Sunday, February 7, 2010

On climate change, and why it is A Good Thing ...


God, I hate snow. What the hell am I doing, then, in a part of the world where it will insist on snowing in winter? Still trying to work that one out. Whatever, I woke up with a start in the office around 6pm to find that the world was - once again - getting covered with a layer of white stuff, which can make getting home rather difficult. And you can sort of start to understand road rage as you head down the hill following cars doing 20kph because, I assume, they're afraid of something bad happening. Like, running over a snowman? I mean, if they're that scared, why don't they just walk? They'd have got wherever they were going (doubtless some dismal retirement home, which I suppose might explain why they didn't really want to get there) a damn sight quicker, and I wouldn't have had to sit behind them wondering why I didn't have the forethought to get the Executive version of the Alfa with rocket launchers behind the headlights. Nor would I have fervently wished to eat their livers raw, with a plastic teaspoon.

Mind you, the autoroute was a bit gross. Three or four cm of slushy snow means that traditionally snappy manoeuvres like pulling out and overtaking have to be done in slow motion, as you can no longer depend on your car just going wherever you point it. Which is a bit of a bugger. (Although I must admit that if you remember to turn off the ASR the Alfa's not actually too bad in snow.)

And the summation - a bit gross - pretty much applies to the whole day - at least for Margo. She's become the Frog distributor for SewEzi sewing tables, and she was supposed to receive a truckload today. Which did eventually turn up - unfortunately GPS systems only recognise the top of our street (the bottom part, where we actually live, is apparently consigned to the nethermost pits of Hell) and of top of that no-one had thought to mention that it is, in any case, a narrow street. So the truckie backed down as far as he could (about 30m up from our place, couldn't get any lower as the overhead power-lines were too low) and then off-loaded 6 cubic metres of poorly put-together stacked palettes straight from China onto a little side alley, and left Margo to deal with them.

Which she did - unloading the palettes, sticking the boxes into the arse-end of the little Suzuki and shuttling them down to stack them up in the garage - until the car battery decided to die. (Spending the previous night out in the cold probably didn't help.) Definitely a bummer. And of course I was up at the office with a client all day, and Jeremy finished lycée at 13:00 and wanted to be picked up and brought home before being taken back in to Chambéry to sleep over at a friend's ... some days are better expunged from the calendar.

Incidentally, I note that when I catalogued Glaswegian cuisine I forgot to mention one of the highlights - deep-fried pizza. That has to be just so revolting.


Things have got no better, it snowed again this morning. This is getting boring - so boring, in fact, that I decided to let my beard grow a while back, just for the thrill of it all. So much more fun than watching the septic tank back up. After a week I've decided to get rid of it - back when it was red I could always stick an eyepatch on and pretend to be a pirate, but now that it's mostly gray I find I look like a rather overweight old Labrador, and I can do without that.

The biggest thrill of all would have to have been Thursday, when we woke up to find that the central heating had decided to shut off in the middle of the night. And it stayed that way until Friday moaning, when the nice M. Damiani came around and fixed it. Which was much appreciated, as it was starting to get rather frigid upstairs. And I do like to have a shower in the morning - all part of my little ritual for becoming human. Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, or something like that..

And of course, now that it's February and the school holidays are coming up, it's ski season. Which means that you really do not want to be taking the autoroute if you can possibly avoid it. I was lucky heading into Chambery, apart from the odd squished backpacker and one or two Parisians afraid of the snow it wasn't too bad, but come mid-day it was absolutely frightful. The usual 20km traffic jams. This is not my favourite time of year.

At least, with the snow, there were fewer old ladies with their frikkin' towalong trolleys at the market, which is good for both my ankles and my blood pressure. On the other hand, the lettuces were frozen - again - and there was some sort of oompah band making foul squeaky noises and committing tootling: something which would, if I were in charge, get them thrown in the scorpion pit. If only, of course, we had one. I must put that in the suggestion box at the mairie. At least I managed to pick up some batusson at the cheesemonger - now I need to get some more filo and introduce the one to the other (with an eye to a goat's-cheese mille-feuille or something along those lines) before Jeremy eats it all. (Because if cheese suddenly turns up in the fridge it is apparently a gift from god, and he must eat it before god gets pissed off and makes it disappear again, as silently as it arrived.)

Spent much of the afternoon helping Margo get ready for this big salon up at Paris next week: first up to Jacques' at La Chambre to pick up his Dacia van which he's kindly lending her (driving there through snow yet, gross) so that she can go up like some sort of Gypsy Queen with all the stock in the back, then shifting about 90 sewing tables from the garage down into one of the cellars. Ninety trips up and down the stairs from the terrace down to the courtyard may not sound like much, but I reckon that it comes to at least 1 km walking on a 45° slope, and my little legs are tired. Oddly enough, Jerry wasn't around to help; he'd doubtless scented something in the wind and disappeared to watch a handball game up in the village. Great timing.

Whatever, that's it for now. The days are getting longer, it's no longer pitch-black when I get up or when I get back home; Spring can't be too far away. Have to keep an eye out for swallows.


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