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Shanghai Noir

The Dancing Girl and the Turtle: publication date 01.04.2017

Spring is here, at least, that's what my calendar says. It's hard to believe with the rain, wet snow and chilly nights we've been having. But I've placed my faith in a new gardening app. Since it's Dutch, I assume the developers know what kind of shitty weather we get. So if these guys say it's time to sow seeds, then I'll do it. I've got spring onions, kale, spinach, carrots, three sorts of lettuce, radishes and winter purslane in my vegetable beds. My app tells me when and how to sow my seeds, when they should sprout and, if they haven't, what to do next. It tells me when to thin the seedlings, support the vines and presumably at some not-too-distant point in the future, that I can harvest.

As smart as my app is, it can't prevent me from screwing up. Last year, I planted lots of nasturtiums against my greenhouse. It was a beautiful display of yellow, red and orange flowers that lasted all summer. Those vines also blocked all the sun from getting to my vegetable beds. I think my harvest last year consisted of an inch-sized carrot and a few string beans.

I like to think I'm not too old to learn though this sometimes conflicts with my need to believe I'm smart. Today, I'm happy to admit discovering a whole new writing genre, despite the fact that it's been around for at least a few decades. I'm talking about creative nonfiction, an artful way of writing the truth. That's the focus of this week's blog post: Fact vs Fiction

Unfortunately, I've no new book reviews for you this time. I'm still trying to finish reading a history of world cuisines. In the meantime, I've come up with a cunning plan to put out lots more book reviews with the help of a friendly bookstore here in Amsterdam. So watch this space.

P.s. The beautiful water lily pictured above is not the product of my green thumb, but rather the gardening skills at work in the Chinese medicine garden of the Hortus Botanical Gardens in Leiden. Also, no idea why this flower is displaying in close-up but it looks pretty cool, don't you think?

Father Jacquinot
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