Down at one of the local supermarkets (in fact, at all of them, but I'm thinking of Intermarché in particular for reasons which will, as Zappa remarked, become obvious later in the song) there is a rayon holding most everything required to support the lifestyle of an expatriate English-thing. Bovril, Hovis, Marmite, water crackers, Roses' marmalade and Robinson's jam, HP brown sauce and peanut butter, authentic English curry mix and digestives - you name it.
Amongst other things, our mission statement here at The Shamblings has a paragraph stuck away somewhere in an appendix which says (and I quote) "Try to be more helpful". I cannot for the life of me think how that got in there but never mind: in an effort to live up to our lofty ideals I can only say that if you're looking for the present for the significant other in your life I don't think you could do much better than this.
Been having fun recently as I have my first coffee of the day, out in the sun on the terrace, for at the southern corner of our little place, where rue Ferdinand Théron meets rue de la Liberté as they both arrive, there stood a pretty, innocent, doubtless happy if somewhat rustic benitier - a font, to you.
Which does take a while, especially as the work has to be inspected every time, and comments must be made as to the magnitude of the task ahead ... two days later the idiot nephew, staggering under the weight, heaved the thing into the back of the truck and I, innocently, assumed that that was the end of the entertainment.
The truck in which the thing had been carted away turned up again two days later at the door of the church, and with much heaving and groaning it (not the truck, just to be quite clear) was installed and cemented into place - although godnose where they thought it might run to. And the next morning the same dream team turned up at the corner, again, with a huge block of stone about a metre high and 50cm on a side, and proceeded to wrestle that into the spot where the font had previously stood.
Work went quicker that day, for it was not as fine and sunny and the passing citizenry of Moux seemed less inclined to stop and chat, and by the evening the deed was done, and the monolith was firmly and rather definitively in place, secured by lashings of concrete just in case someone took it into their head to steal the thing. And I note that once again, the neighbours cannot open their window.
I don't often go buying clothes for pleasure, but when one's last-but-one pair of jeans rips across the crotch (don't ask) and the remaining pair is looking kind of strained across one buttock then someone around here makes Pointed Comments (I was spared the Meaningful Looks) along the lines that another pair or two would perhaps be a welcome addition to my wardrobe (aka where the cats sleep). Also, it starts to get breezy down below. So I made an effort, going so far as to trek from one side of Carcassonne to the other in search of a denim emporium with something in my size.
The third pair seemed fine until I tried them on, only to find that they had an elasticized waistband, and I am not yet ready for that. I have enough problems already with the yoof sniggering at my zimmer frame. And it was during six abortive visits to the changing cubicle (that's cabine d'essayage in Frog by the way, should ever you find it necessary to ask) that I discovered that the French (or European) size 36 is actually used for two US sizes: 28" and 30". What's a couple of inches between friends?
Just to give you an idea of the moral bankruptcy of these times, or perhaps of the particularly degenerate - even for France - culture in which we now find ourselves immersed, even the cave cooperative at Lézignan offers a fidelity card to its customers. It seems an unnecessary incitement to drink, if you ask me, but I suppose that competition is rife these days.
Could I just say that if you've nothing better to do, are planning a dinner for four, and can acquire 600gm of beef fillet without taking out a second mortgage, you could do worse than follow that which I am about to recount. But do try to get the fillet cut from the centre: the tail is too thin, and at the head you will spend some time removing the silvery sinewy bits, which the butcher will not do for you because there goes his profit margin.
When the meat's cooked take it out of the oven and put it under tinfoil to rest for five more minutes to settle: this gives you just the time required to make up a bastard sauce béarnaise to which you could usefully add a glop of tomato purée, or a tsp of concentrate (but please, not ketchup!) to turn it into a sauce aurore. (Named after rosy-fingered Dawn, I guess. Rather than light-fingered Edith, the pick-pocket. And no, it was never named after some famous nineteenth-century prostitute renowned for her hand-jobs. Some recipes, yes, but not this one.)
Then pour the béarnaise over the top and stick under a very hot grill for five minutes or so (the time to get a salad ready) until the sauce is browned and blistery: serve and enjoy. This is a bastard dish: without the duxelles it would be a simple filet de boeuf Rossini, with them, but sans the foie gras, it is filet de boeuf Charlemagne. Whatever. It's kind of delicious, and it's been a while since I made it.