Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hanging On The Telephone ...

"Ooh!" said Jeremy, "the fridge is full again! And there is bread, and still biscuits I haven't yet eaten!" For him, I feel, the fridge is this magic white(ish, because sparkly cleanliness is optional around here) box that fills up every Saturday, and in which there is a bin that holds the cheese (but not, sadly, for long), and a shelf dedicated to yoghurt, and always some saucisson somewhere. Life must be so simple when you're seventeen, not pregnant, and despite that always, for some reason, ravenous.

Hey, there's still some Nepalese bread in there, just waiting to be fried up for a healthy low-fat breakfast.

None of which really helps me as I try to think of healthy, protein-packed meals. I have this bit of hampe, and obviously just frying it up and serving it with a slab of foie gras, some oignons confits and maybe a bit of bastard béarnaise is not an option.

On the other hand, maybe slicing it thinly and stir-frying it with ginger and spring onions, and a slosh of worcester sauce at the end, could work. And I know what I'm going to do with the asparagus, diet or not.

Not that oignons confits are particularly calorific, just that what they're usually served with (ie foie gras) is. But if that doesn't worry you, Margo had some at a restaurant in Lyon the other day (before the diet) to which they'd added a twist, which I tried: once your thinly sliced spring onions are sweating nicely in butter, add the balsamic vinegar (use the white variety if you can get it, it'll turn out a pretty pink) which will slowly reduce and a slosh of sirop de grenadine and some vanilla seeds. Definitely worth your while.

And as it's been raining so much and the stream is full and sometimes I have nowt better to do with my time, I have invented a new game for all the family (provided all the family smoke): Poohbutts. It's basically a variation on the old favourite Poohsticks, but you use cigar butts. For it to work without recriminations, dispute or hard feelings, everyone needs to smoke a different brand, and leave the band on the butt so that they're easily distinguishable (for a butt, by itself, is pretty nondescript), but that's not a lot to ask for hours of simple fun.

Finally managed to get a quorum on Saturday chez Liddy: Bryan seems to have finished painting the rooms of his new language school (a task made more difficult by the fact that inconsiderate members of the public will occasionally wander in and ask what's going on), Beckham was not, for a change, being kicked out of anywhere, and having finished the fruit & vege run in record time I too was there; with Margo, for once.

Not always the easiest of bars in which to actually get a drink: you often have to force your way up to the bar (good exercise for the elbows, mind you) and then you have to catch the eye of the person behind it, not always a simple matter. Not helped by the fact that there's a new barmaid who has her own ideas about service. Very friendly mind you, and doesn't always insist on taking your money. Whatever.

Have I mentioned that we are going to be very happy when Jerry shifts out? Not that he's any great trouble, objectively speaking, but along with this capacity to make food supplies disappear he also has all the stealth of a mammoth which means that when he gets up early to catch (or, occasionally, miss) the bus through to Challes, all the rest of us know about it.

And of course Monday was the first day back at school, and he cheerfully informed us on Tuesday night that he had to be at the lycée at 7:30 the next morning for a school trip he'd just found out about., to Strasbourg. Which is going to mean getting up at six, which is emphatically not one of my favourite times.

It's been eighteen months or so since last I changed phones, and as the current one is starting to have the odd hissy-fit, like turning itself off spasmodically and then claiming to have no battery, I thought it was about time I replaced it. Don't know why but I still rather like Samsungs, so I trotted off a week or so ago to the local Bouygues shop down at Carrefour (I'm old-fashioned and I like instant gratification: going online, ordering something and having it arrive a few days later just can't compare with the feeling of walking out of a shop with the coveted object) to see what they could offer me.

Got to the head of the queue, decided against getting an Android and settled instead for the Wave II: it may be Bada but at least I'm more or less familiar with that. So I was kind of pissed when the guy went out back to get it and came back empty-handed, saying "Desolé squire, le chat l'a bouffé. Y'en a plus". But he promised to give me a ring when the next delivery came through ...

You can see where this is going, I expect: sure enough, the sod never rang back and the next time I went past the dump there was a big sign up saying it was closed until June for renovations. So I gritted my teeth and went to the Bouygues agency in town, and after 45 minutes I found out that they didn't have any either, and finally walked out with a Wave M as I was damned if I was going to go out without something shiny.

That was, of course, the beginning of my problems. Call me naive if you wish, or brain-dead if you prefer, but I really had forgotten - or forced back screaming into the dusty back cupboards of my brain, where the old umbrellas and ripped raincoats live - the living hell that is the fricking Samsung Kies software.

The first step, obviously, was to reinstall the 1.54 software that came with the old phone, and back everything up: contacts, texts, and memos. So far, so good. Then, we try connecting to the new phone. Ah, no luck there: don't know why that surprised me. So I go onto the Samsung site and download the latest version on offer: 2.00. Install that: still no luck. And I notice that the backed-up data isn't available either. Bugger.

After a few minutes, the very latest software informs me that version 2.31 is available and would I like to download it? On the rather shaky grounds that things could hardly get worse, I agree. Click on the button, nothing happens. Wait a bit, still nothing.

At this point I notice that the bloody Windows UAC permissions window has, as usual, opened up behind the software installer window, which is of course waiting for me to click on the OK button on the window I can't see. Of course there is the teeny icon on the taskbar, but that's on the other screen ... Sigh, curse, carry on.

Miracle, the new sodware recognises both phones! I can download my contacts from one, and upload them to the other! This is progress, of a sort. More progress: some kettle-head at Samsung orbiting HQ has decided that no-one used the feature, or it was too useful, or something: so they axed the possibility of transferring SMS and memos from the latest version of their filthy brain-dead program which, at this point in time, I want to exterminate. With extreme prejudice.

But all is not lost: the new phone will import SMS from the SD card. Although it will not import memos, but what the hell. I don't have that many. The old phone will happily export all memos to the SD card - great! - but each and every SMS must be exported individually. Which is, when you have about 400 of the things, a somewhat tedious process.

Mr. Good Taste: Pierre The Execrable
Whatever, I'm dedicated - or stupid - so some time later I have an SD card full of old texts. Stick that in the new phone, hit the "restore" button and wait a bit: after a fashion it has indeed restored those texts. Sadly, not in any particular order. Which kind of makes it rather worse than useless, if you're trying to follow a thread in simple chronological order.

So I eventually abandoned that particular bright idea - what the hell, it's just a year or more of my life in there - and resigned myself to starting from scratch. I wouldn't mind quite so much if I didn't know that sometime in the future I'm going to have to go through the whole bloody procedure yet again, probably with the same lack of success.

What looks like a Good Keen Man
Looking on the bright side, I did manage to get the phone numbers across, and at least like this I'm getting rid of a lot of no-doubt useless baggage. Which should probably cheer me up, but sadly it annoys me so very much. And I won't bother going into the things that used to work that they just fscked up, doubtless with the aim of improving the "user experience": like when it would automatically shift to caps after you typed a full stop? Doesn't do that any more. Bitch. (Mea culpa. If you drill down three levels into the settings menu, you can in fact find the option "Auto caps", which does the trick. I would like to point out that this is not immediately obvious, also I hate apologising, so I won't.)

Perhaps I should just give in and read the manual - once I can find out exactly where on Samsung's crap site I can download the festering thing.

In other news, the shrink doesn't want to see me any more: apparently, I am not mad enough. I suppose I'd have to agree with him on that one - but then, I would say that, wouldn't I - but it's true. Doesn't take much, some times. More news on that one next time, I think.

Finally, could I just suggest that if you manage to get hold of a decent buche de chèvre (truth to tell, I use the cheapie ones from the discount supermarket, 'cos they're good enough considering what's going to happen to them) and happen to have some jambon cru and redcurrant jelly in the fridge (as all right-minded people do, it seems), you could do a damn sight worse than to stack up three sheets of buttered filo pastry, cut them into smallish squares, and then line muffin tins with them: a square of ham at the bottom, a round of cheese on top, and a wodge of redcurrant jelly (or a pitted date, if you like) on top, then fold the edges over, a quick slathering with butter, and into the oven with them for 15 minutes or so.

You really should try that. And if you're good, you might get some more from the Beckham Diaries (Currently at 3657 Reasons to Hate The French.)


  1. I LIKE my little red Samsung phone!

  2. Don't get me wrong, I like my phone too - even if they're all too broad these days for my tiny hands - but wht I dislike intensely is the soul-numbingly bad PC software

  3. apparently, I am not mad enough.

    Well that is a relief, because if *you* were of uncertain mental stability, what would that make ummm other people whose names I will think of shortly?