Friday, October 31, 2008
Hallowe'en, Bateaux Mouches, Penan
Happy Hallowe'en to everyone. I hope you have a good day and if you have kids I hope they have a great time tonight. We will be safely ensconced in our apartment away from all the ghosts and goblins. The first time we experienced Hallowe'en in Canada we ran out of candy and Matt was apologising to all the children and explaining how we had only just arrived in Canada. One little tot piped up "Welcome to Canada" how wonderful! Karen Miller (Karen's Musings this page for link) is presently swanning around France with her publisher. She happened to mention having gone on a trip on one of the Bateaux Mouches which ply the Seine. It brought back memories of when I did the same, many, many years ago. It was spoilt for me however, the main thing I remember is going to the loo and waking up on the deck at the top of a long flight of stairs. I had fainted. Thank God I hadn't fallen down the stairs. No idea why I fainted, I used to do things like that once in a while as a young woman. My friend, Hubèrt, who was with me, didn't know anything about it. Luckily I was able to spend time on the Seine several years later when my parents took our home, Sunfish, to Paris and parked it there. That is Sunfish on the left. We were moored right in the centre of Paris by the Pont d'Alexandre III. A wonderful spot which enabled us to visit wherever we wished to go. Only problem was, in those days, the Seine was pretty filthy. I assume they have cleaned it up considerably by now. What you could see floating in it was enough to turn your stomach. Paris is the city of love and you could tell that by what was floating down the Seine. We have a programme called The Nature of Things which is presented by David Suzuki, a Canadian science broadcaster and environmental activist. Last night we watched a very sad little story about the Penan, who used to be the last race of hunter gatherers on earth and lived a nomadic way of life. Unfortunately this lifestyle has been diminished by logging activities. This is all taking place in Sarawak, Malaysia where it would seem they are allowing indiscriminate logging. The Penan are now having to live in permanent structures, their sources of food have been virtually destroyed so they have to plant crops, they are exposed to the burning sun which they are unused to and they are mostly not compensated by the goverment for the ruination of their life. One or two have had to accept jobs with the logging companies in order to survive and they are paid 50¢ an hour for doing so. They are a very primitive peoples and they didn't want much in their lives, but it is being taken away from them. To read more about it click here for the story The Last Nomads. If you are in my viewing area, it is being aired again on November 6 and I hope you will try and catch it. It is pitiful to see what man's greed achieves. This picture is of a Penan chief. The linguist, Ian Mackenzie, who made this film speaks Penan and is compiling a dictionary of their fast disappearing language. They appear to be very fond of him as he has spent a lot of time with their various groups. Some of the time he has travelled with them but that is now a thing of the past. Ian Mackenzie was almost in tears when he realised that. There is more about the Penan on Wikipedia click here. I am presently trying to figure out a dessert for tomorrow, I haven't decided yet, but I was hunting through my Three and Four Ingredient cookbook and this is one I came across. Chocolate Banana Fools This deluxe version of banana custard looks great served in glasses. It can be made a few hours in advance and chilled until ready to serve. Serves four. 4 oz. plain (semisweet) chocolate chopped 1 1/4 cups fresh custard 2 bananas Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt in the microwave on high power for 1-2 minutes. Stir, then set aside to cool. (Alternatively put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place it over a pan of gently simmering water and leave until melted, stirring frequently). Pour the custard into a bowl and gently fold in the melted chocolate to make a rippled effect. Peel and slice the bananas and stir these into the chocolate and custard mixture. Spoon into four glasses and chill for 30 minutes to an hour before serving. I wondered what they meant by custard, they are talking about good fresh custards as available in your supermarket. I assume Bird's custard would also fill the bill. Have a great day.