Of course we were arriving at the end of our carefully constructed Pile when Jeremy placed two more logs on top and the whole thing collapsed into an unorganised heap before our eyes. Shit, apparently, happens.
And of course, just to make it all peachy, we're going through - or rather under - the arse-end of the storm that traversed Britain, crossed the Channel (with no respect at all for border formalities) into Britanny (where at least they're used to rain ) and then headed for Paris, at which point it was supposed to peter out. Typical optimism, it was still doing just fine when it got here on Friday and dumped god knows how many cm of water on us.
Now we know more or less how many people we'll be having over for Christmas lunch, we really need to start planning that. Can't get pintade for love nor money (well not quite true, can get it for money, lots of it) so we're tending towards a simple roast or barbecued leg of lamb with all the trimmings (and a huge ratatouille so that poor Tony won't actually starve in the midst of plenty) followed by apfelstrudel and whatever other rich sticky things take my fancy. I suppose you lot are all planning a picnic on the beach?
Anyway, as usual I went off to do the shopping, and let me just say that you might feel that it's kind of romantic to go around the open market with great soft flakes of snow falling from the leaden sky, but you're totally wrong. The reality is that it's cold, and wet, and it's always just as you're trying to fish your wallet out to pay that the canvas awning over the market stand chooses that moment to empty its load of cold sleet down the back of your neck.
And don't get me onto the topic of those old hags with the scythe-hubbed shopping trolleys and the umbrellas, which they hold at just the right height to take your eyes out if you walk uncautiously past.
Luckily, although obviously enough they're not serving out on the terrasse at this time of year, le Refuge is still open, so the gang of three met up to down a bit of anti-freeze. Beckham, as usual, was late - which meant we had to pay full price for our drinks - but being made of stern stuff we resolutely attacked the bowls of nibbles that arrived with the glasses. (Bryan's philosophy is that one should always get on the good side of at least one waitress. And if, for some reason, you cannot actually sleep with them, at least make it clear that you'd like to do so. This seems to work wonders, although I cannot personally vouch for it.)
So I am going to sue the arse off Bryan, should ever he go through with his threats to use my solecisms and travail with the French language as the basis for a book. I have evidence of prior publication, for gods sake! Perhaps I should wait until it becomes a major motion picture, perhaps with Meryl Streep, and there's the prospect of some money in it.
The second idea, which she will go ahead with anyway out of spite, is to write a book provisionally titled "Why I Hate the French And Other Philosophical Essays: Never Sleep with Anyone Younger Than Your Boots". There'd be a market for that, although given the sheer quantity of material she might have to turn it into a trilogy.
Whatever, that slowed us down a bit, and the sleet had turned to real snow by the time I got back to the car and headed off to have quiche and salad with Stacey. Who at least has a rolling-pin, which avoids getting flour all over a wine bottle. On the other hand her stove-top is high-tech and glows red, and the knobs are kind of counter-intuitive and apparently coded in Braille, and in any case it doesn't actually do what I want to, and is ratshit for gently stewing shallots.
Only a few anxious moments between Annecy and Geneva, happily - I really do hate that feeling when the tires start to slide at 130 kph - and when I did get there it was bright and sunny: unusual for a city which has always, in my experience, been gray and overcast. Dour old Calvin.
So all things considered, I'm quite happy to be here, warm and comfortable, watching the big fat flakes drift down.