This public service announcement and mea culpa being over, normal service is now resumed.
So having, once again, occasion to find myself in a pharmacy with nothing better to do, I amused myself looking over the shelves of condoms and KY jelly. (Please, do not ask. It's not really germane.) Things certainly have changed, not sure if it's for the better, it was so much easier before all this choice became available.
I mean, they had "Senseo Ultralite" with "Intimi-Fit technology" for "un max de plaisir", packets of "Prolong'" for "un effet retardateur" (yes, that means what you probably think it does), a "Magic Box" of 18 different styles, colours and, no doubt, flavours, and then the ones that I imagine must just fly off the shelves, "Extrem XXL". So who in the name of hell is going to ask for small-size condoms? I mean, really? Back in the day it was a choice between a packet of 6 or a packet of 12, and if you didn't want flesh-coloured (actually, livid pink) you were stiff out of luck. Tell that to the young folk today ... spoiled rotten, they are.
Mind you, some of them were pretty pointless, not to say cruel. I mean, badger-baiting? I really cannot see a trout going after a badger on a line, no matter how attractively dressed. (A shark, on the other hand ...) And as for the old Shriven Wednesday tradition of tormenting an adolescent weasel (these days, by making harsh comments about his acne), I don't know why they bothered. The little bastards are depressed enough as it is, no point to adding to it.
And as her idea of 9:30 errs more on the side of 10:15 (in all fairness, mine's not much better) we weren't exactly early at the market, so it's her own fault that someone snagged the last bundle of purple basil at the stall I often go to for vegetable exotica. Shame, for I would've liked to have tasted it: supposed to be a bit lemony. Still, they had sweetcorn, and my pepperoncini should be ripe in a couple of weeks, and their tomatoes are excellent, even the really incredibly fleshy ones that look like some wierd pointy pepper. (They're actually rather good for cooking, as you don't have to bother squeezing juice and seeds out.)
And then she fell to talking, as she does, to all and sundry and in particular to a little old Algerian lady kitted out in headscarf and a literally golden smile, who told her all about how to conserve celery (although personally I can't imagine why anyone would wish to do so but what the hell, I'm broad-minded) and they discussed important matters like whether or not it's possible to have too much basil. (The answer, incidentally, seems to be "no". I swear they both left with what looked like an acre's worth of production each.)
(Which reminds me that Bruno from Sorhea turned up the other day to discuss a job, and very thoughtfully brought along a case of Uby. If ever you see some do go buy it: it's a blanc de Gascogne, slightly sweet and exceedingly fruity, and absolutely delicious, well chilled, as an apéritif. But don't try drinking it with the meal, unless all you're having is foie gras. Try it, and tell me I'm wrong.)
Luckily we didn't have to move to check - not that we really had any intention of doing so - for about ten minutes later this harassed-looking guy came along carrying an enormous croquembuche with dangerously pointy-looking bits of nougat and put it down on a table at the Indian restaurant across the alley from us. Then, for some reason, he disappeared.
It turned out to be the latter, as an evidently uncomfortable guy in a suit (and it was very hot, and humid) came sprinting along, mumble-fucking as he ran, to get the cake delivery back on track. I'm sad to say that we were all laughing our heads off, mean-spirited of us I know but quite frankly, what would you have done?
I would like to take the occasion to say that Bryan, despite - or perhaps because of - his advanced years, has a shocking tendency to vulgarity. Not content with pointing out a passing resemblance between the pointy nougat bits and the male anatomy, and going on from there to a few ribald comments about the groom's equipment, he had to come out with this "And that reminds me ..." line about a party game for weddings, involving the groom (the target), the bridesmaids (the players), and a set of quoits. I could, actually, have done without that.
So we left, and I started to think seriously about lunch, which turned out to involve those courgettes stuffed with a mixture of sautéed onions and lardons and their own chopped guts and chopped tomato and breadcrumbs and as much basil as I could reasonably get in there being baked in the oven with a huge glob of goat cheese atop each one (hint: pour a bit of water into the cocotte before it goes into the oven, what might otherwise burn turns into a really nice sauce that just cries out to be wiped up with bread.).