Wednesday, May 21, 2008

This Post is Rated EC for Extreme Cuteness

It had been at least a week since I'd seen Cheeky Duck, pictured below and being cheeky.

But then yesterday and again today, she dropped by to show off her Chickies and Chappies. Caution: Extreme Cuteness begins here.

It's possible that I accidentally stroked one or two of them -- so soft and chirpy.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Books Read in April -- just a smidge late posting

April was just go-go-go, so my reading list for the month is pretty short.

Ruth Rendell (writing as Barbara Vine): King Solomon’s Carpet
Barry Unsworth: The Ruby in her Navel
John Le Carré: The Night Manager

I cannot recommend the Unsworth novel. Usually I love his books, but this one was a dud. The setting was promising: 12th-century Sicily, conflict between Christians and Muslims, east and west. But the narrator was sooooo dull and unappealing. I recommend reading Unsworth, just not this book. Instead I would suggest Sacred Hunger, Stone Virgin, or Losing Nelson.

Le Carré, as always, rocks.


Friday, May 02, 2008

Vacation Recap: Day 5

Tuesday the 22nd was an action-packed day that began with the Battle of Hastings and ended with the D-Day landings.

We first went to the town of Bayeux to see the Bayeux Tapestry. Nearly 1000 years-old and over 200 feet long, the tapestry chronicles the events leading up to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. I found the tapestry fascinating, especially as I had an audio-tour that described each panel of it.

After Bayeux, we headed to the coast, stopping in Arromanches-les-Bains for lunch (moules et frites -- yum!) and a look at the remains of Mulberry Harbour B, one of the artificial harbors constructed to bring in supplies for the D-Day landings.

Our next stop was the excellent and informative visitors’ center and memorial at Omaha Beach, where we spent about two hours, first going through the visitors' and then walking down to the beach.

Since it wasn't far away, we headed to the Ranger Monument at Pointe du Hoc, and then -- since our goal had apparently become 12 hours of sightseeing -- we made one more stop for the day: Sainte-Mère-Église. On D-Day, when paratroopers landed in this town, one soldier's parachute became entangled with church's spire. This incident became the basis for The Longest Day.

Church with slightly unconvincing model
of paratroop and parachute


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Vacation Recap: Day 4

On the morning of Monday the 21st, John and Patricia, the owners of Le Petit Corbon, stopped in to say hello and mentioned that there was a good market that day in the village of St. Pierre sur Dives. Since the village wasn't far off our route to the castle of William the Conquerer, we went first to the market.

It was huge!

Simon and I dropped Mom and Dad off and then found a parking space. At that point, we had no idea that it would take us more than an hour to cross paths with Mom and Dad. By then, both parties had purchased stinky cheese. And it's just possible that I bought a crepe from these fine ladies.

Leaving the market, we went to Falaise to visit le Château Guillaume le Conquérant. Most of the exterior was under scaffolding, but it was nonetheless a worthwhile stop with an excellent audio-tour.

In Falaise, Simon picked up some walking maps that covered the area around our rental house. That evening, we did part of one of the walks. As we didn't have proper hiking gear, the paths were much too muddy for us to continue. Still we had some excitement: we encountered a ferocious poodle and dozens of inquisitive cows.

If you click on this picture
and see what you think is a dead cow in the background,
do not be alarmed.
That cow is just rolling around in the grass.