mardi 24 novembre 2009


Some years ago at the Psaro Taverna, a small park Avenue Greek restaurant in Montreal,  we tasted a strange wine, a Retsina Cambas.  The waiter had recommended it with fried calamari and red snapper.  At first sip we were taken aback...but the taste sort of grew on us and it definitely enhanced the taste of  the calamari and the snapper.
We later bought a few bottles at the Société des Alcools du Québec and had friends tasting it with venison and spiced meat roasts of various kinds.  The results were persistant: hesitation followed by "give me more".
Several years ago the Retsina disappeared from the SAQ shelves.  Last week, to my astonishment, I saw a golden liquor on top of a low stand at our nearby SAQ outlet, about 6 bottles of Malamatina Retsina, 500 ml, bottles for 4, 95$C.  I immediately got one and we drank it with a fish dish.  Although not as good as we recalled the Cambas to be, it was still a great treat.
Some years ago, in a short notice in the national Geographic Magazine I read that divers had found a sunken Phoenician barge off the coast of Turkey.  It contained amphoras carbon dated to circa 2000 B.C. containing what turned out to be retsina...thanks to the cold waters of the deep it was still drinkable.

vendredi 20 novembre 2009

Meeting of minds

I have been so busy writing, lately, that I did not have time to blog.  My two study groups at MILR are rather demanding and they consume much ink.  But it is so rewarding to share thoughts and knowledge with other equally curious and loquacious people.
One group you have, on a previous blog, an example of what we do.  The other is on Québec history.  it is a remarquable group by it's make up: francophones, anglophones and allophones.  We are from diverse school systems and even diverse provinces or countries.
The Canadians amongst us have all learned their history...but, learned in Ontario or New Brunswick, in Québec's English or French schools, it sounds somewhat different.  We are trying to harmonize our views.  So far, war has not broken out and we do have a certain conscensus.  It is all about being open minded and it somehow works.
History, after all, is not black and white but infinite shades of grey.

dimanche 8 novembre 2009


I've been blogging for some 6 months maybe a little more and commenting on other's blogs for over a year.  Save for Neil McKenty and Le Bourlingueur I have never met face to face with the people I share my thoughts with.  Yet they have taught me me many things.
From Neil and the Commentator I learned that a blog can be a political tool to promote one's points of views be they left or right leaning.  Discussing on Neil's and Commentator's,(or Alessandro) I have been confronted with people I would not spontaneously have been inclined to deal with...but have learned to accept as they are...and respect their ideas without suscribing to them.
Abe Lincoln has shown me, but he is unaware of it, to use pictures.  They are a potent tool to convey one's feelings and moods.  Erin has put me in contact with a type of poetry I can get in tune with and I thank her for that.
Café Philos has reconciled me with philosophy and introspection and Rosaria has shown me how you can go back on your personal life and story without being preachy nor boastful.
Man of Roma has rekindled my love for history and the humanities he even woke up the slumbering latinist in me.  Besides, through his correspondants I slowly become more aware of how people think in India, Japan, China and other Oriental places.  What an enrichment.
From my old friend and colleague, Jean-Guy le Bourlingueur, I have learned that when a Westerner gets immersed in India, he forgets to keep up with his blog.  Must be the atmosphere out there.

vendredi 6 novembre 2009

Snow is coming

For several days now our meteo has been forecasting light snow over Longueuil.  None has far.  While we lived in Val-David, in our beloved Laurentian Hills, the smell of nearing snow was a cause for rejoicing.  It meant a new dressing for our barren trees and the mutation of evergreens into huge tipis when their long branches laden with heavy snow hung low, the lower ones even touching the ground.
It also meant the hum of snow making machines at the nearby Vallée Bleue ski hills and the eventual recall of laid off seasonal workers with the return of the toursists.  It was a merry period and heralded the coming Holydays.
Looking out the window over the kitchen sink (see picture above) we saw nothing but beauty and the birds at the feeder.  Watching the snow fall was so relaxing and at night, when the sky was clear the moon shone making millions of little diamonds glitter...we could even see stars and the occasional Northern Lights.
Now, in Longueuil, it means dirty streets, buses running late and hoping our snow clearing contractor will come and clear the gritty snowbank pushed and compacted in our exit by the city's snow plows clearing the boulevard before we have to go out..   Of course due to light pollution very few stars are visible and the moon looks sick.
But we are nearer the kids and our grandchildren; it helps cushion the blow!

lundi 2 novembre 2009

Municipal elections, the sequel

Well we have voted.  Laval has returned it's mayor and Montreal did the same.  They also elected their slates of candidates so both mayors will have a majority at City Hall.  So much for (not) cleaning up doubtfull ways of doing things.
 Longueuil has voted in a new mayor but gave a mojority to the former party in power so the new mayoress is in a minority position at City hall.  Everybody will have to thread carefully.
Elsewhere nothing has changed much and in 84 towns all were returned to office without opposition.  Satisfaction or mere apathy?