From Across The Irish Sea

Only minutes after I published yesterday’s post, my shaken mother-in-law phoned us with sad family news.

Excerpt from "Distances." Click to expand.
Excerpt from “Distances.” Click to expand.

My wife’s uncle-in-law, who was an inspiration for a gregarious, friendly Irish tourist in Rome in Distances, died at home in London early Sunday morning.

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No More “Hushed Voices”

I admit I share this nervously. But we must not be afraid to talk about this sort of thing. There is too much of this in the world.

I didn’t receive a birthday card from my sister. That was no shock to me, really, as this was my first birthday my mother wasn’t around. Thus I have further proof that my mother had prompted my sister to do many “ordinary” things in life while also implying she was actually doing them on her own.

Outwardly, my sister looks “fine” and usually appears “normal,” but she has been extremely “troubled” inside for at least a decade. She never moved out of the family home. She hasn’t held a job in many years. She has no friends. There’s something very wrong with her; her behaviors at times have been “bizarre.”

Free Stock Photo: Wood on the beach.
Free Stock Photo: Wood on the beach.

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“It will not be prudent, you guys…”

New students at Clark University in Massachusetts have been advised against using the expression “You guys” because it is deemed sexist.

Screen capture of Twitter.
Screen capture of Twitter.

No alternative specific gathering greeting is suggested in the New York Times article that tweet references. We know American southerners famously say “y’all.” The British may say “You lot.” (However, reading the article “You lot” may not be acceptable either given its use by someone sometimes suggests the speaker is claiming superiority to the group being addressed.) Or maybe we could go for “Comrades?”

Kidding aside, I do not recall hearing “You guys” when I was in university in the 1980s and early 1990s. It has really taken hold in the last 20 years or so. I’ve never used it seriously myself.

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Victoria Again Reigns

Have you been watching Victoria? We set up to record it before we went off to France. We came home to find the first three episodes happily awaiting viewing.

Screen capture of the Evening Standard, September 4, 2016.
Screen capture of the Evening Standard, September 4, 2016.

I know I’m a bit behind, but we should be caught up this week. We watched the first episode last night. Based on its reviews and its ratings, ITV seems to have a big hit here.

At my birthday get-together back on Sunday, when I told her we’d recorded it, my 18 year old niece highly recommended it.

I asked: “Who’s playing Victoria?”

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Passages

Good morning! We landed at London’s Luton Airport yesterday afternoon to be greeted by the English weather:

Screenshot of my Yahoo weather on my iPhone, 3 September, 2016.
Screenshot of my Yahoo weather on my iPhone, 3 September, 2016.

Missing Soulac-sur-Mer already.😉

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The “Magnum Opus”

Last night, post-dinner, unexpectedly we had a book discussion which I share in part here as it essentially went. Oh, and we were also drinking, you understand, too. The Mrs had a glass of lovely French wine, and I was consuming – of course – a brandy.

“Truth in alcohol,” so to speak?😉

***

“….So you got inspiration on the beach?” she remarked at the table, having seen me frantically typing away earlier. [I had been making notes about some important new subplot ideas.]

“Yes, something made me think….”

Proofing part of "Conventions" on the beach the other day. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Proofing part of “Conventions” on the beach the other day. [Photo by me, 2016.]
“It wasn’t that topless babe jumping into the Bay of Biscay?” she laughed.

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“Bonjour” From Soulac-sur-Mer

Well, we’re here: Soulac-sur-Mer, north of Bordeaux, on the coast:

View from our rental house in Soulac-sur-mer, out over the beach to the Bay of Biscay. [Photo by me, 2016.]
View from our rental house in Soulac-sur-Mer, out over the beach to the Bay of Biscay. [Photo by me, 2016.]

The drive up here from the airport vaguely reminded me of Florida – flat and sandy. Brittany is not like this.

Notre-Dame-de-la-Fin-des-Terres Basilica in Soulac-sur-Mer. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Notre-Dame-de-la-Fin-des-Terres Basilica in Soulac-sur-Mer. [Photo by me, 2016.]

Our lunch yesterday. Yes, a bit of a caricature, we knew:

Lunch at our house yesterday. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Lunch at our house yesterday. [Photo by me, 2016.]

We went out to dinner last night at a pleasant, small restaurant in the town center….

“Terminé?” she asked me with a smile.

“Oui, merci,” I replied as she leaned across me and cleared away my empty dessert plate.

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Endings

Since “Day 1” I have known broadly how Conventions would end. Back on Friday, I summoned up the courage and wrote it in detail – the final chapter. While writing one always also surprises oneself, too: as I worked on it I realized I could toss in an unexpected (and in my humble opinion, great) last twist.

After the dust had settled, re-reading it in its entirety, I found the chapter to be – accidentally – a combination of happy and sad (and poignant). That’s striking a bit of “lucky” balance. I’d “signed off” for the weekend well-pleased with what I’d managed.

Rainbows over Hertfordshire, England, spotted earlier this morning looking out from our kitchen. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Rainbows over Hertfordshire, England, spotted earlier this morning looking out from our kitchen. [Photo by me, 2016.]

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Question And Answer Session

Rahul Singh is doing some social media research. The other day he sent me a list of questions about my social media use. He consented also to my sharing my answers in a blog post.

Screen capture of my other social media.
Screen capture of my other social media.

In fact, he said he was fine with my replying in public. If you would like to help him out, you see the questions below, and he’d love for you to share your own answers with him. He is on Google+ here, too.

So to his questions, followed by my answers in “block quotes.” Enjoy!🙂

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