Saturday, 13 January 2018

Saturday Photo: The Lantern Waste?

One of the delights of having children is revisiting books you've read as a child, or reading books that have been written since then.  The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis are a case in point.  I'm sure I read at least one of them when I was about 12, but then read the whole series to Lukas and Elin.  (Lee may have read some of them, too, I think.)

"It will not go out of my mind that if we pass this post and lantern either we shall find strange adventures or else some great change in our fortunes," says one of the character in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.  And the spell that has fallen on Narnia is one that means winter forever but Christmas, never.

This scene in a Parc Beaubien reminded me of the stories this week.  The lamp post, the little house, the snow: all were evocative of the best things in the books, so I decided to share it this week.

But as I thought more and more about Lewis and Narnia, I realized that the series, while captivating, has many doubtful elements.  The Witch, for example, could be seen as just a very strong woman: why portray her so negatively?  Later in the series, a horde of brown, mounted adventurers from the South are the enemies for The Horse and His Boy: Arabs, Muslims, foreshadowing of  ISIS?  And there is Aislin who, Lewis said himself, is a Christ-like figure. 

I suppose an enlightened parent could use the reading of these parts as teachable moments.  I didn't, and I wonder if I should have even though the kids, by any measure are All Right. 

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Saturday Photo: Picnic Anyone?

The winter grinds on.  We were spared the Snow Bomb, but the temperatures have plunged again, and what snow fell in the last couple of days was whipped around yesterday.  It even came in under the front door, the first time that we can remember, although we've lived in this house more than 40 years.

All this to say that we must remember we're talking about "climate change," not "global warming."  Extreme weather in other words.  Don't know how we're going to get out of this one.

But I expect that some time--may in July--these picnic tables will be in use by people complaining about the heat.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Saturday Photo: Waiting for 2018, But Not for Barbecue Season

The year isn't over but some people can't wait until the weather is better.  At the moment it's minus 24 C (about minus 13  F) and has been like that for days.  Supposed to continue for another week, too. 

But obviously these folks want to get a jump on summer...or maybe they just didn't get around to putting things away. 

Must point out though that it's possible to barbecue in this weather.  Lukas did it on Christmas Eve, turning out Swedish potato sausage cooked perfectly.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Saturday Photo: Merry Christmas and All That

I've posted this photo before I think, but it seems particularly appropriate as the year turns on its solstice hinge.

Supposedly there will be a few more seconds of daylight today than there was yesterday.  Good thing to know, even though we're not likely to seem much sun, given snow in the weather forecast.

But when the sun does come out, it will shine on sheets of white, multiplying its light.  And light is something that is sorely need, in both the literal and the figurative sense.

This is a winter of discontent, perhaps the worst in a long time.  Hard to keep the faith but we have to, or else the loathsome ones will win....

That said, let me wish everyone some pleasure over the next few days, as the year ends and a good part of the world celebrates--well, what does it celebrate, actually?  Our Jeanne says it is love, and I'll go along with that.

For more thoughts about 2017 and wishes for 2018, here's the link to my holiday blog.  Blessings on us everyone, as Tiny Tim said.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Saturday Photo: Christmas Cactus as the Holidays Approach

I have two Christmas cactuses that have bloomed for at least 15 years, sometimes twice a winter in fact.  But I've never had such an abundance of blooms as this year, on the one that flowers in December.  (The other one blooms in November and maybe in March.)

Don't know what I did right this year, but it is a pleasure to see the flame-like flowers covering the plant.  An early holiday decoration.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Saturday Photo: Sil, a Tradition

Must confess that the photo dates from a few years ago, but in the refrigerator right now are 24 salt herring, waiting for me to get my act together and make marinated herring, or sil.

This is one tradition that comes from Lee's family that I really like.  Takes about 10  days after you start the marinating process before the sill is (or is it are?) ready to eat. But the result is definitely worth waiting for.

In recent years I've had trouble finding salt herring around here.  Last year I persuaded a wholesaler to sell me some: quite a production as the company is run by a pair of Hassidic Jewish brothers who were amused by my plea that I needed salt herring for Christmas as was their staff that included a couple of very French Canadian office workers and several Muslim men who looked after the fish.  This year I tried to find a place closer to home, and did, finally.  The fish seem a little smaller than last year, but at least I didn't have to do as much running around...

So, while there's no snow on the ground, it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas, at least in my refrigerator...

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Saturday Photo: Sunrise, November 30, 2017

Well, actually the sun had been up officially for a good half an hour, but when I was out Thursday morning, it was just peeking around Mount Royal.  The leaves are finally off the trees, but there is no snow on the ground.  Just sere grass and light glancing across the little frost that collected over night.

There are many cities farther north than Montreal--London and Paris to name only two.  I don't know how I'd last in them: short days get to me.  Right now I'm hoping for snow soon, since what light there is on winter days is magnified when there's snow on the ground.