Luxemburg-Vancouver-Portugal: Melusina Branco, Douro


Bought in the Auchan supermarket on the Kirchberg in Luxemburg, and tasted (and finished) the same evening: this nice white Douro wine from Dirk Niepoort, one of the best winemakers of Portugal. It is a very typical white Douro with complexity, freshness and body, a blend of different Portuguese grape varieties from different vineyards (a vineyard blend ?) and it's good (and not expensive, 8,99 euro).

When surfing the net to know more about it I find out it was made to help the people from DesignAid (www.designaid.org), an organisation based in Vancouver and Luxemburg (what a weird combination...) that helps third world countries in a very original way: via design aid. It's too hard too explain here, just go to the site or join them on facebook http://www.facebook.com/groups/51919191744/#!/DesignAid.org

I love drinking for a good cause.


Michael Ondaatje: The Cat's Table


This is a gentle book. It starts as a typical, a bit dreamlike experience of an 11-year old boy who takes a liner from Colombo to England to be reunited with a mother he hasn't seen for a long time. During meals, he is seated at the cat's table, the table farthest away from the captain's table, together with a motley crew of low-status passengers and two boys of the same age (about 11).

First it seems as if Ondaatje sees the ships as a big box, continuously putting in new characters. Some of them become very close to the boy, some seem only to touch him from time to time, like billiard balls in a pool game. Some are in a far away corner of the box, barely aware of his presence of the boy. And sofar it all slowly develops into a nice and slow story about a boy on a boat. Then things start happening.

One by one the characters move and seem to be thrown out of the story. To me they were like flares that go up and disappear into the night after you followed their trail through the dark. One by one the characters disappear out of the story, and only two remain in the last chapter.

I liked this book a lot. It is not spectacular, it is not a pricewinner, but it is lovely, and the whole story seems to follow the rythm of a sea voyage, slow but not to be distracted from its course.

Good reading in turbulent times.