Saturday, May 21, 2011

Random Houses ...

So I thought I'd start this off with a song, or perhaps more of a constipated shriek if you want me to be honest, seeing as it's summer over here now (it's official! The primeur from the Drôme is at the market! Tomatoes!) so let's hear it for "Oooooh as I was a-walking round St Pierre-oh, with a hey nonny nonny and a balloon onna stick and a stupid hat with frikkin' bells on ..."

But if you lift your eyes from the dog turds in the gutters (or, considerably less unsavoury, ladies' chest appendages) roofs and things can actually look quite nice. And at least architecture doesn't shuffle to the back to try and get out of the photo, probably due to its notorious lack of motility. Nor does it blink at the wrong moment, or have some really wierd grimace that is its "smile for photos" and makes it look like a complete twat, or some sort of alien reptile.

Which is why, today, you get buildings.

Margo took Malyon off to Decathlon the other day to get all that interesting stuff like a decent backpack, hiking boots, wet-weather gear, warm-weather gear, water bottles, frog repellent ... everything necessary for the Well-Equipped Student in The Great Outdoors.

So the boot of the car was kinda full when I dropped her off to Geneva airport on Tuesday. At least she remembered to put the pocket-knife into the backpack as checked baggage, so it didn't get confiscated.

(Which is what happened to me last time we came back to Noo Zild - completely forgot that in my laptop bag was my little leatherman-style multi-function wotsit that i always like to carry about for disassembling computers should that become necessary. it got found and dumped when we boarded. What a pain.)

Wednesday I thought I might as well profit from Margo's disappearance to Paris and the lovely weather to do rather more than prop up the bar at le Modesto' (don't blame me for the apostrophe, they put the damn thing there, but I promise I won't spell it that way again) and actually eat there for once. Not too bad at all: gratin des ravioles with slices of foie gras (must do that here, actually) and a decentish simple salad (although why everyone seems to feel obliged to drizzle the poor things with reduced balsamic vinegar is beyond me).

But could someone please explain to me why in hell the "café gourmand" has become THE thing to offer - and to order - for dessert? I mean yes, it can be quite nice and the ones at le Modesto or l'Atelier are decently presented, but as a general rule it's still just a couple of chocolates onna plate with a coffee when it all comes down to it. With honourable exceptions.

Mind you it makes life easier for the restaurateurs because it requires sod-all imagination, so I suppose there's precious little point jumping off the band-wagon while it's rolling.

And although I am not one to diss a tarte au citron meringuée and other such delights, a bit of originality would be nice. Hell, we have strawberries AND cherries right now: so what's wrong with a salad of those, marinated with a bit of grand marnier? Can't do much simpler. Or better.

Come to that, peaches halved and stuffed with a mix of crushed amaretti, butter, sugar and cinnamon then baked with orange juice until it goes syrupy are pretty bloody good too. And peaches are now in season. What are these people waiting for?

And in recent news, we'll have the honour of finally having Jerry cook for us this weekend.. There's been no damascene conversion to the delights of our tiny grubby kitchen, just that he has an exam coming up and he needs to prepare.

So the menu is, apparently, fricassée de poulet, tomates farcis à la provençale and tarte aux fraises.

He even made up a shopping list, after rooting through the contents of the cupboards: once I'd pointed out that I was not going to buy crème patissière in a sachet and he could bloody well make it from scratch (god nose we've enough recipes around here) and offered a few other helpful criticisms of that nature it boiled down to chicken legs and strawberries (he forgot the tomatos, lucky I didn't I suppose).

Ah, the delights of ordering delivery via Chronopost. I ordered a camera for Margo to replace her old Ixus, which breathed its digital last some time ago, and so as to be sure of having it for when she heads off to Switzerland on Sunday asked for chronopost, which is guaranteed 24 hours.

Placed the order on Monday, expedited Tuesday, Wednesday check up on the tracking n° and it is "undergoing delivery". So far so good, then I arrive home that night, no parcel ... and the bloody thing is back at Chambery because the address was "insufficient or inaccurate". WTF? The bloody Chronopost delivery van couldn't find our street - not that St Pierre is particularly enormous or complicated to get around in. Probably has difficulty finding his arse with both hands, too.

So I wind up wasting half an hour going in to the Chronopost warehouse at Chambery to pick it up in person, rather than having the damn thing delivered to the post office here and risking it only being available on Monday. there it was that I discovered that it was not delivered because apparently there is no n° 317 in our street, which comes as a bit of a surprise given that we've been living there for the past twelve years or so.

Still, Margo now has her shiny new camera (a little Olympus as it happens, with more megapixels than you can shake a stick at, but i am not jealous 'cos at least mine has decent optics, size isn't everything you know) which will doubtless make her very happy, when she gets her paws on it.

Personally I've never got the hang of shooting with a screen rather than a viewfinder, and the little thing feels completely lost in my paws anyway.

It has been recently drawn to my attention (only this very morning, in fact, over a glass of white wine vitamins with Bryan) that today has apparently been pencilled in for a rapture, which I suppose to be some sort of impromptu musical event. I admit that I'm not into rap at all, but I would still have liked to have been given a bit more notice. I mean, Jerry might have liked to have gone along, given that he likes rasta. (These are the same thing, aren't they?)

Although to be quite honest, sometimes I think that the interest in rasta is mainly because of the emphasis on the medicinal uses of grass, something in which I've never really seen the point. If I'm going to kill off a few billion brain cells I'll do it the good old-fashioned way thank you very much, with alcohol. Or formaldehyde. Depending on whose brain it is.

Anyway, the point I was trying to make is, that if all these people are just going to float up into the air uttering weak rapturous moans (think of some of the soundtrack of Deep Throat, if that helps, forget the dialogue, it was crap) or otherwise disappear in an apocalyptic fashion, would it be wrong of me to go into their houses and take some of the things I've coveted?

(This covetousness is probably why I'm planning on being around on Sunday, probably to steal from the collection plate. I'm given to understand that along with a number of other personality traits I happen to have, including but not limited to lust, sloth and a fondness for alcohol, its possession apparently disqualifies one from sticking a needle in the eye of a camel, or something. Well tough, I didn't really want to do that anyway, and even if camels are gross beasts it still sounds cruel to me.)

Anyway, right now the thunderheads are massing over the Bauges as I type and it's going all quiet, so perhaps we'll finally get one of the orages they've been promising all week. I for one would quite enjoy that. Although it might put paid to the rapture party (just to say goodbye, don't you know?) that I was toying with.

Oh, and just on the offchance you've not yet come across it, the CDC's advice on being ready for a zombie attack may well come in useful. Especially if you're not a floater, and get left behind when (insert deity of choice) pulls the chain.

(Update: heavens just opened, waiting for arrival of Ark. No signs of ascensions though - maybe it doesn't work for Catholics.)


  1. But if you lift your eyes from the dog turds in the gutters (or, considerably less unsavoury, ladies' chest appendages)

    Not sure now whether the ladies' chest appendages are in the gutters or the dog turds are in the ladies' chest appendages. Neither situation sounds particularly appealing.

  2. Yes, I wasn't sure about that either. Unless the ladies got plastered the night before & were thus lying in the gutter themselves? In which case they probably weren't ladies, Trevor ;-)