Wednesday, April 29, 2015

LA Phil

Next Friday we're going to see Gustavo Dudamel conducting at Disney Hall - Brahms and Bach - the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 played by Yefim Bronfman. The concert is entitled: Dudamel, Bronfman and Brahms. The entitlers don't even acknowledge that half the program, at least, is Bach. How often does Bach take the back seat or no seat on a program? The program is loaded with testosterone and ego, an excellent combination. I can't wait.

Yefim, a Russian, is a vigorous,  unrestrained pianist and should be interesting to watch him play the concerto - a 42 minute workout for any pianist. My favorite teacher of piano music on youtube is Jon Kimura Parker, a Canadian concert pianist and teacher. Below he discusses Brahm's first concerto which he explains began life as a sonata for two pianos. There's a fascinating back story about Brahms' affair with Clara Schuman (who was playing the second piano) which adds another dimension of suffering to the whole composition, but it would take pages to describe. Isn't there always suffering involved when a great work of art is wrenched out of a human being?

As for Bronfman..Philip Roth says it all here...
In The Human Stain by Philip Roth, the narrator attends a rehearsal at Tanglewood at which Bronfman performs. The following description is offered (pages 209–10):
Then Bronfman appears. Bronfman the brontosaur! Mr. Fortissimo. Enter Bronfman to play Prokofiev at such a pace and with such bravado as to knock my morbidity clear out of the ring. He is conspicuously massive through the upper torso, a force of nature camouflaged in a sweatshirt, somebody who has strolled into the Music Shed out of a circus where is the strongman and who takes on the piano as a ridiculous challenge to the gargantuan strength he revels in. Yefim Bronfman looks less like the person who is going to play the piano than like the guy who should be moving it. I had never before seen anybody go at a piano like this sturdy little barrel of an unshaven Russian Jew. When he's finished, I thought, they'll have to throw the thing out. He crushes it. He doesn't let that piano conceal a thing. Whatever's in there is going to come out, and come out with its hands in the air. And when it does, everything there out in the open, the last of the last pulsation, he himself gets up and goes, leaving behind him our redemption. With a jaunty wave, he is suddenly gone, and though he takes all his fire off with him like no less a force than Prometheus, our own lives now seem inextinguishable. Nobody is dying, nobody – not if Bronfman has anything to say about it.
The Bach program is exciting and includes the Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major which features the most famous piece of all Baroque music, the Air, or Air on G String. Here it is....

It's easy to see why this piece is so popular. I like the perpetual motion in the bass which is mostly octaves going up and down. It adds something like a beating pulse to the song and gives it a life-like dimension.

Three parts of the orchestral suite are dance numbers: a gavotte; bouree (fast little steps)and a gigue (from which we get the word "jig") I being pedantic? I'm using this blog as an excuse to do my research prior to the performance. The gavotte is a stately dance they say. The jig section should be self-explanatory.

The Bach Ricercar comes next. Considered one of the most important piano compositions of all, it was also one of the first. RICERCAR is an acronym for "Regis Iussu Cantio Et Reliqua Canonica arte Resolute," which translates to "theme given by the king with additions resolved in the canonic style."
This is a great youtube to watch if you like Glenn Gould - it's too long but the first few minutes give you a feel for Glenn. At this stage of his life, he looks a bit like Stephen King. He hunches over the piano, singing to himself, playing themes with his right hand and conducting with his left, giving mini-lectures on Bach as he goes. Experts speculate that Glenn was on the autism spectrum which seems entirely possible given his eccentricities. In this video, he's sitting in the chair his father made for him which keeps him low on the can see it's all scratched up and beaten up, probably from being shipped to wherever he was playing. Gould was brilliant and good at everything he attempted...teaching, writing, lecturing, performing. Too bad he died at 50; who knows what he might have done later in his life.

The last item on the program is the Toccata and Fugue in D minor which everyone knows. I'm excited to hear it in the acoustically wonderful Disney Hall. The term toccata comes from the Italian word "Toccare" which means "to touch". A Toccata is a piece written for the keyboard or plucked stringed instrument which features fast moving passages and light fingering which employs and showcases the player's touch. It was often written and performed as a kind of resume. If you were auditioning a church organist, this is the piece you'd use for the test. Some speculate that whatever it was originally written for, it's now often used to test organs as it runs the gamut of an organ's capabilities. We last heard this in Copenhagen in the Cathedral where the thunderous organ made the seats vibrate and the imagination soar. Here's a very good version.

The concert is at 11:00 AM...the early concert goer's time slot. This gives all the rickety old concert geezers time to get home and have a good nap after all the excitement and it gives us a chance to beat the traffic back to Fallbrook.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Uncle Lorne McLeod

I'm attempting to write short biographies about the members of our family for the youngsters and to preserve, via scan, the newspaper clippings and other miscellaneous information I come across. 

Everyone loved my Uncle Lorne McLeod. He married my mother's sister, Addie. They never had children and I think this made them more interested in us - my sister and myself and my cousins too, than would have been the case if they'd had their own brood to worry about. Recently I found this yellowed newspaper article published when Lorne left his job at the Winnipeg Free Press. The article was dated, Thursday September 29th, 1977. The newspaper, "with colored comics" was selling for $.15 a copy.

Lorne grew up in Gladstone, Manitoba.  He died in Ocala, Florida where he resided for the last decade of his life. Here's his obituary. 


Ocala - Mr. Lorne Peter McLeod, 92, passed away on Friday, August 29, 2008 in his 93rd year. He was born and raised in Gladstone, Manitoba, Canada and served in the Royal Canadian Air Force in WWII. Lorne had a long career at the Winnipeg Free Press newspaper before taking early retirement in 1976 to spend more time with his first wife Addie (Fortier) during her final illness. After retirement he enjoyed spending summers at his cottage in the Whiteshell Provincial Park in Canada and winters in Belleview, Florida. After almost 20 years as a widower he married again in 1996 to Ramona (Helm), who predeceased him in 2006. Until a few years ago they led an active life and Lorne even produced a regular newsletter for his community, The Villas of Belleview. Lorne's health deteriorated in the past few years and he had been living at the Hawthorne Inn at Surry Place in Ocala. Lorne had no children but will be missed by his cousins, nieces, nephews and friends. We wish the thank all those who showed patience and kindness to Lorne in his last years. A memorial service will be held at Fort King Presbyterian Church in Ocala on Friday, September 5, 2008 at 1:00 PM. In lieu of flowers donations to Church Without Walls c/o Fort King Presbyterian Church, 13 N.E. 36 Avenue, Ocala, Fl, 34470 will be appreciated. Arrangements by HIERS-BAXLEY FUNERAL SERVICES, Ocala.
Published in Ocala Star-Banner from Sept. 4 to Sept. 6, 2008

And I found his grave in Gladstone which has only a temporary marker on it. This made me feel very sad. 

And here is Lorne's second wife's obit and grave.
Ramona E. Helm McLeod
Birth: Dec. 11th, 1916

Deat: July 28th, 2006 

Ramona E. McLeod, 89, Ocala, Fla., passed away Friday, July 28, 2006, at Surrey Place in Ocala. Ramona was born December 11, 1916, in Weir, Kan., and was a longtime resident of Independence, Mo. She retired from Blue Ridge Bank and Trust Co. She was a volunteer at Truman Medical Center-Lakewood and was a member of the PEO. She was preceded in death by her husbands, George Robert Hisle and Bill Harvey, son, Donald Robert Hisle, her parents, Alonzo and Elizabeth Helm, and brother, Alonzo Helm Jr. She is survived by her husband, Lorne McLeod; her sister, Margaret Cameron; her grandchildren, LeAnn Degenhardt and husband, Tom, and Robert Hisle and wife, Cindy; her daughter-in-law, Patricia Hisle-Clark and husband, Larry Clark; three great-grandchildren, Matthew, Melinda and Timothy; and many nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 2, at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Independence. Burial will be at Westlawn Cemetery in Henryetta, Okla. Visitation will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. Wednesday at the church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Trinity Presbyterian Church, 1400 Sheley Road, Independence, Mo. 64052, 816-252-5893 and/or Feisty Acres Cat Rescue, P.O. Box 693, Williston, Fla. 32696. Arrangements are under the direction of Speaks Suburban Chapel, Independence, 816-373-3600. Online condolences may be expressed to the family at 

West Lawn Cemetery
Okmulgee County
Oklahoma, USA
Family links: 
  Billy L Harvey (1915 - 1988)*

On a lighter note, here's the weather forecast in Gladstone, Manitoba for can see what most concerns farmers. 

Today's Planning Forecast

Drying Index21 (fair)
Growing Degree Days4
Crop Heat Units5
Hours of Sunshine3
UV Index6.1 (Moderate)

Here's what the fields look like around Gladstone: Flax and canola are the crops. 

I was amused to read about Lorne's friendship with Elman Guttormson. Elman sounds like a character straight out of Prairie Home Companion. No doubt he was an interesting person and I'm sure my Uncle and Elman shared some good times. 

Elman Guttormson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Elman Kreisler Guttormson (March 24, 1929[1] in LundarManitoba[2] – October 10, 2000) was a politician in Manitoba, Canada. He was aLiberal member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba from 1956 to 1969.[1]
The son of John Guttormson and Sigridur Johnson, Guttormson was educated at Lundar and United College. He worked for the Winnipeg Free Press newspaper as a reporter, covering fields as diverse as crime and horse racing. He won a national newspaper award in 1962, while serving as a member of the legislature. In 1952, he married Hildur Thorsteinson.[2]
He was first elected to the legislature in a by-election on December 30, 1956 in the mid-northern constituency of St. George,[1] defeating hisProgressive Conservative and CCF opponents by a comfortable margin. He served as a backbench supporter of Douglas Campbell's government for the next year and a half.
The Liberals were defeated provincially in the 1958 election, although Guttormson won his own seat by a wider margin than before. He was also re-elected without difficulty in the elections of 19591962 and 1966. Guttormson also served as party whip.[1]
The Liberals lost much of their support base in the 1969 election, and Guttormson lost his seat to Bill Uruski of the New Democratic Party[1] by 398 votes. He sought a political comeback in the 1973 election, but lost to Uruski by an increased margin.
Guttormson supported the federal and provincial Liberal parties for his entire adult life. One of his daughters married Bob Axworthy,[2] a relative ofLloyd Axworthy.[citation needed]
Guttormson, later in his career, became a newspaper editor, retiring in 1993. He died in Winnipeg at the age of 71 following a long illness.[2]

London Dining

On the way back from Dubai, we're stopping over in London for a week. One "free" stop is allowed on the frequent flyer tickets we have....after three weeks in the middle east, I'll be looking forward to a change of diet. And so, I'm researching restaurants within walking distance of our hotel. 

Who could resist Bubbledogs with such a great logo?

Bubbledogs is a champagne bar which serves hot dogs. About 15 kinds of hot dogs on the menu - some of them a bit of a stretch such as the macaroni and cheese dog, or the Chippy dog made of battered sausage and scraps. The champagne comes from small wineries. They have 12 - 15 on the list and they're priced from 6 - 11.50 P per glass.

Hot dog with egg and caviar.

The Kitchen Table back of Bubbledogs

Perhaps we'll make a reservation at the Kitchen Table located behind Bubbledogs which seats 12 - 14 people and serves a 14-course meal for 88 P. Too much to eat, but we'll try if it looks like fun. The courses vary nightly. Today's offerings are : oyster, chicken, scallop, monkfish, sole, truffle, asparagus, duck, goat, rhubarb, orange, caramel.


The Duck and Waffle is the kind of place we usually avoid. The highest restaurant in London, it's on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower - actually, it's the highest restaurant in the UK. But, the food is well rated on various sites around the internet. Some of the items that interested me are:

  • Barbecue spiced pig ears
  • Spicy ox cheek doughnut with apricot jam and smoked paprika sugar
  • Bacon wrapped dates with manchego cheese and watercress salad
  • Duck and Waffle (namesake dish): Crispy leg confit, fried duck egg, mustard maple syrup
  • Roasted octopus with chorizo, potato, lemon, capers
  • Fois Gras creme brulee with roasted lobster and toasted brioche
  • Grilled asparagus with smoked buttermilk curd, dandelion and pickled walnuts

But then I read this restaurant review from Jay Rayner at the London Times and re-thought going there. Sure enjoyed the review though.

Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2 (020 3640 7310). Meal for two, including wine and service, £110
Duck and Waffle, on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower in the City of London, was begging me to hate it. There were the usual stupidities of booking – email address, please; you can only have the table for as long as we permit; give us your first name, the bank account number of your third cousin – and the less-common stupidities of there being no sign for the place at ground level. There was the self-satisfied glimmer of the meeters and greeters and the waiter who insisted on explaining the menu – if a menu needs explaining something has gone wrong. And yet… and yet… Duck and Waffle is like that irritating bloke you see propping up the bar in his flash suit, with his £1,000 shoes and over-whitened teeth who seems horribly pleased with himself until you get talking to him and discover he's actually quite nice and has lots to say for himself.
It sits above the latest outpost of a chain called Sushisamba which I do actually hate, and I haven't even eaten there. I don't need to. It's a fusion of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian food, which is the sort of thing that makes me want to punch people, regardless of the interplay of the various national groups over the centuries. Even the name is a culinary non sequitur. Sushi is all "precise" and "delicate", samba is all "look at my arse" and "don't you want to do me".
I stood for a few minutes in the dining room. It's full of the sort of people who hate sushi and really want a grilled-chicken salad. It has an open terrace which will only be usable for four weeks of the year and which is surrounded by an easily leapable glass barrier – risky, given the way things have been in the City recently. Then again, a cull of bankers isn't such a bad idea.
Anyway, don't go there. It only encourages them. Instead go upstairs to the quieter Duck & Waffle with its bejewelled views over London like a shameless plunge of shiny moisturised cleavage and the menu of drunk's food. The title dish is two fluffy waffles with a hunk of crisp-skinned duck confit, a fried duck egg and a pitcher of spiced maple syrup. It's the sort of thing you'd only want to eat if you were so bladdered you felt the need to keep clicking your tongue against the roof of your mouth to see if your brain could register the movement. They also sell strips of crispy pig ear seasoned with sugar, salt and a few spices. It makes them taste like Frazzles, which is obviously genius. They come in brown paper bags. We ordered a second bag and only didn't order a third out of shame.
There was a smoked haddock scotch egg with a curried mayonnaise which was a cute riff on kedgeree, and knobbly limbs of grilled octopus with bits of chorizo and caper. There was a bowl of mussels and clams in a broth to be spilt down your pink TM Lewin shirt and a vibrant, zippy tomato salad with the word "heritage" in the title, which I'll forgive because the ingredients were so bang on. Best of all was a tiny burger of Herdwick mutton, with that funky meat-on-the-turn flavour you get from big-bollocked animals who have lived on a windblown hillside. Desserts are cakey things with ice cream, which is more drunk food. Save for a whole roast chicken, lobster or sea bream, everything costs about a tenner, which amounts to value for the food and the view.
Which makes the sharp knee-to–the-groin of the wine list so shocking. As is traditional I ordered the second-cheapest wine on the list. It was an Albariño at £30. They'd run out. Big surprise given that most people would have to be on Bob Diamond's severance payment to afford the rest. I went for the cheapest at £28. It tasted sordid. They intend to be open 24 hours a day so you can come to eat good-value food and be ripped off on the wine at any time, while watching London sleep. It's something every city needs.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Sepia Saturday 276: Naked Truth on parade.

Prompt information: Newlyweds. Babies. Newlyweds and babies. Babies and newlyweds. Cradles. Women with astonishing hairdo's.You might also want to consider book covers as well. Our theme image for Sepia Saturday 276 can accommodate all of these things as we visit the on-line archives of the Virginia Commonwealth Library.  
Eilleen at 9 months.
I chose babies this week as I have plenty of baby pictures in the photo albums. Above is my sister at nine months. My stash consists mostly of happy, gurgling, sweet babies. The most interesting illustrated baby depictions on the prompt, in my opinion, are the ones of the screaming baby with the single tooth. I love the way the cartoonists indicated stress by surrounding the faces with water droplets.The cartoon faces of the non-screaming baby are quite menacing on close examination...the child looks like a scary 50-year-old man in some of the drawings.

Remember when these nude photos were all the rage? I don't think it's done any longer.

My nude photo at 10 months. 

My photo was inserted in my Baby Book so I added these book scans, as book covers were suggested takes on the theme.

First page.

My baby book.

I searched for cartoon babies and didn't find anything I liked. But I did run across this live baby that seems almost as mad as the cartoon babies on the prompt. All he needs is water droplets flying off his head.

I tried to find a program which would allow me to sketch on the image, but nothing worked very well. I settled for a photoFunia treatment showing the screaming child being carefully drawn. The imaginary artist would have to have imaginary nerves of steel. 

Finally I found these babies matched with cartoons which I thought amusing.
Cindy Loo Who

Jake looks like Charlie Brown

Jones looks like Popeye

Sammy looks like Marshmallow Man

Rush on over to sepiasaturday for tales of super hair does and screaming kids. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Cashew - First Birthday

Cashew celebrated his first birthday last week. The cats acted as if they knew something was up - but nothing was; we served no liver cake or special food. The little guy likes his Fancy Feast and hasn't yet discovered that we, the big people, are eating something different and we'd like to keep it like that. He eats his share of the FF and heads straight for bed where he does a cursory clean-up and conks out for 16 or 18 hours. His only shortcoming is in the grooming department; he needs a little assistance with his bottom from time to time (is this TMI?) but he's gradually improved; since he's been going outdoors for part of the day, he does a better job of clean up. Pink, the older cat, tolerates Cashew, and sometimes they even play together as in the birthday photo below. 

Birthday portrait: Pink and Cashew's wild party
He watches the TV screen - tracks light lines or objects moving quickly across the screen.

Cashew had great bathroom manners from his first day home. Never had an accident.

This photo was taken before he made his debut outdoors.

This looks like play but Pink is attempting to escape.

After the party, Pink couldn't do anything with his tail.

Cashew has learned to climb a small apple tree half-way and drops out of it to the ground.

After the party was over, Pink couldn't do anything with his tail!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sepia Saturday 275 :Almost All Wet

I managed to scare up three photos of myself semi-submerged to make a little theme for this week's prompt. It's a real stretch to pass these photos off as "sky" they're mostly about the water. I'm about four years old in the first photo, resting on my elbows in the tepid water of Grand Beach, Manitoba, apparently quite alone, except for the photographer. The sky looks almost clear...wispy summer prairie clouds. The photo was taken 68 years ago and the beach is quite different now.
In the next photo, I've become a teenager and I'm treading water in Dorothy Lake, Ontario. Again, there's not another soul to be seen. The sky was slightly overcast. At this age, I was starting to think about a get-away. I wanted to go to a city...somewhere with razzamatazz. I'd had enough peace and quiet for those years - could I just keep swimming? The most exciting thing to do at Dorothy Lake was to burn the leeches off our legs with burning cigarettes. Oh, I almost forgot - we could slap at the mosquitos too. 

The last one was taken last December at Angel Island resort off the coast of Flores Island in Indonesia. We shared the island with one guest - an accountant from Sweden. No one in sight
How about this Indonesian sky? My swimwear consists of a rash guard, hat, sunblock and sunglasses. After all these years, I'm still able to enjoy being almost all in. I wanted this particular picture to print and put in my wallet. I paid special attention to the smell of everything, the intensity of the colors, the feeling of the warm water lapping up against my skin and the silence. I'm hoping I can hold it all together in my memory to recall when necessary. 

And a little travelogue. Here's the charming, short airport at Labuan Bajo.
Here's where Angel Island is on a map (below) in case you need a bit of peace and quiet. We went: San Diego to Seattle to Dubai (two nights) to Jakarta to Denpasar, Bali (overnight) to Labuan Bajo (overnight) to Angel Island. 

Travel over to Sepia Saturday for more interesting stories inspired by old photographs. 
Selfie - Husband, me, water, sky.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Book Club April - The Buried Giant

We all agreed we didn't like this book, The Buried Giant, by Kazuo Ishiguro. His first book in ten years; we were anticipating a doozie. Most of us have read, "Never let me Go" and "The Remains of the Day" and admire the writer. 

Book Cover - Deluxe Edition has edge colored pages
This tale takes place in Britain in the 6th or 7th century at the end of a war between Saxons and Britons. An elderly couple leaves their home to reunite with their son, lost to them for many years. It's very confusing; nothing is clear. Nobody can remember anything because a "mist" has made them forget almost everything and almost as fast as it happens. Events of the morning are fuzzy by afternoon. The saga goes on and on - a fantasy story replete with ogres, dragons, imps and knights. None of us are fans of this genre. 
Kazuo Ishiguro - casting a spell?

Strangely, we had one of our better discussions about this book. We shared lots of ideas; many of them quite unexpected. Even more oddly, after our discussion about forgetting everything or maybe because of the discussion about forgetting, we spend quite some time reminiscing and remembering events in our past. Is this a psychological trick hidden in pages of The Buried Giant? Is there an emanation from the dye on the black page edges on Roz's deluxe edition of the book? Did Ishiguro spend ten years figuring out how to cast a spell over his readers? It doesn't appear that he spent those years honing the story. Time-wise, he wrote one page every ten days. That leaves nine days for spell conjuring., Photo: Carrie May
Why else, but under the influence of a spell, would one of our members tell us about streaking a bar in Idaho? Why would two others share stories about wearing hot pants to a bar to get in free? Why would we talk about our high school reunions and who was still hot for whom? I felt the urge to confess to having been on the run from the RCMP for a brief period but just barely managed to keep myself from spilling the beans., Illustration: Dom McKenzie

Were we drinking, do you ask? Well, a little red wine (two very nice bottles), some really spicy edamame from "Thai, Thai" and Twix bars for dessert. Perhaps we stumbled on a formula for True Confessions? 


Nancy chose a cast for the potential movie and it's a good one. She asked for our suggestions and mine are listed beside hers below. Her movie version of the book would be memorable (ha). Not being able to compete with her, I went for the worst cast of all time, ala Ishtar.
           Nancy's Cast                                  My Cast

Axl: Max von Sydow                        Al Pacino
Beatrice: Maggie Smith                   Goldie Hawn
Wistan: Russel Crowe                     Arnold Schwarznegger
Sir Gawain: Anthony Hopkins        Steve Buscemi
Edwin: Andrew Garfield                 Chastity (Chas) Bono

Have any casting suggestions?

Money Laundering

We're having a wonderful time with the Breaking Bad series. Money laundering is the subject of the recent segments. I was thrilled to see the whole matter simplified in this video which I found on the Spitalfield's Life blog.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Sepia Saturday 274: Le Percheron

Joseph Christian Leyendecker (March 23, 1874 – July 25, 1951)

It's difficult not to select horses for a match with the prompt this week. Even though I've used this picture of my grandfather Hector with his team many times, I'm using it again.

Recently I found out my grandfather's horses were likely of the Percheron breed. These two, as you can see, are quite large and were very strong. They worked constantly, pulling heavy loads, plowing, and pulling all the farm machinery before they purchased motorized equipment. Hector loved them. 

Hector Fortier, Letellier Manitoba.
I've also learned over the course of the last several years from my cousin, that my ancestors emigrated to Canada from the Percheron area of France. I don't think my grandfather had much knowledge about his history, so I doubt that he purchased the horses based on their French pedigrees. It's probably a coincidence. Percheron horses were among the most common draft horses in America.They were developed by breeding Arab stallions to the mares native to Perche in France.The resulting large horses were strong and possessed good temperaments. Percherons carried knights into battle during the Crusades. The first of the breed line in this country came to New Jersey in 1839. 

I found the ancestry information that my cousin provided me fascinating and it led me and my husband to an ancestor hunt in Percheron in 2010, where we visited Mortagne du Perche, the town my ancestors left around 1640, for the wilds of Canada. 
Angels on ceiling of Notre Dame, Mortagne
The town church, Notre Dame, has existed since around 1400. I sat in a pew there and wondered if Zacherie Cloutier*, progenitor of my family, sat in that same space praying for a safe journey. Were my relatives baptized and blessed between those walls before they left?I wondered if Zacherie married his wife, Saincte Dupont, in the church.Saincte's name is interesting...I was sure this was a typo but found it repeated enough times to accept that it is simply the way the name was spelled. Even more interestingly spelled Xainte.

From Wiki: Little is known about the Cloutier ancestors. Most genealogists agree that Zacharie Cloutier was the grandson of Nicolas Cloutier of Perche. The most common variation of the surname is Cloustier. Most sources state the surname was originally given to a person who crafted and sold nails, coming from the Latin word "clavus" meaning nail ("clou" in French). Some descendants of Cloutier who immigrated to the United States from Canada changed their surnames to Nailer in this respect.

If I ever need an AKA for any reason, I'm taking Xainte Nailer. It sounds straight out of Jackie Collins. Maybe I'll use an ax mark** for a signature just like Zacherie did. 

How Mortagne looked in 1640 is anyone's guess but now it's a lovely town with many artisan food shops and pretty gardens, set amid softly rolling fields.You wonder why anyone would have left it for New France and all of it's unknowns.

Zacherie Cloutier
My ancestral connection to France and to the Cloutier's is shared with many, many French Canadians and Americans. By 1800, it's reported that Cloutier had 10,850 French Canadian descendants. They bred like rats. As often happens with genealogy you find you're related to famous people if you go back far enough and search hard enough. In my case, I am connected through Zacherie to Hillary Clinton, Madonna, Angelina Jolie, Camilla, Jack Kerouac, the Dionne quintuplets and Celine Dion.
Do you think they're wondering where I've been for all these years? 

Cloutier family home. Quebec, from 1676-1965

We drove around the larger area from where the French migrated known as Le Percheron, and visited the "Museum of French Emigration to New France" in Tourouvre. This part of France is not well known on the tourist travel circuit but seems to be gaining popularity with Parisians who are buying up the farms and country houses to use as second homes. We spent 4 or 5 hours wandering around the museum. 

Hotel du Tribunal
Emigration museum
The neighborhood
Special at the Tribunal
Chef Freddy Pommier, 23 years old 27 years old
Then we returned to Mortagne to eat and eat and eat.The area has become famous for Perche bread, hearty bread with a lovely coarse crumb and thick, crunchy crust.We had some fabulous local cherry jam, and the very fine Boudin noir, blood sausage of the region.The charming Hotel du Tribunal, where we stayed, had an excellent dining room led by a young ascending star chef.We ate very well and had a few new items including veal brains, a first for me and even for Richard, who has eaten almost everything in his many varied travels. Drank a couple of Medocs, very fruity and pleasant.Their wine list was well-chosen with affordable selections. Breakfast, as you can see in the photo, was lovely.
Le petit dejeuner at Tribunal
S'il vous plait, trot on over to Sepia Saturday for stories of coal, furnaces, horses and other surprises.

*From the Canada Dictionary:CLOUTIERZACHARIE, master carpenter, pioneer at Beauport, originally from Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Mortagne in Perche; b. c. 1590; d. 17 Sept. 1677 at Château-Richer.
Having married Xainte Dupont on 18 July 1616, Cloutier entered into an undertaking at Mortagne with Robert Giffard, the seigneur of Beauport, on 14 March 1634; by the terms of this agreement he was to come to Canada that same year with his fellow-countryman Jean Guyon De Buisson, senior, and he received at the same time the grant of an arriere-fief at Beauport. The two settlers took formal possession of their lands on 3 Feb. 1637. The previous year, if not before, their families had joined them in Canada, for the two households figure in the marriage contract of Robert Drouin and Anne Cloutier on 27 July 1636.

Cloutier’s holding, the fief of La Clouterie (or La Cloutièrerie) brought him into conflict with his neighbor Guyon and with Giffard, his seigneur. He sold it to Nicolas Dupont de Neuville on 20 Dec. 1670 in order to go and settle at Château-Richer, where he had already received a grant of land from Governor Jean de Lauson on 15 July 1652. Zacharie Cloutier brought up five children; he appears to be the ancestor of all the Cloutiers in Canada. **He signed himself with a mark shaped like an axe.