I am looking at the calendar for February and next week it would appear that we will be meeting with the specialists treating Will. This should be a more definitive answer on the curative progress and also if there is a need to do more or not. We are positive, many encouraging signs on many fronts. So just a little more patience.
In other news life proceed a pace, the big event coming to our neighbourhood are the Canada Games which is a big deal for PEI, hundred of athletes, sport competitions, all the hotels are booked and for 2 weeks in late Winter it will feel like a tourist season. There are a lot of open air concerts schedule for the Port of Charlottetown, it can be very cold by the river even on a sunny day. Winter events simply do not happen here so this is quite the novelty. The Federal Government is paying 90% of the bill and PEI is profiting a great deal from this or at least some business people are.
I also received today my voting card in the mail, this is a sure sign that an election is in the air. Premier Denny King believes that he would be able to sail to victory and a big majority if the election is held after the Games in May. How depressing given that he has done so little overall.
What is interesting about our system is that politicians cannot campaign or spend money until the election writ is dropped. The Chief Electoral Officer and everyone who works for him must be strictly neutral in all aspects of their job. Gives a much more civilized outcome. He can also impose stiff penalties on any politician who does not behave or ignores the rules, some have gone to jail for fraud.
We are watching on YouTube a couple, the spouse is Emily a Japanese married to a French fellow and they live in France. They go out walk around and stop in restaurants for coffee, lunch, brunch or dinner or a late snack. Fascinating, the photography and the music a lot of Bill Evans Jazz are beautiful and relaxing. They also give tips on where to go etc. The episodes are very recent, currently we are in the last week of January. I have not been to Paris in years but looking at it now, it makes me nostalgic. His postings are aimed at a Japanese audience he has subtitles in Japanese and he also shows a lot of luxury shops, knowing that it will be of interest to Japanese tourists. It blog is called France, Table & Voyage. It’s fun just to look at and enjoy.
Today marks 9 years of blogging at WordPress, prior to that I was blogging on Blogspot for 5 years. So I have been blogging for many years and read also many other blogs from around Canada and the world.
Recently I was speaking with a writing group at the Club about blogging, many did not know what a blog was, they were more in tune with writing the old fashion way pen and paper. It seems that typewriters like my favourite the IBM Selectric are no longer in use.
I also have lots of followers, I think around 524 now, but only a handful actually comment regularly.
On the 21 January 1793 in Paris, some 230 years ago, Louis XVI (1754-1793) was executed on what is now known as Place de la Concorde. Our knowledge of his time and life and that of his family is much better understood now than they were ever in the past. The layers of historical myths or made up stories are in a large part dismissed as inaccurate, he was in many ways the victim of political intrigue in his own family and amongst ambitious politicians, the population in general did not hate the king nor did they want his death, at the Convention many delegates abstained for a guilty verdict and a simple majority of 5 persons, including his cousin Orleans vote his death. His wife Queen Marie-Antoinette would follow him just a few months later, after a kangaroo Court on invented charges, would sentence her to death, shocking public opinion and creating a political problem for the Assembly in power. This also created conditions for war in Europe with other Kingdoms which will lead to the rise of Napoleon from obscure Corporal to General and Emperor of the French. The two brothers of Louis XVI would become king and restore the Monarchy, Louis XVIII and Charles X both engineered a lot of the troubles to overthrow their brother Louis, including the famous march from Paris to Versailles on a rainy day by a bunch of women, and then the horrors at the palace of killing bystanders at Court.
Both brothers did not help at all in trying to obtain the freedom of their nephew the young Dauphin 7 yr old Louis XVII from the jail in the Temple where he would die in solitary confinement and disappear. Naked ambition at play you could say. Their niece Madame Royale, 10 year old Princess Marie-Therese would be freed and exchanged for French prisoner of war, she would return to Vienna to live at the Court of her uncle the Austrian Emperor. This was possible because of the Salic Law forbidding her from succeeding her dead father.
Louis XVI was a modern king for his time, abolished torture, closed and reformed prisons, the Bastille was about to be closed and demolished when the mob arrived on July 14. The building was pulled down not by the crowds as popular history says, but by the workers hired by the previous Royal Government. The many economic problems and famines could have been better handled but too many at Court were ambitious/incompetent and playing politics.
The king was a man of science and was interested by modern reforms, the Church and the Aristocracy were a formidable opposition to him. The new Civil Code introduced by Napoleon was in fact written by Louis’ ministers. One element, the pamphlets, the early precursors of yellow journalism was used widely by the enemy of the King and Queen to create fictitious and sensational scandals. During the early days of the revolution or civil war, the king refused to have the army fire on the crowds, he believed people could see him as a good person. Same thing happened when the flying family was arrested in Varennes, faithful Dragoon guards could have cleared the place in minutes to free the King but he did not want blood spilled. Napoleon would remark famously around 1799 that Louis should have fired with cannons on the mob, as he did not hesitate to do, crushing the revolution and imposing his rule.
Louis XVI spoke several languages, French, German, English, Spanish and he also spoke ancient Latin and Greek. Very tall for his time at 6.1 feet. Most historians now see the whole episode of the French Revolution as a civil war to allow the bourgeoisie, merchants class to take over, it did not end the monarchy, France would have to wait until 1870 for that to happen and see an elected republican government come to life with President Adolphe Thiers.
Quite some years ago a book came out entitled A year in Provence, it was a best seller, everyone read it and many then travelled to Provence and bought homes with dreams of turning them into B&B and living on French wine, baguette and cheese without speaking French. Then came Under the Tuscan Sun, later another book entitled A year in Tuscany came out. Same idea of idyllic life in Tuscany without speaking Italian. Tuscany is only one province of Italy, the rush of tourists saw a sharp price increase and though we could travel for lunch in Florence from Rome easily, we often preferred to travel across to the Marche Province on the Adriatic for our annual vacation. Or how about Sicily? love that Island, it’s food and splendid wines.
So from buying a house, renovating it and doing a Shirley Valentine number many realized that it was not that simple and the difficulties quickly mounted. The BBC did a series on Provence and Brits who had come to discover it charms as detailed in the book. Most within 2 years discovered real life is not a book, many sold and moved out, too many problems, language and different attitudes and differences made for more problems than they had bargained for. Same in Tuscany, unless you have oodles of money and can come and go at will, think again.
Now we have gone from buying a house to buying a French Château no less, with grand gates and huge parkland plus many other buildings like a chapel and barn, keepers cottage and stables. All in need of major rebuilding, renovations and continuous maintenance. This idea is out there and the internet offers opportunities buyer beware.
One is the Chateau de Gudanes in the Pyrennées, an Australian family bought the half demolished castle about 10 years ago and have been rebuilding it, a major undertaking. They now have a shop on the internet and they sell stuff which is suppose to be items from chateau life. The couple who bought the place appear to have split up, only the wife remains and as for the kids it is not clear if they returned to Australia. Apparently renovations continue but lately I noticed it is always the same pictures of projects from some years ago. They no longer have the teams working nor the experts from Paris coming down to help out.
Another Chateau is La Grifferaie in Anjou, bought by an American Evangelical couple who plan to use the place for Bible studies for Americans. The rest could be used as a B&B. The couple is from Oregon, they really look out of place in Anjou.
Yet another is the Chateau de Purnon, bought by a young Australian couple, a huge place. I wonder where do they get their money to buy such an estate in Aquitaine. There are lots of Château for sale in France, some are in pristine conditions while others need major work. In this case the couple speak French which is a big help in an isolated region. They are also getting some governmental help on renovations for this Château built in 1717.
The BBC had a series on mansions and great homes bought by people who had a dream of renovating such places. Many such great homes were built more than 200 years ago and required expert work. Some where nothing more than ruins, why would you buy such a place. One fellow who had made a fortune in IT renovated an old Bishops palace with ornate rooms, this required experts to rebuilt and restore decorative elements, the end result was truly magnificent but you wonder how much did it cost.
The unusual case of John Montague, the Earl of Sandwich and his wife the Countess who live at Mapperton a place mentioned in the Doomsday Book, the mansion house dates to 1540 with their daughter-in-law Julie Montague, their son Luke Montague Viscount Hichingbrooke, her husband help run and renovate the Estate as a business venture. The beautiful gardens of Mapperton can be rented for weddings. On the Estate they even have their own church which dates back to the 12th Century. Julie and Luke run the place in order to pay for the upkeep which is considerable.
I do wonder where this fascination in people comes from, I recall some visitors at Government House here in Charlottetown which was built around 1834 and remains to this day the home and workplace of the Lieutenant Governor of PEI. This visitor said to me how wonderful it would be to live in such a grand mansion. Knowing the background of the place, I do not think so, such homes are rarely comfortable and are more designed for representational purposes than relaxation and home life.
Le Printemps what a lovely season, the weather is getting warmer by the day, Friday should be 22 C. which is Summer weather. This coming weekend is also the first official Long Weekend of Summer, the signal to open the cottage and start up the bar-b-q.
I was looking up recent photos of Versailles which re-opens today after months of being shut to all due to the pandemic restrictions in France. During these longs months the restorers of the Palace did a lot of work in various areas of the vast Chateau. This included a deep clean of various rooms and the return of furniture from the central national warehouse of important historical furniture of France. One piece in particular was the work desk of Louis XV made up of 20 different types of precious woods and of a secret mechanism operated with one key to close and lock it. This desk stayed in the bureau of the King until the revolution. It is now back where it belong, a magnificent piece of furniture. The restoration of the desk was paid for by Caterpillar France and Rolex, the desk has a two face clock which allows the king and his visitor on the other side to see the time. This wonderful piece of furniture was made in 1769, a real marvel and the clock works perfectly.
Many other private rooms or intimate rooms used by the King or Queen or other members of the Royal family have also been restored recently including carpets and drapes, all reproduce in the original fabric. This work is made possible due to archives and detailed descriptions, drawings and paintings and some piece of fabric which survived. You can see these rooms by appointment with a guide only. The rooms contain unique original artifacts of the period, rare books and porcelain and you would not want someone to bump into something.
The caveat is that Versailles you see today, the inside of the Palace evolved and is not what Louis XIV or Louis XV or even Louis XVI would have known, the palace was transformed and redecorated with each king and time and fashion dictate. Then the Palace was closed at the revolution, the furniture sold in most part to British and other European collectors for a pittance. Some was saved by Napoleon and by the return of the Bourbon Kings in 1814 under Louis XVIII and his brother Charles X and then their cousin Louis-Philippe remodelled wings of the palace where the apartments of the various Princes of the Kingdom were located into great galleries for his painting collection. So when visiting it is important to keep that in mind. Same for the gardens and le Petit and Grand Trianon or even le Hameau de la Reine which lost all its original furniture and is now decorated with Empire style furniture belonging to Empress Marie-Louise the second wife of Napoleon.
What has been recently recreated is the Grille Royale, which was the inner golden gate of the Cour d’Honneur which separated the first inner courtyard from a more sacred area which brought the special visitor within the proximity of the King. This golden gate was taken down at the revolution and was only restored starting in 2007, the work based on original drawings took 2 years to complete, cost 5 million Euros, is 80 meters long and weighs 15 tons, some 100,000 sheets of gold leaf was use to cover the gate.
I had to get up early today at 07:30am which is somewhat like the middle of the night for me. Usually I am a Crack of Noon riser which is the civilized time for retired folks like me.
So at 9:30am I had to be at the Club for the Thursday morning Coffee and Conversation program, today we had an Acadian historian Georges Arsenault, O.C., O.P.E.I whose family has been living on PEI since 1700. He is also an author and has written much about Acadian life and history on the Island. He also has a voluminous collection of old photos of Acadian Life on the Island dating back to 1860. He showed us many old photos of Acadian families and explained traditions in the period 1860 to 1950. It was fascinating, he had wedding photos dating from prior to 1946. How the common people lived if compared to high society, there was a stark difference. Brides has no wedding dress, they simply wore their Sunday best and so did the groom. Only people with money did the fashionable weddings the way we think of them today. The food prepared and served at weddings was also very different from today. Essentially the wedding would take place in Church at 7:30am and then the family would return home for breakfast at 9:00am. Back then Roman Catholics, Acadians are all R.C. , were not allowed to have food before Mass. Everyone was in their Sunday best and all of it took place in the Kitchen including the square dancing. What Acadians call in French souper (Supper) took place at Noon and both meals were offered by the Bride and her parents in their home. The Dinner at night around 6pm moved to the Groom’s parents home for more square dancing and food and of course Whiskey and Island Gin at 50 proof. That’s the Gin I buy for my Island friends, they do not want the English stuff at 40 Proof. The most important element of a successful wedding meal during the day was the desserts and sweets, some families could offer over 30 different types of sweets not including the Wedding Cake which was white and baked usually in the village by a woman who was known for her cakes and hired for that day. Which reminded me of my great Aunt Marie-Ange in Charlesbourg near Quebec City who was known at Christmas for her desserts and sweets.
The family photos are also interesting, most taken outdoors for the light in an age when no flash existed. Women in Acadian fashion have their heads covered by a bonnet or large scarf, custom being that only unmarried maidens could show their hair. Families were also large on average 12 kids and many upwards of 19 kids, all living under one roof in small farm houses. One wonders how they did it. It is only again after 1946 that people start having small families of 2 or 3 children.
After the talk, I went to my barber Jared who is a very nice person and great to chat with, we talked about what had happened the previous day in Washington D.C. at the Capitol building. He was working so could not watch television and was being told by his customers what was happening, he was in disbelief like I was and many other people. Though he remarked and I agree, we could see all this coming and were bracing for it. How come the Capitol Police did not prepare, were they over confident? I watch it all and was sickened by it, how can the symbol of a democracy be attacked like that by a mob which looked like Duck Dynasty. Ignorance on parade, truly sad. I was wondering if the Ceausescu solution could not be applied to Trump and his family, worked in Romania in 1989. What I fear like a lot of people is a possible return of another Trump type in 4 years, populist but more intelligent and cunning. Is the USA sliding into authoritarianism, it could happen after all 75 million Americans voted for him, hopefully not and the world will move on.
Afterwards I went to the Service Canada Office which provides info and registration for all Federal Government Programs, one stop shopping. This was instituted some 8 years ago by the Canadian Government. I was having some problem online with an application and could not get anyone at their 1-800 number unless you are willing to wait an hour or more on hold. So I simply went down to the Office and saw an Officer in 5 minutes. She answered my questions and all appears all right, I am much relieved.
So here we are the end of the Holiday Season with la Fête des Rois or Epiphany , now is the time to undo the Xmas decorations and fall into a kind of slumber which is January and February, the dull period of the year. The weather on the Island is uncertain, not cold not warm and a lot of overcast skies. Typical Northen European weather though we are in Atlantic Canada.
Tomorrow being la Fêtes des Rois the tradition in French culture is to have a special cake. The cake is to celebrate the visit of the 3 wise men to the manger to see baby Jesus, before his parents took him on a tax dodge to Egypt. I remember my mother making this cake or galette as it is called in French, an put a broad bean inside for one lucky kid to discover.
Celebrating the Epiphany with a gâteau des rois is a custom that originates from a Roman pagan ritual, which came to French Canada via France. The Romans would bake a cake, inside of which they would place a bean or a clay fish. Whoever discovered the object — regardless of his or her social status — would play king or queen for a day.
Recipe for the Gateau des Rois.
parchment paper, for the baking sheet
puff pastry dough
butter, unsalted, soft
1 1/3 cup
eggs size large
white flour (all purpose), to roll out the pastry
Before you start
Defrost the puff pastry dough at room temperature for 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. The dough should be flexible but still feel cold to the touch.
A hand-held or stand mixer will make things easier for this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 205°C/400°F. Butter a large baking sheet (about 30 x 38 cm) and line with parchment paper.
In a bowl, cream the butter with the sugar using a mixer, until light and fluffy. Fold in the almond meal, 2 eggs and rum. Set aside.
On a lightly floured board, roll out the puff pastry to 2 rounds of about 10 in (25 cm) diameter, using a rolling pin. Place one round on the baking sheet.
Transfer the almond mixture to the center of the round, leaving about 1 in (2,5 cm) on the edge. Drop one broad bean near the edge (to minimize the chances to find it when slicing the cake).Whisk the remaining egg with 1 tbsp water then brush the pastry edge. Cover with the second pastry round.
Seal all around the edge, gently pressing with a fork. Drill tiny holes in the upper crust, to allow steam to escape. Brush the crust with the beaten egg.
Bake in the middle of the oven 20-25 min, until golden.
The restoration of the Chapelle Royale of the Palace of Versailles (2018-2021) is coming to an end. Originally built in 1710 by Louis XIV it had never seen a complete restoration and after 1789 the palace was largely closed, furniture sold off and it became a white elephant. Other Kings like Louis Philippe tried to find a use for it and make some changes to interiors. After 1870 the Republican government wanted to use the palace for a parliament but that was short lived. The vast building was aging and had been built for a purpose by the original occupant the Sun King. For the last 100 years the palace was open as a neglected museum to a long ago age and it was used by the French Government for State visits and receptions. However in the last 50 years a vast and complex program of rehabilitation of the building and its gardens and fountains has been underway. Some of it paid for by the French State and some by private and public donations.
The Chapelle Royale is starting to emerge from its protective envelop.
Here are before and after pictures. The entire exterior has been cleaned, stone work repaired, the slate roof replaced and the lead roof ornaments including the cross have been recovered with their original gold leaf. Hundreds of specialists worked on this project.
Truly a splendid result to see. Work continues on other parts of the palace. Including recreating rooms with original furniture and recreating fabrics for upholstery and curtains. The organ of the Chapelle Royale was also completely rebuilt to give it its original sonority of 1710 which was very different from what modern organs produce.
I have studied history almost all my life, I enjoy reading on specific topics, I am not one for generalities in history or the facile comment or anecdotes to explain an event. I think that it is worth knowing exactly what happened or what was said from reliable sources who did their own research. I also love archeology and spent a lot of time studying ancient ruins to discover their secrets.
Last year a new book on Emperor Nero was published by Professor John F. Drinkwater, in his 457 page book he presents a very different picture of Nero who was Emperor of Rome for 14 years. He took every myth about Nero and goes about deconstructing it and presenting a narrative that throws doubt on what we have been told. It is fascinating reading,
Drinkwater shows that after the death of Nero who had fled Rome taking Via Nomentana, a street I know well since I lived just off it, he failed to kill himself and ask his servant to please help him out as the pretorian guards were closing in. Nera was the last of the Julio-Claudian line who were the first emperors of Rome the dynasty that succeeded him, the Flavians had good reasons to paint a black picture of him and went to great lenghts to do so, thus the awful dark image we have. To make things worse the Christian Church decided for propaganda purposes to make him out as the devil personified despite the fact that he did not persecute Christians as it as always been claimed.
Knowing historical facts is important to help us understand the world we live in and how we got here. There are numerous other events and historical figures who have suffered at the hands of popular history.
One woman who suffered to this day, is in fact a Hollywood favourite in movies and several movies have been made of her in the last 20 years. I speak of Queen Marie-Antoinette born Imperial Princess of Austria and who at the age of 14 was engaged to marry the Dauphin of France, Louis.
When she arrives in Versailles in 1770 after having travelled from Vienna in a great escort befitting her rank with many stops on the way, she had left behind her mother Empress Maria-Theresa and her family, she comes from a relatively relaxed Imperial Court to the most archaic and stultifying strict and arcane protocol laden Court of France. She is 14 years old, she is naive but also bold and thinks nothing of asking for what she wants to the horror of the Minister of King Louis XV, grandfather of the future Louis XVI.
At the Palace of Versailles she is given a room, her entire apartment is ONE ROOM which can be seen today after years of meticulously correct restoration. The room is a State Bedchamber and it is also the room where every morning all the ladies of the Court will gather to wake her up and dress her up following a complicated protocol she is quite unfamiliar with.
The decor of Versailles and her room, (she only has one room to live in), is the same since 1715 some 60 years previously and is faded and old reminiscent of the era of the Sun King Louis XIV. Being a precocious 14 year old she did not hesitate to ask the superintendant du Palais to redecorate and modernize her room. The royal architect was brought in and what followed was a lot of effort to try to twart her plans. The women around her who were ladies in waiting where much older than her and many were ancient, they had no patience with the young women, she was constantly criticized for not accepting French ways at Court. Her life was extremely boring and her fiancé Louis was not really interested in her and more in study of sciences and in build locks of all kinds. Their marriage would be for political alliance and military reasons. Madame du Barry the mistress of King Louis XV did not like her and she had her group around her who opposed the new alliance of France with Austria. However Marie-Antoinette was very popular with the common people.
Marie Antoinette portrait of 1771, age 15, said to be the favourite of her Mother Empress Maria-Theresa.
In May 1774 King Louis XV dies suddenly and she becomes Queen and with her accession to the throne she receives the Petit Trianon in the Park at Versailles from her husband King Louis XVI, where she will spend most of her time. The period 1774 to 1778 is problematic since this is the period of the greatest extravagance and spending on hundreds of dresses, jewels, etc all at enormous expense to the Treasury. Her husband doubles her annual budget to 280,000 French Pounds (Livres) which is a great sum. But all this stops suddenly in 1778 when she becomes a mother with the birth of her first child Marie-Therese Charlotte known as Madame Royale (1778-1851). Even her taste for dresses change into a new fashion from London, she also abandons jewellery and becomes a doting mother. She will have one other daughter Princesse Sophie who dies in 1787 and the ill-fated Louis XVII who will die under mysterious circumstances and disappear at age 10 in a dark jail cell in 1795. He had another brother Louis-Joseph who dies as an infant just before the revolution in June 1789.
However despite all the crisis leading to the revolution the biggest problem was one of the Kingdom’s budget and the ballooning deficit caused by 2 wars which ruined the French treasury and bad harvests causing famine. The first war with a deficit of 2.5 million pounds was the Seven year war between France/Austria against England/Prussia 1756-1763 and then the American War of Independence 1776-1783 creating another deficit of 1.7 million pounds for France, though this war was wildly popular in France and Lafayette was a National Hero. If these deficits did not exist many political problems would have been avoided.
Probably the greatest cause of the unpopularity of Marie-Antoinette was her resistance to any idea of change or political modernization proposed by the leaders of the various parties at the time. Since she had been brought up in a system of Absolute Monarchy, she could not imagine any other system of government, despite was she saw in America and in England with the Constitutional Monarchy with a Parliament. She also adopted the same strict religious Catholic attitude of the religious bigots at Court. This did not help her at all and her glacial austere attitude towards the revolutionaries made her a marked woman.
In the end her name was blackened by the revolutionaries who really had no case against her, the trial was a farce with trumped up charges. After the death of her husband in January 1793 the revolution had achieved their goal. So a case had to be made and political events in Europe with foreign armies massing on the French border from Prussia, Austria and England was enough to convince the population that she was the author of their misery. However on the day of her execution instead of taking her directly to her place of execution, the revolutionaries thought they could parade her around in the street to rouse public anger. They soon realize this was a big mistake politically speaking, the people in the street were silent, many kneeling in prayer for the Queen and men taking their hats off. For the people she was a mother and public opinion was not in favour of killing a woman who had children. She died age 37.
Marie-Antoinette lived in the age of Enlightenment, in England Queen Charlotte was a close personal friend. In Prussia, Frederick II the Great ruled, in Russia Catherine the Great was Tsarina. The age of Voltaire, Diderot and Rousseau. Napoleon Bonaparte was still an unknown Corsican.
Here is some music composed by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Le devin du Village which would have been familiar to Queen Marie-Antoinette, she may have seen a production of this operette.royal
A few days ago Juliette Gréco (1927-2020) described as the Muse of St-Germain-des-Prés and a figure of the après-guerre and the Existantialism Mouvement died in Ramatuelle in the Var region of France, age 93.
It was Jean-Paul Sartre, writer philosopher, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary critic (1905-1980) who encouraged her to go into a singing career. His books on the topic fascinated a whole generation and was a way of looking at the world after the Second World War. I remember in school in Montreal we heard a lot about Sartre and our teachers would often quote him. My mother read his books and those of Simone de Beauvoir. It was the thing then and it all seems so long ago now. Though I think that revisiting Existentialism today while this pandemic is here might be helpful.
Existentialism is a form of philosophical enquiry that explores the nature of existence by emphasizing experience of the human subject—not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual.
Juliette Gréco is just one of those artists whose fame makes them immortal. She sang songs with lyrics written by French poets such as Jacques Prévert and Boris Vian and singers like Jacques Brel and Serge Gainsbourg. All the greats of the XXth century French culture. She had a very long career and she left her mark.
I chose this song Il n’y a plus d’après which I think represents that era. St-Germain-des-Prés of course refers to the Paris neighbourhood where political activism was concentrated amongst the students and was the spot to be for anyone who sought to be involved in politics, mostly left wing, socialist, communist. In the song she refers to her lover who has moved to the other end of Paris away from St-Germain-des-Prés, meaning away from life from real existence, from what matters.
It is cherry time now, all markets have them and we are in the second part of Summer, though the weather has been hot and humid and living by the ocean is a good thing for the breeze it brings constantly.
I have been reading the book written by Lady C. (Lady Colin Campbell) know as Georgie to her friends. She wrote and published a tell all book about Meghan and Harry entitled Meghan and Harry the true story. Lady C. does not like Meghan who the British Press now call Me Gain, for her rapacious quest for financial gains, the British Media is no kinder to Harry who they now call Blow Job Harry, apparently that is how Meghan won his heart. Lady C. got lots to say in her book and gives ample references.
Both of them come across as total idiots, she for not understanding or not paying attention to what she was getting into or as is now largely suspected she is a social climber and a gold digger who planned it all well and bagging Harry who is a dolt. He for seeking some silly revenge on his family for slights and for being the spare, well this is what happens in Royal Families, you simply have to carve a role for yourself. Meghan plays on Harry’s super emotional and sensitive nature prone to burst of rage, many anecdotes on that one from various people who were on the receiving end of his tantrums. Even the chef who cooked for both boys when they were kids, says that William was the mature practical one more like his father, while Harry was the air head. The boy got problems, I now understand better the remark made during our visit to Kensington Palace a year ago that Harry had mommy issues.
The one drawback to the book, it needs more editing and Lady C. got the part about Canada wrong when she speaks about Margaret Trudeau, the 70 something mother of our current Prime Minister. The newer book by Scobie and Durand Finding Freedom, I will give a pass. The whole affair is unbelievable, why could Harry not marry a nice German Princess like in the old days.
He was mentioning reading books from the family library entitled the 100 best stories. He was wondering if they really were the best stories written by some unknown authors. This got me thinking that Reader’s Digest once had books by famous authors in abridged versions and sold them in nice leather bound edition with gold trim, I do not know if anyone ever read them. I also remember thinking if you read one of those books could you really say you had read the book, it was an abridged version with sections cut out so not the actual complete work.
When it comes to stories the French literary scene has lots of authors but one in particular is Charles Perrault (1628-1703) who is said to have invented the concept of Fairy Tales. Another is Jean de la Fontaine (1621-1695) the famous fabulist. Both lived during the reign of Louis XIV, a golden age for the arts.
Perrault in my estimation is the classic story teller and his tales are world famous, immortal you could say. Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Blue Beard, Tom Thumb, Cinderella, etc.. His tales all have a moral lesson attached to them and he writes to impress upon the imagination and plays on the fears of the common man. Symbolism is important, good and evil represented by the dark forest, the wolf, witches, giants and ogres. His tales delight and frighten everyone really as they did then. He appeals to our basic instincts as humans all the while telling his tale.
Jean de la Fontaine in his famous fables equally tells tales which draws upon lessons for life, with a heavy dose of morality with punishments for those who do not heed the warnings.
Both Perrault and Lafontaine I learned at school and at home, they were the classic authors you simply had to know. I wonder if children still read those stories or is it all about super heroes now and dinosaurs.
Telling the stories of the history of the port of Charlottetown and the marine heritage of Northumberland Strait on Canada's East Coast. Winner of the Heritage Award from the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation and a Heritage Preservation Award from the City of Charlottetown