These past two weeks, Jillian and Connor came to visit us in Joux! We have now been in the area long enough to have developed a few routines. It was great being able to share some parts of this new life with friends from Berlin. Nothing fancy, but heartwarming nonetheless: a lot of gardening, reading, outdoor climbing, village hopping, wine drinking, cheese, sandwiches and cheese-sandwiches eating.
I am now writing this weeknote as we are all on a train1 from Valence to Berlin. This is the start of 4 weeks away from Ardèche, our first time since we moved in. We are currently sitting across a four-year-old kid and his mother, and I just don't know how she does it. The level of patience and kindness she uses to deal with the little monster is insane.2 Parenting seems like an exhausting full-time job, not sure whether I could do it.
Read & Watched
A small streak of Becky Chambers
After one lunch discussion about sci-fi, I suddenly wanted to dive into something sci-fi-ish again. So I did. I went on and read two novellas by Becky Chambers back-to-back — and I fell in love with her writing.
The first novella is called To Be Taught, If Fortunate (2019) and is set in the 22nd century. Space exploration has been revolutionized as astronauts bodies can now adapt to their environments through a new biotechnology.
The second novella, A Psalm for the Wild-Built (2021), is drastically different. It seems to be set in a far future, where humans left fifty percent of the world untouched and protected from human intervention. The singularity is also a thing of the past, robots have gained self-awareness and have now wandered off into the wilderness.
The main characters of each novella could not be more different: the first one is an astronaut and the second one a monk. However, they also share a strong common trait: wherever they go, there is a will to leave a mark as small and temporary as possible, be it on another planet or just on a stretch of Earth soil.
As a taster of our Sicily trip in one week, we watched The Godfather directed by Francis Ford Coppola. It is a three-hour-long movie from 1972, and wow, it does deserve its "classic" label. I — surprisingly — really enjoyed the movie and didn't get bored at all. Consiglio questo film!
Robin and I have been working some more on our little side-project. We are creating our own private Pocket-like tool3.
So far, we had been using Hypothesis a lot to annotate web pages. The highlighting and annotation experience is fairly good, but the tool is just not designed to bookmark future articles to-read.
Other tools also exist, but they are either too expensive, not standardized enough4, or have a shitty reading / annotating experience. In the end, those
might be are certainly excuses we use to just dive into yet another side-project.
May is flower-month. In other words: time for thyme! When Jillian and Connor just arrived, we gathered a lot of flowering thyme around Balazuc. We let it dry for two weeks and spent approximately 1 million hours yesterday separating the flowers and seeds from the branches. It is a truly meditative experience, but be prepared to (1) use up the skin of your fingers, and (2) smell wonderful afterward.
We also gathered some elderflowers from the garden. I tried to make an elderflower-pear pudding following this recipe. It came out quite good, but almost too sweet and thick to my taste. Robin made some elderflower syrup that we are preciously keeping in the fridge until we come back from our month away.
or more accurately, three train connections ↩
I wonder if I were as insufferable as a kid and just don't remember it. Chances are that, on some level, yes. ↩
Pocket is a tool by Mozilla that you can use to bookmark web pages, articles, blog posts to read later. ↩
What if we want to export our data at some point? ↩