In a recent Blinding Flash Of Inspiration™ leading to a technological advance which is destined to improve the lives of millions, I have discovered that the humble dishwasher is a useful tool for the breadmaker. In no way do I wish to suggest that you should use one to go from whoa! to go! as it were (for one thing, the temperature's far too low for successful baking, unless you are an unconditional fan of Runny Stodge, one of Nature's deservedly neglected food groups) but for proving dough, it is perhaps unsurpassed.
After everything's gone through and the drying cycle is done, it is still warm and humid in there - just perfect for yeasts.
The thing is, beer from the fridge is, as God intended it to be, cold: which is good for drinking, not quite so good for encouraging yeast to do its thing. Under normal circumstances I would have just stuck the bowl with the flour/yeast slurry into the microwave on defrost for a minute, but I'd used a metal mixing bowl and that would probably not have been a good idea. And it was at about that time that the dishwasher beeped at me, in its happy monomaniacal way, to let me know that it had licked the plates and finished digesting our leftovers - and a great idea was born.
After the Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie on Monday, to see what they had to say about my status, I headed off to an accountant, as one will: one that they'd more or less recommended. Oddly enough, for as a general rule accountants are down there at the bottom of the food chain along with trodden-in dog turds on the carpet in my opinion, I rather liked him. "Hie thee" he said, "to a notaire, but make sure you get a price out of him upfront. They're conniving skinflint bastards."
Whatever, as one will from time to time, I had to go off and renew my driver's licence, which naturally enough involves a medical checkup. Nothing too complicated, just counting to make sure I have a full complement of arms, legs, and the other basics ... so I turn up in at the appropriate address in Carcassonne with the four ID photos, blood tests, power bill and whatever, and get in line. Not too sure that I ever wanted, in fact, to get to the head of the line, because the woman behind the desk looked like she bit the heads off chickens for pleasure, which leaves me wondering what her job involves.
Which is about as seedy as you'd expect, given that apparently every visitor to the building is directed in there and have only five minutes to do their business because Hey! There are others waiting out here you know! and in any case, it's a funny thing but you never can actually piss on demand. I did try, I strained and heaved, but there was nowt to be done and that strip remained resolutely dry.
From the weary look I guessed I am not the only person he'd met that couldn't wet themselves to save their life, and five minutes later, once we'd agreed that I can't see worth a damn close up without my glasses, and that my blood pressure could be lower, I was out of there.
And whilst we're on the subject of renewals, I had to go off and renew my NZ passport, given that it expired a few years back. (Remember the days when they were good for 15 years or whatever? Like when your driver's licence was good "for life"?) And so it came to my attention that I could do it all online, no more hassle downloading and printing some enormous PDF file, then filling it in and posting it off to what you hoped was the right address - for over here we has three to choose from, between the embassy in Paris (wrong!), the High Commission in London (maybe wrong) and Internal Affairs in Wellington (usually right).
(Incidentally, the nice man from DHL dropped it of at the door yesterday morning. Such efficiency! But why is it that NZ passports have really cheap plastified cardboard covers that curl up of their own accord? For the money you pay, you'd think they could have done something better than that.)
And then, as the yeast mixture was bubbling nicely I thought it was probably about time to tip in the anis seeds and stir that about before adding the rest of the flour and the raisins and the honey ... you get the picture, I suppose: two identical stainless steel bowls on the bench, each containing a healthy dose of thick liquid - guess which one got a teaspoon of anis in it?
In other news, which will interest absolutely no-one apart from terminally minutiae-obsessed geeks, I am obliged, nay! constrained, to follow MISRA coding rules for Schneider. You probably don't want to know but I shall go ahead and tell you anyway, these are a set of standards laid down by the great and good (read "petty-minded, anal-compulsive, and unemployable") to which your C code must conform. Many of them are purely stylistic and, like dead yeast left in beer, at least do no harm: a good number of them are best-practice and I have no problem with that, but whichever committee sat down and wrote the bloody thing evidently had a deep, undying collective hatred of pointers.
Yes, I can see the original worthy point of the exercise: the idea is that by eliminating the use of possibly risky constructs (such as multiple exit points from a procedure, the use of goto, stuff like that) the resulting code is more easily proven correct. (I recall that back in the 80s the UK DoD sank millions into an effort to develop a provably correct microprocessor, the VIPER chip. After a while, the maths at the base of it all - the mechanically provable correctness - turned out to be wrong. Shame, really.) But, my point is, there is a cost to all that.
Not, I admit, much of a problem when you're writing for a PC or a tablet or even a phone, most of which have CPU cycles to spare, more RAM than you can shake a stick at, and more sheer computing power than the NSA back in the 90s - but we are talking here about embedded systems with a teeny, underpowered and above all cheap processor that is supposed to run off the smell of an oily rag. Somewhere along the line here, Schneider has chosen a very large and possibly inappropriate hammer to smash a very small nut.
Mind you, that's just my opinion, and I'm pissed off. Yours may differ. If it does, I'm not sure I really care that much.
Some were ripe enough to have fallen to the ground: no-one seemed to have been inclined to go pick them up, possibly (in the case of the general public) because of the dire warnings posted prominently about the consequences of crossing the tracks rather than taking the passage souterrain. I still have my SNCF gilet de securité somewhere about but I wouldn't try picking them either, given where the toilet waste from the train carriages goes. Have to admit they did look very healthy, well-fertilised tomatoes.
I passed. Organic's all very well, but one must draw a line somewhere.