Monday, May 6, 2013

Twenties Sexy Women ...

Just another of the searches that the great Google sends my way, along with "motor Gaul sex", which kind of perplexes me.

So it was a dull, gray Sunday with nothing to look forward to, after morning mass, ogling the choirboys, doing the dishes and reseating the gaskets on the septic tank, and I was trying desperately to think of things I could do other than all those things I really ought to be doing when it came to me that I had those blood oranges in the fridge, and a tub of mascarpone in the freezer.

At which point, having better things to do, it became obvious that it would be a Good Idea to cover the bottom of one of my silicon cake moulds with a thick layer of cane sugar and cover that with the oranges, peeled à vif as they say, and put some up the sides, then make a custard with the mascarpone and a couple of eggs and some flour (not, perhaps, strictly speaking necessary), sugar and cinnamon and, as Margo wasn't watching, some powdered almonds, pour that over and top the lot off with some slices of pain d'épices before sticking it in the oven for half an hour, before unmoulding it. (Did I forget to mention that I actually had the oven on at the time? You should do that, otherwise the exercise is pretty pointless.)

Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time, anyway, but perhaps children should not try this unsupervised.

I have to admit that no great inroads were made into it at home, cooked oranges not being one of Margo's things and Jeremy was feeling poorly, but I took it into the office the next day and it didn't last more than thirty seconds, Jean-Charles - the photographer next door - being rather partial to sweet things.

Anyway, the merry month of May is now upon us, as we can tell from all the public holidays - which, nicely enough, fall in the middle of the week. Like yesterday, 1st May and so Labour Day: next week Wednesday is the 8 May celebrating the end of the last war, which is conveniently followed the very next day by the jeudi d'Ascension (this is a Catholic country, no matter what they may try to say) which means a three-day week.

Or for most people, a two-day week, as they will all do le pont and take Friday off, reckoning that there's no real point to going back to the office just for one day. Fair enough, I guess.

For some strange reason sleep proved elusive on Saturday morning: normally I have the alarm set for some semi-reasonable hour because otherwise I am quite capable of sleeping through to mid-day, at which point I would leap from bed with an urgent desire for half a baguette only to find that, as I had been asleep, no-one else would have gone off to get one as everyone else in this household seems to feel that bread is some sort of accessory - on top of that the market closes around 12:00, which would mean neither greenery, nor fruit. At which point certain persons would make Pointed Remarks.

Which is not the point, the point is that around 6am I woke, did those usual scratching, mumbling and turning over things that one does whilst wondering if you can possibly catch a bit more sleep before absolutely having to go to the toilet, which is rather odd because I always do that before going to bed and it's not as though I drink in my sleep so how come the bladder is always full at that sort of hour? Just asking - and anyway, I couldn't go back to sleep.

Yes, I managed to doze until 6:30, stirring uncomfortably to check the time every five minutes in case I had actually managed to snooze some more, but it rapidly became apparent that I was wide awake - and not a better man for it, sad to say, for I swore bitterly - and so decided to share the misery by going off and waking up the boulanger and getting a pain au chocolat aux amandes (for me, because I am a sucker for that) and a croissant (for Margo, for she does not like the other things).

When I die, let it be recorded on the credit side of the ledger that I waited for her to wake naturally (I do not sing in the shower, not often anyway) and then brought her coffee in bed, with her croissant, on a plate even. (Mostly because I hate crumbs in bed, I admit.) On the debit side, I'd already been up for an hour and, rather than improving the human condition or whatever, had spent that time lounging disreputably on the balcony dressed only in a very friendly fluffy dressing-gown, swilling coffee, scarfing patisserie, taking oral pleasure with a cigar, and roundly cursing those of our small feathered friends who thought that it was a good idea to chirp.

In any case, I got to the market rather earlier than is my wont, only to discover that the season for green asparagus seems to have ended (anyone who wants those obscenely gross white things is welcome to them, as far as I'm concerned), that the first nectarines have finally arrived on the stalls, as have indeed baby carrots, and that buying a plateau of 2kg of strawberries was some sort of moral imperative.

I must have been out of my mind, I mean what the hell can you do with that quantity of strawberries, even between two consenting adults? Swear, they were only in the car for about three hours, and when I finally got them home and unpacked them the bottom layer was already thinking seriously about a career as soup.

Mind you, the top layer was fine and wound up just getting hulled and sliced in half and tossed in a bowl with some sugar (just enough to encourage the juices to flow, it does work you know) and the rest went into another bowl (yeah, I cut the gross brown bits off the few that really needed that) with more sugar and lemon juice and then into the microwave for ten minutes of full-tit, which has at least changed the problem from "what to do with a kilo of rotting strawberries?" to "what to do with a kilo of strawberry coulis that will go rotten inna week?"

Which at least gives me a few more days to worry about it: more to the point, as it is no longer urgent, it'll be forgotten. Although I do have this idea in mind for a decadently rich chocolate cake held together by nothing more than cream and strawberries, which seems like a good idea to me.

Of course I totally forgot to pick up some limes, probably a good thing really as otherwise I'd have spent the afternoon making lime marmalade rather than getting on to the other things that really need doing ...

And one reason that the strawberries spent so much time in the car is that having stuck them in there with the rest of the loot I swung by Mr B's establishment to get some lamb chops and hampe and some chicken wings which are destined to be deep-fried and then finished off in sauce in the oven, and the road back took me past the Beer Tree and it seemed like a good idea at the time to get some vitamins - at which point Beckham turned up.

She seems to be having her mid-life crisis a wee bit early, poor thing's only thirty and a bit after all, and I have to admit that I really like her idea of a coffee bar/bookshop where you can have a scone seated in a comfy armchair (has to be overstuffed, otherwise not proper) and look out onto a green courtyard: still, I don't know that it would work.

Yes, there's As You Like It, rue du Bras de Fer in Montpellier, there's one whose name escapes me underneath the Bastille in Grenoble and doubtless any number in Paris, but I really am not sure that there's a big enough market in the small, bourgeois, insular provincial town that is Chambéry to make such a place viable, even if you can get your vibrator discreetly serviced out the back whilst you wait.

Whatever, it was a good thing that there was a bit of fortifying alcohol mixed in with the grape juice because when I got home I was tactfully reminded that in three weeks our neighbour and expert Monopoly player Stéphane will be having his fortieth birthday, that we have graciously agreed to let them use the paddock for the occasion, and that it would be a Good Idea, if only so as to avoid the loss of small children to some of whom Emilie is quite attached being as they're hers, if the grass were a bit lower.

So I girded up my loins, as one will on such occasions, went and borrowed the weed-whacker, and took it down to the paddock. Looked at it, it looked back - we seemed to be at an impasse here - and I decided that it seemed unlikely that it was going to give itself the short back'n'sides it so badly needed, and set to work.

Right now, I really regret that. Because my arms seem to no longer belong to the rest of my body, and my right hand is permanently clenched. And my legs are kind of wobbly. But what I really regret is not having the camera with me, and being too filthy to use it in any case, because when I put the infernal machine down for five minutes (just to pull out some more fil, not to have a drink) there was a salamander perched on a big hunk of grass just a metre away behind me, looking curiously at me. (I think I may have sent its mate to an early grave, much regretted and completely unintentional I assure you.)

They really are beautiful creatures, jet-black and gold. And that's the third one I've ever seen in my life, and the third time I've not had the camera on me. Bitch.

Anyway, mind how you go now.


  1. "what to do with a kilo of strawberry coulis that will go rotten inna week?"


  2. how come the bladder is always full at that sort of hour?

    I believe the aliens use their advanced teleportation technology to provide the fluid contents. Either that or a catheter, which you would probably notice.

  3. Sadly, strawberry jam is not one of our favourite insects. Jerry will start eating it and then leave a sad residue at the bottom of the jar for months, and Margo cordially detests the stuff. And there's only so much I can eat.

  4. I don't detest strawberry jam it's just it comes in after raspberry or apricot jam and given I only eat jam about once a week I never get around to having any strawberry jam. Strawberries are best eaten as is with no added sugar, red wine, cream or anything else.

  5. Alison is just looking for an excuse to boast of their own strawberry-themed garden surfeit, and of her husband's skills at jam-making.