Right, things are definitely escalating around here, to the point where we have a casus belli if ever I saw one. We're not yet at global thermonuclear war, but things are heading that way ... you'd think the godless creatures could take a subtle hint to stay off our turf, and indeed it seemed to work for a little while - all quiet on the western front as it were - until I went down to the kitchen this morning and contemplated the breadboard over my second coffee of the morning.
One of those peaceful moments, when a man can be alone and at peace in the silent calm of the early morning, or so I reflected, being rather proud of being able to have noble feelings like that at such an ungodly hour.
Cohabitation is not an option, and I'll be damned if the last thing we see when we leave the house for points south is a family of mice on the doorstep waving farewell and copiously weeping crocodile tears into tiny hankies. And grinning behind my back.
Whatever, our murine would-be overlords should be quaking in their bootees, because someone is going to win this war and it is not going to be them. We've tried to be nice, but accommodation hasn't worked: perhaps I should go dust off the flame-thrower.
... Well, that's two down, godnose how many more of the little buggers to go. Found two nibbling the crumbs in the breadboard and promptly picked it up and emptied its contents onto the street - sadly, one parachuted out en route somewhere in the hall - and then, not ten minutes later, hearing rustlings from the paper bag where old baguettes go to dry out before turning into chapelure, sure enough ... another trip out to the street.
And we had a guest last night: a young Irish setter. One of Margo's ladies had to head off to Paris for a funeral on short notice, kennel didn't want to take him, so we wound up with him. Beautiful dog, but thick as pigshit - and I guess that being named "Angie" doesn't help the mess boiling in his pitiful brain - and randy as hell. I swear that as we tried to spend a calm evening slumped in front of the box, watching "Justified", he was performing frottage on anything that'd stay still long enough for him to get his rocks off.
Also, he managed to go up the stairs to the first floor, but apparently hadn't worked out the reverse procedure so I wound up carrying him down. I should probably have been more careful when I picked him up: the base of my back is still giving me twinges. Cue a Health & Safety advisory on how to lift large dogs in a safe and non-threatening manner.
Anyway, a nice cosy night full of dread trying not to brick embedded Linux devices for the SNCF: updating the bootloader, then the kernel and rootfs. The first of these operations is guaranteed to make you resort to the JTAG programmer if it goes wrong, so it's always a stressful moment. Exceptionally, nothing went wrong, which means I can get some sleep.
Begloved as I was, with a scarf around my neck and a greatcoat over my jacket, the cold still sneaked in somehow. So in common with man + dog I made my trip around as quick as possible, and having picked up some more bergamots I repaired rapidly to somewhere warm, aka the Beer Tree.
Quite fond of marmalade, she is. It is also the season for les sanguines, blood oranges, which could also be nice, maybe with some rum, and simmered with a cinnamon stick and some badiane ... I will let you know.
And apparently I have spent the last few weeks with my head under a rock or something because as we inhaled our vitamins and chatted of Beckham's doings Bryan managed to slip in the news about the Titan Tire spat, USA vs France, which has - it seems - pushed horse-burgers off the front pages. It was all news to me, so I lapped it up. And I have to admit that the exchange of poisonously civil letters was a lot of fun.
So once he'd filled me in on that, and we'd discussed all those things that start to get important when you've reached a certain age, such as how young blondes seem to be these days, we bade farewell to the yoof, muffled ourselves up again, and headed off: in my case, off to pick up Margo at Montmelian.
Under normal circumstances this would be a no-brainer, just avoid the autoroute as it's now the February school holidays and today just happens to be the first of the chassée-croisées where one lot are headed down from the mountains and another lot are headed up.
But I do regret the democratisation of GPS. It used to be, back in the day of actual paper maps that you had to unfold and somehow wherever you wanted to be was always on a crease and obscured by a bit of old sandwich anyway, the locals took the back roads and the foreign-type persons would submit to their lot and suffer the traffic jams on the autoroute.
But nowadays every Tom, Dick, and Harry (or more to the point, every Gerhardt, Lars and Hans) will look at the festering cloaca that is on the roads and say "Hey! Why don't we just do a U-turn on the slip-road and take the back roads? The GPS will show us how, and it'll be so much quicker." or something like that, only in Finnish, which means that when you say it it sounds as though you've slit your throat and then stuffed the gap with paper towels so it comes out all guttural and bubbling, also it's not so nice for anyone else in the room.
I, on the other hand, could, and sad to say I really do not appreciate having to share the road at the best of times and when it comes to taking one whole hour to do the 15km from St-Jeoire to Montmelian I have been known to curse from time to time. But I do pride myself that some of them were quite inventive, calling into question not only the ancestry of the Dutch but also their dubious sexual proclivities and excessive use of hair-dye.
Whatever, finally made it back home around 14:00 and have not felt the urge to move since. Probably wise. Mind how you go, won't you.