Well, this has become a tradition! Fun for both of us and we just have to walk. I was interested in this pumpkin carving in the bar since it seemed quite abstract but then Maureen pointed out that it was probably a cougar's head. In the lobby and at the check desk, the pumpkins were very traditional....as completely suits The Sylvia...
I can only see a cougar now.
A little more what we would have carved as kids except for the eyes...they would have just been triangles... so actually not that traditional.
It was really quite a nice day and we even saw some snow glistening on distant mountains as we drove out to UBC. Jim had some books to get then we went to the Pioneer Room at the University Golf Club for an early dinner. We didn't know they had half price appies from 3-5pm...not a lot of choice....chicken wings, calamari, and nachos. I had to try the calamari of course. Not a winner but I rarely expect a good one but do have to try it. I'll have chicken wings next time. They even serve fries with them. It's always a cosy place to be in the cooler weather and of course glorious out in the sunshine in the good weather on the deck.
And we came home to watch the Chicago Cubs hanging in for the World Series. Great to see the fans
get this win!
Chris and Susan were in from Victoria and it was great to see them. We all enjoyed Jim's pasta and he even put on his chef's jacket so he looked the part. Chris tried it on too....maybe he'll become a chef yet but Susan is such a wonderful cook it would be hard to compete!
I really liked Chris' socks....rather Mondrian like.
And Susan's were pretty cool...a gift from Olivia....wine bottle, wine glass...perfect!
Now, why did I take non blurry photos of the socks....ah well.
Well it’s nearly Halloween in France and this year more than ever this quirky event seems to have been taken to heart by the French. I can remember a few years ago, you wouldn’t even know it was happening but now every shop seems to be decked out with festive spider webs and talking pumpkins. I think a lot of it is due to TV and American shows like NCIS which are hugely popular in France!
In my little village we’re not quite at the trick or treat stage but it can only be a matter of time until the kids brave the rain and the muddy paths to knock on doors. Quite what my 88 year old neighbour M-T will make of that I don’t know. I’m pretty sure she has no idea that Halloween is widely celebrated as a festive occasion in much of the world. She does have a black and white TV, but she only watches the news or programmes that feature the British Royal Family whom she adores. Halloween to her is the night before La Toussaint, All Saints Day, which is a time to remember friends and loved ones who are no longer with us.
Every year the local churchyards are a riot of colour as friends and family of the dearly departed take pots of chrysanthemums to place in memory. This year I’ll be taking a pot to my local church to place on the tomb of a lone British soldier killed in WWI whose last resting place is in my village.
I’ll also keep a bowl of bon bons by the door – just in case…
With best wishes and bisous from France Bon Weekend and Happy Halloween! Janine Editor
I actually started doing a painting yesterday. I had cleaned up my painting area so it's easier to use and also made it bigger by getting rid of some things at the foot of the bed. One was the octagonal table that was a Chris Bing Oak Bay Dump find that I had painted "Mary's red" and sailboats on top. There really isn't a lot of room to leave items for people here and I know the management isn't too keen on clutter in that area so we were thrilled when a young woman in the elevator said she really wanted it....how lucky was that for everyone!
For the painting I decided to just play around with shapes and use one colour and one size of paintbrush and no planning. It isn't finished and I may do another colour today with another size paintbrush. I'm rather enjoying seeing where it will go!
Last night we had dinner with Donna at Minerva's which we all so enjoy. We all seemed to be given extra big portions especially Jim. He managed to finish his entire meal....his usual chicken parmagiano but Donna and I had leftovers. Donna was telling us she has become of member of the local Jane Austen Society. She attended at very interesting lecture comparing Austen and the Brontes. I think we might take a look at participating in this ourselves. Men do go as well.
The assignment I chose was to take a piece of writing and make an "erasure" poem....i.e. erase words and phrases to make a new creation. Carol recently posted an interesting quote from Virginia Woolf's "A Room of One's Own" on the different experiences of dining at a men's college and a woman's college in her university days. I was inspired by this.
This is an altered “found” version from Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own”.
Lunch at the men's college:
lunch soles, sunk counterpane brown spots bald, brown birds thin as coins so hard silent . . . pudding rice and tapioca insult flushed yellow emptied;
Dinner at the women's college:
soup stir the fancy pattern beef attendant trinity rumps of cattle
human nature custard wine and warmth reflect embraces cheese liberally passed to the core
Lunch at the men's college:
"[T]he lunch on this occasion began with soles, sunk in a deep dish, over which the college cook had spread a counterpane of the whitest cream, save that it was branded here and there with brown spots like the spots on the flanks of a doe. After that came the partridges, but if this suggests a couple of bald, brown birds on a plate you are mistaken. The partridges, many and various, came with all their retinue of sauces and salads, the sharp and the sweet, each in its order; their potatoes, thin as coins but not so hard; their sprouts, foliated as rosebuds but more succulent. and no sooner had the roast and its retinue been done with than the silent serving man . . . set before us, wreathed in napkins, a confection which rose all sugar from the waves. To call it pudding and so relate it to rice and tapioca would be an insult. Meanwhile, the wineglasses had flushed yellow and flushed crimson; had been emptied; had been filled...how good life seemed, how sweet its rewards...."
Dinner at the women's college:
"Here was the soup. It was a plain gravy soup. There was nothing to stir the fancy in that. One could have seen through the transparent liquid any pattern that there might have been on the plate itself. But there was no pattern. The plate was plain. Next came beef with its attendant greens and potatoes -- a homely trinity, suggesting the rumps of cattle in a muddy market, and sprouts curled and yellowed at the edge, and bargaining and cheapening and women with string bags on Monday morning. There was no reason to complain of human nature's daily food, seeing that the supply was sufficient and coal-miners doubtless were sitting down to less. Prunes and custard followed. And if anyone complains that prunes, even when mitigated by custard, are an uncharitable vegetable (fruit they are not), stringy as a miser's heart and exuding a fluid such as might run in misers' veins who have denied themselves wine and warmth for eighty years and yet not given to the poor, he should reflect that there are people whose charity embraces even the prune. Biscuits and cheese came next, and here the water-jug was liberally passed round, for it is the nature of biscuits to be dry, and these were biscuits to the core. That was all."
Patty posted this on Facebook for me....wonderful.
From The Good Life France
A lovely Sunday photo of Provence in the summer, there's a legend that the lavender grew from the tears of a blue eyed fairy called Lavendula who cried at the dryness of the land... Photo: Paola Turrato
It was just beautiful driving out to UBC today with all the leaves. Jim needed to drop off an book and pick up some new ones for his current project. I sat in the library while he got his books and read McEwan's new novel "Nutshell"....so far actually quite impressed. I didn't realize that the new Barber Library was actually built on the back of the old Main Library and it was great to see the old stained glass windows. Brings back lots of wonderful memories.
Jim is so thrilled to have this Visiting Lectureship at UBC. I'm not sure I mentioned it on my blog....no teaching or money but it gives him full UBC library privileges which are really important to him.
These photos are from Louis Gavela who I don't know but they came up on Facebook today. I really enjoy getting stuff like this coming up although there are probably downsides. But I'll enjoy the beauty of the moment.
We always have lots of good laughs and fun together....thanks so much, guys, for coming in today. We've been trying to get together for a while but the crowds with the Royal Visit, storms, and both Linda and Cec had bad colds.
We went to The Lift and we all enjoyed fish and chips and the great view!
It was also great to get a nice day....no rain and even some sun.
I just took these photos from our balcony from around 5pm.
"Hi Janice: I really enjoy the variety of you've been able to get in your lines using a minimalist palette - I like the contrast between the harder, straighter black lines of the tower and the more delicate patterned curved filigree lines. Your detailed account of what you discovered through the process is also very interesting. The first piece reminded me of this Leger painting, The City, which also includes the Eiffel Tower:"
I thought this was an interesting response and I love Leger too but wasn't familiar with this particular painting.
"It might be interesting to create a diptych (two part work with side by side images joined together), using both your black and white images to juxtapose & contrast the hard edges of the first one with the softness of the animal piece. I took the liberty of trying it to to show you:"
Ah...a diptych. What a great idea. I just might explore this idea more.
"The Mondrian-like piece is lovely, too - I love the visual illustration of the mental journey you took through these three pieces."
This is an SFU 55* course that is the very first course they have offered online. So, I would have taken it regardless no matter what the subject just out of curiosity to see how it worked out. The bonus was the subject appealed to me. We had our first assignment and I made a blog of my effort since I had trouble uploading images.
then we decided to have a glass of wine at The Sylvia....then decided to split a fish and chips for dinner and have a Red Truck Ale....ah...life is pretty good. We took umbrellas but didn't need them...even got almost a sunset. Goodness, I actually took a photo that wasn't completely blurry.
Maureen is one of our beach friends and we have enjoyed dinner at The Sylvia with her and Helmet a few times. I suggested getting together for coffee last week. Well, she could see I wasn't really comfortable with the whole coffee thing and the chairs available were uncomfortable for me. So, this week she suggested coffee in the morning or an afternoon glass of wine at the Sylvia's Happy Hour in the afternoon. Well, I think you can guess which option I chose!
Thanks so much, Maureen, for a lovely afternoon! This will have to become a tradition.
Not my photo, but this is where we sat. Even the sun started poking through the rain towards the end.
Richard having a great time at the David Lynch festival in LA last weekend. He said the Twin Peaks concert was amazing.
Well, October 17, 1977 was a beautiful sunny day as I recall. It was certainly a wondrous day for Jim and I to have a wonderful son born to us. He was pretty amazing even at a few minutes old....we had no idea how absolutely wonderful he would become!
Oct.17 has also had a few interesting events since Richard's birth. From Jack Knox's column in the Times-Colonist yesterday:
"Twenty years ago next week, on Oct. 17, 1996, Victoria was hammered by what was called a “weather bomb” — a low-pressure system that intensifies rapidly. Docks were ripped apart, boats crashed onto the rocks, the wind flipped a car on the Patricia Bay Highway and trees toppled in Pioneer Cemetery, exposing century-old coffins. Described by some as the worst storm to hit since hurricane Freda in 1962, it packed winds of 161 kilometres an hour at the northern tip of Vancouver Island and pushed waves as high as 30 metres, according to Environment Canada.
There wasn’t a word of warning in that day’s TC. The weather-page forecast was cloudy with a bit of rain and winds of 40 to 60 km/h.
Likewise, two months later we ho-hummed our way into the Blizzard of ’96, a calamity whose mention still sends some Victorians groping for the Ativan."
In Oct 17, 1989, we were all watching the world series when an earthquake struck in San Francisco.
Jim's old iPhone 3 was pretty shot with a broken button so I bought a new iPhone 5GS on Amazon for what Richard thought was a pretty good deal. Richard set it all up for him and we got a new SIM card for it at the local Rogers. That was amazingly easy.
Thanks so much, Richard, for keeping us sane! We all had some Autumn Soup...my good old recipe that we all love on these cool days.
Ah well, one of these days I might take a photo that isn't blurry...or maybe I'll just pretend it's a new technique.
David passed away in September at the age of 61 after a battle with cancer. David was a super Huxley colleague for Jim and we had some wonderful times with David and Barbara and their children, Rory and Georgia, in Oxford. On one visit, Richard was in the U.K. and they also put him up! I sent the family these photos (photos from photos I had) and hope they will bring back some happy memories.
One summer we all went to a local circus together and Jim was inspired to show off his juggling skills in their backyard. Left top: You can see Rory and Georgia are in rapt attention...
Right top: Barbara, Jim, and David at the circus.
Left bottom: Barbara, Rory, and Georgia.
Right bottom: Barbara and me
Left top: Jim, Barbara, & David
Right top: David, Barbara, Rory, and Georgia
Lett bottom: Barbara and David looking very relaxed.
Dinner with the Bradshaws and some friends who were visiting. Georgia with the famous dog...
David pouring wine.
Barbara was a great cook and we had some great meals at their home and lots of Oxford pub visits with David while Barbara was slaving over the Aga...
The current Huxley Annual is dedicated to David. Jim was asked to write the In Memoriam.
n In Memoriam David Bradshaw
This September the Aldous Huxley Society lost one of its founding members and a frequent contributor to its annual journal with the untimely passing of Professor David Bradshaw. His wide-ranging productivity as a scholar was truly impressive.
I first met David in the summer of 1994 at the University of Muenster, where we were both presenters at the first International Aldous Huxley Conference, and where we soon hatched a plan to co-edit Huxley’s then-lost play, Now More than Ever, which we had been researching independently and which had been one of the subjects of our first email conversations. His generosity, intelligence and energy made working with him a delight, so I was very pleased when he accepted my offer to serve as co-director of what became a highly successful annual “Advanced Placement Intensive Summer Institute for Secondary School Teachers of English” at Worcester College, Oxford, on behalf of the College Board, New York. There it was a pleasure to watch David charismatically leading American and Canadian English teachers in discussions of classics such as Brave New World or Mrs Dalloway, or genially showing them some of his favorite haunts in Oxford, such as the Bodleian Library, Blackwell's famous bookstore, or sharing some nugget of literary gossip over a glass of London Pride on the riverfront garden of the bucolic pub he favoured, The Trout.
One recurrent adjective in addition to “brilliant” that students and colleagues used in the many touching online tributes to him was “funny.” I can vouch for his wit and warmth, qualities that he carried with him from the classroom to his own hearth. Another is "generous". He and Barbara hosted my wife and me on the three occasions when we visited the Oxford area, and it was in their Summertown home where we came to appreciate David as a warm host and devoted family man. One brief email to me from 1997 typifies his supportive, kindly nature and shows how he made time for his family, even on a busy working holiday in the University of Georgia system:
“Dear Jim, Good work on the MS; Cathy [our librarian contact at a major Texas research library] is a gem, is she not?...I’m at UGeorgia, Athens, but on Wednesday and Thursday I am to lecture at Georgia Tech, Atlanta. We went to Savannah on Friday and Rory and Barbara helped fly a Piper Cherokee yesterday over St. Simon’s Island.”
He was also a tireless researcher—in fact he introduced me to a lively British slang term that he applied to himself—‘under the kosh’—we North Americans might use the more shopworn “under the gun”—and while it is true that he habitually took on much work and pressure, yet his industry and trail-blazing research made all the effort worthwhile, given his publication of many unknown works, and impeccably-edited scholarly editions, not only by Huxley but other modernist luminaries such as Virginia Woolf and Evelyn Waugh.
Jonathan Bate, Provost of Worcester College, where David had served as Chair of Oxford’s Faculty of English, very aptly described him as “funny, collegial and so full of vitality, as well as being a great teacher and scholar critic.” One of his young research associates on the ambitious “Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh Project”, which David had chaired, tellingly captures one of his defining traits as she recounts how, talking with David during their first meeting, she tripped over a door frame in the senior common room, landing face down in front of two startled dons. David helped her to her feet, and then broke out with her into hearty laughter, and later, “dissolving into giggles” when they met again during the afternoon’s serious business. David was like that—confident, yet always down-to-earth; kindly, he made others feel at ease, and happy to be with him.
His knowledge and wit certainly made him a highly sought-after public speaker, and, happily, we can still get a glimpse of his ability to elucidate and celebrate great works of modern literature by listening to or viewing some of David’s appearances on various radio and television documentaries:—as a guest on two episodes of the BBC Radio series “In Our Time” (“Brave New World”), first broadcast on 9 April 2009 and “Decline and Fall”, 21 February 2013,— both of which can be downloaded at the BBC website for “In Our Time” as MP3 podcasts. He also can be seen on the 1993 BBC television documentary “Aldous Huxley: Darkness and Light.”
Martin Stannard, his co-investigator on the Waugh Project, perhaps describes him best: “Brilliant, witty, learned, intellectually subversive, he was always a joy. During his last months, emails laced with gallows humour would leave me amazed at his resilience...One never left him without feeling enlivened, and longing for the next encounter.”
So far these big storms haven't really been that bad so far at least. We do seem to be getting some very strong gusts and some periods of heavy rain. You can't really see the wind blowing the trees but it was quite gusty when this fellow was cleaning the windows at the apartment opposite us. It didn't seem like the best time to be doing this!
We pleased that this apartment doesn't have wind howling through cracks. Everything seems very tight. You would hardly know there is a storm going on.