Sunday, March 8, 2015

Another Conversation With A Kid ...

Hey Dad!

Yeah, hi.

No, seriously.

Yeah. You want more money, I guess. Don't have any. (Where the hell does a cat keep its credit cards, anyway?)

No - well yes - Swiss bank account, they are very understanding and you are in fact the nominal account holder, nothing to worry about at this point in time there is no drug money going through that one  - but there are no more kitty kibbles!

Yeah. I thought you were looking fat. You considered cutting down on the carbs? You mean I can pull your totally non-cartel-related cash out?

Not my fault! I am not fat cat! No!!

Yeah, right. Damn. So your problem is?

That bitch (technically speaking) Indra got up onto the freezer - you know, where you thought she couldn't climb - and ate them all! None left!

You now have my undivided attention, until something sparkly comes along, but I get the feeling that I am not going to like this. Please be more clear.

Well, the kitty food dispenser is now lying on the floor, Indra has hoovered up its contents, and dipshit Shaun is wandering vaguely around hoping there's something for him in there. If you like I can convince him to go upstairs and piss on your paperwork, or you could just clean up the mess and give me more kibbles.


There are those, it seems - usually far from the countrycide - who look upon the peasantry with misty eyes and gushy gooey thoughts, seeing them as noble specimens, defenders of Nature and no doubt in harmony with the music of the spheres. I am not one of them: in my experience your average peasant is a surly son of a bitch and his attitude to the land to which he may or may not actually have title (because it's not because a peasant is tilling the soil that the soil being tilled is in fact his, it might just be otherwise unoccupied) is that if he wants to fertilise it with toxic waste then he bloody well will.

The French being, in their hearts, peasants to a non-gender-specific person, thus regard the green and pleasant fields as theirs to do with as they wish: which probably goes some way to explaining the impromptu rubbish tips that spring up overnight. It's not that I mind as such, it's just that I have problems persuading Shaun not to eat the huge pile of cigarette butts that have been tipped out of a car onto the side of the road, nor to chew of the espresso capsules - red, gold, green and brown - that put the crocuses to shame.

I am not one to let a recipe go unmolested, so when I came upon two recipes in the same post it seemed only reasonable to combine them. The first was for little rolled Chinese-style fritters, and the second for pork'n'shrimp toast, so it was fairly obvious that it would be a Good Idea, when making the pancakes for the first, rather than just spread them with sesame oil and chopped chives or spring onions, why not spread a good tablespoon of the minced pork and shrimp over them before rolling them out into cigars, rolling those onto themselves to make spirals (as the French so endearingly call them, "les escargots") and then flattening them out somewhat and frying them.

As it turns out, it actually turned out to be a good concept - well, Margo liked it, anyway, and I'll eat anything not involving (insert list of out-of-favour foodstuffs here, starting with tripe) - and not one of the brain-farts that sometimes happen in the kitchen here at The Shamblings™. So you could probably try that.

The eldest son has evacuated his apartment and is - it seems - squatting a sofa at the neighbours until Monday, when he should get his final pay cheque and sign the documents to the effect that he is leaving their employ: Margo is not willing to share a sofa with Jeremy, and so is spending the next few days with our friend Mad Karen, in her nunnery at Seyssel. And today it is the first wedding anniversary for her and the long-suffering Philippe, who I think has done very well putting up with her for so long - and vice versa, of course.

It is apparently traditional on this occasion, so I suggested mildly to Margo that she nick a bogroll from one of the many toilets in the place, stick a ribbon around it and present it as a gift at the dinner table: a suggestion that was treated, I'm sad to say, with the contempt that it doubtless deserved.

You probably recall Donny Rumsfeldt's dictum that "Shit happens". Such as, it might be, deleting all the photos from your camera's memory card before you've copied them over to the PC? Just such a shit happened to Margo, and of course it would be photos of a quilt in progress that she needed to write up an article. Go Google "SD card photo recovery" and the Chocolate Factory will serve up any number of links.

The SD card was a Lexar, and they offer a trial (recover only three files) of their recovery software which signally failed so it's probably a good thing I didn't actually pay for that: there's also a thing called, would you believe it, "Recuva" which trundled away for a bit and said it had recovered everything and it had indeed created some .jpg files which were, sadly, totally unreadable.

Finally tried something called PhotoRec, which has a user interface which will please all aficionados of the command-line interface but no-one else, and it did the job with a minimum of fuss and bother. It works by scanning free sectors for file signatures, and sadly it does not have a signature for the .CR2 files that Margo's little Canon EOS uses, so she didn't get the raw files (which publishers evidently prefer) but at least the .jpg files were all back. Recommended.

Over here the tramontane is blowing, as it will at this time of year, and so rough winds are definitely shaking the darling buds of - uh - March. But it's supposed to die down over the next few days, and I is planning maybe on the first barbecue of the year on Sunday.

In a tragic, vaguely wine-related incident involving two cars and a pair of jumper leads in the middle of a vineyard, Peter the real-estate agent managed to put his leg out. (Don't ask, OK?) Any sane man would have headed off to the clinique at Narbonne to get it looked at, but not he. Being made of sterner stuff, he immediately booked himself on a Lyin'Air flight from Carcassonne back to whatever dismal hole in England he calls home, there to throw himself upon the tender mercies of the bloody NHS.

Godnose why, I'd have thought that even the prospect of giant garlic-flavoured suppositories morning, noon and night for a week would have been better than a six-month waiting list just to actually see a doctor, but I am apparently mistaken.

(It also turns out not to be the case that French nurses are incredibly sexy soubrettes, along the lines of Yvette from 'Allo 'Allo. You want that sort of thing, go watch Benny Hill re-runs. I'll wait until your brains have run out your ears.)

Whatever, time to go. There is a large bundle of baby asparagus in the kitchen - a fruit which Jeremy has decided he rather likes, sad to say - and strawberries in the fridge, which need hulling and slicing, at the very least.

But I would like, if I may, to leave you with a profound philosophical thought from the Cookie Monster, delivered as he was musing in an art gallery (yeah OK, so YouTube does have some use): "What was the best thing before sliced bread?"