Tuesday, 24 April 2018

The (young) reader's corner

I blogged before about Catherine's Café in Wallingford. We rediscovered it recently and found new reasons to love it. Well, Wolfie did. He visited the place with his mummy and his grandparents, then with his mum and myself for my birthday. It turns out the café has a children friendly room, with a safety gate that prevent toddlers such as him to leave it unsupervised and with bookcases. Two bookcases: one with adult books, one with children books. Wolfie loves taking said book off the shelves (one of his favourite activities at home too) and just checking them. Of all the little pleasures life can give, there is one I particularly enjoy: reading in a café and going through the books available to the customers. I am so happy my son seems to be enjoying this already.

Un squelette de cheval

Je fais encore une fois un billet animalier. Mettons. Et comme hier il s'agit d'un billet sur une monture. Enfin, sur ce qu'il en reste. Mon père a pris cette photo devant la station de Métro Mont-Royal. Ça me rappelle un peu Body World, un peu aussi la Dios del Muertos, un peu finalement un poème de Victor Hugo, que je ne trouve pas en ce moment. On dira ce qu'on voudra, mais l'art dans les rues du Plateau, ça a quand même du cachet.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Saint George's Day!

Happy Saint George's Day everyone! I am writing this post the night before, in caseI cannot find time tomorrow. So no Google Doodle this time. I don't know who is the artist who made this gorgeous image, but I think it might be Alan Lee. In any case, it is fitting, full of action and the dragon seems terrifying, a force beyond nature. Saint George is not only a dragon slayer, he is also the patron saint of England. Given that my son is half-English and is growing up as an English boy, I intend to tell him of the legend and of this very special patron saint. It is quite rare indeed that you have one who killed a dragon and this is something to fire up a young child's imagination. Not that I want him to be overly patriotic or anything, but I think there is something quite fitting about having Saint George patron of Englishmen. And he is a legendary hero a young boy can look up to.

Un âne

Je fais encore une fois dans le billet animalier. Cette photo a été prise en fin de semaine dans la petite ville anglaise de Wallingford. Je ne suis pas un grand amateur d'ânes d'ordinaire (sauf dans certains contes et certaines chansons), mais ça m'a étonné que celui-ci ait le pelage aussi abondant. Il a fait une grosse impression sur notre petit loup. Je n'ai quand même pas voulu qu'il s'en approche trop. Je suis sans doute trop prudent et cet âne semblait bien docile, mais on ne sait jamais.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Rocky the black bear

When a parent celebrates his birthday, it always ends up being about the child to a degree, or at least he ends up getting at least one present. This is what happened to Wolfie, in a most unexpected manner. So yesterday we went to Wallingford for my birthday. Wallingford is one of the few English towns celebrating St George's Day, usually the Saturday before. There are many stands and special activities for a few hours. Among them, a stand where they were selling various things to finance the local scouts group. There were fancy and not so fancy items and second hand plush toys. Plush toys that were not merely bought but "adopted", with a certificate of adoption and everything. The lady running it tried to have us buy a leopard, a giraffe, but Wolfie held this black bear the moment I showed it to him and started cuddling him. We then of course had to buy it. At four pounds, it was not expensive, but a bit much for something second hand and full of germs. At least it was for charity. So his name is Rocky (name given on his red tag, we could change it but I like it) and he is the new member of my son's plush menagerie.

Un emballage emballant

Le titre du billet est un calembour atroce, mais je n'ai pas pu y résister. C'était ma fête hier, j'ai donc eu droit à des cadeaux. Mais le papier d'emballage utilisé par ma femme, que vous voyez sur cette photo. L'ironie, c'est que je n'ai même pas eu un seul cadeau de nature brassicole. Mais ça ne fait rien: j'ai eu d'excellents cadeaux et c'est vraiment du beau papier, à un point tel que j'étais triste de le défaire (notre petit loup m'a aidé).

Saturday, 21 April 2018

On being 41

I am 41 today. The big 4-0 last year did not bother me as much as I thought it would. Turning 30 was worse. It felt worse anyway, when it happened. I don't know how I will celebrate, but like last year it will be fairly quiet. When you reach adulthood and middle age, birthdays tend to be less important. especially when you have children: they just take the stage, so to speak. Even my birthday is in a way all about Wolfie now.

Marquise si mon visage...

J'ai 41 ans aujourd'hui. Comme c'est une tradition sur Vraie Fiction, voici les Stances à Marquise, version chantée par Georges Brassens, avec les couplets de son cru vers la fin. Parce que j'ai quelques traits un peu vieux, je suis un grison puisque j'ai les tempes grisonnantes... mais je me console: je suis papa, c'est toujours ça ce pris.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Indian pizza?

This week at work, the girls downstairs (the employees on ground floor are all female, so we call them "the girls downstairs") decided to have pizza. I still have no idea what was the special occasion. I generally don't have special treats unless it's Friday. I had pizza from a local cheap pizza joint. There were not many that inspired me in the menu, so I chose a "tandoori pizza". In other words, this is what pizza would be if Indians had invented the dish. Basically, pizza with chicken and Indian spices. It also had hot pepper and onions. It was spicy. I felt my belly ache all afternoon. Thankfully I only chose a medium size pizza and asked for no side dishes. I enjoy a bit of proper junk food from time to time and this certainly was the proper stuff (see picture), but this was a bit much for me. And I have never been all that keen on fusion cuisine.

L'ancêtre des baleines

J'ai blogué il y a quatre ans en anglais sur le Mesonyx, l'ancêtre des cétacés. Quand j'ai vu il y a environ trente ans cette reproduction au Musée de l'histoire naturelle, j'avais été profondément impressionné. Un mammifère pas marin qui est l'arrière grand-père des baleines et des dauphins, ça m'a donné une idée de ce que signifiait l'évolution des espèces. Rien que de revoir cette photo, j'en suis encore tout émerveillé.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Tea and sea


Sometimes, things change so fast, I barely have time to follow. We are well into Spring and Summer is already being prepared. When it comes to my own little bit of consumerism, it means that David's Tea has released a new collection. A sea theme this year. Now as you know, I love their accessories, but of all their seasonal collections I prefer the autumn one (I never miss blogging about it, by the way). But I do love each and everyone of them and this year's sea life collection, of whatever its name, is a particularly nice one. Having tea by the sea to warm yourself up when a cool breeze or a cold wind is blowing, it kind of makes sense. Let's put it this way: tea and sea go together. I will miss this collection like all the others, but I wish I could buy one of these mugs as my tea mug for summertime.

Le temps des jonquilles

Il y a pleins de petits signes qui font qu'avril ces temps-ci a l'air d'un printemps idéal: il fait chaud d'abord et les jonquilles sont en fleurs. J'ai pris cette photo il y a deux semaines au parc près du travail où je vais me promener lors de ma pause de dîner. Ça ne lui rend pas vraiment justice, parce que sur la photo il fait nuageux, mais ces temps-ci, avec un soleil qui plombe, ça me donne vraiment le goût de prolonger ma pause et ma promenade jusqu'à la fin de l'après-midi. Les printemps trop chauds ont bien des défauts, mais au moins je peux marcher dans les jonquilles en fleurs.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

The fox, the bee... and the dinosaurs?

I blogged before about the fox raincoat of Wolfie. Well, it turns out that the fox is not his only totem animal: he has a bee backpack (with that cord thing my wife forbid me to call a leash and allows her to keep a hold of him for more safety) and rubber boots (wellies as the British call them) that have a crest and sharp teeth of dinosaurs. Wolfie is fully equipped and ready to go on an adventure. He often does, in fact. It's a fitting uniform: the fox for cunning and naughtiness, the bee for his cheerful nature, the dinosaurs for his strength and fearlessness.

Le vin rouge à nouveau?

Il y a quelques semaines, j'ai décidé de vivre dangereusement: j'ai acheté une (petite) bouteille de vin rouge. Petite, car je suis le seul à boire du vin rouge ici, d'abord, et ensuite, parce qu'étant allergique aux sulfites, le vin rouge me fait éternuer violemment et fréquemment. La dernière fois que j'avais bu du rouge, c'était durant les Fêtes et tout s'était bien passé, sauf que je m'en méfiais toujours. Mais j'avais vraiment envie d'en boire, alors j'ai acheté cette bouteille. Pas un grand cru, on va s'entendre, mais un petit vin italien honnête. ou presque Or ainsi donc, j'ai survécu à ma soirée, sans avoir éternué une seule fois. Je ne sais pas si c'est une aberration, il me faudra réessayer. Mais j'espère pouvoir en boire à nouveau.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Travelling first class by train?

I took this picture at the National Railway Museum of York, maybe my favoruite museum in the world. I love everything train related and I am eager to go back on a train journey (see my recent post about it). Thinking about it, it struck me that I never travelled first class. Not by plane, not by boat, not even by train. Of course, first class on short journeys is borderline useless (fron what I saw of First Class wagons) and I wonder if it ever was as glamourous as it was used to be. Trains journeys are, generally speaking, already the most comfortable and pleasant ones. That said, part of me is wondering if we should not give First Class a try one day, for a very long journey, if we can afford it (fat chance).

Les humeurs d'avril

J'ai beau être loin du Québec, je sais qu'un "cocktail météo" (ce cliché n'est pas de moi, mais de la grosse Presse. le frappe méchamment ces temps-ci. Ici, on a une alternance de temps doux et de temps frais, d'un jour à l'autre, au point où je ne sais jamais quoi me mettre sur le dos. Mais ça ne m'étonne pas: c'est ça le mois d'avril. Ma mère me raconte souvent cette anecdote: quand je suis né, mon père est allé chercher son lunch en manches courtes. Quand je suis sorti de l'hôpital, il y avait une tempête de neige. Enfin bref, il fut un temps où c'était mon mois préféré. Plus maintenant.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Gifts for an old man?

It is my birthday soon and my wife asked for a list of suggestions for presents to give me. I generally love making a list of things I'd love to receive, I always have plenty of ideas. But this year, something irked me among the suggestions I gave her. Among other things, I asked for a new wallet, as my current one is about ten years old, if not more, and falling apart, and for a fancy traditional shaving kit, with an old fashioned razor and so on. And tonight I started wondering: are these gifts you would give an old man? I suddenly felt very old asking for them anyway. And it is not even something a man from my generation would ask for.

Les lapins

Hier, nous sommes allés dans une animalerie pour acheter un truc ou deux pour Domino. Les animaleries en Angleterre ne vendent ni chats ni chiens, mais ils vendent des oiseaux, des poissons, des souris, des hamsters et d'autres rongeurs. Dont des lapins. Ils étaient dans un grand enclos large avec baies vitrées. Notre petit loup était trèes impressionné. Je me demande si je vais devoir un jour acheter un clapier...

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Crimes on sale (at £1.99)

I decided to take a break from epic historical novels and I am now reading crime fiction again. Well, I say I have decided but it is not quite true. As I have a pile of books to read, I just showed the couples of novels I was considering to Blonde Tickler during her last visit and she said: "this one looks like the best of them all". So I followed her advice as I trust her instincts. The book she was referring to was The Gutter and the Grave by Ed McBain. I know McBain a lot, but this is a new reading experience for me as the novel is not from his 87th Precinct series. It features an ex private eye now drunkard homeless Matt Cordell, who lost his license after beating up his wife's lover, and a few femmes fatales. I bought it at £1.99 at the local Oxfam. That is a true bargain for quality crime fiction and one of the few times when Ed McBain ventured into proper hardboiled territory.

Prendre une bière dehors

J'ai bu cette bière de la Brasserie Lancelot lors de notre denrier séjour en Bretagne. Comme ce fut le cas pour la plupart des bières bues lors de ce séjour, je l'ai bue dans le jardin de mes parents, par une journée juste assez chaude pour apprécier. Il y a une semaine, je me désespérais un peu de pouvoir boire dehors. Ça n'est pas encore arrivé, mais hier il a fait des températures plus douces et il semblerait qu'enfin je vais pouvoir en profiter dans les semaines qui vont suivre. Je songe d'ailleurs m'acheter une petite table de jardin comme celle de mes beaux-parents.