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The month 12

Scrapbook 12

Road to nowhere

Backup hell

Beyond analysis

Winter solstice

Judge Judy

Betjeman Christmas

Veiled Modesty

Energy made easy

Nobel Ceremony 2016

Schober? [9]

The month 11

Scrapbook 11

Word Of The Year

Man and machine

Cognitive dissonance

Schubert trajectory

No change

The month 10

Scrapbook 10

That man again

Freedom of speech

A victim remembers

The conquering hero


The Man in Black

Cox and Box

Bees pulling strings

Those formative years

John Dalton

The grape harvest

Babi Yar

Bible studies

Jacobin Conspiracy [6]

The month 09

Scrapbook 09

Wrong again

That Sappho thing

Rustling inspiration

Channelled speech

The houseman's friend

Wishful thinking

Churchill in Zurich

Franz's belljar

The other Spaun

Walking with Walser

Stephen McIntyre

The month 08

Scrapbook 08

Arthur Szyk

Climate alarmism

Citroen DS23

Artificial Intelligence

Portrait of the age

Shipwreck [7]

The month 07

Scrapbook 07

The Bastille Spirit

Classic books


Devaluing the family

Andrea Leadsom


Habsburg cradle

UK politics

The month 06

Scrapbook 06

The Chosen Ones

Referendum mop up



Last words

Gretchen am Spinnrade

The alien hatches

Carbon dioxide


Electoral Commission

Sahra Wagenknecht

The green tick

The month 05

Scrapbook 05

The Sun Queen

Before Schubert [5]

European wars


Saving time

EU referendum

Protestant Ethic [9]

The month 04

Scrapbook 04

Cherry blossom

Dark chocolate

Out of the swamp

Richard North

Do not sleep

Imperial chemistry

Lili Marleen

The Habsburg lip

The month 03

Scrapbook 03

Bedsheet, spreadsheet

French dodo

Lenten thoughts

Heinrich Heine

The great survivor

The Swiss muddle

Hans Erni

Switzerland defused

Tristram's bad start

Montségur [5]

The month 02

Scrapbook 02

Frosty wreck

Language lab

Referendum reloaded

Graven images

Die Forelle [5]

The grass on the weirs

The month 01

Rabid lexicography

Not like us

Language lab

IKEA's loose screw

Nathan's rings

Brief Encounter II

Mohammed, not my prophet

Lunatic calendars

Hidden Hemingway

Sharing the risk

Bathtime for St. Kevin

The dismal science

The below above

Sanitised swearing


Rockers do it better


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Home | 2016

Quote and image of the month 11.2016

Quote of the month

Winter Coming On [1]

Sentimental blockade! Levantine shipping lines!…
Oh the fall of rain! Oh! the fall of night!
Oh! the wind!…

All Saints' Day, Christmas, and the New Year;
Oh, in the drizzle, all my chimneys!…
of the factories…

One can't sit down any more, all the benches are wet;
believe me, it is completely finished until next year;
All the benches are wet, all the woods are mouldering,
all the hunting-horns have blown 'ta ta', 'ta tara'!…

Ah, storm clouds run along the shores of the Channel,
you have spoiled our last Sunday.
It is drizzling;
In the damp forest the spiders' webs
sag beneath the drops of water, and that is their ruin.

Jules Laforgue (1860-1887), 1886. Symbolist / Impressionist poet. The metre and rhymes are remarkable, but cannot be rendered in English (at least by this weak-willed translator, ©FoS), so see the French original below. We've spared you the rest of the poem, with its 'white sun like a gob of spit in a seedy bar-room' (soleil blanc comme un crachat d'estaminet) – but T.S. Eliot enjoyed and took inspiration from Laforgue: 'The muttering retreats | Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels | And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells' (Prufrock).

Image of the month

Place de Madeleine, après la pluié

Édouard-Léon Cortès (1882-1969), Place de Madeleine, après la pluié, c. 1950-1960. Image: Heritage Auctions , Dallas. Cortès is styled a 'post-Impressionist'. It takes a lot of skill to paint as inexactly as this. By the time he painted this he'd had a half century of practice and made a good living from painting Parisian street scenes.

Our readers in the southern hemisphere will need to forgive us for our northern hemispheric bias in the seasons.


  1. ^ L'hiver qui vient

    Blocus sentimental ! Messageries du Levant !...
    Oh, tombée de la pluie ! Oh ! tombée de la nuit,
    Oh ! le vent !...

    La Toussaint, la Noël et la Nouvelle Année,
    Oh, dans les bruines, toutes mes cheminées !...

    On ne peut plus s'asseoir, tous les bancs sont mouillés ;
    Crois-moi, c'est bien fini jusqu'à l'année prochaine,
    Tant les bancs sont mouillés, tant les bois sont rouillés,
    Et tant les cors ont fait ton ton, ont fait ton taine !...

    Ah, nuées accourues des côtes de la Manche,
    Vous nous avez gâté notre dernier dimanche.
    Il bruine ;
    Dans la forêt mouillée, les toiles d'araignées
    Ploient sous les gouttes d'eau, et c'est leur ruine.

    Jules Laforgue, 'L'hiver qui vient', online.