Wednesday, 30 May 2018

It's been a while.

Hello t'internets!

Just thought I'd post a (very) quick update for anyone wondering what happened to this blog (all three of you)...

So we moved back to France. Yes, just like that. Well, sort of. See, Ze Husband's job was getting out of hand, and we decided, as a family, that a career change might be in order. Being totally financially-driven and pursuing professional success, maths teaching was the obvious option, and we felt that the whole retraining thing would be less disruptive in France. Only... I was pregnant, so we were going to wait until the baby came and ZH got his training posting in July, then move in August before school started.

And then our landlord decided to sell the house we were living in.
And then it's pretty hard to find anywhere to rent with three-going-on-four kids for only three months, especially near said kids' school.

So in April last year, we upped sticks, put our furniture into storage, and moved in with Ze Inlaws just outside Lyon, France. It was Very Hot. I was Very Pregnant. Then I was Less Pregnant and had a baby to play with instead, and ZH got his posting, and now we're living near Chartres in the Centre region (yes, it's in the centre of France. Who would have thunk it?).  

...and within a fortnight Ze Husband had "accidentally" let on to the parish priest that I played the organ, and now I'm the "spare" organist. It seems some things never change.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Hymns of the Week: 31st Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C


Entrance: Amazing Grace
Offertory: Lord, Accept the Gifts we Offer
Communion: Be Still and Know
Recessional: For All the Saints (I know All Saints isn't til Tuesday, but I can still have this as a recessional, right?)

Monday, 10 October 2016

Hymns of the Week: 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C

Entrance: Seek Ye First
Offertory: Gifts of Bread and Wine
Communion: Be Still My Soul (Sibelius)
Recessional: Holy Virgin, by God's Decree

Friday, 7 October 2016

Seven Quick Takes, episode 20: in which there is capillary DIY

It's Friday, it's nap time, so... 7QT!

1. This was the week in which Mx attempted, for the first time, to cut her own hair. Given her temperament, it was always a case of when, not if. I tidied it up as best I could, but she now has a fringe. Oh well.

We don't generally put pictures of our kids on the internets, hence the cunning disguise.

2. Ze husband and I hardly ever watch films together - partly because 90+ minutes is a large chunk of time to commit to anything that isn't sleeping, but mostly because we can never agree what to watch. Last Friday, however, my sister was staying over and no-one had the mental energy for board games, so we rented Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, aaaand... we all really liked it! Darcy and Bingley are pathetic, but there were a lot of clever visual references to the BBC version, which I enjoyed, and a lot of zombies, which ZH enjoyed.
3. The Great Stuff Purge of 2016 is coming on apace. Mildred the saxophone has now moved on to pastures new, and I think our book collection may have dipped below the 1000 mark for the first time in several years. Yes, I actually counted them once, around this time last year. Advanced pregnancy makes you do inexplicable things.

4. Today is an INSET day (teacher training) at Mx's school, so I've got all three of them at home all day, which is odd. It's like the summer holidays all over again, but without the (limited) sunshine. That said, they've been playing pretty nicely today - their main game seems to consist of putting lots of things in bags and pretending to move house, so the clearup operation could be significant, but it's worth it for the relative peace.
5. When did gendered pushchairs become a Thing? My facebook newsfeed is covered with people looking for trolleys specifically for boys, or girls, or just to exchange theirs because they're bored of it. I've just upgraded ours because one of the wheels was about to fall off, but it only cost us £10 at a bumps and babies sale and has lasted us the best part of 3 years (and we're talking 3 years of heavy use, often with one child in the seat and one standing on the footrest). Marketing people must be very clever.
Ok, I may have customised the new one a bit, but even with the fabric it cost less than £35...
(Yes, the weather was miserable. Yes, our yard is a mess. But no weedkiller = more frogs, and we like frogs. End of service announcement)
6. Did you know butter beans (lima beans) contain cyanide? I knew you're not supposed to eat them raw and that you're meant to soak them before cooking, but I didn't know why. Now I do, and you do, too. (We may be eating butter beans at some point this weekend).
7. Only two (or a few more) hours and it's the weeeeekeeeennnnnddd! Ze Husband had an appointment at the French Consulate in London this afternoon to apply for a new passport, so he may not be back for quite some time  - it's about five hours away with no traffic, but on a Friday evening, it's anybody's guess. Ve shall see.
Linking up with Kelly for 7QT - time to see what everyone else has been up to! 

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

What I've been reading: August-September

I know, I know, August is technically part of summer, but I thought five books was enough for one post, ok?

1. Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible.

This one was on the BBC's 100 Books list, which I have been working through ever since it came out in 2003. I'd like to think I might finish said list one day, but that would involve me reading a book about football, and we all know that's not going to happen.

In brief, a missionary preacher takes his wife and four daughters to the Congo in the early 1960s. Things go wrong. Things go very wrong. The daughters somehow manage to patch their lives back together, but in very, very different ways.

Preamble preambled, this was a Very Good Book. It took me quite a long time to read (it's a big book, I get distracted by shiny new books very easily) but it was definitely worth it. I'm actually glad I took it slowly so I could digest it better. If you haven't read it, I suggest you do.

2. Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart.

We rented a house for a week in Scotland. This book was in the house, and, as it was mentioned several times as a source/inspiration in the introduction to The Poisonwood Bible, which I'd just finished, I read it. Probably too quickly to do it justice, in all honesty. I'm not sure I'd have chosen to read it on its own, but it's a good companion to TPB.

3.  Julia Strachey, Cheerful Weather for the Wedding.

Short but sweet. Strachey was on the fringes of the Bloomsbury Set, and the book was first published by the Hogarth Press (i.e. Virginia and Leonard Woolf). It's far more approachable than Woolf, though - she doesn't go too far along the stream-of-consciousness pathway. I wouldn't necessarily go out of my way to find other books by the same author, but mostly because there are so many other books I want to read and I will never have time for ALL THE BOOKS.

4. Suki Kim, Without You, There Is No Us. 

One journalist's experience of teaching English in an elite school in North Korea (I'm trying to correct my woeful ignorance of parts of the world outside of Europe and the US at the moment - can you tell?). Fascinating. Also sort-of scary.

5. Natalia Sanmartìn Fenollera, The Awakening of Miss Prim. 

Another Fountains of Carrots recommendation. DEFINITELY my favourite source of book suggestions at the moment (followed by my mother. Sorry, Mam). I'm not going to spoil anything, so just go and read it, ok? 

I'm quite tempted to buy copies of this for several people, but then I'd be very upset if they didn't like it. Ho hum. Also, I rather like distributism (just don't tell the Labour Party, they might evict me). Anyone up for creating a distributist community in Normandy with me? Anyone? [crickets]
Disclaimer: I've recently started using Amazon Associates, meaning that if you decide to buy anything through a link on my page, I (may) get a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Hymns of the Week: 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C

Entrance: All People that on Earth do Dwell
Offertory: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord
Communion: Soul of my Saviour
Recessional: God is Love, His the Care (on condition I get time to practice this week! If not, this one is liable to be swapped for something easier)

Friday, 30 September 2016

Seven Quick Takes, episode 19: Translation translated

It's been a while since I did one of these... I've still been enjoying everyone else's takes, though! Anyway, off we go...

1. I've had quite a lot of work on recently, hence the radio silence (can you still say that when you're talking about a computer  ? Hmmmmm). One of my main clients is publishing a series on philosophy of science, which is ever-so-slightly more "artsy" than their usual fare. Being one of the only translators on their books with a background in something other than "conventional" science, I've ended up doing quite a lot of work on it. Let's just say that translating philosophy is a LOT harder than applied mathematics, fluid dynamics or, for that matter, fashion catalogues. Interesting, but my leeetle grey cells were ready for a rest this week.

2. Es can now climb stairs, as I discovered yesterday when I found her halfway up ours. It's exactly like when we discovered that the Daleks could levitate in Dr Who. We'll just have to keep her away from sink plungers.

3. Since my last 7QT, Mx has STARTED SCHOOL, to everyone's great relief. She's very outgoing, very sociable, and was very, very definitely ready for school. 

 4. I've finally accepted that my high-intensity music days are over (at least for now) and that it might be time to pass a few things on to people who will actually use them. The tenor sax (AKA Mildred - no particular reason) needed to go, it's far too loud to play at home and was taking up a lot of space. I'm never going to get round to refretting the mandolin, and I don't believe in using instruments just as decoration. Finally - and this one was hardest to let go - I haven't done any orchestral playing for several years now, so my clarinet in A is leaving for pastures new. Just in case anyone fancies bidding on any of them, here are the links...

I even made some slightly silly demo videos:


(I must say, I find listening to the sound of my own voice EXTREMELY unpleasant. Sorry).

Also, just in case anyone was worried, there are still plenty of instruments in our house. 

5. R. has decided he doesn't like visible vegetables, especially those of a green variety. I can still sneak them past him in pasta sauce or soup, and there are some he eats even if he can see them, but heaven forbid we should attempt to serve him anything even vaguely resembling a leaf ("that's a LEAF! I don't LIKE leaves!"). I just try not to laugh too much.

6. Ze Husband and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary on Sunday. He gave me a bar of chocolate and a packet of shiny insect stickers. I gave him a Lego minifigure and a bag of Haribo. We haven't changed much.

7. Finally - it's nearly October! I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers... I think we may have to go and find some leaves to jump in this weekend to celebrate.

On that note, happy weekend!

Linking up with Kelly for 7QT.