vendredi 22 mai 2009


source: google
The European Commission has once again had one of those crazy ideas it is well known for. It has proposed to authorise accepting the blending of red and white wine to produce rosé. A cry of outrage has been sounded in France against this initiative, to be ratified (or not) in mid June. The rosé producers and the French government are lobbying heavily against such a horrid measure.
The French argue that making rosé is a whole technique on its own and the blending result will never be anywhere near the real thing. It is regarded as pure deceaving of clients. The French of course are afraid for their strategic place in wine producing. Indeed, France is the foremost producer of the rosé wine in the world. And more than 80 % of all French rosé wines come from Provence region. Up to three quarters of the wine produced in Provence is rosé. The Var is specially reputed for its rosé wines but there are some good wine coming from every part of Provence and the neighbouring Languedoc-Roussillon.
Rosé is also growing fast in French exports and doing well compared to other wines. Specially appreciated in summer it has become lately more a cult wine and less the cheap summer beveridge it used to be regarded. It is best chilled which suites the summer and goes with everything.

Personally I love rosé. I know the wine connoisseurs still regard rosé less sophisticated than the red or white but I like the light flavour and prefer it the whole year round. I know I haven't, during these 25 years passed in France, really acquired a wine culture. I am happy to drink, with moderation, what gives me pleasure. Like my food, my wine usually comes from my neighbourhood. I like the idea of locally produced food and drink. I hate those apples coming from Chile, pears from Brazil, strawberries from South Africa or what not. And though I am sure the antipodean wine is as good as any I prefer the one growing in my back yard. The only thing coming from the antipodes I appreciate are the rugby players - or what, ladies?
Vous, les lecteurs français connaissez sûrement déjà tous la dernière idée bizarre de la Commission Européenne: laisser appeler un melange de vin rouge et de vin blanc "rosé", comme si le rosé était un vulgaire mélange. Le rosé connaît un renouveau dans le monde et la France étant le pays leader sur ce marché il est évident qu'elle ne veut pas entendre parlé d'une telle déception des clients sur cette marchandise-phare.
Personellement je préfère de loin le rosé aux autres vins. Je sais que je manque de sophistication en vous l'avouant mais je reconnais gaiement manquer de la culture du vin - même après ces 25 années passées en France. Ainsi je bois le rosé tout au long de l'année et avec tout. De même je préfère de loin ceux de notre région. En effet, je ne comprend pas toutes ces pommes venant de Chili, poires du Brésil ou fraises d'Afrique du Sud. Je veux manger les produits du terroir et de même je préfère le vin qui pousse dans la proximité. La seule chose que j'apprecie venant des antipodes sont les joueurs de rugby, n'est-ce pas, les amies?

mercredi 20 mai 2009


Some time ago Vicky Archer, Australian author and blogger of this wonderful and provençal blog, spoke about the new ways of buying and consuming books. I have been confronted with these questions since my farther passed away last november. My farther, a great lover of books and reading, had constituted during his whole lifetime a magnificent and very varying library. His tastes were ecclectic and he never missed a chance to look at, consult and buy books, wherever he went. His library is not an investment though he had some old books, but a passion reflecting all his interests.

In my family's present conditions I might not be able to keep the appartement in Finland housing the collection and living abroad I don't think I can take all the books with me. So, though it brakes my heart to give the books away, in preparation for it I contacted a nice, young guy from the Finnish Bibliophiles' Society. He kindly offered to survey the collection and take to their yearly auction those books he felt would arrouse most interest. At least in that way they will go on living their lives, loved in somebody else's library. But for that reason I need now to take a look myself of the collection first to put aside those I want absolutely to keep. Quel chantier!

Talking with this young man we came to discuss the multiplicity of books in our lives. He told me his bold opinion that some books were better burned than kept since we had all the time more and more books, but less and less of them were really of value. An idea that first horrified me since I have been brought up in the love, nay, the adoration of books and have started a kind of collection myself, in a small way. I have been living for a long time in suitcases, moving here and there which has held back my collecting, since now and then I have been forced to give books away.

But this conversation and later Vicky's post started me thinking this dilemma and the new ways we have of acquering and reading books: e-books, internet bookshops and such. I have to admit that in the books we all posses, me, my parents and my daughter there are many of those which in some time will have no interest: travel books with old data and no beauty values, cheap paperbacks of more perishable literary value, school books and such. Thinking about the weight of all those books I would like to keep for informative reasons but without any artistic merit I started to think that in the end having such books that one reads just once or needs for their information only would be so much better in a digital form. But there will allways be - at least I hope - a lot of books that we love to look at, browse, smell the pages, wonder at their images and keep to return to them over and over again.

It is evident that these new developpements will have a profound impact on the book industry and the bookshops. I am one of those who love to spend my time in bookshops and leave much too often - considering my purse, my reading time and my frustration caused by all those not yet read books - with a few more new books in the bag. I really hope that the bookshops find a way of not only surviving this bend but better yet finding a new way of flourishing, nursing our curiosity, quest for knowledge and love of books. I wouldn't want to loose the pleasure of visiting old favorite bookshops and discovering new ones.

Some of my favorite bookshops:
the name of the one in London, the oldest I think, I can't remember but I loved its stairs and old woodwork and when visiting I kept thinking that my farther had preceded me there;
in Helsinki : Akateeminen kirjakauppa, the biggest and housing also a nice cafe in the second floor, called after the famous Finnish architect Alvar Aalto;
in Aix-en-Provence: the English bookshop, Book in Bar, for the books of course but also for their tea corner;
in Arles: La librairie Actes Sud, they are also publishers, but they keep a very well stocked bookshop,
and Harmonia Mundi, who also sell music.
in Nyons: Librairie de L'Olivier, a good stock of regional books.

In memory of my farther, Armas Aarre Savelius,
an eternal book lover

J'ai écrit ce petit texte en mémoire de mon père, Armas Aarre Savelius, un amourex des livres, décédé en novembre dernier.

J'ai hérité de mon père une collection magnifique de livres. Malheureusement, puisque je ne pourrais peut-être pas garder l'appartement finlandais qui abrite ses livres, je dois me resoudre à me séparer d'une partie. En vue de trouver à ses livres une nouvelle maison et des nouveaux amoureux de livres j'ai rencontré un gentil jeune homme de la Société finlandaise des bibliophiles qui s'est chargé de revoir la bibliothèque de mon père et d'emmener aux enchères annuelles de la Sociéte les livres qui attireront le plus des intéressés. Je dois donc passer du temps maintenant à voir les livres de mon père pour me décider lesquels je veux absolument garder. Quel chantier!

C'est en discutant avec ce jeune homme et plus tard en lisant ce blog de la fameuse auteure et bloggeuse australiènne, Vicky Archer, sur les nouvelles formes d'acquerir et de consommer les livres que j'ai commencé moi-même à réflechir sur la question. Le jeune homme s'est déclaré pour des bûchers de livres, une idée au départ révoltante pour qui, comme moi, a été élevée dans l'adoration des livres. Mais en y réflechissant je reconnaîs que ma famille - moi, ma fille, mes parents - possède beaucoup de livres dont l'intérêt à long terme est minime. Et tous ces livres que je ne lis qu'une fois où que je veux garder uniquement pour leur contenu informatif, ce serait tellement moins lourd de les avoir en format digital!

En même temps je me confesse d'être une amoureuse des librairies. J'adore regarder, toucher, sentir les livres, m'émerveiller devant les belles illustrations et je pars bien trop souvent - vue les limites de ma bourse, mon temps et ma frustration devant les livres toujours pas lus - avec encore de nouveaux bouquins. J'espère donc que les librairies trouveront de nouvelles façons de survivre ce changement radical de l'industrie de livres et surtout de cultiver notre amour des livres. La visite des librairies est un plaisir que je ne voudrais pas perdre.

vendredi 15 mai 2009


I stole this lovely idea from this absolutely beautiful blog I read all the time. I don't intend to make this a weekly item like Anna Spiro does but her pretty photos encouraged me to take some of my own. Have a nice week-end!

Bon weekend à tous avec ces quelques fleurs!


I have dislocated for some weeks in my native country, Finland. I have been so busy organising family affairs and receiving a dear visitor from France that I haven’t had time to think about writing for a while.

We had a lovely time, visiting Helsinki, made a trip to the sea and even took a ship as far as the capital of our neighbouring country, Estonia. Tallinn is a smaller and more compact town than Helsinki but has a lovely, medieval flavour that the empire-style Helsinki lacks. Helsinki is of course much younger than Tallinn which history goes back to the 13th century.

It's old town makes a nice day trip, a two-hour cruise to Tallinn, walking the cobble stoned streets the afternoon, pausing in restaurants and cafes and shopping for antiques, artefacts and handycrafts still cheeper than in Helsinki. You cover nicely the old town in an afternoon and leave exhausted for Helsinki the same evening.

Some Soviet touches still remain: this is a travel agency's special tour bus.

Still, I do love my native city. Especially when, as last week, the weather is sunny and no bitter winds cool your blood. The city is full of parks and woods and surrounded by the sea. And it's nice to rediscover one's own home town with visitors, seeing the city through other eyes and discovering things one doesn't see anymore because too used to them. Spending summers in Helsinki would be all right by me. But come autumn I am in a hurry to get back to my sunny Provence: I really have a sort of love-hate realtionship with Finland.

Greetings from Finland.
Bons baisers de Finlande.