Sunday, December 20, 2009

20/12/09 Last of the 2009 vintage ...

Well, with a bit of luck I'll get this sent off before 2010 rolls around. Hope so, anyway.

Anyway, after weeks of fine, warm (relatively, anyway) weather the cold has just started. Yesterday as I was having my usual after-market apéro with Sophie we watched melted snow plopping sullenly on the decking, and I don't think it's got over 2° all day. Not good, especially as we're promised more of the same for at least the next week. Some people - those that think that Christmas should be white - would probably like it, as it means we'll probably get snow: they are idiots and if I had a large 4x4 with decent ground clearance I would run over them. Repeatedly, until they were flat.

Speaking of Christmas, we won't be heading up to Pesselière this year: I think that's probably about finished. Robert and Huguette (that's Maries' parents) are definitely not spring chickens any more, the kids have other plans (come to that, Malyon won't even be in the country), the logistics - with the dog - get complicated ... the alternative would be for us to head up to Paris which involves a 6-hour drive (minimum) and leaving the dog here, so it'd be basically going up on the 24th and coming back on the 26th. This is not going to happen.

So what we are going to do is have a quiet Christmas Eve at home, then head off on the day to Mumblefuck for an extended lunch with Karen and her lot. At a pinch, we could send Jerry off on the train earlier, so that he could amuse Amelia ... on second thoughts, maybe that's not such a good idea. Current plans are for roast boar as a main course, work out what to accessorise it with at some point I suppose, could try to leave that up to Karen but somehow I don't think I'll get away with that. Bugger.

I have, incidentally, seen Jerry's current girlfriend, and even spoken with her mother, albeit briefly and in passing (for I did not know her to be such at the time). We went off last weekend to the parent-teacher meeting for the lycée (missed the only appointment he'd actually managed to organize, question of being 3 nanoseconds late) and as we were hanging around waiting for the actual class meeting to go over the details of their two-week stage, I couldn't help but notice that there was a girl draped around his neck most of the time. Not bad going really, given that he's 1m85, she didn't even have to stand on tiptoe.

Whatever, we went into the meeting and found out which restaurants they were all being sent off to, got the pep talk and all that, then after a decent interval I asked Jerry to stop sucking tonsils and come along. At which point a blonde woman who also seemed to be waiting came over and said that she rather admired my disinterested air before turning to the pair and saying that she hoped the hotels they were in were at some distance apart. I though that was quite tactful. I suppose we're going to have to start worrying about contraception and stuff like that. Oh bugger.

I notice, incidentally, that I've completely forgotten to mention what a "stage" is, let alone why Jerry's doing one. As it happens, it's "work experience", and Jerry has 22 weeks of it during his three-year bac. For this one, the first, he's off for two weeks at the Hotel Mercure in Aix-les-Bains, doing one week serving, then the next cooking. Food, board and washing are all taken care of, and he might - if he's lucky - find a bit of cash in his back pocket when he leaves. Or not, depends on the hotel. Whatever, the object of the exercise is that he learns what it's all about: I think that one of the first lessons would be that the hours are shit. Despite the strict rules in France on working hours for minors, he's been getting off at 23:00 - fair enough, that's when the clients start to leave.


Well, there's a boeuf bourguignon simmering away on the woodburner in the kitchen making comforting meaty smells, for winter is definitely upon us. Late, but with a vengeance. It started snowing yesterday and today I think the high was up around -2°, and there was a brisk wind to boot. Not good. Still, we can at least eat comfort food without guilt now. Hence the stew, which'll probably get eaten in a couple of days, once it's ripe. Still time, too, for the traditional Christmas BBQ: I've got some rouelle de jambon in the freezer which could do with the barbecue treatment, and it also helps to confirm our reputation as raving loonies.

Of course the sudden arrival of snow will gladden the hearts of all those Parisians and other foreigners that've booked chalets up in the stations. Had it not arrived they'd have looked like complete and utter prats cycling around in green paddocks innocent of any trace of snow. Whereas as it stands they'll drive down from Paris today (usual three-hour traffic jams on the peripherique and the Transilien extended to five hours) through half a dozen multi-car pileups towards Lyon before getting stuck behind a snow-plough just after Chambéry, with another three-hours drive still on the menu. In snow, which is always so much fun.

Personally, it annoys me intensely. I had to drive through to Chambéry this morning slooowly with filthy slush getting splattered on the windscreen, had to drag the big overcoat out of hibernation just so as I could keep warm walking around the market, and I couldn't even buy a decent bloody lettuce because they'd all frozen overnight. (I am not joking. There where some on sale, but they were stiff. Crispy, even. Only good for making soup with, and as I don't do that, I didn't bother buying any.)

We've Malyon turning up for ten days or so on January 2nd, looking forward to seeing her again. We do actually miss her, you know. Even if she does have a funny accent now - she tends to say "aye" rather than "yes".

Whatever, happy Christmas to all of you, and all the best for 2010.


Trevor, Margo, assorted animals & Jeremy

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