365 Unusual Things: 99-105

99. At Lake Burley Griffin today I saw 2 unusual things: this man and his children rowing a wooden boat, and the Beijing Garden across the water. I’d be the only person in this city who hasn’t ever been to it.

100. Today is the 100th day of this year.

101. Asked my Chinese student to talk about anything she has read in the news lately. She told me she’s been reading Chinese newspapers and believes Russia is right to bomb Ukraine.

102. Turned a corner at the shops and ran into an Easter Bunny in a full fluffy costume.

103. The National Library Bookshop, which had lost my translated books, sent me a message to say they found them. They’ve been missing for months.

104. My new car has a second rear-view mirror attached to the original mirror and today the sun shone on it until the rubber grips melted and it fell off and swung free while I was driving.

105. Read in Around the World in Eighty Days about waiters who wore shoes with swan-skin soles. I’d never heard of them and assumed it was actually swanskin, like pigskin or crocodile skin. But I’ve now learned it’s a soft flannel fabric (as well as the unplucked skin of a swan). I was looking at my local swans this afternoon, trying to imagine skinning them for waiters’ shoes. In the original French, the waiters wear ‘souliers à semelles de molleton’, which is simply a soft fabric. Why in English has someone imagined stepping softly on the skin of a swan?

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Published by Trish

Literary translator

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