Monday, November 26, 2012

Last Seen, Wandering Vaguely ...

So I was wandering aimlessly around Chambéry the other night, cursing my lack of forethought in not having brought the camera along with me (for the Christmas decorations are up - already - and once night falls it is, as Malyon used to say, "Pretty! Sparkly sparkly!") and came across Beckham's rear end, disappearing into the Café de Paris.

And at that point it came to me that Beckham going into a bar on a Friday night could only mean one thing, namely that Bryan was in there drinking, and as I hate to leave people to drink alone I thought I might as well go in too and keep the poor things company.

Which I duly did, and no sooner was the usual spiteful exchange of civilities over than Beckham just happened to drop into the conversation that of course I wouldn't have heard about Kevin, and that she was turning 31 on Sunday and was planning a big party at Cardinals and that under no circumstances was I to even think of turning up, as that would rather lower the tone. And then, as the subject had just come up, I got an earful all about Kevin, who has replaced the Lillois and is apparently, as if I really wanted to know, hung like a stallion.

Or something like that anyway: I have to admit that I was more concerned with snaffling another bowl of nibbles to go with the roussette as Bryan had fallen with little cries of glee onto the first one that came round and had mostly devoured them, and wasn't really paying that much attention. So it might have been that he stung like a hellion, not sure.

Anyway, rewinding the week a bit, I trotted up the road and popped the mandat de vente in Jean's letterbox on Sunday: on Monday son number three (I think), Alexandre (the real-estate agent) rang to see if he could bring some visitors round this week. Then Stéphane, our would-be slum-lord rack-renter neighbour (OK, dead-keen Monopoly player), rang to see if his cousin could come take a look around one evening ... and they say the housing market is dead.

Possibly is, I suppose, if you're hoping to shift some monumental pile for a for a half-way decent percentage of what you overpaid for it back in the day, but I get the definite feeling that if you're not greedy and have a decent property, there's plenty of life in it yet.

(Also, in about six months, we will actually own the place, more or less. This will be a definite first for us, and should make life a damn sight easier. Then, of course, we will buy this enormous old dump and spend a packet on doing it up, and will go straight back into debt again, but we're used to that.)

Whatever, as will happen from time to time I popped into a pharmacy the other day and, continuing the fine tradition of hard-driving investigative journalism for which these pages are rightly famous, headed over to take a look at the condoms wedged uneasily between the baby food and the insect repellent. (And no, I have no idea why they thought that would be appropriate placement. The baby food maybe, as a dire reminder of what you could get if you don't use one, but as for mosquito cream I simply cannot imagine.)

So anyway, I'm happy to be able to report that at least in the Grande Pharmacie Tercinet at Chambéry, those eager lovers blessed with sufficient restraint and a bit of forethought can take their pick from "Jeans" (no zipper, I assume), "Endurance", "Orgasmic", the enticingly named "Pleasuremax Warming" (now god alone knows what that's all about, as for the warming part I can only assume that means batteries somewhere in the equation, they're not included and with my luck they'd go flat before we'd even started - or maybe they're full of Tiger Balm, which would indeed be warming but not necessarily a Good Idea) and "Happy Hour".

Which I guess means either that you get two for the price of one, or that's about as long as they expect you to keep it up.

There is also the "Super Pratique", which would normally just mean "simple and useful", as though anyone could actually need a user's manual for such a simple device. Hell, there aren't even any moving parts. (Stops, thinks for a minute about that one.) OK, sorry, there are moving parts. But they tend to take care of themselves, in my admittedly limited experience.

Now Margo headed off to Pau for a salon, leaving me rattling around the house all on my own (unless you count the cat, which personally I tend not to because our only interaction consists of her coming and giving me the silent miaow treatment when she thinks it's time for her to be fed, other than that I might as well not exist) so I was kind of pleased to get a call from Mad Karen to say that they were going to be having a Thanksgiving lunch at Mumblefuck on Sunday, and would I like to turn up?

Sophie once asked me to try and explain exactly what Thanksgiving was all about. I'm not so sure, with hindsight, that saying it was a holiday when Americans thank god for having taught their forebears to swindle the indigenous race, steal their land and eventually massacre a fair percentage of them, was such a good idea.

In any case I made it up there just after midday to find Karen bustling around the kitchen in some sort of culinary dervish dance, orbiting the salads, basting the beast and generally faffing about her monstrous stove, trying to make sure that everything was going to be ready more or less at the same time and, more importantly, that that time would be when most everyone was actually there.

Which, this being France and a Sunday to boot, meant some arbitrary time after the actual appointed moment, but Amelia eventually turned up, followed closely by Jocelyn and Hervé, and just to ensure that Roger wasn't too late we stuck all the extra grub that Joc had brought into the oven to reheat and settled down to the apéro.

And after half an hour of that we all decided that enough was enough and Roger could bloody well starve so we persuaded the various bratlings to organise the table settings and so naturally enough he turned up just as the sideboard was buckling under the combined weight of a huge turkey with chestnut stuffing, spiced candied yams, brussels sprouts, twice-baked potatoes, cornbread muffins, cranberry sauce and various other unconsidered trifles.

It took us quite some time to even start making a dent in that lot, even with the help of a few bottles of Gigondas, and then it was time for dessert - happily Karen had decided to skip the cheese course, for that would have been sheer cruelty, and totally superfluous to boot.

But we did our best, and by four the table was looking somewhat barer and we were all thinking wistfully of a siesta, which of course did not happen because quite frankly I for one had no particular desire to take the départementale from Mumblefuck back to Annecy too late, as for some unknown reason it's always clogged and anyway it was raining spitefully. So instead we divvied up the books, for we run a sort of rotating book club around here, and whenever we meet it's always accompanied by shopping bags packed with an eclectic selection of reading matter.

They get emptied onto the table, some go back into other bags whilst others go back on the shelves and new stuff gets brought out, and a couple of months later the little dance repeats itself. I wasn't greedy that day, and hove off bearing only a couple to go back in the library and a copy of the first volume of "The Dresden Files", which I remember enjoying on TV - lightweight, but fun.

So anyway, that was the week, that was. Sad to say that on Sunday the weather took a serious turn for the worse - fairly typical, I guess, for Thanksgiving - to the point where they're promising de la neige en plaine during the week. Still, I can always take solace in the fact that as I took a glass of rosé at the Beer Tree on Saturday their new chef was busy out in the tiny kitchen, removing sinew and nerves from a great hunk of venison.

Which means venison stew on Tuesday, after a day or two marinating, which can only be a Good Thing, as far as I'm concerned.

1 comment:

  1. "Endurance" ... "Happy Hour".

    There seems to be an underlying theme here of "reduced sensation".

    I am objectively in favour of photographs of persimmon trees.