Monday 22 July 2024

"Welcome to Year 3"

Last week, we received a letter when Wolfie came back to school. Nothing bad, just a introductory letter welcoming him to year three. Written on top of it, just beneath the expected (but still dreaded) "Back to SCHOOL!" (ouch!) was "Welcome to Year 3". Now, it was a very sweet letter, with useful instructions and info about what to expect for this coming school year. The problem is, school is not over yet. Wolfie will be on holiday tomorrow in the afternoon. he is welcoming this break as much as I do. So this letter, however kind and useful it is, comes way too early for my taste. I will repeat what I said before: school ends way too late in the year in this country, holidays are too short and it times goes way too fast. Wolfie already in year 3 this September! I did not want to be reminded of that.

Une promenade en forêt...

Peut-être que mon titre est un peu une exagération: ce n'était pas dans une forêt que nous avons marché hier, mais dans un boisé pas loin de chez nous. Qu'à cela ne tienne: C'est quand même plaisant de savoir que nous avons accès à un brin de nature rien qu'à côté de chez nous, ou presque.

Sunday 21 July 2024

Railway Socks

 As I often say it, I'm far from a fashion victim. I love old clothes and I rarely if ever go clothes shopping. I do for my son, but not for me. Except for shoes and, well, socks, because socks get worn out so easily. And I am a socker, sorry, I mean a sucker for socks or indeed anything that hastrains on it. Mugs, keyrings, what have you. And, of course, socks. So yes, recently, I bought a new pair of socks with trains on them. Just because I can never have too many socks with trains on them. And because, let's face it... they look really, but really cool.

Se stocker en cidre?

 J'ai pris cette photo dans un cendre de jardinage. Ils vendent toujours pleins de trucs dans un centre de jardinage qui n'ont rien ou en tout cas peu à voir avec le jardinage. C'est un peu pourquoi j'aime y aller: je suis un mauvais jardinier, mais il y a toujours quelque chose que j'aime trouver. Des vêtements, des livres, de la bière, que sais-je. Et aussi du cidre. Je me stocke trop peu souvent en cidre, parce que je suis plus bière, d'abord. J'en buvais plus souvent quand mes beaux-parents étaient expatriés en Bretagne: je passais mes séjours chez eux à boire du cidre et de la bière bretonne. Mais alors que mes stocks d'alcool diminuent, ce ne serait pas une mauvaise idée de me stocker en cidre.

Saturday 20 July 2024

Eyes Wide Shut: a summer blockbuster

 I read yesterday this article from digitaltrends, about Eyes Wide Shut,which has been released 25 years ago. The article made me discover one thing I had kind of forgotten about it: it was technically a summer blockbuster. I know it had been released during summertime of 1999, but since I discovered months later and I have always associated it with Christmastime due to its setting (not unlike another summer blockbuster, come to think of it), I never thought about it this way. I didn't know it was so successful at the box office. It's kind of a posthumous sweet revenge for Stanley Kubrick, given that the initial reviews were mixed at best when it was released. I personally consider it a masterpiece and I think it is finally getting the recognition it deserves. Anyway, I found some of the interpretations of the article questionable, but overall interesting, so I recommend you read it. Otherwise, I would generally find watching Eyes Wide Shut this time of year kind of out of season, but I might give it a shot. I might see the film in a new light.

Biblio-tech mobile

 Photo trouvée sur la page Facebook du Salon du Livre du SagLac il y a quelques jours. Tout ça pour dire que j'apprends l'existence d'une Biblio-tech mobile. Laquelle est aussi, en plus d'une bibliothèque sur roues,une "unité de création techno et numérique". Bon, ils m'ont eu avec l'idée d'une bibliothèque mobile, mais bref. On en avait dans le temps et j'adorais. Vous trouverez l'horaire ici. Pour mes compatriotes.

Friday 19 July 2024

Greggs: bring back the Friday treat

Remember when, back in the days, I paid myself a special Friday treat for lunch, usually a big bad sandwich, to celebrate the coming weekend? Well, it struck me that I haven't done that in a long while. Like for months. And it is no longer a tradition I follow. I used to observe it religiously: Friday means something bad but oh so good. And we have a local Greggs and it's not so far from our house. I had a sandwich from there fairly recently, a couple of weeks ago, but not on a Friday and because I was feeling too lazy to make myself one. Also, I'm a sucker for a chicken baguette sandwich full of mayonnaise. But I should really make it a weekly ritual.

Le Tourdion

Je voulais la partager depuis quelques temps, une interprétation du Tourdion que mon frère PJ a trouvée. petite anecdote: je la chante parfois comme berceuse. Bon, allons, tous ensemble: "Quand je bois du vin clairet..."

Almost a heatwave

 So far this summer, we've been lucky: we didn't have many hot days, the temperatures weremostly in the lower 20s and it has been overall cool. Well, today in the South East it is meant to be reaching 30 in some places. Here, the maximum will be 28 degrees. Almost a heatwave. I get uncomfortable when it reaches 25 and above. Therefore, I am bracing myself. Thankfully, it should not last very long and the temperatures should drop by tomorrow. I hope it will be over soon, in any case.

La paella

C'est une tradition familiale quand vient l'été chez mes parents. Une tradition familiale qui n'est pas la mienne, hélas, parce que j'ai quitté le nid... familial, justement, il y a quelques années, bien avant que mes parents ne s'y mettent et en fassent justement une tradition. Enfin bref, mon cousin et ma tante sont en visite chez eux et mes parents ont donc décidé de faire une paella. Mon cousin m'a gentiment envoyé une photo, à la demande de mon père qui sait que j'aime partager des photos gastronomiques sur le blogue. Avec du vin blanc (pas du rouge?) pour accompagner. Avouez que c'est dommage de ne pas pouvoir essayer ça. Un jour peut-être. D'ici là, j'ai droit à des photos. Et vous aussi...

Thursday 18 July 2024

Poker and Blackjack

I found this box in the local toy shop. Because it does not only have kids' toys and games. Don't worry, I did not buy it. For two reasons: at £16.99 the price was steep and wel, I'm not a gambler anyway. I did, however, play both blackjack and poker, but never for real money. Blackjack with a friend, and barely any, but I grew a fascination for poker after watching The Sting. My brothers and I used to play for hours with some friends, while listening to the movie's score. I don't think we played very well, or following the rules much if at all. I don't think we ever played Texas hold'em. But we had fun all the same. I'd love to play it like this again, just for fun, with music in the background. Anyway, I saw this box and it gave me a solid trip down nostalgia lane.

Pierre et le Loup

Enfant, j'aimais beaucoup Pierre et le Loup. Je ne sais pas trop pourquoi, enfin si, parce que même si j'aime les loups, j'aime quand dans les contes ils sont présentés comme des antagonistes, des bêtes affamées et dangereuses. Enfin bref, le Petit Ménestrel en a fait un livre-disque absolument magnifique. J'ai essayé de trouver cette version sur YouTube afin de la partager, jusqu'ici je n'ai pas eu de succès. Mais d'ici là, voici une image tirée du livre-disque.

Wednesday 17 July 2024

Army clothes?

Nobody can tell me I'm a fashion victim: I wear shirts and jumpers I have been wearing for the last twenty years or so. I love old clothes, I find them more comfortable, for one, I also think if I wore them for so long, it's because I like the look of them and if it ain't broke, why fix it. Although, and that's the issue, they do break. And they get unwearable. So I need to change them from time to time. Recently, I have been pondering about a way to avoid this: why not buy some of my clothes from the army surplus? Or maybe one of the companies that sell military quality clothes. I am not a militarist, by any stretch of the imagination. But I love wearing green (something I share with Wolfie): olive green and forest green, particularly. And Wolfie is quite fond of green cammo clothes, for whatever reason. I think he likes using them in our War Games. I don't like cammo clothes and would not wear them, but I would wear "military green" clothes. But more to the point: army clothes are solid and durable. And it seems that even my sedentary life is hard on what I wear. Incidentally, my brother PJ reminded me in a recent conversation of a "colonel shirt" we had as a kid. It was a light, yellowish shirt with stripes, like somehting an officer would wear during a desert campaign. I wore it first. When I outgrew it, he wore it. It became a staple of many of our make belief games. Anyway, I have been thinking about it recently. Anyone here buys from army surplus?

Fusil à eau

Nous sommes allés voir la famille de ma femme en fin de semaine: les grand-parents de Wolfie, ainsi que sa tante, son oncle et le petit cousin. Les grand-parents ont un fusil à eau pour leur petit-fils. Il est pas mal plus élaboré que les fusils à eau de mon enfance. En fait, c'est comme une mitraillette à eau, avec beaucoup plus de munition(s) que lorsque j'avais l'âge de mon fils. Enfant, mes fusils à eau étaient des pistolets qui ne duraient pas longtemps. Qu'importe, je les adorais durant l'été.

Tuesday 16 July 2024


Has anyone among my reader ever drank slivovitz? It's a fruit spirit made of plums from Eastern Europe. I never drank it, but I heard of it. First in Die Fledermaus, then in Dracula, then in the book I am currently reading. I'm not sure I would like it, because while I am not averse to spirits, I am not always a big fan of fruity alcoholic drinks, especially when the alcohol content is high. But I am curious about it. I guess I will have to find out where you can buy slivovitz in the UK. I could bet I can find some in the nearest Polish grocery shop. Amazon too, for sure, but I want to avoid purchasing things from Amazon, beside I would rather make sure I like the drink first. Anyway, if you ever tasted it, how was it like? Pleasant enough? Anyway, yeah, so slivovitz is the word of the day.

Espoir d'orage

 S'il y a une chose que j'aime toujours de l'été, même si ce n'est pas, n'est plus, ma saison préférée, c'est les orages estivaux. J'aime tous les orages, peu importe le temps de l'année, mais ceux en été particulièrement. Or, s'il y en a eu quelques uns depuis le début de la saison, ils ont été plutôt modestes et ont eu lieu au milieu de la nuit. Mais aujourd'hui, il y a une alerte d'orage pour l'après-midi, une alerte jaune, alors ça risque d'être de bonne taille. S'il arrive. Parce que ça se pourrait qu'il nous passe sur la tête, comme ça arrive des fois. Je me croise les doigts.

Monday 15 July 2024

Saint Swithin's Day

 Today is St Swithin's Day. A day I have started mentioning on this blog, first in 2016, then more in recent years. We are practically midway through summer and just for that reason, it is worth bringing it up. Also because I like the folklore associated to the day. It helps me keep patient until the season is finally over. I hope you don't mind me sharing the same picture I shared in 2022, taken from What to Look for in Summer. It is one of Wolfie's books, although I read it more than he does.

La chaise dans le jardin

 Vous vous rappelez (sait-on jamais) de la chaise rustique de mes beaux-parents? Hé bien, ils l'ont gardée lors de leur retour en Angleterre, mais il l'ont mise dans le jardin. Elle est en moins bon état, mais ce qu'elle a perdu en vernis, elle a gagné en caractère. On dirait une chaise faite d'os ou de coquillage, ou d'une pierre inconnue. Sans compter que, comme avant, on dirait toujours un trône pour une histoire fantastique médiévale, mais dans un décor qui lui sied encore mieux. Je ne sais pas pourquoi exactement, mais j'aime vraiment beaucoup.

Sunday 14 July 2024

A Train Mug

 I have a sort of problem in this household: our cupboards are crammed with glasses and mugs. We have too many of them. And I have another problem: I want yet another mug. I don't collect them or anything like that. I have no particular interest in glasses or mugs. But I love everything train and railways. And we do not have a train mug. And I genuinely think it is sorely missing. It's like a piece of memorabilia that will make my everyday life cooler. So yeah, I found on Amazon this Train Enamel Mug. With many classic trains on it, including the Orient Express. I know I should not be consumerist. I know I can drink from any cup, literally. I know there's no room here for it. Yet I really want it. Boy do I feel like a sucker. Oh, and one last comment about it: it says on the description that it's a "Men's Gift". You don't say.

Le 14 juillet...

Nous sommes le 14 juillet, anniversaire de la prise de la Bastille, autrement dit la Fête nationale française. Joyeux 14 juillet à tous, surtout aux Français qui lisent ce blogue. Je ne sais pas, il y en a peut-être. Comme Québécois expatrié en Angleterre, je dois confesser que je nesuis pas le plus francophile de mes compatriotes. Je ne sais pas trop pourquoi, peut-être mon sang écossais. Cela dit, j'ai toujours aimé et admiré le républicanisme français, ainsi que sa laïcité, avec ce qu'elle a d'anticléricalisme décomplexé. Et on doit un peu beaucoup leur développement à la Révolution française. Alors je souligne le 14 juillet à chaque année, au moins sur ce blogue.

Saturday 13 July 2024

Listening to Cosi fan tutte

 You may remember that I blogged back in 2023 about South African soprano Golda Schultz (my favourite soprano and Mozartian opera singer) making her debut at Royal Opera House in the role of Fiordiligi in  Cosi fan tutte by Mozart. Sadly, I could not attend it in London. However, it is currently playing on BBC Radio 3. I cannot watch it, but I can listen to it. I am listening to it, in fact.I suggest you do the same.


 Des fois, je fais un gâteau rien que pour passer les oeufs. Et pour faire un dessert maison plutôt que d'en acheter un. On le savoure plus et c'est meilleur (ou en tout cas moins mauvais) pour la santé. C'est ce que j'ai fait cet après-midi. J'avais promis à petit loup un gâteau, je le promettais depuis des semaines en fait. C'est un gâteau simple à la vanille, dans un moule que j'utilise d'habitude pour le pain aux bananes. Pas de glaçage, pas de ganache, rien que du gâteau. C'est pas grave: Wolfie adore. Ce qui est bien avec mon fils, c'est qu'il apprécie ce que je cuisine, surtout quand c'est un dessert, surtout quand il a une faim de loup.


If reading this post sounds familiar to you, it is because I wrote on the same topic in French back in January. Has anyone among you my reader(s) ever played Stratego? It is a strategy board game akin to chess, with two armies fighting. I used to love it as a kid, albeit we rarely played properly. We first discovered Stratego at a friend's place. I think the main appeal it had, like many other board games I grew fond of, was the dramatic, even role playing elements of the game. The pieces were ranks and functions one would find in an army (or weaponry, as it also had bombs), the board was a battlefield with two lakes to create hazards, it just fed my imagination somehow. It had an atmosphere chess never had. We didn't play Stratego enough, my brothers and I got it at the tale end of our childhood (tale end of my childhood anyway), but maybe now is the time to revisit it.


 J'ai appris une chose sur la page Facebook du Café Cambio: ils ont un partenaire qui s'appelle Kiboikoi. C'est un autre café qui a pignon sur rue aux Escoumins dans Charlevoix. J'ai été dans Charlevoix quelquefois, aux Escoumins au moins une fois. Il faudrait que j'y retourne un jour, c'est une très belle région. Si j'y remets les pieds, il faudra passer faire un tour à Kiboikoi, parce que, ben, c'est vraiment une enseigne cool avec l'ours.

Friday 12 July 2024

Mysterious Chinese Dragon

 Last weekend, when we went to the school camping activity with Wolfie, I saw this thing floating on top of a pole. And I was wondering what the heck was that. I mean I could tell it was a dragon, and a Chinese dragon at that, but still, I was not sure. So I took a picture and checked online. A quick Google Image search made me discover that it was a Traditional Chinese Fire Dragon Windsock. Well, I got the Chinese dragon part right. But what it was doing there, why it was there and who had the idea to bring a Chinese dragon on a camping site, I have no idea. It remains a complete mystery. All the same, it looks kinda cool.

Le chocolat aux bleuets déjà

Annonce du Saglac d'intérêt public: j'ai appris via la page Facebook des Pères trappistes que leur chocolat aux bleuets est déjà disponible. C'est de bonne heure pas rien qu'un peu: la production a commencé le 9 juillet. Enfin bref, pour les chanceux qui peuvent en acheter. (PS: Je sais que le terme exact est "bleuets enrobés de chocolat noir", mais chocolat aux bleuets c'est plus simple).

Thursday 11 July 2024

Homemade fries/chips

 My parents received my brother Andrew and his family recently, so my father did some serious cooking. He fried some... well, fries, or chips as we say in England (I finally got used to it), or, as we call it in my family, "frites patio", because they are fried in the garden's patio. Which is great, because the house would smell of oil for days, if not weeks. They are, in my opinion and experience, the best chips in the world. Just thick enough, crispy enough, they are perfect. I haven't had them in years, sadly.

Quino et le football

 J'ai trouvé ce gag sur la page Facebook officielle de Mafalda, parce que Quino n'a pas fait que dessiner des bédés pour et sur des enfants. Il faisait aussi dans l'humour absurde et parfois un brin cruel. Mais j'ai trouvé ça très drôle, même sije ne sais pas trop pourquoi je trouve ça hilarant. Peut-être que c'est parce que je trouve le football tout aussi absurde (et un brin stupide, avouons-le).

The return of steam trains?

The things you learn thanks to one's Google feed. A Google feed that knows me sometimes a bit too much. Anyway, so I read this article about the possible return of steam trains. Not the steam trains of yesteryear though, something that will be powered by a new technology. I guess it means they will not have the charm of old steam engines, although you never know. I am not an engineer, so I cannot say that I understand the details all that much, but all the same. It would be cool if true. On a side note, this is one of things I love about trains: they evolve yet keep a certain timeless charm.

La vie parisienne à Québec

Parce que je suis la soprano Marie-Ève Munger (soprano du Saguenay, originaire de Chicoutimi et non, je ne la connais pas personnellement) sur les réseaux sociaux, je sais qu'on va présenter La vie parisienne à Québec. Ce sera en août et les détails sont ici. J'ai vu plusieurs opérettes d'Offenbach, mais pas La vie parisienne. Mais c'est toujours plaisant d'entendre Offenbach et je crois comprendre qu'ils font des productions solides à Québec. Dans tous les cas, si je ne peux y être, je plogue une artiste régionale.

Wednesday 10 July 2024

That autumn feeling

I know it is wishful thinking. I know I should really be careful not to tempt fate. I know we are in July, usually the month I enjoy the least in the whole year. All the same, it is cool, it is often rainy, it is even windy and I can even wear long sleeves and light jumpers because yes, I'm too cold otherwise. Last Monday was 16 degrees Celsius, just to give you an idea. In summertime. In the South of England. The first half of July is not even over yet and for some strange reason it really feels like autumn. Or like autumn should start in early September. Things will most likely change before the end of the month, however I am counting my blessings. And I hope we will not have a heatwave come autumn, as it sometimes happens in this country.

Les brioches

Nouveau billet gastro, je partage à nouveau une photo des brioches faites parmon frère Andrew lors de son séjour chez nos parents. Brioches à la cannelle faites maison, il a appris à les faire durant la pandémie. J'aurais aimé qu'il ait la recette de la boulangerie de Chicoutimi-Nord, leurs brioches étaient décadentes. Quanaitd nous étions enfants, nous avions deux sortes de brioches: les cheaps au sucre qu'on achetait du boulanger et les décadentes achetées à Chicoutimi-Nord, qui avaient de la crème dessus. Mais j'essaierais bien celles-ci.

Tuesday 9 July 2024

Three Assassins at Hand

I blogged before about my wish to get my hands on Three Assassins by Kotaro Isaka. Before I go exotic sometimes when I read crime fiction. Well, my local bookshop ordered it for me and I purchased it last week. Japanese crime fiction, this will be a first for me. But I will not read it just yet. I have plenty to go through in my to be read list before the end of summer, when I switch to a very different genre (you know the one). But I digress. My brother PJ is going on holiday to Japan again, so I suggested he should read it too.

Lectures de vacances d'été

Image trouvée sur la page Facebook du Salon du Livre du Saguenay Lac-Saint-Jean. Ils font aussi dans les questions existentielles, on dirait. Cela dit, c'est une bonne question, même si j'ai assez de bouquins à lire pour ne pas avoir vraiment besoin de me la poser. Mais vous, quel livre vous lisez durant vos vacances cet été?

Monday 8 July 2024

Reading: what if feels like

 Sometimes, I share a meme on this blog. Things I found somewhere which looks cute or nice, or showhing a certain truth. So yes, I saw this one recently which I thought was very much the thing.


Encore un blogue gastronomique, voire de food porn, mais je me dois de souligner: mon frère Andrew est chez nos parents avec sa petite famille et il a fait des brioches maison. À la cannelle, ce qui pas mon épice préférée, mais quand même. Il a appris à en faire lors de la pandémie. Les brioches, ça se mange autant comme dessert que comme déjeuner gourmand.

Sunday 7 July 2024

The Graduate (summer read)

While this summer is not very summery round here (not that I am complaining), I thought I would give you a reading suggestion for the season. Because I tend to read seasonally, if that makes sense. So back in 2022 (I think), I read The Graduate. Yes, becaise before it was a classic cult movie, it was a novel (or rather a novella) by Charles Webb. I think I preferred the film, that said I enjoyed reading the source material. It remains a classic coming-of-age story, which I suspect resemble many young men's summertime holidays.( Oh and on a side note: the cover looks more like it was meant for Lolita, surely. I know they could not beat the classic movie poster, but still, I don't think it fits the novel at all.)

À quand les chocolats aux bleuets?

Pour ceux qui peuvent, j'ai appris via la page Facebook des Pères trappistes qu'ils font un concours. La question à laquelle il faut répondre: "selon vous, quelle sera la date où la production de nos célèbres bleuets frais enrobés de chocolats débutera?" Je pense que ce sera autour de la Siante-Anne, mais je peux me tromper...

Camping and Mountain Warehouse

Yesterday, we went to a camping activity organised by Wolfie's school. We only did the day/evening one, we did not spend the night there. I might blog in more details about the camping activity itself in another post. But I digress. We learned that the local Mountain Warehouse was offering a 10% discount for the families doing the school camping, we just had to go there and say a word and that's it, we would get a discount. As we did not have outdoors chairs anymore (the old ones, bought at Mountain Warehouse too, incidentally, having brolen down), we stopped briefly to the local shop for a quick purchase, before going to "Camp Night". Wolfie already had a chair for outdoors, so I bought two, one for my wife, one for me. They were dark green, the kind of colour my wife loathes, but at least they were quite cheap. And beside, the green chairs were the only ones left. So we are now the happy new owners of green outdoor chairs, perfect for camping and for spending relaxing time outside. If we ever need a tent, we will go there again. I am amazed of how much I now rely on Mountain Warehouse for, well, everything. I am a sedentary man, so it always comes off as a bit of a surprise.


Photo prise par mon père sur le lot de ses frères, mes oncles. Ils ont un lac, donc par conséquent ils ont des chaloupes pour la pêche. Les quais font un peu dur, cela dit. J'aime quand même bien cette photo, je la trouve atmosphérique. Ah oui, un mot sur le mot "chaloupe": sa définition varie légèrement selon que l'on soit au Québec ou dans un autre endroit de la francophonie. AU Québec, c'est une petite embarcation, d'ordinaire utilisée pour la pêche sportive. Rien que pour cette raison, j'en fais le mot du jour.

Saturday 6 July 2024

"Stop for Traditional Tea"

 Before I start this post, a disclaimer: if you feel like I am obsessing about trains, you are absolutely right. I know I have been blogging directly or indirectly about trains ore often than none in the last few weeks. But I do love trains. This is a picture of one side of the tin my wife bought me for my birthday. It was filled with bags of New English Teas. I got through them quickly, but kept the tin as it is such a cool one. Anyway, I saw that even the sides were decorated and had somehting to say. During long travels, it's nice to stop at a railway station for a hot drink, especially if it is cold and wet, as it often is in this country. It's like mixing two pleasures in one.But I also love the old fashioned advertisement: "Stop  for Traditional Tea". Simple, clear, sober, yet warm and inviting.

Ô Petit Paris

Je partage encore une fois une photo des petits gâteaux d'Ô Petit Paris, la pâtisserie du Plateau que mes parents aiment bien. Ils ont mangé ça en famille, pour la fête de mon frère Andrew. Je me disais que ce sera un arrêt obligé lors de notre prochain séjour à Montréal. Parce que j'ai une dent sucrée (si vous ne l'avez pas remarqué), mais aussi parce qu'en quelques années d'absence de Montréal et du Plateau, je veux le redécouvrir et découvrir les institutions que je ne connais pas à cause de ma longue absence.

Friday 5 July 2024

The Rainbow Cake

You might remember that back in 2022, I blogged about a rainbow cake, which is quite popular round here, especially for children's birthday parties. It's basically a cake made of many layers of different colours. We first discovered in the café section of a petting zoo. We went there last weekend and lo and behold, the rainbow cake was available again. I bought one piece for Wolfie and one for me. It tastes delicious, but it's very filling: Wolfie can never finish his share and then gives the rest to me. I felt quite full afterwards, and not in a good way. All the same, I will have another one next time we go there.

Opéra du Royaume

Nouvelle régionale qui n'en est pas une, enfin qui n'est pas nouvelle. J'apprends donc récemment qu'il existe une organisation sans but lucratif au Saguenay, appelée Opéra du Royaume, qui a en plus une page Facebook. En fait, oui, je savais qu'elle existait, mais dans le temps de ma jeunesse elle avait un autre nom. Voir l'historique pour les détails. Dans tous les cas, je voulais faire la promotion de cette équipe qui fait la promotion de l'art lyrique au Saglac.

Thursday 4 July 2024

Rovos Rail Bears

Okay, so I could have blogged about the UK general elections or the USA, but I'm not in the mood. I hope you don't mind blogging about trains again. I found this picture from the Facebook page of Rovos Rail, the South African luxury train company. They encourage local businesses and they sell teddy bears made by the Hibearnation Handmade Teddy Bears. We all think of one particular bear when one thinks of bears and trains, but there's no reason why there shouldn't be more, in different places and countries. I think teddy bears make for great souvenirs and great traveling companions, so it is just logical that a trainline should sell them as well. I want to buy one for Wolfie, if we ever board on Rovos Rail. One day, perhaps.

La crème glacée des Pères trappistes

À l'instar de l'an dernier, ceci est un message d'intérêt public pour les ceuses qui sont au Saguenay et ailleurs. J'ai appris sur la page Facebook des Pères trappistes que leurs crèmes glacées aux chocolats (blanc, au lait et noir) sont en vente dans les crèmeries de la région.

Wednesday 3 July 2024

Train Fights!

Who loves trains here? I sure do. I also loves stories set in trains, whether partially or entirely. Especially crime fiction and spy thrillers. So I was happy to see that Overly Sarcastic Productions posted a full video about action scenes set in trains. I think it sums up very well why the train is such a great dramatic setting. I hope one day to try writing a crime story set in a train. There are just so many dramatic and thematic possibilities.

Juillet et septembre

Petit billet à la fois historique et scientifique. J'ai lu cet article dans La Presse, qui explique pourquoi septembre n'est pas le septième mois de l'année, malgré son nom. Je savais déjà,enfin dans les grandes lignes, mais j'ai quand même trouvé ça intéressant. Comme bien des choses que l'on tient pour acquis, nous devons les noms de mois à l'Antiquité et plus précisément aux Romains. Petite note personnelle et ironique: même si juillet et septembre ont en commun d'être/d'avoir été le septième mois de l'année, juillet est un mois que je n'aime en général guère et septembre est l'un de mes préférés.

Tuesday 2 July 2024

The Burton loyalty card

 You may remember that I once discovered I had plenty of loyalty cards from various businesses that were out of date. Coffee shops and bookshops, mostly. Well, I also found one from Burton, the men's fashion brand. Which I have not been to since 2014, I think. I rarely bought anything more than black t-shirts to wear underneath jumpers and shirts, but I bought plenty of them, enough to fill a couple of drawers. I guess I found them particularly comfy for plain t-shirts. They remain my favourite (yes, I do have favourite plain tshirts, because it's all about comfort). I might have bought a belt or two, maybe. I think I might have bought a black summer coat there too, on the cheap, heavily discounted, because my wife hated the brown coat I had at the time. But maybe it was somewhere else. Be that as it may, I used to go there often enough to have a loyalty card. Maybe I should revisit it, check if the card still works.

Feu mystérieux

Nous sommes allés à un ferme pour enfants en fin de semaine. À la fin de l'après-midi, alors qu'on quittait la place, nous avons aperçu (et surtout senti) un épais nuage de fumée noire. La fumée a inquiété ma femme un moment, mais elle m'a dit qu'elle avait vu des feux semblables dans le même coin par le passé. Comme le personnel ne semblait pas s'en formaliser, nous n'avons pas paniqué. Quand même, j'ai pris le temps de prendre quelques photos. Avec les chèvres, ça fait une belle image, je trouve. Mais sinon, la raison de l'existence de ce feu demeure un mystère entier.

Monday 1 July 2024

I saw an Aston Martin

 Well, as the title says. Yesterday, I saw an Aston Martin. We were coming back from a petting zoo, there was a car haead of us, it pulled into a driveway. I didn't recognise it at first, but right before it turned, I saw the name. And that was it, that was my encounter with the classic car. Of course, I know it because of  James Bond, especially Goldfinger. It was not the classic model, or indeed any I have seen in movies. The Aston Martin I saw did not look like a luxury car. All the same, it felt pretty cool seeing one "live", I mean not in a museum or on display in an exhibition, but being driven in a town close to home. So yes, it made my day.

Anniversaire d'un déménagement

Nous sommes le premier juillet, ce qui veut dire, pour tous les Québécois le... Jour du Déménagement. Ici, ce n'est pas un jour férié, mais quand même, c'estun anniversaire pour notre famille: c'est aujourd'hui il y a huit ans que nous sommes devenus propriétaires, quelques mois avant l'arrivée de petit loup. Je le souligne à chaque année. Nous avons emménagé le lendemain, mais je souligne à chaque année le premier juillet même. Enfin, je le souligne ici. Je ne le célèbre pas avec de grands sparages comme je le faisais avec les anniversaires de notre ancien appart. Sans doutes parce que la grosse affaire, en 2016, c'était la naissance de petit loup quelques mois plus tard. Devenir propriétaire, c'était important, mais sans commune mesure. Tout de même, devenir propriétaire de sa propre maison, cela mérite d'être souligné.

Sunday 30 June 2024

Chocolate Jack O'Lantern

 It is summer everywhere, except in the local sweet shop, where it is all seasons at once, every holiday at once, all the time. So yeah, I went there yesterday and lo and behold, I saw chocolate Jack O'Lanterns. They had somilar things for Xmas and for Valentine's Day, but I only buy them in season. For Halloween stuff, it's different. I am in an Halloween mood from January until the big day, with a short break round Easter. So I had to buy these Jack O's, even though they were not cheap. I wonder why they were not reduced, by the way. I guess I'm a sucker. I saw this, and the staff at the sweet shop isn't really greedy: they often let me keep the small change and, in this instance, I got one of the chocolates at a reduced price because the hat had been broken. Anyway, long story short, this is the second sign of Halloween I have seen since round here the beginning of the year.

La Bête du Gévaudan: un anniversaire

Aujourd'hui, c'est l'anniversaire du'un évènement de sinistre nature, qui a donné des frissons à bien des amateurs d'horreur et en a inspiré beaucoup d'autres. Vous avez deviné de quoi je parle? Il y a 260 ans, le 30 juin 1764, la Bête du Gévaudan faisait sa première victime officielle. Je m'en suis rappelé en regardant cette vidéo sur YouTube hier et je me suis dit que je devais le souligner. Avec l'une de mes images préférées du monstre. La Bête a vraiment besoin de figurer plus souvent dans le patrimoine effrayant mondial. Je songe moi même à m'en inspirer pour écrire une histoire d'horreur quand l'Halloween viendra. Enfin bref...

Saturday 29 June 2024

An autumnal vibe

 So we had a bit of a heatwave, or almost. A few days ago was the hottest day in the year. I found it very difficult: I was too hot, uncomfortable, I felt miserable. Then the temperature dramatically dropped, in the lower 20s, and it should remain like this for a week or so. Maximums might even go slightly below 20. And, probably it is wishful thinking from my part and I know this is very early still in summertime, but all the same: sometimes it feels like autumn is waiting at the door. Particularly when the wind is blowing. There is a smell in the air, a certain feel, that is simply not the one you would expect during summertime. There is something autumnal in the air. I know it will not last, but I don't care, I will enjoy it for all it's worth. I am in an autumnal mood.


Bon, une bonne nouvelle côté familial: c'est officiel, nous irons à Montréal d'ici à la fin de l'année. Nous n'avons pas vu le Québec depuis janvier 2020, donc ça date d'avant la pandémie. Wolfie est impatient de rencontrer ses cousins en chair et en os pour la première fois. Donc, par conséquent, nous allons avoir des vacances à Montréal. Pour les détails du séjour, on verra, mais il est certain que l'on va passer du temps en famille.

Friday 28 June 2024

An observation on homemade haircuts

 As you may remember, I was, back in the days of the pandemic, the family barber. I cut my wife's hair, my son's hair and I performed haircuts on myself. I did a fairly good job too. Since then, while Wolfie and my wife went back to hairdressers and barber shops, I still do my own haircuts. But recently, my wife needed one and did not want to pay a fortune and spend a lot of time on it, so she asked me to do it. I did, it was a quick ane easy job. Then a few days later, she told me: "You know, this harcut, it's growing on me." I could not help it, I replied: "Of course it does, that's pretty much what hair does, it grows." I know I should not sing my own praise, but I thought it was a good joke and a new great unknown line.

Camerise et chocolat

J'ai récemment appris sur la page Facebook des Pères trappistes qu'ils ont un nouveau produit disponible: la camerise enrobée de chocolats. J'ai déjà blogué sur la baie ici. Elle devient à la mode, on dirait. Faudrait que je l'essaie un de ces quatre.

Thursday 27 June 2024

Midsummer Ghost Stories (read by the Librarian)

 I blogged about it before. It is getting closer and closer: the Midsummer Ghost Stories will be read on the 7th of July by the Librarian in the West Wycombe Village Hall. I don't know who this Librarian is, but he seems to be a sinister chap. As the big event of my summers is over for me, I am now getting more and more into a Halloween mood and a few chilling horror stories would be the right thing to forget about seasonal heat.

Limonade à la rhubarbe

J'ai appris une chose sur la page Facebook du Café Cambio: ils offrent une limonade à la rhubarbe. Si vous vous demandez pourquoi j'aime le Café Cambio même si j'exècre le café, c'est pour ça: ils ont pleins d'autres produits locaux de qualité que j'aime ou que je veux essayer. Bon, je n'en aurai pas cet été, mais qui sait, les étés suivants...

Wednesday 26 June 2024

Knowing places in books

 I am currently reading A Spy Alone, which I am enjoying quite a lot. I started it not expecting much, just a half decent thriller, but it really caught my attention. Anyway, in the very first pages, it mentions and features two cities, Oxford and Reading. The former is more prominent than the latter, and the latter is truly a large town, not a city, but I digress. I have been to both is what I wanted to say. And it is one of the little bit of literary joys I have when I read: that first-hand knowledge of a place you are reading about. Am I the only one who feels like this? What about you?

Peser sur le piton

 Une solution trouvée sur les internets, si jamais vous avez un appareil électronique qui est jammé ou s'il est toujours éteint: pesez sur le piton pendant très longtemps. Il va finir par revenir à la vie. Je le sais, ça marche à tous les coups. Un iPad, un cellulaire, un portable... Ne me remerciez pas.

The Railway Children on stage

Here is a nice little bit of news I learned from the Facebook page of the Didcot Railway Centre: they will be presenting a stage adaptation of  The Railway Children. I have seen one before, almost ten years ago, which I thoroughly enjoyed.Then I read the novel. Since then, I became a father, and Wolfie has already enjoyed one novel of Edith Nesbit. I suggested we go and watch the play, he is eager to do it, but only once he have read the book. Since it is in August, I guess he has time. So yes, I am not sure if we will go, we will have a busy summer, but this is a possibility. Worst case scenario, it is an excuse to read to Wolfie a classic of children literature.

Les Bouquinistes en juin

Image prise sur la page Facebook des Bouquinistes. Comme c'est le cas d'une autre institution littéraire du Saguenay, ils font la promotion de la littérature autochtone pour le mois de juin. J'ai réussi un peu à le faire. Mais sinon, je m'ennuie du temps passé à bouquiner dans ce qui fut longtemps et est encore ma librairie préférée. Quand juin arrivait, juste avant les vacances d'été, on faisait souvent une razzia aux Bouquinistes.

Tuesday 25 June 2024

Bracing Myself

 Well, I guess it could not stay like this forever. Up until this point, summer had been fairly cool, or at least reasonably warm. Nothing to cry home about, everything very bearble. Well, not anymore. Yesterday was hot, today will be hotter, in fact, they are forecasting a heatwave. I checked on the BBC and the region we are in will not be spared. Thankfully, there is no amber warning... for now. We should stay just below 30 degrees. Then if we are lucky, it will go a few degrees down and be tolerable again this weekend. I hope so... Until then I am bracing myself for the next few days and the heat from the pit of hell we will have to live through.

Monday 24 June 2024

Hymne à Québec

Puisque nous sommes un jour de Saint-Jean, je passe mon temps libre à écouter de la musique québécoise. Avec un peu de Loco Locass et un hymne à notre capitale nationale.

A poutine in London

As you may know, today is Saint John the Baptist's Day, also the Fête nationale of Quebeckers. I am celebrating today, but celebrated a few days ago in London, with a few Quebec expats gathering in a gastro pub. It was organised by the DGQL. An overwhelmed staff was serving various dishes, including and especially poutine. A Québec specialty which has achieved some fame abroad, including here in the UK. I even heard some colleagues sing its praises. I hope I don't have to explain what poutine is. You have a picture of the one I had here in any case. It was a decent one, just filling enough.

C'est notre tour...

Bonne Fête nationale à tous les Québécois et Québécoises, avec une pensée spéciale pour ceux qui comme moi sont expatriés. J'ai d'ailleurs eu le plaisir d'en voir certains à Londres samedi dernier, dans ma première vraie célébration comme expatrié depuis mon arrivée en Angleterre il y a une vingtaine d'années. des détails ici. C'est d'ailleurs là où j'ai pu récupérer ces deux fleurdelisés. Toute célébration de la Saint-Jean commence avec Gens du pays, que je partage encore une fois aujourd'hui.

Sunday 23 June 2024

The Notting Hill Bookmark

 I blogged on Friday about the Notting Hill Bookshop. Made famour because of, well, this. My wife has always been curious about it, so we visited it yesterday. I will tell you about my experience one day in another post. Suffice to say for now that a quaint little English bookshop was spoiled forever by a Hollywood romcom, and so was my shopping experience. Maybe it was because of this, but I surprised myself behaving in there. Well, sort of behaving: I bought four books, but all of them were for Wolfie, none was for me. I did, however, buy a bookmark. Because if you buy books, you need more bookmarks. And because I collect them. It's a good hobby to have, it's fairly cheap and it is useful. I love the green colour on it. They were available in red and blue as well, but I preferred green. So does Wolfie. I guess it is now his bookmark.

Le Québec à Londres

 J'avais blogué sur le sujet il y a quelques jours. Mais il y a longtemps que je voulais le faire. Enfin bref, grâce à la page Facebook de la Délégation générale du Québec à Londres , j'ai célébré la Fête nationale hier. Le 24 est tombé le 22... C'était un peu surréaliste de voir des Québécois en si grand nombre à Londres, de pouvoir parler français et d'entendre l'accent. J'ai piqué quelques jasettes, pas assez à mon goût, mais petit loup a pu avoir une idée du peuple d'où il vient. Il a aussi pu brandir le fleurdelisé, ce qui m'a ému. Morale de l'histoire: on est une belle gang d'expatriés.

Saturday 22 June 2024

Three Assassins in the Bookshop

 I blogged here and there about Japanese crime writer Kotaro Isaka, who wrote the novel that inspired Bullet Train, a wacky film which I enjoyed thoroughly. I enjoyed it enough to want to buy the source novel and, while I wasat it, the first novel of what is a trilogy. So I ordered Three Assassins from... the bookshop. I could have gone through Amazon, but I wanted to support my favourite local business. So... yeah. I received a phone call from the bookshop two days ago, saying the book had arrived. I don't know when I will be able to go there and get my hands on it, but I'm am happily surprised it arrived so quickly, in less than a week.

Olives farcies

Mes parents sont, comme moi et comme petit loup, friands d'olives. En fait, non,  pas autant, mon fils et moi, on exagère quand on mange des olives, ma femme doit nous arrêter. Mais enfin bref, nous tenons de mes parents pour notre goût des olives. Ils ont donc acheté des olives farcies il y a quelques jours. Farcies au fromage feta (mes préférées), au citron et aux oranges. Et, bien entendu, ma mère m'a envoyé des photos pour le blogue.

Friday 21 June 2024

About the Notting Hill Bookshop

 We were discussing, my wife and I, about future trips to London. We live fairly close to the city and we seldom go there. Anyway,during our conversation, checking at all the places in London we have never been to, she mentioned the Notting Hill Bookshop. Made famous by a certain romcom movie, which I have never seen or cared to see. But she got me at the word bookshop. My wife asked, enthusiastically: "Oh, wouldn't you like to go there? Imagine how much fun you would have." I said: "Are you sure you want to let me roam free in a bookshop?" She said: "Oh you're right, that could be dangerous." So, yeah, I don't know if we are going to visit the famous (legendary?) bookshop any time soon, but my wife's reply deserves to be a new great unknown line.

À propos de la Saint-Jean...

 Bon, je vais faire mon petit laïus à props de notre Fête nationale qui est imminente et que je fête en expatrié depuis une quinzaine d'années. Cette année, je vais faire participer ma famille. Ma femme et surtout mon fils. Je vais vous donner plus de détails dans les jours qui viennent, mais surveillez Vraie Fiction.

Summer Books 2024

Quick post today, just as a quick reminder. One reminder and one quick moment of musing. First, the reminder: it is still Independent Bookshop Week, until tomorrow. Second, as summertime isofficially here, it is time to get some summer books. It may not be my favourite season, but I still enjoy a good summer read. Although my summer reads rarely go beyond July. Sometimes I finish them sooner. But that's just me. In any case, I will get my hand the free guide provided by Books Are My Bag as soon as possible. Anyway, if you have any suggestions for summer reads, please put them in the comments. I might do the same in future posts.

Mafalda: Esprit de famille

J'apprends, grâce à la page Facebook officielle de Mafalda, que l'on a publié un nouveau recueil en France. Enfin, un nouveau recueil, un livre des gags que l'on connaît tous, mais quand même. Le titre du recueil est Mafalda: Esprit de famille et je vous laisse deviner de quoi ça parle.

Thursday 20 June 2024

A Solstice Wolfism

Okay, so we are not the 21st of June, but apparently from what I read today is the summer solstice. The first day of summer, officially, although for me it starts with the month. Moreimportantly, it is the longest day of the year and one I usually dislike. Because yes, a day that never seems to end is kind of the stuff of nightmare for me. But I see the silver lining and the glass one quarter full: it means days are getting shorter, although we will not see it (or feel it) until a long time. Last year, Wolfie gave us his own take on the solstice, which I thought was brilliant. It is worth mentioning it here as a new Wolfism: "I like it because it means school days are getting shorter." That may not be strictly accurate, it is nevertheless quite sweet and the right attitude to have.

Vague de chaleur au Québec

 Oh, il y a parfois des moments comme celui-ci où je suis content d'être expatrié. J'apprends dans la grosse Presse qu'il y a une vague de chaleur au Québec. Une sans précédent en juin. Ici, il fait chaud, mais ce n'est pas encore insoutenable: en fait, le mercure ne monte pas beaucoup au dessus de 20. Et c'est le solstice aujourd'hui, même si on n'est pas encore le 21... J'espère que les températures vont baisser d'ici à ce que juin finisse. Au Québec comme ailleurs.

Wednesday 19 June 2024

Spy Thriller in the Bookshop

As this is Independent Bookshop Week, we went to the local bookshop recently. I love to support local businesses, especially local bookshops. I love our local bookshop for another reason: I always find some book I did not know existed, but worth checking. So yes, I found A Spy Alone by Charles Beaumont. I have no idea if it is going to be good or not, but I have been in the mood for a spy thriller. And Beaumont being a former MI6 operative, it should be well documented if nothing else.

Des Santons pour la Saint-Jean?

Je cherchais sur la page Facebook sur les Santons de Charlevoix un Santon de Saint Jean Baptiste. Je n'en ai pas trouvé jusqu'ici. Cela dit, j'ai pensé que ceux-ci feront l'affaire, avec les jigeux et les musiciens.