Much of the reason behind the extended silence is that this term I've been teaching a French Literature and Feminism class. Yes, yes, scoff away - everyone else has been, I assure you. Anyway, apart from attempting to conduct myself in a manner to which most women don't frequently object, I didn't have the first clue about the fundamentals of the feminist movement when I began teaching the class in October. This necessitated cramming much of the last century into the two weeks before term started, which was quite an exercise. At the same time I had the dubious pleasure of first translating and then teaching myself the principle text, Le Roman De Silence, which, if you don't know it, is written in Medieval French. I'm frankly surprised my brain is still operational, but I'm a jolly sight more up-to-date on women's issues.
Valentine wasn't particularly interested at first (and had, in fact, generally fallen asleep every time he heard me reading it) until he found me translating this part a couple of weeks ago:
Il a us d'ome tant use
Et cel de feme refuse
Que poi en fait que il n'est malles:
Quanque on en voit est trestolt malles.
El a en tine que ferine:
Il est desos les dras mescine.
(He has practiced the customs of man for so long,
and refused those of woman,
that but for a little he is a man.
All that one sees of him is completely male.
But he has something in his pants other than flour:
beneath the clothes, he is a girl.)
That's right - this apparently feminist piece is about a French transvestite. Apart from a vigorous discussion on whether this could be appropriated into a/ a fashion line or b/ a halloween costume, there hasn't been much talk about it... but it's only a matter of time, surely.
Other than that, it's been running, organising those apes that I call best friends, catching up with beautiful married women and throwing a couple of dinner parties because cooler weather means less whinging when I turn on the oven. Come for a visit, should you find yourselves up our way. No pets, no children.