Sunday, November 2, 2008

02/11/08 The mice are winning - we're all DOOMED!

Back again with more of the usual trivia, I'm afraid.

First up, those of you who follow this thing may be aware that Jeremy had a quick (loooong) trip to A&E for an exploded thumb. They put a couple of stitches in, which he decided to remove the other night rather thean head off to get the quack to do it. A quick snip with the scissors, a tug ... and then a yell for the butterfly bandages to hold the edges together. DIY, that's what it's all about here.

Then, of course - unrelated to the stitch-pulling thing - I get a call from him saying he'd fallen asleep on the train back from Chambery and was now at Frontenex. Silly thing that I am, I confused Frontenex (about 25 km from St Pierre) with Freterive (about 3 km, and has no railway station) so I said I'd pick him up. So off I went to Freterive (on the teeny route départmentale, yet) where I fairly rapidly realised my mistake and compounded it by carrying on. On the teeny, admittedly touristic route départmentale, which goes through places I'd always managed to avoid on slick roads covered with wet leaves (for it had been raining). Something I think I'll avoid in the future. Next time he sleeps through to Frontenex, he can catch the train back here.

After which I turned up - as is my wont - at Sophie's on Saturday for our usual after-market apéro to discover her obsessed by mice. Well, that's perhaps too harsh a word - let's just say that she'd discovered mousie-dung (do not confuse with Mao-Tse-Dung, a respected elder statesman aka the Great Helmsman) in the clothes dryer, a hoard of cornflakes in an old boot and a stash of walnuts in a hole in the wall. She was, understandably, concerned. (Especially as the cat had, as a special treat, left the eviscerated bottom half of a mouse on the bonnet of her car.) So we spent an agreeable half hour sticking rat poison into every available crevice in the house. Have to see if the little suckers go for it. It's supposed to be quite painless for them ... and even if it weren't, I feel no guilt. (I'm still puzzled by the walnuts. If I didn't know better, I'd say she had an invasion of squirrels. Which are, I suppose, just mice with hairy tails. So that's alright then.)


A bit chillier than I could wish, but still fine around here. But not, unfortunately, at Grenoble, where I rushed last Thursday on a mission of mercy - more precisely, delivering Malyon's resuscitated laptop to her friend Sarah, who was going to join her in Glasgow for a week. Mission accomplished, the swap was made, and as I stumped off back to the car wearing my scowly face so as to frighten wee children and elderly ladies, and generally make people give me a wide berth, I was accosted by a young lady (unusual enough in itself) and made to smile. You must admit, having someone offer to be a ray of sunshine in your apparently gloomy life does have that effect. (And before your filthy minds go off into overdrive, let me point out that it was not what you're thinking. She was a charming young person out trying to sign people up for Medecins Sans Frontières, and had evidently learnt that the thing to do with a scowly-faced person was to break the ice with a tactful but humorous offer of cheer. Well, it worked, didn't it?)

We got Jerry's first school report the other day, and his notes are going up. And the "appreciation" from his head teacher was definitely more upbeat - "Jeremy seems to have undrstood the stakes at play in this last year of college. With disciplined working methods he should certainly succeed". Which is all rather good, and was the main objective of sticking him there, rather than carrying on at St Pierre. It almost makes getting up at 6:55 to get him to the train on time seem an acceptable price to pay.

Then we got a call from Malyon to say that Sarah had arrived but had forgotten the laptop at Roissy. Where it had been neither blown up (as tends to happen to unattended bags) nor stolen (which can happen to any sort of bag), but had been taken into the care of the lost and found department. So when Sarah comes back next week, she will (if she remembers) pick it up, bring it back here and I will send it over to Malyon through the good offices of UPS or FedEx.

And it was indeed a lovely day. Bright blue sky, marred only by the discovery, when I went down to the car to head off to the office and get a bit of work done in peace and quiet, that some helpful sod had tried to steal my wing mirrors, and had succeeded only in breaking both of them. It could, I suppose, have been worse. He could, exasperated by his evident incompetence, have decided to break the windscreen and ruin the paintwork for good measure. Which he didn't, so I really ought to be thankful for small mercies.


One of those small mercies was, I suppose, the fact that I had to go off to the Alfa garage to order new mirrors, then back again to get them fitted. Something for which they did not, in fact, charge me any money. Which made me very happy. As did the fact that I took advantage of my presence to hop into Alfa's latest, the little MiTo (which is, despite the rather ridiculous name, a nice little car - if you happen to be childless or, failing that, have a family of amputees), and then the Brera. Which looks - and feels - beautiful. I know that, according to Clarkson, its acceleration is measured in geological eras - it apparently gets from 0 to 100km in 7.2 seconds, which is slower than about anything other than a John Deere tractor - but I don't care. Just sitting in it and fondling the gearshift almost had me drooling. Or something.

On the other hand, I woke up on Wednesday to find that it had snowed down to 600m, which is rather too close for comfort as far as I'm concerned. Then it turned to what is technically called "pissing down", and I was extremely glad to have my rearview mirrors back as I drove off to Annecy to see a client. It's not the overtaking I mind, it's pulling back in afterwards that has me nervy. Godnose how I managed in the old Alfetta, which came standard with 1 (one) inside mirror. Maybe I'm spoilt now - or maybe I just drove faster then, and didn't need to worry about people being alongside when I pulled in. Your choice.

In other news, we had a little party last night - not really for Halloween, just because. We locked the boys in one of the cellars to sleep around 3am, and going by the number of bottles it must have been a success. I had decided to do the Frank'n'Furter thing - dress shirt, waistcoat, stockings and high heels, and may I just say that even if I can still remember how to put makeup on I've gotten a bit out of practice concerning walking around on heels. But I only got them caught in the decking once, which isn't too bad. And it certainly surprised the neighbours. Even at fifty, my calves aren't too bad. (Pass on the rest, no comments please.)

All of which may explain why I'm feeling a bit dissipated today - happily Jerry's gone off to Frangy for a few days with Karen and Phillippe, so tonight I can perhaps settle into bed early with a mug of cocoa. Or not.

Oh, and Sophie's mice/squirrels have apparently been TWEPped, so you can all sleep more safely tonight.


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