I know you're probably bored hearing about the wonderful weather we"ve been having, but quite frankly I don't care, and I'm going to mention it again. Don't know what we've done to deserve it, but I'm definitely not going to complain.
Summer definitely seems to have come early this year: does make it rather difficult to concentrate on work when all that is really on my mind is the next barbecue, or how nice it would be to be lazing in the hammock down in the garden.
Once I can find someone that'll fix the bloody lawnmower, anyway. Plus I really will have to find a neighbour from whom I can beg, bludge or borrow a large weedeater, given that the grass is now up to my waist. Which makes it a bit of an adventure going down to empty out the composting bin some times, what with the cat trying to pretend she's some sort of jungle predator.
And of course, France has gone into summer mode - getting into practice for the real event in July/August. Everything seems to have slowed down, shops are closed for inexplicable holidays, and in the weekends the back roads are clogged with cyclists blithely wiggling along the centre line as though they had some sort of right to be there.
Still waiting on the arrival of the primeur from the Drôme at the market, though, for decent tomatoes that actually taste as if they'd ripened in the sun, and the multi-coloured poivrons, and apricots.
But there are still asparagus crying out to be quickly boiled up and served with a little béarnaise, and mange-tout, and beans. And the first cherries have hit the stalls, albeit at prices that kind of make my eyes water: shall head off to Jacques' next weekend perhaps, offer to help unload some of his surplus.
Button mushrooms, of course, are available all year round, which is good because this year has not been a good one so far for the wild ones: too dry. There was a general dearth of morilles, which is a shame because otherwise I'd have put some into my mushroom strudel, along with the bacon and chives and sour cream.
(You cannot imagine how glad I am that filo pastry is now more or less generally available around these parts. Makes life so much easier: I really do not think I'd have the patience to make my own, and all in all it's so much nicer than a feuilleté.)
If there's a downside to all this, it is quite simply that the rosé consumption goes up dramatically. Face it, after a morning spent wandering around the market and enjoying a quiet glass or two of white in the sun, on getting back home it kind of seems a shame not to have a glass or two with lunch, and then as the bottle's open anyway it would be a waste putting it back into the fridge to sit forlornly on the bottom shelf ... you get the picture, I'm sure.
Made it up to Geneva on Wednesday to pick up Malyon: EasyJet managed to get in twenty minutes early, there were no strikes and no over-zealous security guards so for perhaps the first time I can recall we were out of the dump in five minutes flat.
And back home early, in plenty of time to fire up the barbecue and stick a thick slab of rouelle de jambon on. (Mal is definitely a carnivore, but sadly as a poor student - with a vegetarian boyfriend yet - doesn't see that much meat. So she makes up for it when she's with us.)
|Cuttlefish is cute|
She had a field trip off to Skye or somewhere like that a month or so ago - practical work, dredging up bottom-feeders and counting the different species. It seems to have convinced her that cuttlefish are cute. Crabs, on the other hand, are not.
Does seem to have developed quite a talent for photography, too. I think so anyway, and that's not just the doting parent speaking.
Her trip to Ecuador is looming up on the horizon, so she's all fired up about that as well. It will give her a chance to be bossy, no doubt: as one of the three qualified tree-
huggersclimbers she gets to tell people what to do, and gets to fire the catapult!
(OK, I was a bit puzzled by that one too. It's just for firing a rope up over a branch so that you can hoist a somewhat more solid one up to climb.)
She spent a bit of time talking about it all and explaining just how rustic it'll be - no toilet, no shower (bum-wipes are apparently a Good Thing), no shelter ... reminds me a bit of my trip to Cameroon, even down to the yellow-fever shots and the choice of malaria treatment (you want the one that might make you go psycho, or perhaps you'd prefer to become hyper-sensitive to sunlight?).
And in an informative but rather yucky aside, she explained that there is a river but its use is discouraged on the grounds that if you pee in it whilst swimming you run the risk of having some wierd breed of tiny fish, attracted by the taste, swimming up and taking up residence in your intimate parts. Where, apparently, they will die and fester, and on top of it the little sods have sharp spines around their heads so that you can't just pull them out.
Pretty gross, and I'm happy she didn't wait until dinner to tell us about that.
|NOT a killer rabbit|
The only blot on the landscape is apparently one of the other team members - "a nice enough guy, but a right twat" as she charmingly put it. His main claim to fame, of which he never fails to remind people, is that he can drive a tank: a useful qualification, as Malyon pointed out, in the middle of the jungle. Still, she can always escape him by climbing a tree, I suppose.
|Patrick Starr, nude!|
Otherwise she has her shopping list - fairly standard stuff like assorted drugs and a first-aid kit and a decent backpack and canvas shoes and robust clothing and all that sort of stuff: a quick trip to Decathlon might be in order to stock up on that sort of thing.
She's also planning - vaguely - the rest of her trip: so far the only thing that's definitely decided on is Machu Picchu. Odd to think of her wandering around South America on her own, but we'll just have to get used to that.
Anyway, Stéphanre has fired up the barbecue next door which must mean it's somewhere near lunch-time, so I'd better get off my arse and do some of those things that really need doing.
Like downloading the latest episode of Doctor Who, copying over a couple of year's worth of various TV series onto a USB drive for our friend Stacey, check up on the rosé, stuff like that.
And then, I think, down to the garden to watch the grass grow.