Return of the Pot-pourris


Valentine’s Day. At San Angel, Mexico city. 21st century.

Scotty is back from his fishing expedition in 16th century Scotland. At long last. He was  mistaken for a papist and a wizard, a follower of Mary Stuart. He owes his life to hiding away in a barrel of kippers until we could beam him up. (Note to maintenance: the engine room does smell a tad of fish, please clean it up) “Ready to jump Scotty?”.

“Aye Sirr.” (His Scottish accent has gotten a wee bit thicker too). “Sending coorrdinates.”


Soissons, East of Frankreich, c.481AD. Clovis, a Frank chief, is the founder of France, at first a “Germanic” state built on the ruins of the Roman Empire. Jump!


Jabali (boar) craft beer. Mexico, early 21st century.

Spock and Uhura are back too, from their “date” in Bételgeuse or Aldebaran. Something must have gone amiss. They are not addressing each other. Jump!


Lev Davidovitch Bronstein, aka Trotsky, at his last residence cum museum in Mexico city.


Trotsky’s office, as it has remained since his assassination in 1940. Almost 80 years ago. The house has been transformed and maintained as a museum by his descendants, his grandson, and great-granddaughters. The house is a strange and interesting place, full of history. (More to come)

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Young girl with a hat. By Rodin at the Rodin museum, Paris. This is possibly one of my favourite Rodin sculpture. The late 19th century hat, the freshness of the young girl, long gone now.

Under subtle questioning, “How did your date with Uhura go?”, Spock only muttered “Earthling”. English is mostly genderless, but he put a Vulcan tonic accent on the last syllable: Earth-LING. Which could allude to one of the three possible Vulcan genders… Jump!


South Africa. c. 1967. never been there (yet), this note was brought back by my father from a trip. I don’t think a Rand buys you much these days. (I did some editing of the banknote, just in case) This is for Dina at Perdebytje, a fantastic blog on South Africa and wildlife:


“How much for the helmet?”

“We’re selling the shirts, Sir.”

Has it ever happened to you that the decor is so much more interesting than the wares on display? “Jump, Scotty!”


Mexico, 1997. Hibiscus flowers by my mother Renée. Just had them framed. Will pick it up on Saturday and hang it. Somewhere. Push a painting or two. Thinking of adopting the Italian style, cover every inch of wall with paintings.

Uhura, when approached with another, subtler, angle: “How was Aldébaran? Or was it Bételgeuse?”, mumbled something like “mzungu” or its plural “wazungu”. In Oulde Swahili, plural is placed at the beginning of the word not at the end. ‘m’ is singular, ‘wa’ or ‘ba’ is plural. Research on that word refers to “wanderer” or “someone who roams around”. Apparently the word is shared with Kinyarwanda and a few bantu languages. Why would Uhura use that word? To refer to Spock? Mysteries of the Earth-LING gender? Further research leads to the word kizunguzungu, dizziness. Dizziness? Uhura? She is tough as nails. Jump, Scotty, jump!


1926. Mexico. “The girls on the hill”. By Ernesto “the monkey” Cabral. Isn’t it fascinating that those “girls” could have been sitting on a dune at Deauville, or Martha’s Vineyard? Cabral was a great Mexican illustrator of the first half of the 20th century. (See below).


At le Timbre-Poste, Paris, early 21st century. Continuation of the “Loos of the world series”. “Scotty? Ready to warp?”


Tchad, West Africa, c. 2010. At a vaccination campaign by Médecins sans Frontières, where Daughter #1 worked for a coupla missions. The women and mothers had put their best clothes and jewels for the occasion. Wonder why Africans queue for vaccination while Europeans and Westerners are shunning vaccines? 😦 Photo (c) Heurtebise.


This house nearby is protected by both the Virgin Mary and Saint Karl Marx. Beware. (I liked the previous colour – blue – better)


Linus playing for Garfield’s ghost. Metro line #6, Paris, near Metro Nationale and Butte-aux-cailles. “Warp, Scotty. Before World War II, please.”


Neville Chamberlain, 1939, by Ernesto Cabral (Yes, the same illustrator of the Girls on the hill) for the Excelsior, a leading newspaper in Mexico. Chamberlain, along with Daladier, respective English and French Premiers had signed with Hitler and Mussolini the “deal that would end all wars”, in Munich, in 1938. We all know what happened next. Last I heard Theresa May(be) is asking for yet another delay for Brexit? Don’t people ever learn?


c. 1967. Paula was one of the stars of Daktari, the TV series. We’d watch it in our house in Nairobi, then go for a safari somewhere. I’d graduated from living inside the book to living inside the TV. Of course, there also was Star Trek. 🙂 B&W. Not sure who the illustrator is, George S. Elrick? There is an air of Liechtenstein, though.

Should I now make a witty transition? Or let the reader decide?


Thank you for flying Equinoxio’s Time-Space shuttle. A few pressing affairs have kept the Captain from posting lately. Hopefully it should be only a brief lull. Take care.





95 thoughts on “Return of the Pot-pourris

  1. Glad your pot-pourri is back. I enjoyed this one a lot. Beautiful picture of the – beautiful! – Chad woman. And it’s been like 497 years since I read about Daktari, wich I watched as a child too. I forgot about Paula though. The girls on the hill are stunning!

  2. I am so glad Scotty is back! Thanks for the mention of my blog, although that specific link is to birds in the Pantanal in Brazil. Maybe you could change it to something more South African (sorry, don’t want to prescribe to you😄😄😄)
    You are quite right. The Rand has been tapered down to a small nearly worthless coin, the size of my thumb nail. The paper editions don’t exist any longer. Hold on to that one!!
    The rest of your blog is full of beautiful, interesting moments as usual. I just love it, Brian!

  3. Hi Brian, wonderful trip, thank you. I adore the Rodin, it’s exquisite. The hibiscus flowers by your mother, Renée, is lovely, very delicate. You’ve shared some of her other artwork, she was quite talented. And yes, I agree, “Paula Stalks the Vultures”, is very reminiscent of Liechtenstein. (I have a post in the works using artwork by Liechtenstein.) I hope all has been well with you and yours and you’re enjoying the brief lull. Have a good evening, take care. ~ Mia

  4. A big fan of your Pot-pourris. A few giggles (at the helmet and double protection with Marx which I get so well) and plenty of beauty with surprising twists and jumps. I wish you that your pressing affair smooth out shortly.

  5. I love the idea of covering every inch of the walls with photos. I think about doing that all the time and then get intimidated but I imagine that is where I will head one day too. And your mother’s artwork is so beautiful.

    • They might call it “The Italian job”?
      She’d painted so many, most badly framed, when we moved I unframed most to store them and I’m taking them out to re-frame and hang. Gave a few to the girls to chose too. 🙂
      Send a picture when you have covered a wall with photos/art. 😉

  6. Ça m’a manqué tes potpourris. « mzungu »…I think she was probably referring to you. 🙂 The things gathered on voyages…if these photos are any indication, I’d love to see your cabinet of curiosities. Your mother’s painting is so delicate and pretty. I imagine your talent for drawing/painting came from her. Wishing you a delightful weekend in the sunshine, mon ami.

    • The things gathered… yes the house is a small museum. I’ll post a few examples. 🙂
      Like I’ve said before she had a great hand. Honnêtement I’ll never reach her level. But it is fun to draw anyway.
      Likewise, a great “ouiquande” in the budding spring.

  7. A whirlwind journey. Rodin? Who’d have thought. One of the first things I learnt in Mozambique was to say, ‘Un gob cerveja por favore.’ Similar! You don’t even GET a R1 note any longer. Only a rather sorry-looking little coin. Mind you, five of them will buy an ice cream cone if you know where to go!
    Theresa is faithfully stumbling in the footsteps of Neville.

  8. A chunk of that self-deleted: You ‘don’t even get a R1 note any more, just a sorry-looking little coin. Mind you, five of them will buy an ice cream cone if you know where to go.’

      • Ah yes, very well. Work going very good and snow bird season winding down so days will decrease a bit, been working on my novel in spare time and almost done with the writing bit….how’s things in your section of the universe?

      • Snow bird? Northerners flocking down South? 🙂
        Writing bit? Ready to move on to the editing bit?
        We’re ok. Just a coupla buggering health issues, but I am working on trying to fix everything for the summer. Can’t jeopardize my summer in Paris, can I?
        Be good Kim. ❤

      • Ha, snow birds are the northerners who flock to FL every winter and I’ve been working on my first novel, fiction and now at 87678 words, time to reread and edit. I hope Paris is calm for you when you go, work will be slowing down a bit once the snowbirds fully depart so enjoying it with a positive attitude😊 be good too my friend, K

      • 88,000! Congrats Kim. I think my longest novel so far was around 60,000. 🙂 Well done. Now back at reading and editing. A time-consuiming process. Best of luck.

  9. Pot pourri, a spicy, colourful, and fragrant mix to brighten the day: job done. Love the way items of sentimental value and travel anecdotes heighten the blend.

    • Thank you. Glad you liked it. You pointed out the exact recipe of the pot-pourri. The selection can be difficult sometimes, but once it does, all the bits and pieces fit together. (At least in my mind) have a great week-end Libre.

    • Oh, I may have mentioned Theresa May again… Sorry. can’t help it. I thought we’d be rid of her on March 29, but she keeps getting extensions. She must have pictures on everybody.

  10. As always, I love taking a random wander through your life, from colorfully dressed Mexican skeletons to a beautifully sculpted Parisian lass and everything in between. But my favorite image of all is that of the welcoming smile from Tschad. Wish I’d taken that!

    Your father’s Rand Note is far different from the bills used there now (with pictures of Mandela and wildlife) but whatever is on the currency, I do hope you find your way there. The Rand may not buy much these days, but your Euro certainly will get you far. (not sure how the Peso will fare).

    Wondering where I can pick up the shiny new diving helmet Or better yet, Renée’s Hibiscus Flower painting. Love your multi-talented mother. Would hang that picture on my wall in a heartbeat if I had the picture…and a wall. Hope you will ‘Italian’ with your walls as you say. Love the Cabral pictures too (read a Biography of Churchill en route from St Helena – fascinating story))!

    • That was a thorough analysis… 🙂 And you’re right, every picture you see has gone through my eyes, just as every picture of you we see has gone through your head. Mind-blowing ain’t it?
      You do understand the “Italian” style, right? Very different from the French. (Do you still have walls anywhere? Or just the boat?)
      Churchill sailing away from St_Helena, what a combo. I am waiting for your Sainte-Hélène post with curiosity. (And yes Sir Winston was quite a character. )

  11. That IS quite the pot pourri. Luckily you warned us…. Such an interesting collection. I do love the photo of the girl smiling in Tchad. Wonderful.

    i was born in South Africa and yes, the rand has continued to devalue and devalue. Very challenging for those that live there and are struggling to make ends meet.

    I’ll take a look at some of your other posts too…


    • Thanks for the visit and the comment. You probably saw those one Rand notes… 🙂 I still have family and friends in SA, it is getting complicated to say the least.
      (PS. Pot-pourrii is one of my favourite series. Free rein to sweep across time and space.

  12. Young girl with a hat is fabulous! ⭐️🌟However, Hibiscus flowers by your mother Renée is my fave pic in this post. Happy Easter!

  13. A delicious pot pourri, Brian. As Col has stated, the one rand note hasn’t been in existence for some time now. Those were the days, when the exchange rate was one rand to the British pound. Now it’s nearer to eighteen. I too love the Rodin sculpture. The photo of the West African lady in all her finery is really lovely. Not sure what’s going on with the shunning of vaccines these days. Seems bonkers to my mind. 😯

  14. Glad to see the enterprise is back in its full glory, Brian. I recall visiting Trotsky’s house fresh out of school in 1988 – shocking how time passes – it was fascinating. Although they didn’t have the information boards on the desk in those days.
    In answer to your question, no, we will not learn, we certainly won’t learn from our past mistakes.

    • History Should be compulsory reading with the highest coefficient. 🙂
      88? Hmmm. We arrived here in 89… A lifetime.
      Trotsky… our MD daughter works for one of the Trotsky great-granddaughters… one of Esteban Volkov’s daughters. fact is the museum is privately owned and funded by the family. They’re not getting a penny from the state…
      Hope all is well with you Paul. Berlin warming up?

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