Monday, January 23, 2012

Flogging a Dead Horse ...

Gray and dismal on Thursday, just the right sort of weather for an early start and a trip to the arse end of Switzerland. Why go to Monthey, you may well ask - simply enough, and not even obscene, it was to set up the supervision software for the security installation at a chemical plant there. It's quite a major site, with 6 km of perimeter to be secured, so Bruno (my client, Sorhea, you may remember) thought it worthwhile to turn up armed for bear.

First thing, once we'd gone through getting ID badges and frisked and having body cavities inspected and such-like, was to spot that the PC on which it was to be installed was XP SP2 running IE6, which seemed a bit outdated. I suggested that perhaps it should be updated, a suggestion that was, sad to say, acted on: for having downloaded the IE8 package and a few prerequisites, the poor machine went into an endless reboot cycle. So one of the security guys headed off to Lausanne to get another one, and we decided that perhaps it would be a Good Time to have lunch.

Which turned out to be dead horse, but I can handle that. In fact, once you get over the idea that you're eating little Flicka the pony, it's not bad. Tastes, in fact, like a good steak, which is probably just as well because if it tasted like a bad one there'd be no point to it, now would there?

Whatever, once the new PC arrived things went more or less swimmingly, apart from a few hardware problems with the security gear that Bruno had to go off and look at whilst I twiddled my thumbs, and we managed to leave the dump around 20:30. Which was, I admit, rather later than I'd planned on, but what the hell.

It also turns out that the Swiss must be big fans of Doctor Who, because as I was looking over the plan of the site I couldn't help but notice that there was a big swathe of bog marked as "Les Tardis". Go figure.

Once again I've been abandoned; bloody Beckham's off lunching in Aix, and Bryan's doing politics in Lyon. Which meant, as I had half an hour to kill before going off to see about Stacey's computer problems, a glass at Modesto and then another at l'Arbre à Bières (yes, I do like to spread my favours around liberally).

I actually spent rather more time at l'Arbre à Bières than I'd sort of planned on, 'cos when I walked in, unhooked the camera from my shoulder and plunked it on the bar the only guy in there was in fact the cook, who turned out to be an amateur photographer himself. So after a bit of discussion on the relative merits of verious DSLRs he obviously noticed that I have a bit of an accent, asked me where I was from, and then I got the full interrogation about what New Zealanders eat.

In all honesty, I do not know anymore. What do you buggers eat these days?

Anyway, although we've always felt welcome in the place, I suspect that we have become friends. Always nice, not that I've ever felt the need to complain about the service, and they've always been able to seat us somewhere.

For some strange reason the market was relatively quiet, I wasn't in a rush, and even the old hags with their scythed shopping trolleys didn't give me too much aggro, so when I did finally turn up at Stacey's I was feeling relatively human, hardly wanted to kill anyone. For once.

Although it might not have taken much to bring me to the tipping point (suppressed rage, don'cha know) so it was probably just as well that I happened to have some diots in the car just waiting to be cooked - which is what happened to them. Onions, red wine, carrots and pig, with garlicky mashed potatoes on the side: sublime.

After that, home and time to do my manly duties, namely the Cleaning of the Chimney. It was indeed about time, for the pipes turned out to be as tight as a cat's arse, full of soot and tar, and cleaning that lot out occupied me for some time.

And then, of course, it was off to see Pierre and Arlette for dinner, which started, auspiciously enough, with whisky before moving on to a frikking ginormous couscous (and as a pied-noir, Arlette knows how to do a decent one) and a baba au rhum and little cinnamon biscuits: I vaguely remember falling into bed sometime around 3:30. I suppose we must have had a good time.

Sadly, later that same day we had to get Jeremy off to his stage. I was still feebly whimpering in bed, so it fell to Margo to do the deed: she'd checked up on weather conditions, decided she really didn't want to head up to Briançon under the circumstances if she could possibly avoid it, and dropped him off at the gare routière at Grenoble to take the bus.

Which he managed to catch with about ten seconds to spare, which is fine. On the other hand, when he did eventually turn up at Briançon it turned out that he'd got off at the stop after the one he should have got off at (because he hadn't really bothered, being a Jeremy, to check on details) but that was alright because once Margo texted him the full address he just hitched down (godnose how he managed that).

So he's wound up in a small family-owned hotel of ten rooms or so; mornings spent preparing for lunch or dinner, he can borrow skis should he feel that way inclined (yes!) and the owner has suggested taking him off for a days skiing in the weekend.

On top of that the Wifi works, so he can squat in his room and do whatever it is that he does with the Internet.

So long as the owner does not have a too ill-favoured 17 year-old daughter, I can see this all ending happily.

I can see that the weekly round-up of search terms is going to become a tradition. So far, we have

   bent over spanking
   missing a shot of methamphetamine in my neck
   white things on my penis

For some reason, no-one comes here looking for tentacle hentai  porn which is, all things considered, probably just as well. This is, after all, supposed to be family-friendly. Provided, of course, that

    (family == Addams)

evaluates to TRUE, which may not be the case for everyone. Can't all be lucky.

So anyway, it's late, I'm tired and looking at heading to bed with a small pile of biscuits and a glass of wine (just to keep the biscuits company, you understand): catch you later, people.


  1. What do you buggers eat these days?

    Well, at least we don't eat Flicka!

    As it happens, Jackie Sayers is staying chez nous tonight & we are having BBQ nosh: a nice basil-y, parmesan-y polenta (grilled) with a lovely thick (tomato+garlic+basil)** sauce, sweetcorn** (also grilled), either salad** or beans** (haven't decided, but neither will be grilled), & homemade venison patties (grilled; you can buy some lovely venison products - in this case, mince - at New World these days). Something involving blueberries will follow.

    ** grown By Us in Our Garden :-)

  2. Well I must admit that sounds rather nice, better than the solitary quiche and salad I'm having tonight. Mind you, I have work to do, so I'd better fetch a few more bottles of wine up from the cellar. Lucky you with the venison.