Ginette Duplessis, Calvados, Fresh Peaches, & Len Deighton's Onion Soup
Saturday, June 15, 2013
|Ginette Duplessis, 1977
I have been a botanical widower for two days and I have one more day, tomorrow, to go. Rosemary is attending the Hardy Plant Society Study Weekend. She mingles with all the elderly (and rich) garden intelligentsia of Vancouver. I used to attend until I lost interest in seeing other people’s gardens. I am too busy with my own.
The above meant I had to set my iPhone for 7:15 to wake up Rosemary who has been picked up an hour later. It is strange to have a whole weekend without my wife, only to see her in the evenings.
Today, Saturday I was in charge of cooking (I am the local cook) my own Father’s Day dinner. Hilary and Lauren showed up but Rebecca did not. She is unaware of the importance of grandfathers who at one time were exclusively fathers. Now they, the grandfathers/fathers have to share the former and the latter and the result is a dilution that could be defined as bicycle trainer wheels when they are no longer needed.
I decided to please my most avid admirer of my cooking and that is Lauren. While she cannot abide raw onions she loves my French Onion soup. The recipe, modified in that I make a chicken broth from scratch and I add white wine, is from Len Deighton’s Strip Cook Book
given to us when we were married by Raúl Guerrero Montemayor
who was Hilary’s godfather. Lauren says that my onion soup is the best soup ever.
The meal started with a quintessential Argentine favourite, honeydew melon slices with jamón Serrano draped over them. We drank a blend of fresh Manila mangoes and orange juice. Dessert was special but not as special as it could have been.
I remembered Ginette Duplessis
, a French Canadian opera singer that I photographed in 1977 when she came to Vancouver courtesy of Radio Canada. Somehow she visited us in our Burnaby home for dinner or perhaps she may have invited usr to her house where she prepared what we call Pears Ginette Duplessis. Rosemary is ambivalent of Pernod so I modified the recipe for fresh peaches and calvados.
Lauren loved it but I was a bit more critical. Canned peaches would have held their shape and Pernod goes through a delightful chemical change and it does not quite taste of licorice (I dislike licorice and yet I absolutely adore my myrrh scented roses which smell of Pernod!)
I took Hilary and Lauren home. Lauren previously cleaned the kitchen and left it spotless. As we drove Hilary commented on how she loves the longer days and Lauren added that the evening was a warm one. I told her I was still cold because being cold is what we old men feel most of the time. I long for the hot summer days and if Lauren is lucky she might just catch a butterfly with her net. She did note that she would immediately release it.
As for Ginette Duplessis, as I lit the calvados I thought of her, while running in my head those beautiful words from the Catholic New Testament, “Do this in memory of me.”
My "New" Denon CD Deck From Lotusland & Separation Of Thought
Friday, June 14, 2013
At Granville and 41st Avenue as we were waiting for our left turn signal Rosemary and I watched a pleasant young man in work boots cross while listening to music. He did not have earbuds but what looked like a good set of earphones. I asked Rosemary if she thought the young man could daydream, think or even worry about anything. He may have been pretty tired as he was wearing work boots. I wonder if the space between speakers in a room and one's ears provides one with a sort of separation that will allow thought while with the earbuds secured the music in your head trumps everything else.
My friend Newyorican Robert Blake says that music can sound pretty good as MP3 files listened to through earbuds. He cited as an example David Bowie’s latest digital offering.
I am not all that convinced even though I am not an extreme audiophile who will tell you that records are warmer than CDs or that an MP3 file passed through a tube amplifier will sound great.
For most of my life I had stereo equipment that I could afford and never the kind of stuff that would make me salivate when I read about it in Stereo Review.
Now that stereo equipment is affordable used, because most people are content with the convenience of MP3 files that can be listened to anywhere and privately, few it would seem jump at the opportunity. Those MP3s in those portable devices have the added benefit of having long playlists which can be listened to privately while commuting, cycling or doing hot yoga.
What few seem to understand is that the act of listening to music in a living room or den with friends and or family is a something that is disappearing as we all retreat into the digital cocoon.
I have a very good NAD amplifier and tuner, a fairly good JVC tape deck, a Sony linear tracking turntable and until recently a high-end Sony CD player. It is the latter that brings me to write this.
The CD player stopped working a few days ago. I went to the Sony Store on Granville to buy a new one. The store was gone. I walked a few blocks to Future Shop to find that they did not sell CD players as they are not made anymore. I priced cheap DVD players and bought one for $30 at London Drugs. It even came with a remote. But the DVD player could not tell me how many tracks a DVD had. I could not skip; let’s say from track 2 to track 20 by pressing a button. The remote had arrows in two different directions and I had to keep pressing it until the track sounded like the one I wanted to listen to.
In desperation yesterday I called (I should have had this desperation/inspiration sooner) Lotusland Electronics and Music – Premium Pre Owned on 2660 Alma Street. There I found a wonderful Denon CD player for which I paid $42. I am a happy camper. Since yesterday afternoon I have been on a Handel opera kick courtesy of the Vancouver Public Library.
1. Sirse with Anne Sofie von Otter
2. Tamerlano with Nancy Argenta and directed by John Eliot Gardiner.
3. Ariodante with Sofie von Otter
Tomorrow my friend Graham Walker will be visiting. He is bringing some baroque CDs and we will sit down in the living room to listen to music together. After all I have to show off my Denon deck, a deck I could not have afforded years ago!
What Is There To Say?
Thursday, June 13, 2013
|Rosa 'Abraham Darby' 13 June 2013
What is there to say? Gerry Mulligan: Baritone saxophone, Art Farmer: Trumpet, Bill Crow: Bass, Dave Bailey" Drums. https://youtu.be/YvpLEHG6Wo4
A Virginal Mary Magdalene?
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
|Rosa 'Mary Magdalene' 12 June 2013
Today June 12, as per usual I went for a walk in my garden to check out my roses. The sort of dry spring with days of sun, in which all weather reports predicted rain, has been kind to my roses. They are plentiful and most happy with the added light and dryish days.
One rose made me pause. it was the English Rose (with a wonderful myrrh scent) Rosa
'Mary Magadalene' There were two blooms. There were three yesterday but I had cut one of them and given it as a gift to Bronwen Marsden who had come over to pose in my Malibu in the garage (the Maser is gone). There is a smoothness and an ever so pinkish white of Marsden’s skin that made me think of her as she was leaving so I cut the flower for her.
In fact I may have many more pink roses in my garden (Rosemary has commented unfavorably on this) than I should except for the fact that they all remind me of beautiful women whom I have noticed, admired, loved, photographed and thought of.
In my youth in an Argentina of Juan Domingo Perón I learned that books were valuable and should never be defaced. I learned that I should save money and buy Bonos del Ahorro Nacional
. I learned that women, and in particular, mothers were sacred. They were all the Virgin Mary incarnate. At church I was much too young to notice that the statues of Mary and Joseph had him behind (sort of like Prince Phillip) at a respectable distance. He was close enough to protect but far enough to dispel and suspicion of sexual shenanigans.
As I got older and particularly while living in Mexico I began to understand that Latin men (including this one) saw women in two ways with no possible blend between them. One woman was the mother of one’s children, the personal Virgin Mary, the other was the woman (down from the pedestal) with whom we had fun. She was the Mary Magdalene. Few if any men that I met seemed to understand that women were both by their very nature of being human.
Here in Vancouver I took many photographs of women undraped. Some of the first happened simply because the women approached me and asked me. They were far more adventurous and up front than this half Latin and half Anglo man.
I remember with an impression of just-a-second-ago lucidity of the beautiful blonde we used to notice at lunchtime at our Railway Club lunches on Thursdays so many years ago. We would stare at her and make our guesses as who she was and what she did and why she dressed in such elegant but tight dresses. One day I simply went up to her and said, “My name is Alex Waterhouse-Hayward and I have noticed you for many Thursdays. I am a photographer and I would like to photograph you undraped.” Her reply was something like, “Sure. When do you want to do this?”
I remember some pictures I exhibited in an erotic photography show that featured a narrative of five pictures of two different women (tight head shots) going through self-induced orgasm. One of the most beautiful black women I ever met in my life; she was an elegant woman who worked with lawyers, came up to me and said, “These photographs are exquisite.” For days after received phone calls from women I knew who were insulted that I had not asked them to pose for the project. I was incredibly confused.
I think that now at age 70 I get the picture and all those pedestals have come crashing down and good riddance to them!
As I looked at the two open blooms of Rosa
‘Mary Magdalene’ I had memory of a previous scan. I checked. I scanned Mary Magdalene on June 17 2007. I had scanned her before she had opened. She was a neat, feminine, dainty, symmetrical little thing. These two blooms were open, almost garish in their womanly display and reminded me José Saramago’s Mary Magdalene from his The Gospel According to Jesus Christ
. I wrote about it, but I am taking the liberty of displaying that blog again below.
Mary Magdalen (e)
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
He suspects the woman is a prostitute, not because he is particularly good at guessing people's professions at first glance, besides, not that long ago he himself would have been identified as a shepherd by the smell of goat, yet now everyone would say, He's a fisherman, for he lost one smell only to replace it with another. The woman reeks of perfume, but Jesus, who may be innocent, has learned certain facts of life by watching the mating of goats and rams, he also has enough common sense to know that just because a woman uses perfume, it does not necessarily mean she is a whore.
The Gospel According to Jesus Christ
José Saramago translated from the Portuguese by Giovanni Pontiero
Much has been written lately about Mary Magdalene. If that name has an e
or not is one of the matters in dispute between the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, where the colleges dedicated to her bear the rival spellings. To my granddaughter Mary Magdalene is very real. But this Mary Magdalene is many Mary Magdalenes. She is Rembrandt's The Woman Taken in Adultery
and John the Evangelist's unamed woman of Verse 7:53-8:11 where he relates Jesus having a confrontation with scribes and pharisees over whether a woman accused of adultery should be stoned.
Traditionally Mary Magdalene has also been the Mary of Bethany who annoints Jesus's feet with oil using her hair and the first person to see Jesus after the crucifixion. It's all a muddle if you consider that we cannot prove that John the Apostle is John the Evangelist! But from my New American Bible
(with Rembrandt's paintings and sketches illustrating it) I quote one of the most fascinating passages. I first learned about them from Brother Edwin Reggio CSC in the late 50s in Austin Texas. The passages (when Jesus saves the adultress from stoning) describe the only two occasions when we learn that Jesus perhaps knew how to write.
Jesus bent down and started tracing on the ground with his finger. When they persisted in their questioning he straightened up and said to them, "Let the man among you who has no sin be the first to cast a stone at her." A second time he bent down and wrote on the ground. Then the audience drifted away one by one, beginning with the elders. They left him alone with the woman, who continued to stand there before him. Jesus finally straightened up and said to her, "Woman where did they all disappear to? Has no one condemned you?" "No one, sir," she answered. Jesus said, "Nor do I condemn you. You may go. But from now on avoid sin."
Magdalene is real to Rebecca since we saw the extremely large painting inside the church of San Cayetano in Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Mexico two years ago. She was so taken by the 19th century painting that featured a blonde (just like Rembrandt's) Mary Magdalene facing Jesus and with a prominently large stone at her feet. What was about to happen was graphically ominous. We had to return twice to see the painting. Back in Vancouver I bought Rebecca the English Rose, Rosa
'Mary Magdalene' seen above.
All this brings to mind one of the most exquisitely written novels on the subject, José Saramago's The Gospel According to Jesus Christ
. I have the novel in Spanish, El Evangelio Según Jesu
cristo (1991) but I dared not translate some of he passages from the chapter where an 18 year-old Jesus spends 8 days with Mary Magdalene in fear of not doing justice to Saramago. After all Giovanni Pontiero (from Manchester!) was (alas he died) one of the most lucid translators of Saramago into English. So this morning I went to the Vancouver Public Library to get a copy in English.
After they had eaten, Mary helped Jesus into his sandals and told him, You must leave if you're to reach Nazareth before nightfall. Farewell, said Jesus, and taking up his pack and staff, he went out into the yard. The sky was covered with clouds as if lined with unwashed wool, the Lord must not be finding it easy today to keep an eye on His sheep from on high. Jesus and Mary Madgalene embraced a long time before exchanging a farewell kiss, which did not take long at all, and little wonder, for kissing was not the custom then.
The Gospel According to Jesus Christ
José Saramago translated from the Portuguese by Giovanni Pontiero
Rosa 'Gruss an Aachen'
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
|Rosa 'Gruss an Aachen'
It is utterly amazing that some five or six years ago while visiting Rona on Granview Highway to purchase some plant fertilizer, I spotted this rose among many others all in plastic pots and protected from early winter spring (they were shipped from back east) with wax on the lower stems. Nobody who is a serious rose garden grower would ever buy a rose encased in wax. But I did. And the reason is that the rose, Rosa
‘Gruss an Aachen’ is not the sort of rose that can be found anywhere. It may have been shipped my mistake or someone back east might have decided that we in the West are a tad sophisticated. It is growing in my garden and I think this is the first scan I have ever made of this delightful rose. I particularly like to point to the rose to any German visitors to the garden and I always ask them to pronounce the name. I make sure there is distance between us as this is the kind of name that is usually spat out. The name translated to English is something like, “Greetings from the city of Aachen.”
Light pink Floribunda.
Registration name: Gruss an Aachen
Exhibition name: Gruss an Aachen
Bred by Philipp Geduldig (Germany, 1909).
Floribunda, Hybrid Tea, Polyantha.
Light pink, salmon-pink center, yellow undertones, red highlights, ages to cream . Colour varies. Mild, sweet fragrance. 40 to 50 petals. Average diameter 4". Medium to large, very full (41+ petals), cluster-flowered, in small clusters, nodding or "weak neck", old-fashioned, rosette bloom form. Prolific, blooms in flushes throughout the season.
Medium. Large, medium green, leathery foliage.
Height of 18" to 3' (45 to 90 cm). Width of 18" to 3' (45 to 90 cm).
USDA zone 4b through 9b. Can be used for beds and borders, container rose, cut flower or garden. Blooms tend to ball in wet weather. shade tolerant. Spring Pruning: Remove old canes and dead or diseased wood and cut back canes that cross. In warmer climates, cut back the remaining canes by about one-third. In colder areas, you'll probably find you'll have to prune a little more than that. Requires spring freeze protection (see glossary - Spring freeze protection) . Can be grown in the ground or in a container (container requires winter protection).
Parentage: Frau Karl Druschki (Hybrid Perpetual, Lambert, 1901) × Franz Deegen
David Austin classifies this rose as an English Rose because it has some much in common with what he regards as the ideal English Rose.
In his 2001/2002 catalog, Peter Beales lists this rose as a China.
Sam Kedem says 'Gruss an Aachen' is considered to be the first floribunda rose. The color of the blooms varies with the temperature.
A Través De La Ventana
Monday, June 10, 2013
El Espejo Retrovisor
Sunday, June 09, 2013