Saturday, March 6, 2010

In which I get out a bit ...

In keeping with the season, this week's been generally grotty and rainy. But warm, at least. That is to say, temperatures getting up into the teens (think "spotty" and unreasonable), which will have to do for now. I assume you're finally having something approximating summer, perhaps I shouldn't ask.

The littlest niece, Caroline (I say "little" because, although she's two years older, she still only comes up to Jerry's Plimsoll line), came down from Paris for the week (evidently in an attempt to avoid skiing - see "weather", above) and, as they'd all met and got friendly at Pesselière last summer Amelia and Raffaello invited themselves down from Mumblefuck to stay over. Only for the one night, which was a bit of a shame really: they're nice kids and almost a pleasure to have around. By some miracle Jerry's new bedroom did not get trashed, although for some reason as yet unclear to me every single sheet in the house needed changing when they left. I really do not want to know.

They eat vast quantities. Of anything. And drink (heavily sugared) coffee as though it were going out of fashion. Shall have to buy some more sugar lumps. Luckily I'm usually first up in the mornings, so at least I get to have as much coffee as I want.

Today being Saturday the 27th it was Carnaval. Which meant that at the market this morning the air was full of drumrolls, rude farty horn noises and wheezy squeakings (don't know what instrument these last came from, and I'm not sure I wish to). Loud enough that I had to wait five minutes before giving in my order to the cheesemonger. On top of that acrobacy was being performed, and I'm pretty sure that street theatre was committed. On the bright side, there are starting to be tomatoes from Tunisia or Morocco, some of which actually taste sort of like tomatoes. This is a Good Thing, as it means that some time in the not too distant future there will be asparagus.

Unfortunately I missed Sophie: she - no doubt wisely - had headed off on Friday to get in a couple of days skiing before the end of the holidays. Which would normally have caused no problems, but exceptionally Bryan Lovell, the only other alcoholic I can more or less depend on to keep me company, decided to go off on a run. I mean, run rather than drink rosé? Can't see the point, myself. He did come to his senses later on, but unfortunately the car was at Myans with her nose pointed firmly homewards when I got his SMS. And I don't like to argue with her when she's like that.

Whatever, being more sober than usual I finally got off my chuff and took the time to take a little walk in the mountains (bloody good timing really, got back home just before it started raining). I cheated, and drove half-way up to the Col du Frêne and parked at about 600m altitude before setting intrepidly off.

I'd planned just a quick tour around the landslide dike, but halfway there I came across the sign that said "Digue; 20mn: Col du Frêne; 1 hr" and thought what the hell, let's go for the col. Possibly an error, as I'm a bit out of shape and the track is, let's face it, more or less vertical. Well, it starts off gently enough, but then it starts really going seriously uphill and it gets no better from that point on. The fact that there'd been heavy rain the night before didn't help either, especially as you couldn't actually see the mud. The whole track was in fact covered with thick drifts of dead leaves, and the mud was under them, sort of lurking.  The sort of track where smug bastards in a 4x4 head confidently up and then, a short while later, you hear muffled screams coming from a ravine ... And the sangliers  (that's wild boar, to you) had been out too, rooting around and, as usual, not cleaning up afterwards.

Still, despite a bit of wheezing I made it to the top and then back down again (it's actually slower going down, unless you really want to bugger your knees, of course) and decided to go around the dike anyway. By the time I got back to the car I was kind of regretting that last decision: I really shall have to get back into practice. Before it gets to be mushroom season.

Finally a bit of good news on the work front - 86K of orders coming in, of which 50K is all for us. Another couple like that and we'll be good.

Don't know what you think of the bloody Vancouver Olympics, but quite frankly they're starting to piss me off something serious. There's not a decent TV program worth downloading out there (well, there was "Burn Notice" but one program a week hardly counts, does it?). Sooner the last figure skater falls on the sharp end of the skates the better, I think. I mean, it's not even as though cross-country skiing is particularly exciting. I've seen mobs of sheep that were more fun, all they really needed was a far-sighted sponsor. And I must admit that a hairdresser or cosmetics advisor would come in handy.

Ten days now and we'll be privileged to see Malyon again, and ten days after that it's Spring! (Officially, anyway.) Not sure what we're looking forward to the most, although I suspect that if I say anything other than "Malyon" I might regret it.


Another week goes by, I have to wonder really what happens to the poor little things. At least today was the last of the really ghastly days on the road, as the last holiday-makers go back to their dismal holes up north and leave us in peace - until summer comes around, at any rate. Unfortunately, we're also back down to sub-zero temperatures in the moanings, which is definitely a Bad Thing.

Sophie was MIA again today so I missed the usual apéro, but I managed to convince Bryan that he really wanted a glass or two of white at Le Refuge so the morning wasn't a complete write-off. You'd think, mind you, that a man of his years would have learnt to be reasonable, or at least to reserve unreasonableness for the holidays or some time when you don't have to get up the next day. Sadly it seems that wisdom does not necessarily come with age, when he tried to explain away his lack of enthusiasm for more than two glasses with the story of how, on Wednesday night, he and a friend had sunk three bottles of red between them. Before having to get up at 6 am. Not too bright, and certainly not the sort of thing I'd ever dream of.

On a completely unrelated note, I must say that our family down-sizing has definitely taught me that everyone needs to know interesting things to do with leftovers. Or, put less ambiguously, how to turn left-overs into an interesting meal. And I'm also extremely grateful for the fact that phyllo pastry is now more or less freely available round these parts, because it plays a major rôle in this process. Like the other day when, despite experience and the nagging inner voice of reason, I decided to roast a chicken for our dinner. Even with three of us there was still half the beast left when we rolled from the table and that is, I'm afraid, just too much meat to chuck.

So as we had phyllo in the fridge, along with a bit of batusson that Jeremy had apparently overlooked (have I explained batusson? It's fresh goat's cheese beaten up with heaps of chives, garlic, shallots and a bit of salt - absolutely divine) and some dried mushrooms in the pantry, I opened a bottle of white and made a chicken and mushroom strudel. With hindsight I could probably have chucked a bit of my bacon in there too without ruining it, but never mind. At least there were no leftover leftovers, which is just as well because that way lies endless recursion and, inevitably, madness. And probably food poisoning.

And in other news, our friends Karen and Philippe from Mumblefuck are seriously looking at buying a monastery, apparently in or near some dump called Seyssel. Which is at least a bit closer than Mumblefuck, even if it is smaller (if that's possible). Unfortunately getting there from here does mean going through Culoz, a hole that's always reminded me (on the rare occasions I've had the misfortune to go through it on the slow train to Lyon) of a ghost town out of some old Western. If it weren't for the fact that this is France, you half expect to see tumbleweeds rolling past. Anyway, if it goes through, it'd certainly give us somewhere to go with plenty of room in summer, and enough cellars to hold an unreasonable amount of wine. Shall have to buy Karen a wimple, though.

Right, I suppose I'd better slope off and start giving some serious thought to dinner and dessert and suchlike stuff, before going outside to see if I can't terrify some small children.


1 comment:

  1. Swap your coolth for some our our heat? Up in the high 20s in Hamilton at the moment & the air-con in my office Does Not Work!

    Know just what you mean about down-sizing & left-overs. Mind you, right now I'm never sure if we have down-sized or not. Alex & Bridget are here some of the time & not, the rest of the time; alas! they give no warning. And they are Not Good about eating left-overs, despite making interested noises every time I point the things out. Luckily Rosie has taken to eating those flatbread wraps with stuff inside, & things like leftover Thai green beef & vegetable curry (tonight's noms) go rather well in wraps. Just as well - A&B came home but with the makings of their own dinner, just while I was cooking, so the leftovers are Large.

    Thoroughly enjoying the blog, by the way :-)