatre ans environ, quand je travaillais pas loin d'un Morrisons. Un hérisson de l'Halloween. J'ai acheté les serviettes de table parce que je trouvais que c'était une façon pas effrayante de faire aimer l'Halloween à petit loup. Il y avait aussi un cahier d'activités avec des créatures plus associées à l'Halloween, comme les chauves-souris que vous voyez voler sur l'image. J'espère qu'ils en font encore des comme ça cette année, j'aimerais bien me restocker.

Tuesday 10 October 2023

A Werewolf Game

 For today's countdown to Halloween post, a finding and maybe a call for help from my readers. I was at the Windsor's Waterstones a few weeks ago when I saw this game on sales: One Night Ultimate Werewolf. I did not buy it, although I was very tempted. But it looked a tad too much like a rip off from another werewolf game. But hey, maybe the more the merrier. I always thought werewolves were the most neglected critters of horror fiction. My opinion on the matter in this 2022 post and this one from 2018. I think there is a lot to do with a werewolf as a horror character, both protagonist and antagonist. What do you think? And if any of you played that game, what did you think of it? Is it any good?