Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Day's-Worth of Stuff (No Threadworms)

I did try the bread puddings again - with the pears: the general consensus around here was that they were a success. File that one away for the future.

And Jeremy has once again done his electropathic thing: his computer died, and wouldn't turn on again. I got him to bring it down, and I opened it up: I would swear that there were mushrooms growing out of the power supply. And the fan on the CPU cooler looked as though someone had crapped on it from a great height - all in all not a pretty sight.

So that was when the incident with the vacuum cleaner happened: I suggested to him that perhaps a quick cleaning would be in order before anything else (hell, I was not going to touch anything in there until I knew I was unlikely to come down with leprosy) and he thought that he'd just quickly do his bedroom before coming down ...

So then he came back downstairs to say that the vacuum cleaner didn't work anymore. Quite normal really, as on unplugging it from the wall he'd managed to break off one of the pins, which was still sitting happily in the socket. Whatever, once we'd got that sorted out we did the cleaning thing, and lo! the computer started up - for all of five seconds.

I've always found that being methodical in these cases does rather help, so unplug everything but the motherboard and try again: everything's good (apart from the fact the the machine beeps pitifully, for it has no hard drive from which to boot) so plug that in and try again. No luck, and at that point I suspected that his hard drive was fried, but just on the off-chance I plugged it into my computer, which is also old enough to have an IDE interface.

Rather to my amazement it worked, so I shall have to head off to an electronics shop somewhere and see if I can't pick up another power supply that'll fit into the (twelve year-old) case: might be cheaper just to grit my teeth and pick up a new case. Although that would mean trying to find the motherboard diagram so I can figure out which jumpers go where ... oh blast.

On the other hand, he's been nowhere near the central heating recently, so he's obviously not responsible for that having a hissy-fit. Actually turned off the heating on Sunday (which goes some way, I suppose, to explaining why, after three glorious days, the weather's turned sullen and chilly again) and on Monday morning Margo thoughtfully let me know that there probably wasn't much point in my taking a shower, given that I'm known not to be too keen on showering under ice-cubes.

It must have got temporarily confused somehow, for thankfully it decided to start producing hot water again that same evening: very welcome, I can assure you.

So anyway, Australian Sue (funny how all my female friends have names starting with "S". Sophie, Stacey the Valley Girl, Sue ... I rather doubt there's any deeper meaning in there though, just coincidence. Sorry. Although it does mean that they're conveniently grouped together in my phonebook.) has a small electric weedeater, and after a bit of faffing about in a vague but ultimately vain attempt to procrastinate I unrolled the 150m extension cord and took it down to the garden. Because, unusually, it turned out fine today: exceptional really for a public holiday.

I managed to clear from the gate to the apple tree in a sort of irregular blobby shape - yes, my arms do feel as though they want to fall off - but it became clear that I'd neglected one elementary precaution before starting: namely, checking how much cord there was on the bobbin. At the time of writing, none. And it being a public holiday, there's not that many places open where I could go and get some more.

Well, we'll put that off till Saturday - as long as it's not pissing down, which sadly seems not unlikely. Look, it's a start, alright?

A belated one, admittedly, because my plans for today did not really involve getting up at the crack of dawn and doing a bit of horticulture: they actually ran more along the lines of "08:00: wake up. Roll over, go back to sleep. 10:00: see above. Midday: breakfast? 14:00: mow lawn, or have a glass of white under the sun? 15:00: another glass?' and so on.

Best-layed plans of mice'n'men, stuff like that, of course it didn't happen. Jeremy woke up with all the subtlety of an elephant trumpeting its love, as is his wont, and headed off to places unknown, and then Margo's phone made its usual angry-hornet-with-vibrator noise to remind her that she needed to get up and go give some sewing classes, and not long after they'd both disappeared I thought, sleep being apparently no longer on the menu, that perhaps I'd better wander up to the village and see if I couldn't find a pain au chocolat aux amandes to eat with my morning coffee.

And then, having got the blood sugar up and the body more or less operational, one thing led to another, as it will, and I found myself wandering vaguely, camera in hand, along the little communales between Montmelian and Francin, upon which I'd never actually set foot before.

Judging by the number of little chateaux around the place there must have been some seriously rich families living (or spending summer there - that would be back in  the 1800s, before they drained ChambĂ©ry) out there at one time: I suppose there still are, because they look very well-maintained.

A number of them are now domaines - although godnose where they keep their vines, doubtless miles away up on the south-facing slopes of la Savoyarde like everyone else - but some seem to still be just family homes. If, that is, your idea of "family" consists of an elderly lady with impeccable, if somewhat antique, clothes, an improbable number of cats, ditto those wierd dogs shaped by evolution to look like slippers or toilet-brushes, and pots of money hidden under the mattress - or in Bermudan bank havens, more likely.

Perhaps not quite as moneyed as before, mind you, because the old tree-lined gravelled drives seem to have fallen into disuse. Or maybe there just aren't as many visitors with carriages as there used to be, and anyway one wouldn't like to draw attention to oneself.

Good, old-moneyed Catholics tend, I find, to be rather discreet.

So anyway, there being little point in trying just to bludgeon the paddock in to submission, I'm onto line three, option two of my careful and cunning Plan ie a glass of white. While there's still some sun; there are clouds up there of which I don't particularly like the look. Think "looming", probably portentously.

And I'm trying to think of something for dinner: unfortunately there's only mince, which is not one of the most inspiring things around. I do have - somewhere - a rather nice recipe for extremely spicy curried croquettes cooked on the barbecue but quite frankly I can't be arsed and anyway with my luck it'll start raining just as the embers get to operating temperature, but then again there's also pita bread in the pantry, salade and tomatoes and corn and sour cream and cheese and barbecue sauce and cucumber and mint and onion, so maybe it'll just be what Malyon used to insist on calling "dwarf bread", ie pita bread stuffed with everything else on the list.

And there's mango chutney too, which has to be good.

At long last the cat has done something useful and learnt how to kiss mice. I came up from the garden to find her sitting wistfully in the pantry, splashes of blood on the lino in the kitchen and a neat pile of intestines on the floor in the living room.

Circumstantial evidence only I agree, but as Emerson remarked "when you find a trout in the milk" ... that'll teach the little buggers to try and nest in amongst Jeremy's stash of biscuits.


  1. There are trout among Jeremy's biscuits? Nature is full of surprises.

    Funny how all my female friends have names starting with "S"

    The 'S' in Sbeckham is silent.

  2. Air-cruising, zoned-out trout - certainly those with lasers surgically implanted in their heads - often nest in the damned oddest places. Especially after a few ounces of Mike Scott's "Particular Old", inhaled.

    Beckham's from Ohio, or some other state starting with "O". Doesn't count.