Saturday, 26 April 2014

Grey Doll & Criminal Reading: In France With Fred Vargas' "Dog Will Have His Day"

Alors! In Paris and Brittany with a new Fred Vargas translation - Dog Will Have His Day. Fred Vargas is a great favourite of mine when it comes to foreign crime fiction. Like a lot of her English fans I wait eagerly each year for the latest offering, translated by the wonderful Sian Reynolds.

Dog Will Have His Day was first published in France in 1995 so although new to the UK it is not a recently written book. I do not care. It makes little difference. Vargas' world is timeless. Her strengths are in people, eccentrics even, place, mystery, crime, human nature. Perhaps her work has grown a little darker and more complex but this is still a joy - for its characters, their conversation and plot.

In this story we are without Inspector Adamsberg - but we gain an obsessive investigator and man of personal mystery, Louis Kehlweiler. He takes the lead in the case of a piece of human bone found amongst dog's doings under a Paris tree. Vargas reintroduces us to two of her three "evangelists" (a trio of young historians who share their ramshackle house in Paris and first appeared in The Three Evangelists.) In particularly we have the company of our medievalist in black, Marc Vandoosler, who travels with Kehlweiler to Brittany where an old woman was found on the rocks so to speak and definitely dead. And what is Kehlweiler's trademark eccentricity? If Adamsberg carries stones in his pocket... Kehlweiler has a toad in his - Bufo, his companion and confidante.
You can read a full review of the book over on the Euro Crime Blog here.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Garden - Last Minute Fruit Planting

Been some lovely days this weekend, though now it's raining again. I manage to plant a blackcurrant bush just before the rain begins... the rain will be good for the bush I hope. Got a Japanese wineberry waiting to be planted as well. The moral for our garden is... grow nothing too lush, for we do a good line in strong sea-winds, mizzle, slugs, snails, bindweed and nettles. Then, we also can get fierce sun with no rain, for good measure. Things have to be tough. The fruit can't be too tender or demanding. If we get something to eat from them... then thank you very much.
I mean it. Thank you.
The rhubarb is a blessing. And there are some little apple trees, including one I do call "Grandma". She is old, canker-struck and lichen covered. She do hit me on the head regularly when I garden near her... but it makes her feel good. I apologise to her and later she will give me an apple. "Grandma", see. Her branches spread out. We have at least two of them propped on stakes for support because each year since we came here she do crop more and more. Lovely cookers, sharp and fluffy. But The Old Man don't think she is a Bramley.
Surprisingly, we also manage strawberries. As long as I pick 'em a bit early and ripen them indoors. Not because of the birds... but because of the slugs and woodlice. And we planted a Kea Plum (small Cornish cooking plum) several years ago. The tree has grown but we have had only one tiny misshapen fruit so far. This year there is a bit more blossom on it. Will we get a fruit?

Friday, 18 April 2014

Record Store Day - Saturday 19th April 2014

Just reminding you... whilst they are still there to be visited and used... tomorrow (Saturday 19th April) be Record Store Day when you can celebrate the great tradition of independent record shops and see who has set up events, special releases, live music and so on. 
If you want some music outside "the charts"? Some coffee? A book? A dvd? A chance to chat about a new release, the music you want... or dogs.. or stuff? Forget Amazon and try out your local independent record shop...
There aren't many. So let's use 'em or.... lose 'em.

And I do say if you is in the West Country.... in the vicinity of Falmouth... visit Jam Records.  Totnes? Then Drift Record Shop...

By the way... I do pick up my copy of Liz Green's "Haul Away" from Jam only this week....

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Good Weather - Out And About

Been enjoying camellias, magnolias and such like at Trewidden.
And the next day.... a quick march around Goonhilly Downs.... (eh-hem)... where there be six tall wind-turbines and I do not hear a sound from them and ... they are working... and anyways I buy my electricity from a renewables only company.
Yes. I am that kind of girl.

Rhododendron flower at Trewidden
Goonhilly Downs

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

The New Me

Okay. I have had discussions with Mrs D about this duplication thing. And once I "put my best face on".... I start to accept the transfer to a new body... in a Frankenstein manner.
Mmmmn.... Mrs D as Dr Frankenstein.
She do assure the old me that I will be celebrated by being kitted out in a new transformation dress.
Preferably bright red I do say....
Though... mind... I don't think her problems be entirely solved with bits of the "New-Me". She be tut-tutting about hands and faces, see. And I do think they legs be a bit spindly like.

Nevertheless I am assured that, one day, I ("New-Me") shall stand on me own two feet for a change.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Listening To: "I Lie" by David Lang From Soundtrack of " La Grande Bellezze"

A friend recently gave me the soundtrack recording for "The Great Beauty" (see previous post) and this is just one of the items on the double CD. The Yiddish lyrics for "I Lie" are from a song written by Belorussian-born Jewish poet, Joseph Rolnick who died (1955) in the USA aged 76. The lyrics...perhaps the words of a girl waiting for her lover... were set to music by composer David Lang as a commission for all-women vocal ensemble Kitka, first performed in 2001.
"I lie down in bed alone.....

Friday, 4 April 2014

Travels With My Film-Life: Italy's "La Grande Bellezza"

We be back in Italy.... Roma.... sampling "The Great Beauty". A philosophical journey for us oldies as we contemplate the value of our.... values and where one finds the beauty. All that we call "beautiful"... and notions of success.
The film itself is beautiful.... a succession of images,days, thoughts, even memories of the 65 year-old, world-weary journalist Jep Gambardella - played by Toni Servillo.... a Sorrentino regular whom we do watch in "The Consequences of Love" (that post is here).
I contemplate this Roman procession after the film ends and think it is moving but demands some time and patience to sink in.
The Old Man do not indulge time and patience when it comes to forming opinions, so he do be more doubtful about it all.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Enough Is Enough

"I've had enough of this... this .. duplication!" I do say to Mrs D. "...All of these bits of wire and stuffing and stocking and such. What you trying to do to me? What is this creature you are making?"

And Mrs D cannot look me in the eye.

But I know.... I know...
that she is making another ME."