Friday, December 28, 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A December post

Greetings to you all.

I want to give you a little of our news by text today, instead of the easier method of posting a picture.

I'm in a very reflective mood these days.  Middle of the winter, cold days, long nights, not too much going on.  We're planning a spring cruise on the Med in March; going around the central sea, starting at  Maseille, then going on to Malta, Italy, Greece, and even a stop in Turkey.

What will be nice this time is that Christopher and Rebecca will be coming with us (Claire and Olivier, as last time) as well since it falls neatly within school holidays — 12 days at sea just as the days start getting longer and warmer!

We spent a lot of time today getting the home and office area decorated for the Christmas holidays.  Yesterday I bought some hampers, as we usually do, for all the employees.  Fourteen of us this year!  We need to slow down!  But Pascal says we ought to easily top last year's turnover of 1.2 M€ so we are keeping busy!

Raphael and Cédric got back last week after a three-day conference in Germany on security.  Christopher is still at Tours attending his post-graduate studies of IT (of course) which will prepare him for joining the team here next fall.

I can't help thinking of the killings in Connecticut because there's been so much of it on the radio.  I'd rather turn it off.  Globalization is not a good thing.  We are not edified and advanced by knowing every deviation that occurs in every corner of the world.  That was part of our reason for coming here so many years ago.

Predictably, the US seems to have divided up into two camps as regards gun controls.  We have our point of view, as seen from Europe.  But one thing you never hear is what I consider the most important solution to such a problem.  The reason you never hear it is because no one would want to admit that that was the door into that particular hell-hole.

What that society needs is not "gun control" but "media control" : a moral realignment starting by a complete ban on Hollywood trash, violent comic books, rap lyrics, television "comedies" and the rest of it.  When you glorify (or at least, ignore) violence and filth in the public media you can only expect it to splash on yourself sooner or later and get everyone dirty.

Patrick, who has a channel I watch frequently on Youtube has put it perfectly and in his own inimitable way.  America has the highest crime rates in the developed world and also produces the most violent entertainment on the planet.  The most popular stars are the macho heroes who use violence successfully and therefore demonstrate and validate its use.

Please watch this quick presentation which says it all.  He calls it "Shooter!"

Monday, December 03, 2012

Letter in the mail

After taking last week off work Jonathan showed up this morning with a pile of mail to go out—except for one, which was addressed to the whole family here.

This is what it looked like:

and on the back was this lovely little message from Debbie:

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Yves Duteil

Last night the evening we'd been looking forward to for some time finally came!

Yves Duteil was appearing in concert at Le Lude, just over half an hour away and we'd bought tickets for the whole family a couple of months ago.

Both Sarah and I "grew  up" with his music and have loved it ever since.  So many heart-warming and heart-felt songs—he's a real poet and has a beautiful way with words!

As we drove there, I told the children I'd guess that he'd be singing Prendre un enfant and La langue de chez nous since these have remained enormously popular over the years; especially Prendre un enfant which still brings a tear to most people of my generation.

He was assisted by a pianist and a bass player and his concert was predictably warm—he is such a nice person and this is reflected in the words he chooses for his songs.

After warming up with a couple of his newer compositions the audience responded with a round of applause when he started Prendre un enfant — as I told the children they would!

At the very end, after a wonderful repertoire I almost thought he wasn't going to do La langue de chez nous when on his third encore he came out with "C'est une langue belle ..." and we knew we could go home satisfied!

After the concert Rebecca went up to see him and tell him of our appreciation.  Here she is posing with him on stage (not a real good shot, but pretty good considering the lighting I had to work with!)