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August 21st, 2019

Another time away: this time, Calais

The World at Evening -- Summer

As this suburban summer wanders toward dark
cats watch from their driveways --

The color of the sky makes brilliant reflection
in the water

There is a time, seconds between the last light
and the dark stretch ahead ...

-- Rachel Sherwood

A little more than a year ago, I made a summer interlude for this blog; now I'm content with a few words. Then I was gone for 16 days, now it'll be 10.  Then I went with a Road Scholar group to the lake district and borders of Scotland and England in the UK; now we go (me, my two daughters) to Calais, northern France.Why? well I said I wanted to go to the beach, Laura said she wanted to go to France, and Izzy was not going to be left behind.


This sculpture commemorates an eleven month seige on Calais by the British during the hundred years war ...

The town or small city has a long history, it's one of the channel ports between England and France and was owned by England for a very long time. Lots to see beyond the beaches. Castles, prisons, towers, a cathedrale, museum. I looked it up on Amazon and bookfinder and found many books: on the recent history of immigration to the place and the development of what was known as The Jungle; as a place of war, from 14th century to WW2; where peace treaties and the like were signed; fishing and trading, commerce; a place to set mysteries. Today there are beaches, hotels, shopping, roads to drive, walks to do, markets to buy food and all sorts of goods.  There are even ferries.

Laura rented a bnb for us that looks lovely in the picture: it has air-conditioning and wifi.  We've bought to go to London at least once (see Kensington Garden exhibit), to Paris more than that (we signed up for a food fest). So we'll use cabs and trains -- spend money. The hard question for me is which books to take -- to guess which ones will hold you when traveling and away is not easy, but I know Trollope may be relied upon, and so one will be Phineas Finn (as I will teach it this coming fall). I should probably take a good book on or by Austen too. They usually "work." A small French dictionary -- though for a long time it was an English city in France.

Google produces many pictures. Painters like to paint fantasies and semi-realistic images. From among these, this by Eduard Vuillard:


Dinner with two lamps: rue de Calais

Many years ago I saw a gigantic exhibit of Vuillard's paintings drawings murals (rooms upon rooms tracing his career) at the National Gallery with a friend. I've loved his work ever since.

Chez nous, here in Alexandria, Laura's friend, Marni, will come every day and has promised to stay 45 minutes with the two pussycats, provide food, water &c. Clarycat already made friends with her, and I hope before the end of the time, Ian will come out of hiding and join them in play.


An archetypal harbour scene by Nell Blaine (1986)

From Three Poems at the End of Summer by Jane Kenyon

I stood by the side of the road,
It was the only life I had.

Miss Drake

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