Archive for May, 2010

Il est quelle heure ?

Posted in La France at 14:40

Molnija pocket watch in hand

A month ago was my birthday. Around the same time, random browsing on the Internet brought me to information about Molnija watches, and I was able to find a beautiful older one, cleaned and in good working order, at a reasonable price. I’ve always had an interest in Russia, first from literature (Pushkin, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky especially) and, soon after, thanks to a then-Soviet pen pal from Novosibirsk. We corresponded for several years, up until the 1990s, and I took a year of Russian at university. This pocket watch makes a nice memento and a lovely way to look at the time.

As Fate would have it, the watch has engraving that shows it was a birthday present for its original owner as well! I was born in the same month (April) and nearly the same year as “Sasha”, who was given the watch in 1977. Its embossed case design is the same as on the more modern Molnija Tune of the Orient, though the face and hands are quite different. The Roman numerals, delicate hands and violet-blue face on my watch are the main reason I chose it. I also love that it’s mechanical; needing to wind a watch every day has a symbolic quality.

As for a link with Nice, we have the largest Russian Orthodox cathedral outside of Russia. The église Russe, as it’s known here, is also a beautiful work of art.

Watering cats and growing pumpkins

Posted in Cats, Gardening, Home improvement at 15:53

Two weeks ago, I removed the glass shower door in my bathroom. The surrounding floor and walls were starting to rot, and I knew the door blocked much of the airflow needed to dry out the rest of the shower properly, so I decided to just take it out myself and put in a shower curtain and rod. While taking out the door, I discovered that the previous owners hadn’t waterproofed any of the seams… which is mainly why things had been rotting. However, it did make it much easier to remove the door, since all I had to do was unscrew it from one wall and pull it out of the other (it hadn’t been bolted in on both sides). As a reminder, they hadn’t waterproofed the floor beneath the tile shower they installed either. Every time I discover something like this, I’m glad I bargained down the price on my place — I had been very hard-nosed about it since some of the electrical work they’d done was borderline dangerous, which I suspected meant the rest of their “improvements” might be similar. Score one for intuition.

Putting in a curtain really improved the airflow, along with letting in a good deal more light… and a certain water-loving Maine Coon mutt! The video above shows Kanoko playing with the falling water this morning. I could keep him out by shutting the bathroom door, but his never-ending delight brings a lot of joy into my day, and so some old hand towels have now become Kanoko’s shower towels, and he’s happy as pie with the arrangement. When we finish showering, he saunters out alongside me, purrs while being towelled, then contentedly preens while I get ready for the day.

I mentioned some surprise seeds all sprouting in the last post — my pumpkin patch is growing well. All four are still healthy, those two are the largest. And they’re still just young’uns!