Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Very Shambling Christmas ...

Something a bit more comfortable ...
 ... with NO ZOMBIES. Honestly, I am sick up to here with zombies. Shambling around, no skin tone - not that I have anything against the grey-coloured, on some things it looks good - no dress sense and limbs dropping off randomly: honestly, you'd think they just didn't care. Just let everything go, that's what it is: a complete abdication of personal responsibility.

Also, just between us, they smell. Fair enough, it's not always easy to mask the aroma of decaying flesh, but still - could make a bloody effort just once in a while. Like when you have to go off to the Post Office, f'r'instance.

That'll be a kilo of snails to go ...
As one will from time to time, to complain about the tardy delivery of mail down here, and the fact that you have to go pick up that palette of depleted uranium in the back of the car because for some pettifogging bureaucratic reason they won't deliver to the doorstep - some nonsense about Health & Safety - or just to check that the pension payments for Auntie Mabel (deceased) and the rest of the cousins on that side of the family (also deceased, sad to say; an unusual accident - the coroner actually used the word "incredible", which is kind of flattering -but then god apparently moves in mysterious ways) have indeed come through.

But do they? Bloody bogroll they do. As a general rule the undead vital-sign deficient and I get on well enough - each to his own, I say, and if someone has to change into a bat each evening and suck a virgin (for preference) then I'm not one to judge - but you have to draw a line somewhere. And I'm sorry, but eating brains is right out. They can't even be arsed frying the damn things in beurre noir, just goes to show how much they care.

Actually, what I had the intention of writing about was how much I know you've been waiting eagerly for the seasonal State of the Nation report charmingly illustrated by the amusing antics of our friendly woodland folk and the Playmobil Racist Front.

I have a confession to make: when we left St Pierre it was in kind of a rush and we didn't actually have that much room, I know we said something about coming back up in a few weeks but you know how it is, time just flies by and I'm sure they're happier up somewhere they know ... To be quite honest, we don't have them around any more.

Not that we abandoned them, that would not be good: let's just say that we thought it was a good idea to let them find their own personal space, develop fully and find themselves, you know. I think we even sent them a letter to that effect at one point: at least I'm pretty sure I can remember us writing a letter, although I cannot swear that we put a stamp on it. Not that that should make any difference, the Post Office is a bloody public service or supposed to be, not that you'd know it from the lip they give you if you so much as mention the fact that the alligator was poorly when you got it and it clearly said on the packaging not to hand-feed. Or not to feed it hands, can't recall, it was a while back.

Anyway, it was unsolicited junk-mail from Nigeria and I can hardly be held personally responsible for their approximative grasp of written English, now can I? Hardly my fault if the postmistress invited the kiddies from the primary school in that day for "work experience", or whatever they call it these days. And I can't see what that has to do with them signally failing in their obligation to deliver a letter entrusted to their care.

A word to the wise, if you know what I mean: should ever you come visit us, there are tables, for godssake: put your glass on one of them and do NOT stick the damn thing on the floor. Unless, of course, you like to share. But even were that to be the case I suspect you'd rather not share with Shaun the Dog, who seems to have developed a taste for red wine.

As Bryan found out last night. Sad to say, Margo does not believe in milking a situation for all it's worth and felt obliged to let him know before he took another swig, which I personally find a shame.

It seems we have been nice rather than naughty, for only yesterday we received not one but two visitations: Cédric The Destroyer and his little helper Gordi turned up to finish demolishing the first floor bathroom, and André appeared to finish off the bathroom in my office!

And as I'd put in a herculean effort over the weekend, tiling the floor and the shower, sticking in the grouting and the silicone, Bryan gets his own bathroom which at least means that we will not be martyrised at midnight by his prostate.

Sadly the huge old radiator in the office does not in fact work: André got it hooked up and it started to dribble persistently. At some point in its voyaging it must have been scraped on a rough surface, which was just enough to damage the brazing ... who'd have though that fonte d'acier would be so delicate?

We also got spoilt as both Cédric and André bore gifts - partly, I suspect, to apologise for the slow advancement of the work - and we got wine and pâté and goat's cheese in olive oil and cassoulet and some decent foie gras. As if we didn't have enough of the stuff: I'd already made one lot and had just finished cooking another which is even now maturing in the fridge.

Not so sure about the jar of cassoulet either, although I have to admit that it's at least a more manageable quantity than I made, which involved 500gm (dry weight) of dried haricots Tarbais and about one and a half kilos of diverse meat.

Or maybe I have been naughty, or at least not as nice as I thought, for my little Linux laptop chose today to go titsup on me, with bad disk sectors and, when I look at the logs, the CPU temperature getting up into the 80s. I get the funny feeling that the fan is not working. Bitch.

Yes, I have backups of course, for the source code anyway - which reminds me that one of the external hard drives also seems to be failing, so I must copy all that onto another two - but if it does crash and die in a spectacular fashion I shall be really, really pissed off because then I shall have to get another machine, reinstall everything, cross my fingers and hope for the best. And all this in only 24 hours, for of course all the clients have buggered off on holiday and are expecting to find a delivery on their desktops at the start of January ...

Still, I've been through worse - like the time I wiped out the general ledger run back in the days when I was technically engaged as an operator at the PNCC. That really screwed up my weekend.

Mind you, that was back in the days when I was a DINKie (that's Disposable Income, No Kids, to you) and still had weekends, and interesting things to do with them. Nowadays I do have disposable income, and The Shamblings is a kid-free zone, but the notion of spare time is one that I find an interesting concept. Heard of it, but not often come across it.

Except for right now, when we are all profiting from Saturnalia to indulge in traditional excess, bloat, and general doziness. After the cassoulet and then last night's little effort with coquilles St-Jacques à la nage, a light salad and a steamed lemon pudding to follow we tried to be more restrained today.

Which means that when Neville and Reets turned up bearing gifts around 11am this moaning I was only onto the first glass of white for the day.

Thankfully Margo, Bryan and the retards turned up not too long afterwards so we were not obliged to drink alone, and I retreated into the kitchen to look after the roast leg of lamb, the potatoes and kumara, and the brussells sprouts: good thing Margo got the pavlova ready ahead of time.

And on the brighter side, we're managing to get through a lot of the more elderly bottles in the collection. I must admit that the '95 Cotes de Nuits was definitely drinkable, and the '98 Maltoff from Coulanges-la-Vineuse was still alive. Another three bottles to go, and I'll have nothing left from the last century.

Whatever, a Hairy Gristlemouse and a very Furry New Bear to you all: mind how you go, now.

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