Friday, August 25, 2006

S'il pleut la Sainte Madeleine

Il pleut durant 6 semaines
According to my Almanac, the saying goes, If it rains on Sainte Madeleine (22 July - and it did), it will continue to rain for 6 weeks. Not so catchy in english, but 6 weeks of rain when you were just getting into the summer sales is never a catchy topic. Most people are resigning themselves to the fact that the 3 weeks of heatwave summer we had back in July is the sum total of whatever summer had to offer.
No great changes in the daily routine, I take my blue regional train out to work every morning, passing by the numerous little garden allotments, watching the months crops change - pumpkins are starting to make an appearance, tomatoes are still ripening despite the lack of summer warmth, the markets are full of the small producer stalls and I've been enjoying new potatoes, freshly picked green beans - so fresh that they squeak a little in your mouth when you eat them, I haven't eaten beans that fresh since I was a kid and my grandad would give us his surplus. He always had surplus. I decided to expand my mushroom repertoire last week and bought a healthy handful of girolles, because I thought the price per 100g was the price per kilo. Those mushrooms better add a couple of years onto my life at that kind of price. It's been a busy month, and I haven't had time for blogging or even much photography (bought a new camera and subsequently went into an inspiration slump), my mother visited the north for the first time in mid August, and it rained solidly. We luckily escaped the rain when we visited the very medieval city of Gent in Northern Belgium. Castles, pure Flemish architecture and omnipresent trams, it felt we were further away from France than the short 70km trip it actually is from Lille. We also finally made the effort to visit the museum of art and industry in the nearby suburb of Roubaix. Formerly a municipal pool done in pure art deco decadent style, it has since been transformed into a museum that showcases work from the general period (1920s to 1940s) as well as textiles. Most of the original structure has been left intact, including the old shower cubicles and changing rooms. And the former swimming pool is now dominated by a long shallow basin which shows off the stunning relection of the dual stained glass semicircual windows at each end to great effect.
Otherwise, time is tripping along at an alarming rate. This public servants exam I'd decided to try out back in June is zooming up at speed and I have not even vaguely begun to prepare myself, not even to the extent of figuring out what there even is to be preparing.
In other events, I temporarily inherited a cat. But the part that made it temporary was of my own choosing and I've been battling an awful lot of guilt since making that choice last night. I had offered to take the animal from a friends apartment block as it had been abandoned during the holiday period and essentially left to starve to death. I had it with me about 4 days in total but it was showing a fair amount of aggressiveness and I was having a pronouced allergic reaction to it. So I called the SPCA to come and collect it. And I've felt awful ever since. I can't even remember the last time I've felt so guilty about something. So I've been mentally beating myself up over that one a lot over the last 24 hours. And probably will for some days to come. To try and alleviate my guilt, I sent off an application form to join the Nord Nature group (local ecological group dealing with habitat, flora and fauna issues relevant to the North). Atonement through a chequebook. It's very Catholic of me.

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