Sunday, April 10, 2011

If you were wondering, it seems to be summer ...

Spent some unscheduled time on Monday night doing a bit of vermin extermination on Margo's little Samsung - which still, after all this time, has not had the protective plastic film ripped off. So it is still shiny - not very natural, around here.

Nothing particularly nasty, just some scareware that set itself up as the default program to use when running programs, so every time you ran Firefox or whatever (in fact Firefox - and other installed browsers - had been targeted as they had their own "run by" entries in addition to the generic one) up would pop a scary screen advising you that at least 25 imminent threats had been found, and would you like to pay to upgrade your protection ... 

There had been some effort spent to make the popups look like the real Windows alert screens, so I suppose they'd at least bothered to do a decent(ish) job, but still I would really like to strangle the people who distribute that sort of thing, and their wives and children and pets (first), just for wasting my time.

The damned thing turned up as a boobytrapped pdf from DHL, and as Margo was expecting a delivery notification from them she opened it ... what a pain. Strangle them again.

We lunched at a place out at Bassens called Cadilla'c today (another case of flagrant grocer's' apostrophe, don't know why they bother, it's not funny any more), just to try their burgers, which apparently have quite a reputation. Don't worry, the frogs still can't do burgers for shit.

The premise was good, the frites excellent, and the burger was, as promised, enormous, but the bottom of the bun was soggy so you couldn't actually eat it with your hands, there wasn't enough lettuce, and NO BEETROOT! They'll burn in hell. Okay, perhaps I exaggerate a little: it wasn't actually bad, in the sense that Ghengis Khan was, but it certainly wasn't good enough to make me forget, even temporarily, about sex either.

There used to be a decent little hole-in-the-wall down rue Roche but that disappeared overnight some time ago, so our only hope now is Elea's at Carré Curial. They do an excellent BLT, their eggs benedict aren't too bad (apart from the industrial-yellow colour of the faux-béarnaise they're drowned in), and you get a decent coleslaw which is always nice. Will let you know: I have actually sighted them in the wild (in a manner of speaking: some young folk at the table next to ours were devouring them once when I had lunch there with Sophie) and they do look quite appealing.

I keep coming up with meal ideas that just won't stay down. What could be wrong with meltingly caramelised spare ribs, chicken wings with lemon and ginger, the spicy beef salad, satay kebabs with sour cream and cucumber and garlic, and a few other trifles to fill out a lazy Saturday lunch? Or filet de boeuf Woronoff, poached in two different types of cream with cucumber slices and paprika? Not a lot, is what I keep saying to myself, so my list is getting longer and longer. And as I'm setting up a spreadsheet to price my meals out, this is a bit counter-productive: the good old "one step forwards, two steps back" polka.

Still, it can't go on forever: I have to run out of brain cells at some point. If necessary I shall hasten the process by resorting to drink.

Next week Margo disappears to somewhere near Givors, in the Beaujolais, for a quilt show: Jerry of course is still down south so that means I'm all alone with the animals for four days. Cue loud and sarcastic cries of joy! And on Friday Cla-Val are celebrating their 75th birthday so it's off to dine poshly (suit and tie for the gentlemen, evening dress and a shawl recommended for the ladies) at Chateau Chillon, on the Léman shorefront at Lausanne.

I shall dust off the suit I got married in, frighten a few moths, and duly head off: dine and not wine too much, then make my excuses around midnight and drive back here. With luck most of the Texans will have fallen in the lake playing forfeits, and the Californians will all be stoned, so I'll not be missed.

A Friday quickie for the science-minded: how lightbulbs work. Fair warning, it's El Reg, so not 100% accurate. But it's good enough for me.

As usual it's gotten around to my favourite day of the week. Unfortunately, hot and sunny: if this keeps up we shall have to look at turning the central heating off. Of course when we do that  I can quite confidently predict that there will be snow.

Still, at 26° in the afternoon - how's it with you lot down below, by the way? Whatever, the boring winter vegetables are starting to disappear and I made it back from the market with snow peas and beans and tomatos (still taste like cotton wool, unfortunately - chalk up another point for cynicism in the never-ending struggle of hope against experience) and asparagus and mushrooms and a little cendré de chèvre and even a little Cavaillon melon - just what am I going to do with all this?

Personally I think it's going to involve a barbecue in the not too-distant future: I've got some pork chops in the fridge that are just crying out to be quickly grilled and then topped with sour cream, cheese and mustard, before being eaten with potatoes baked in the embers (with a nice mustardy vinaigrette, why not?) and some decent fresh vegetables.

On the downside, it's being so fine meant that Bryan was off doing laps of the lac du Bourget, Sophie was lapping up the sun somewhere in the countryside, so I was once again condemned to drink alone. It's rather sad, really. Shocking actually, as I went to le Refuge for once and actually got served within a time-scale not measured in epochs ie I didn't actually die of thirst before someone came and asked me what I wanted. Nearly died of a heart attack instead.

In fact, I strongly suspect Pierre, the owner of the joint, of having gritted his teeth, knotted his bowels and tightened his sphincter before investing in a bit of technology (wifi terminals to take the orders) and some good old grunts on the ground (no, not piggy-sex - just a few more competent waiters. Although the alternative might bring in the punters too, come to think of it ...)

In some ways, it's rather sad to see a fine old tradition disappear. On the other hand, having someone actually bring me a drink, which I get the privilege of ordering, is rather nice. (Although going up to the bar had its advantages. If brazen enough, you could nick three or four bowls of nibbles, and pick the ones you liked.)

Seeing as I'd more or less dedicated my day to idleness, having got home and unpacked the loot from the boot I headed off to see our old friend Jacques up the valley. He'd decided that he needed a new laptop, so I made him order the same model that I have, Dell delivered it on Tuesday, and he couldn't get on to internet. And his old files needed copying over ... we left the machines happily transferring data and took our beers out into the sun to talk about food and wine.

Bloody good way to spend the afternoon really, but you should watch out for the witbier. Treacherous stuff. As witness the fact that when I finally headed back home I found myself in possession of 500gm of 18-month old Comté (which you really owe it to yourself to eat at least once in your life, it is so good), a bottle of burgundy and his old laptop, which he'd instructed me to give to Jeremy.

Sadly, on current form there'll be bugger-all morilles this year. Too dry, and if it continues it'll be too late and we'll see none of them. Never mind, they may not be in the same class but at least we can be pretty sure of trompettes and chanterelles in autumn. And they too are pretty sublime.

Tomorrow, unfortunately, it's Sunday. Not only does this mean that the day after I shall be back at the office, but there are Things To Do. One of those things makes me particularly gloomy for the simple reason that on a day, and at an hour, when all right-minded god-fearing upright Christian folk are attending mass (or, if they're smarter than that, or just protestant, still in bed), I shall be down in the garden trying to convince the lawn that it really, really wants a haircut.

And tomorrow it will be particularly bad, as it's the first cut of the season, the grass is THAT high, and I shall have to persuade the lawnmower, which has spent all winter down there under a tarpaulin, to start - probably in a reddish haze of late-hibernating woodland folk. Wish me luck, people. And let me tell you I am really going to enjoy a shower afterwards.

1 comment:

  1. Well, we had nice creamy mashed potatoes (mashed with butter & sour cream, if you must know), smoked cheese kransky sossidges from Hellers (not half bad, actually), & a rather nice saute of cabbage with very finely sliced root ginger & less finely sliced capsicum & red onion, finished off with a slosh or two of Wither Hills chardonnay (because I don't like drinking the stuff & Barry wasn't terribly taken with that bottle either - a pity as usually it's very good).