This month we will be in France and back in Canada. Watch this space for news, thoughts, and images from Toulouse.

June 1

Visited the Musee Toulouse-Lautrec in Albi. A Very nice gallery display of his work in a building very chateau-like. He was an imaginative, skilled and creative painter whose work was dulled by an addiction to drink. His favourite drink was 3 oz Absinthe + 3 oz brandy mixed together and known as an “earthquake”. Ugh. He would drink five or six of these and then visit a prostitute. The next day he would try and draw or paint. He died aged 36 but left us with a vast collection of materials – 737 paintings, 275 watercolors, 369 lithographs, and posters as well as about 5,000 drawings.  Wow. 

Albi is a lovely, classically French city – lots of unique shops, great food (including a covered market) and interesting things to see. We will be back.

June 17th

What an eventful few days. Shortly after we were at Borough Market in London, three mad-men attacked people there and in London Bridge, killing several and harming more. Then the British election – leaving Britain in a mess. Then the dreadful London fire – just an unbelievable disaster, caused by austerity and profit takers. Then Trumpkin finally being investigated for obstructing justice.  It is difficult to keep up with the news, despite its ubiquity.

But more personal. Ruth Kelly, an entrepreneur, smart women and fellow publisher, has died at the age of sixty by her own hand. We all thought she was a strong, adaptive and resilient woman, but clearly not. Her recent financial/operational business challenges clearly got too much and she ended her life. Tributes pour in. My own is very simple: if you wanted a really challenging, fun and insightful conversation, ring Ruth and take her for lunch.  I did this several times, eating at a place next door to her offices. Always came away thinking differently about whatever it was that had brought us together. I will miss her. Many others will miss her and the community will come to miss her in all sorts of ways. Her death also reminds us that mental health is fragile – who knew that she felt so helpless and vulnerable that she saw no alternative but to take her own life. She was surrounded by people who respected her but felt alone. Sad.