Potential for growth by Bernice Clark

Vegetables are funny things — both in the strange and amusing sense of the word. Well that’s what we’ve found with some of the ones grown in our Languedoc garden. Some of our strange shaped, lovingly grown potager produce even ends up in holiday photos of visiting family and friends but I’m quite certain, however, that what amuses them during a sun and wine fuelled sojourn in the South of France probably looks a bit embarrassing and unfunny when viewed back in the UK. A mouse shaped potato? You’d have to have been there and all that. So often the case with holiday photos, though!

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Tweets, hashtags, comments, trends, lists, follow, friends, @ signs and connect by Claire Savarino

tweet1Are these words you have seen or heard? They are the words of the 21 st century, part of the 'new age' communication where you don't have analogue telephones any more, receiving a letter in the post is rare and writing with pen and paper is becoming a memory.
Twitter is a social media platform that was introduced after facebook, and although its aim is also to communicate, it operates very differently. Twitter is used more by celebrities and public figures, to network and follow others. Official pages are marked with a blue star with a tick inside - a logo that proves that the page is owed by the official person.
Tweets on Twitter are limited to 140 caracters.

Twitter is more of an open playground; unlike Facebook, you can network with many people without having to be confirmed as a friend. You can follow people openly and there aren't any restrictions on who can see your tweets.

tweet2To get started on Twitter, you just need to create your account and input your details. It can either be for you personally or for your group or business. There are no rules as to who can have a Twitter page; you could set one up for your pet if you wanted. You just have to manage it. Then you will be asked to select some people you wish to follow in different categories. After selecting a few from each, you will then be able to confirm and personalize your page. Now you can start tweeting anything you want. The hard part is having the time to read all your tweets and your followers.

# hashtag is a sign you can type anywhere in your tweet before the word you wish to categorize. Using the hashtag will help your tweets show up more easily in a Twitter search. They are normally very popular and often used for trending topics.

@ To connect with people you need to use the @ sign. Each account has a name and it begins with @ such as @testname. By typing this into you tweet, this person will receive a notification to tell them that their name has been tweeted by you.

Retweets are easy. If you like what you read by someone you are following you can simply click on the retweet and this will automatically appear on your newsfeed for all your followers to see. You can also click on favorite to mark a tweet that you like.

# It is impossible to cover all of the functions and areas of this social media platform, but I hope it has provided you with an insight on what Twitter is and how it can help you market yourself or your company.

tweet3If you are looking for someone to assist you or your business in your social media marketing and manage your social media pages please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Battling with Bovary by Adam Thorpe

Battling with BovaryGustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary (1857) is arguably the most famous novel in the world. It took Flaubert five years of hard graft to write, and its tale of boredom and adultery in the flatlands of Normandy is an astonishing feat both of style and substance. It was also revolutionary, in that Flaubert expended his obsessive energies on a rather banal (if tragic) fait divers in a local newspaper, and decided to exclude any authorial commentary. The mid-nineteenth century was a very conservative, moralising time in France, but what really shocked the establishment was not just the depiction of a married woman sleeping with other men, but the fact that she became even more attractive as a result. The author and publisher were unsuccesfully put on trial not only for obscenity but also for insulting religion and the institution of marriage: sales exploded.

S ome years ago I received a letter from my publishers, wondering if I felt like translating Flaubert's masterpiece. Having just written three novels in three years, my well of imagination was bone dry, and I thought this would be a break: no story to dream up out of a blank page. What naivety! Three years later, I translated the final famous sentence and then started all over again, reworking just as Flaubert had endlessly done – his hundreds of drafts can be viewed on the University of Rouen's website I sometimes feel I actually wrote the original, so deeply has it entered my bones. Every sentence in the novel has a superb music: in fact, the author's main aim was to make something beautiful out of ugliness and ordinariness, while satirising modern society along the way. Perhaps the only sympathetic character (at least by the end) is Charles, Emma's long-suffering but excruciatingly dull husband, whose absurd appearance as a schoolboy viewed by a classmate (the nearest we ever have to a narrator) opens the book. In fact, the book could be called Charles Bovary.

Flaubert's main feat, though, is to enter an ordinary woman's mind.

Emma is a farmer's daughter, intelligent, vivacious and dreamily romantic in a society that made it hard for women to do anything but bear children and keep the house sparkling. She is also a shopaholic – Flaubert found contemporary French society unpleasantly materialistic. The instrument of Emma's crash (or rather, of her husband's) is the haberdasher and money lender Lheureux – the Goldman Sachs to her Greece. He's not exactly evil, just an early liberal capitalist cashing in on a mixture of naivety and greed. Plus ça change...
Flaubert is said to have invented style indirect libre – where the narrative slides into a character's thoughts but stays in the third person. This gave him immense flexibility, but it is a nightmare (one of several) for a translator: I had to know exactly who was thinking what and when, taking sonar readings from the vocabulary and from subtle changes in style. I also made the decision early on to use no word in English that dated from after the 1850s: in other words, I would honour the truly startling and shocking newness of the original by returning it to its period context.

The real problem for a translator, though, is the same whatever the book: how to shift from one language to another without loss?
The process begins with identifying precisely what the author means, and not what you think he or she means at first glance. You have to go behind the sentence's circuit board, see how it works, what precisely is going on between the lines – whether there might be a familiar expression lurking in there, or an extended metaphor (a favourite device of Flaubert's), or the gremlin of a faux ami. Any French novel is full of what I began to think of as lazy words: coup, place, porter... words that have a sackful of meanings in English. Which one to use? Do the French see the different possibilities pass instantaneously in front of them, or just shrug and make do with vagueness?
And then there are those annoying pop-up words like d'ailleurs ("besides", "moreover" etc), which never quite fit into the target sentence. In fact, at times nothing seems to fit.

You have to dismantle each sentence completely and rebuild it, hopefully retaining the suppleness of the original.

When friends asked me what I was up to, I'd say I was building a lifesize replica of the Eiffel Tower in toothpicks. But Madame Bovary is not a metal construction, it's a sleek and beautiful and dangerous panther. How to rebuild a panther?

And then came the blow: I had managed to keep going with cups of tea and the dangled carrot of personal glory to come. If nothing else, I would be one of the translators of Madame Bovary, an honour granted only to some fifteen lunatics! But a year before my version was published, the US brought out its own (in very American English) to a rather brash fanfare – an extract appeared in Playboy. It was hosed down in maple syrup by the reviewers (some of whom clearly hadn't read it), with the result that when mine came limping in at last, the grandstand was empty.
If Flaubert never found a similar acclaim for his subsequent novels, and ended up grumpy and embittered, I'm determined not to join him. Anyway, I have to be getting on with my current translation – Zola's extraordinary novel Thérèse Raquin. As Flaubert drily put it: "We love what tortures us."

What is often forgotten is that Emma Bovary is not just the bored and frustrated mother-at-home, but the serial shopper. Flaubert hated the materialism and vulgarity of mid-nineteenth-century France, ruled by his loathed bourgeoisie, and was keen to show Emma as both practitioner and victim.
A fashionista, she not only spends her way out of depression, enticed by her early reading of romantic literature into dreams of luxury, but fancies a gilded life abroad with her upper-class rake of a lover – mostly in a mythologised Italy of blue seas, mountains and handsome hunks mending their nets when they're not singing arias. She wants to be anywhere but where she is: the muddy flatlands of Normandy. Books and the new illustrated magazines, as well as eighteenth- century engravings of aristocratic dalliance, go on feeding these dreams, and news of celebrities like Lagardy, the womanising opera singer, keep her stumbling on this fatal path.
Emma doesn't, of course, tour the shops herself: it's a long and uncomfortable carriage ride to Rouen, which she only undertakes when there's something really special at the other end – an opera, say, or a young lover. So Lheureux comes to her with his tempting array of goods, or he takes her orders like a nineteenth-century version of an online store, delivering within days.
There's nothing new, then, about either celebrity culture or spend, spend, spend. If we've had enough of stuff, as the pundits suggest, and are secretly welcoming austerity, then Madame Bovary could act as a timely encouragement.