Sunday, July 28, 2013

Eating Crow ...

Edgar, in fact, or so I'm told. But I shall call him Edgar Allen Crow for short, and because it's more fun. In case you're wondering, Edgar is a juvenile crow, doubtless a rejeton from the flock that seem to inhabit the church, and thanks to an unfortunate childhood now believes that he's a person. He first came to our attention when he hopped up onto the balcony and sat there disconsolately until a young woman came to the door to ask if we'd seen Edgar (and this is how I know his name), at which point I picked him up and carried him out to her.

Sadly, he took this as a sign of affection, and has appeared every evening since. Not actually quothing anything, but he can be a bloody nuisance. He likes to eat and drink (maybe that's just because wine glasses are shiny! sparkly!) as he walks about on the table, and to perch on your shoulder and go to sleep. Which is all very well, cute and all that, but he tends to get a bit irritated when you decide that it's time to go to bed, and that crows do not form part of your sleeping arrangements. Also, he craps down your back occasionally, very charming but not so good if you don't notice at the time and wear the same shirt the next day to a client meeting.

Whilst I think of it, may I suggest that you not use my personal e-mail until I let you know? We are still waiting for the miracles of the intartoobz to arrive here at the Shamblings, and you can probably imagine my delight when I got a mail last night from Orange to tell me that, contrary to what I had organised, hoped, and believed, my old e-mail account had been cancelled along with the phone line.

Then, when I arrived home this moaning, after a delightful five-hour drive floating along down the middle of a steaming sewer of tourists, I found a number of letters from Orange awaiting my attention: one of them informing me of the resiliation total of my old accounts, another welcoming me to the serried ranks of Orange users along with my new access codes and e-mail address, and a third advising me of the availability of a charming young woman named Julia, and would I like to install Orange Anti-Virus?

So I spent ten minutes on hold, and twenty minutes fulminating, with someone who may, for all I know, have been Julia, who gave me some hope that once the actual cable guy comes round and connects the phone that just maybe I might be able to get in touch with tech support and that they could perhaps be willing to give me back my old address, with a wave of their magic wands. Who knows, could work. And the fact that they were actually answering the support lines on a Saturday afternoon has to be a good sign, no?

Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself here. If you are reading this you are probably aware that we successfully dumped, over the course of a week, a goodly percentage of our affairs here - although for reasons unknown, some of the essential stuff, like my saucière, seems still to be lurking in Sue's Garage back in St Pierre - and that we duly managed to turn up for the fête de village on Saturday night.

But then on Sunday I headed back up to Chambéry for a week's work, tidying my desk and stuff like that, cloning my work machines and wrapping up a few other details: not that that's anywhere near finished mind you, as witness my experience with Orange. At least the insurance and EDF went smoothly.

And then I dragged myself from sleep at 4am the following Saturday, clicked my talons once or twice around some coffee until I felt more or less human, and drove back down, hoping to miss a) the rush, and b) the heat. And that time, apart from a sticky moment at the northern Montpellier péage, it actually worked. Bloody miracle.

I had most of a week at what I'm starting to learn to call home, and our friends Janet and Kevin turned up from Italy in their camper-van, which made a good occasion to baptise the brand-new barbecue. Margo had gone off and bought the biggest cast-iron one she could find: nowhere near as big as the one we had in the garden, but should be enough for at least a leg of lamb. Suppose I shall find out tonight, as we are supposed to be having an English couple round for dinner, and I just happen to have a bit of NZ lamb waiting to be butterflied ... there's also some mascarpone and some rather tired strawberries in the fridge which would like to become dessert, and as we went out this morning to stock up on Chateau Carton I couldn't help but buy a jar of gelée de romarin, for which I shall have to find a use. Smells bloody wonderful, anyway. Concentrated rosemary.

Also took the time to wander about a bit - not that difficult, Moux is not exactly what you could call a sprawling metropolis - and stumbled into Chateau Mansenoble. Run by a charming couple of Belgians who came here some twenty years ago, and who very generously insisted on my tasting a bit of everything. I am not, as a general rule, one to go on about bouquets and the nose and all that sort of thing - mainly because I know sod-all about it - but I can honestly say that the 2010 had a wonderful smell of blackberries and figs. On the other hand the 2008, aged in wood, was still fermé and a bit too tannic for my taste - if ever I get some I shall have to put it away for a few more years.

There's also the Cave Cooperative de Moux, which makes an excellent plonk in red, white and rosé - that's what was dished out so liberally at dinner the other night. Not the same standard - nor the same price either - and personally I think it's a shame to be drinking red wine at this time of year, but the white and the rosé are perfectly passable.

So once James has worked his magic and we have our chambres d'hôte up and running, we shall at least be able to supply those of you that decide to come and visit with some decent local wine.

Whatever, had to head back to Chambéry on Thursday for a client meeting at Miqro: much to my deception the actual client wasn't present as everything was done by conference call, so I could easily have participated from here. Never mind, gave me Friday to go off to Lyon and see another client, and then to load little Suzy as full as I could of stuff from Sue's (including one huge box enticingly labelled "kitchen", but in which I did not, sadly, find my other saucepans) before driving back Saturday morning.

Which is where you came in.

Another fête last night - la nuit de la Poésie, an excuse for a meal and a booze-up if you ask me. I avoided the poetry bit because, as they say, people who read their own poetry in public may have other nasty habits, but the jazz wasn't half bad. And the meal, if indifferent, was the occasion to meet more people. But I piked out around dessert - no great loss, industrial packs of fruit salad don't really do that much for me - and headed home to some sorely-needed sleep.

Anyway, this lamb is not going to cook itself, so I'd better get busy, I guess. More later, when I no longer have to rely on the vagaries of Bouygues Telecom and an increasingly temperamental phone for my internet access.

30/07/13 at 14:13

Bonus update, also free and totally gratis: WE IS HAS INTERNET AGAIN! So here are some photos for your viewing pleasure.


  1. Not actually quothing anything

    I believe it is ravens that quoth stuff; poor Edgar is probably quite confused by your unrealistic expectations!

  2. I imagine he is waiting for you to provide a pallid bust of Pallas.

    With a title like "Eating Crow", I was expecting recipes.