Sunday, November 4, 2012

Combatting A Gloomy Sunday ...

As it turned out, dinner was not in fact half bad. The little cheese swirls turned out to be more than acceptable, the pig was as tender as one could wish, and dessert - have to think of a name for it some time - was worth the minimal effort. And it certainly felt good, on a particularly grey, cold and dismal Sunday afternoon, to spend most of the afternoon in the kitchen, full of warm smells from the old poele as things sizzled and bubbled and generally cooked.

And Monday dawned bright and sunny, absolutely beautiful with the sun shining off the snow on the flanks of l'Arclusaz to the north: a bit chilly (first frost of the year, far too early for me: hope we brought the lemon tree inside in time) but that's doubtless good for the soul.

On the autoroute the other night, heading home after installing a new Livebox at Stacey's (and do not get me on to the topic of why the hell they designed those things so that when you have the power supply plugged in the little right-angled plug almost totally obscures the Ethernet port next to it, so that you cannot unplug your CAT5 cable without unplugging the power supply first, a task made almost impossible without using pliers because it's in a narrow recess) and passed a huge lorry with "Chicken World!" emblazoned down the sides in big spiky red letters. I merely draw your attention to this, I neither criticize nor speculate.

France being the resolutely secular nation that it is, Thursday - All Saints Day, or Toussaint - was a public holiday. Traditionally it rains, I suppose so that people feel suitably miserable as they lurch round the cemetery looking for Granny's grave, the aim being to plonk a big pot of chrysanthemums on top. (Suspiciously, a couple of days later the graveyards are back to their usual rather desolate state, and there are lots of second-hand potted flowers for sale. Just saying.) More modern families sometimes opt for a tasteful solar-powered LED "eternal candle", which looks rather disquieting at night. But I guess that at least no-one wants to steal them.

But this particular Thursday it was bright and sunny, and people were wandering about looking rather disturbed - kind of as though gravity had suddenly stopped working or something - as I, not being French, headed off to the office to get a bit of work done with no interruptions. It's rather pleasant actually. And when I'd finished being productive, back home to wait for Jeremy to delight us with his presence.

Which, eventually, he did. As though he'd never left: he turned up, announced that he was only here until Sunday because, to his dismay, the two weeks holiday he'd been looking forward to were actually going to be occupied by school-work, then scarfed a chicken leg, baked potato and a bucket of St-Marcellin cheese (very runny indeed, runnier than you'd like it I think squire) before going to bed.

So of course I missed him this morning, but I guess I'll see him for a bit tomorrow because he headed off to see his mates in Chambéry - won't be back tonight, having too much fun - so I shall have to pick him up before lunch. From somewhere: all will be revealed on the day. (Truth to tell, I don't think he's too sure himself at this moment exactly where he'll be spending the night, just that someone will in fact provide.)

And some things just don't change: I had a niggle in the back of my mind this evening and quickly looked in his room, quite reassuring really to find a dirty plate or two and a couple of coffee mugs on the floor, surrounded by crumbs, odd bits of cutlery and, with the outside temperature something like 8°, the window wide open. All of this probably reassures the cat.

We really should have left quite a while back, without leaving a forwarding address.

At least, thanks to his invaluable information, I can tell you that there are many more prostitutes in Nimes than there are in and about Chambéry, that they may be found after 9pm at bus stops (he says he found this out because at one point, after that hour, he asked the nice lady when the next bus was leaving: happily he did not go into details of the reply, which I can imagine), and that the going price for a blow-job is about 30€.

Which seems a bit steep to me, but what would I know? Welcome to the inflexible law of supply and demand, people. (For extra points, you could leave a 10 000 word essay explaining exactly why this is - or is not - a fungible good. If you need to look that up feel free, I'll wait. Hint: does not involve mushrooms.)

In other family-related news (those of you who could care more may skip this bit, if you'd like), Tony got his work visa for NooZild in record time, so any of you who care to be at Orcland airport on or about December 12th may welcome he and Malyon into the country, preferably with a suitable musical accompaniment. Anyone want to play the national anthem on a kazoo, perhaps?

So the pair of them are supposed to turn up here on the 5th - hopefully bearing gifts of decent whisky, which we shall try to make last a little more than just that one evening - and we shall tearfully farewell them five days later at Lyon. After that they are going to be your problem, just deal with it, alright? (Hey, he's a big softie, and all her job references have been glowing. Probably too scared to mention the GBH.)

I hope you've arranged some decent weather for them: it would be a shame for them to leave Glasgow under the rain and turn up, expecting some sun, only to find it gray and dismal.

Speaking of which, today being Sunday it as, according to that ancient charter or whatever, gray. Mild temperatures, and the leaves have changed colour but not yet fallen so that the flanks of the massif behind us look as though they're covered in some ornate, if somewhat sombre, thick Persian carpet, but definitely one of those melancholic autumn days with the scent of wood smoke in the air and all you really want to do is curl up in an armchair with a good book and hope that Monday somehow never comes.

Definitely getting to the point where I really want to shift, somewhere we're not hemmed in by mountains and where my life is a bit more my own. Not that I have any romantic notions about walking straight into success or anything like that, and I certainly don't believe for one instant in the idealised Provence of perpetual azure skies and cicadas in the lavender baking under the sun that's pushed by Peter Mayle and various tourist boards, but I need a change.

Anyway, we now have an idea of what the house is worth (whatever people will pay for it, under the current economic circumstances, but the consensus seems to be around 200-230 thousand) and also, thanks to the last couple of trips, have some idea of where we could happily spend our days like wrinkled lizards under the sun - or more precisely, where we would definitely not want to be.

So I guess the next step is ringing the real estate agents and actually putting the place on the market, and also - with no great anticipation, I assure you - going off to see the bastard bankers.

And things will take their course, as they do, and sometime, hopefully in the not too distant future and always provided that wherever we decide to park our arses has broadband, you'll get an invitation to come over and inaugurate our gîte and who knows, I might even be persuaded to cook dinner. And just possibly - and very exceptionally, seeing as it's you - fish out a bottle or two from the stock that's been lurking in the cave for the past fifteen years or so.

1 comment:

  1. I will definitely be at the airport on the 12th (at the appropriate time), with Jeannie but probably sans kazoo. Jeannie is terribly excited!