07 November 2009

Tristounet... maussade

« Un weekend tristounet... »

« Un temps maussade... »

« Fraîcheur. Grisaille. Pluies soutenues... »

Those are the words and expressions being used in all the weather forecasts today. "A dreary weekend. Gloomy weather. Chilly temperatures. Gray skies. Steady rains." For days. Oh joy.

Callie, on the outside looking in, in her pointy-ear pose

How soon things change. Just a few weeks ago we were in a drought, and summer seemed like it might last until Noël. No such luck. It's Novemberish outdoors. It's raining as I type. Quelle surprise !

Yesterday morning's sunrise was brilliant.

The last couple of days haven't been too bad, though. Today is the first one when I'm not sure I'm going to be able to take the dog out for her walk. I may just shoo her out the back door and let her go do her business in the back yard. (P.S. That's what I did. Poor Callie!)

View out the back gate a couple of days ago

Meanwhile, I think I have to make a batch of quince jelly. Somebody was nice enough to pick a good quantity of ripe quinces across the street, in the neighbors' yard, and leave them — For me? — in a neat little pile on the ground. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's why the neighbor left them there, so I took some. Later, I found another tree full of them out on the edge of the vineyard, on the north side, and I picked a half dozen quinces over there.

Quinces are easier when somebody else
picks and piles them up for you.

On that tree, there were two especially perfect looking, fat yellow quinces on a high branch, and I wanted them. I pulled on the branch to drag it down to a reachable height. I grabbed one quince and yanked on it. I was, of course, looking up, admiring the prize. The other big fat fruit proceeded to come crashing down, smacking me right on the left eye.

I was partly stunned, and thought at first I might end up with a black eye. I'm lucky my glasses only got a little bent, and not broken. That'll teach me to be greedy.

Here's one more picture from day before yesterday.
Ther's no such scene out there this morning.

Tristounet, by the way, is an informal or colloquial (in French, familier) term based on the adjective triste, meaning "sad" or "depressing." Pronounce it [tree-stoo-NAY]. It's a cute way of saying "dismal" or "dull" or "dreary" — in French, morne or morose could be equivalents.

A couple of days ago, a weather forecaster said of the prevailing weather conditions: « C'est un temps moche ! ». All the other people on the set of the morning show burst out laughing — especially the host, who is a stickler for proper language but was amused. Neverthless, what the weather reporter said was true. I guess the term moche — "ugly, terrible, rotten, nasty" —was a little too colloquial for the context.


  1. This morning we have brilliant sunshine and just-right Fall temperatures while you are having "Fraîcheur. Grisaille. Pluies soutenues...".

    I'd trade places with you in a flash.

  2. I love that word, tristounet ! I read it on a French-speaker's blog this year, and now here chez toi, which helps reinforce it :))

    Sunshine and warm temps here, until the rain hits on Monday.

  3. Hi Ken, Callie has this "Why-did-you-lock-me-out?" look on her face :)

    Weather-wise we can't complain, although they've predicted some heavy showers later this afternoon. Right now, the sun is shining, though. We're hoping for good weather in the beginning of next week, as we will be off to Normandy for a few days. Martine

  4. The very best, perfect, primo fruit is always juuuuust out of reach!

    Stay warm.

  5. I'm glad you didn't get a black eye! Hope the jelly turns out well.

    Alabama plays LSU today and hopes to stay undefeated. Time will tell.

  6. Don't think I've ever eaten a quince, although I have seen them at the markets in France.

  7. Good weather for staying inside and cooking...although I doubt Callie would agree with me.
    I made your flan last night and served it with roasted nectarines. It was very nice and will remain on the menu. Thanks Ken

  8. « C'est un temps moche ! »

    Ken, how is moche pronounced?


  9. BettyAnn, moche (and words like Loches and poche) more or less rhyme with our words hush, mush, flush. Vowels in French are always slightly different from vowels in English, but Fr. -oche and Eng. -ush are very similar.

    Hope you had a good time in Paris.

  10. Thanks so much, Ken!

    And, yes, I had a great two weeks in Paris with perfect weather!



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