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253. My datcha

It’s a French datcha. In rural France. I’m not Russian. I’m French and, in France, if you own a house in the countryside you’re labelled a filthy rich bourgeois and therefore on a list to be eliminated… I exaggerate just a bit. The history of that little “cottage” goes back to my great-grandfather, i.e. my father’s maternal grandfather, Jean Georget who died when I was 12. He was an enterprising kind of guy and worked hard at making the family successfully climb the social ladder. He once bought that tiny house where his wife, Marie Momot, worked as shop keeper of that one and only grocery shop in the village. They sold that house when my father was born. I bought it when my father died.
But you see, I was an absentee owner for a long time. When I came back in 2000 the place was derelict and not habitable at all. I started getting it renovated in 2006 having the granary, attic if you prefer, turned into a small flat with all modern commodities. My finance has not allowed me to finish…
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252. STALKING JULES VERNE (2)

My mad idea of stalking Jules Verne in his story of travelling round the Black Sea clockwise to avoid crossing the Bosphorus is snowballing. From one idea to another I am now up to figuring a real plan.
1. A group of 3 or 4 people will travel by road from Istanbul following the coast like Keraban and his team did. It means going through the north shore of Turkey, then Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia, Georgia. To finish off back in Turkey on the south shore of the Black Sea. As I would want to stay in Georgia, perhaps another team could take over from there. I expect my old friend Zara to travel with me. We will need a photographer to make a documentary of this adventure. It will happen at the same speed that Keraban travelled, i.e. in slow motion for us in this century. My main purpose is to encounter and meet as many people as possible. Interactions between people, our small group, and the daily problems of the moment is to be the subject of the documentary. Not visiting famous monuments …

251. Stalking Jules Verne

I recently came across photos of a google-plus user from the country of Georgia in the Caucasian mountains, somewhere between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, somewhere between the south of Russia and Turkey. A difficult position for a small country really, being tossed from one to the other in ruling and/or heavy cultural influences. From the dawn of History, however, the Georgians have managed to retain their own personality, cultural heritage, language and… yes, spelling and writing. Georgia in the Georgian language is spelt საქართველო.  This small country remained hidden away from main stream History by bigger bears until, well yes, the advent of internet. And since cables have now been laid in the bottom of the Black Sea by Americans to reach the port of Poti, any Georgian can now tune into internet at will and post photos on FaceBook or Google+ and be seen and contacted by the rest of the world. Nice story!
When I recently saw those photos of Georgia posted on my own google+ …

250. MY ESSAY IN ETHNOLOGY

When I say that I studied social ethnology, most people don't know what I'm talking about. So to illustrate what a post-graduate student did at the University of Michigan in this science within the department of Anthropology, here is the copy of my essay written in November 1980 for my professor of course 501 of that year.

 The title is THE POWER GAME AT THE MICRO-LEVEL OF TALE SOCIETY.

The study was based on ethnographic data published by Meyer Fortes who was an ethnologist in the 1940s in Ghana. The exercise was to use his data from his observation in the field to analyse what it meant in terms of "power game". It was to show us that a good ethnographer's job consisted of taking down every detail of his observations, even if it did not make sense to him at the time. The ethnologist can then trust the ethnographer's findings in order to analyse them and make sense with them. The ethnographer and the ethnologist are most of the time the one and same person. …

249. A car, a bicycle and a dog

The year 2014 is a landmark in my very ordinary life. 
I had a car, a Ford Mondeo Ghia, running on diesel. I had driven it very happily to Germany, to Scotland and to various places in France. It had reached past 200 K km mileage and needed some fixing. I forgot what it was, nothing too bad, it could still pass the mandatory regular registration. My mechanic told me he would not do it. In any case I didn't have the money to have it done. So, I left it parked on the village square for a long time hoping to find the money and another mechanic for it. After a year I was asked to move it out as there was going to be a village fair on the square. Fair enough. Some friendly neighbor helped me start it and I drove it 5 km away to the other village where I have my garden and a barn. My idea was to store it inside the barn pending better days when I would get it fixed. I judged that the engine, if not the rusty body, could still be useful for something. However, as I couldn't open the b…

248. NITTY GRITTY NEWS

I recently came across a virtual invitation for coffee and since then have met and keep meeting new friendly American bloggers. I find they easily write poetry, play games at writing a story prompted by a silly picture posted by someone else... AND they also write about their nitty gritty daily lives like being pulled up by the police or having their computer crash down and the price of buying a new one. So today is my turn. I can't write poetry but I can tell at great length about my nitty gritty ordinary life.

 On Wednesdays I usually have my grandkids over for lunch and activities in the afternoon, learning how to sew with a sewing machine with my granddaughter and following an online course to learn English with my grandson. Looking after the two of them is very tiring so I asked to have one at a time in turns. Yes but the lady who takes Bertrand to my door said she had not been told of the change so... never mind, don't worry, thank you. Then Binta turned up surprised: ar…

247. Adam and Eve

"You shall work for your food"... God is known for having said to the two Humans who had taken the liberty to do what they fancied without asking permission to their creator. It is this very act of rebellion that establishes our humanity. All other animals are completely dependent on their genetic programming, whereas these two characters taking a side road definitely establish the principle of liberty. Thus creating humanity. Writing this here, however, sounds total blasphemy. Adam and Eve had fun tasting this and that, some say figs, others say apples, or pomegranates why not, as well as tasting their freedom and getting the knowledge thereof. Why did God punish them? That's what the French ask themselves to this day. I wonder whether God was English or French... If Adam and Eve had been called Alain and Brigitte, it would have been so very different. You see, Alain followed Brigitte picking and biting into an apple because she was so very pretty, so very desirabl…