Sunday, March 15, 2015

Luggage Allowances ...

We are, of course, trying to ensure that Jeremy actually leaves this green and pleasant land, so this sort of thing is somewhat on our minds. Which meant a bit of serious out-of-the-box non-linear thinking, washed down with some extra 5l tubs of Chateau Carton, but we are pleased to be able to announce a solution.

For those of you concerned about such things and yet who still wish to travel with your feathered friends, here in the Kitchen and Gene-Splicing Workshop at The Shamblings™ we have, through bleeding-edge but still entirely legal (or, more accurately, not actually illegal in the strictest sense of the word, at least not now) technology, developed the Carrion Pigeon. At only seven kilos, and flightless, most major airlines will accept it as an item of carry-on hand baggage, and the convenient handle on its back facilitates portage.

To date customer satisfaction inquests (the fact that many customers are currently technically dead is a mere statistical outlier) have been uniformly glowing (please note that there is no radioactive material involved) and the only drawback of any note is the handbag's bird's proclivity for a diet of dead, preferably aged, meat. That, and the smell. On which we are working - I can see no earthly reason why we should not be able to splice in some hungry little deodorant enzymes, such as one finds in washing powder.

But following the advice of our marketing consultants, we can also propose our tasty PopsicleMice, which come in convenient individual pre-frozen sachets and need only 30 seconds in the microwave and two weeks in damp, warm surroundings (a bathroom or hot-water cupboard is ideal) to develop their full flavour. Each is under 100ml, and may thus legally be carried in your purse or man-bag.

Whatever, Sunday did indeed turn out bright and blue and warm, so I butterflied a leg of lamb and rubbed it sensuously with olive oil and salt and herbes de Provence and set it aside whilst preparing a coleslaw, and then I went and vacuumed the terrace and washed down the table and chairs and dusted off the big Weber barbecue, carefully laid out a bed of kindling to receive the charcoal and sloshed everything with petrol before retiring.

We were probably not the only ones thus occupied: the peripatetic curé saw fit to turn up at Moux, as happens a few times every year, so the out-of-tune bells started going mad around 10:30 (I assume, to warn saner people that right now would be a good time to stay in bed) and the elderly and decrepit started flocking in. Kind of like zombies, attracted to a shopping mall.

I suppose that eventually the sermon wound down, for most of them trooped out again and then, with surprising rapidity place St-Régis was completely empty, innocent of people and cars, as everyone headed off to have a decent Sunday lunch with Gran. (Who, despite being to all appearances somewhere in the vicinity of 103, had doubtless been slaving over it since Saturday morning.) There were a couple of cats, soaking up the sun, and ourselves.

Once upon a time there was a bar in Moux: it closed down a while back now, apparently not due to any lack of patronage but simply because the owners had had enough and couldn't find anyone to take it over. The building belongs to the municipalité, and so it's been gathering dust for at least five years. But the current administration decided that having a bar-restaurant in the village would be rather nice, and so having been renovated at some not-inconsiderable expense by the mairie, it's due to reopen in May - assuming, of course, that they find someone to take it on.

It's all been redone: the kitchen's up to EU standards, a cold room for storage has been installed, the salle has been retiled and redecorated from top to bottom and they've even opened up an access to the little shady terrace out the back for those hot summer days. So if you know of anyone who wants to work themselves into the ground with cooking and serving in the south of France, café Réné (for I am assuming it will be named after M. le maire) could be theirs.

(Mind you, when the place does eventually open the name will probably be chosen by a committee and big letters will announce Le Bar du Coin, from which, to general hilarity, the letter "i" will fall in the first few weeks. At which point we shall have no choice but to inhale our vitamins at Le Bar du Con. Just saying.)

Preparations are getting ahead for shipping out the First-Born Son, and I am arming myself with screwdrivers and a socket set because, as I am peripherally involved with computers, I am deemed competent to knock his down into its component parts so that they may travel with him. (Basically, motherboard, video card and hard drive: the case and power supply he can replace when he gets there.)

Actually, as I write he has in fact left. Before leaving the house we triple-checked the possession of passport and various tickets (because certain persons have been known to request a quick return trip to the house to pick up just such an item which apparently got left on the table or something) and headed through to Narbonne, where we decanted him onto the TGV.

There were still opportunities for Mr. Cockup (to whom we try not to be at home) to make an appearance: there was the hour's wait at Lyon for the TGV through to Charles de Gaulle, and then of course there are all the possibilities of losing oneself in the terminals there ... but last we heard the luggage was checked in and he was about to have a last fag before going into the departure lounge.

The worst that could happen now is that he manages to get himself locked in a loo during the stopover at Dubai, or maybe bitten by a particularly venomous cane toad in Australia, but that's out of our hands now. We have done our bit, ensured that he's left the country.

Which seems to not please the dogs, Indra in particular. As The Shamblings™ is still very much a work in progress he was sleeping on a mattress on the floor in our future dining room, and Shaun very much enjoyed the ease with which he could heave himself onto the bed ready to give one of those ear-licks which are essential to starting off the day in the right manner. Indra just seems to assume that if a bed is there then it and its occupant(s) are there for her convenience and pleasure: a refreshingly simple point of view but not, I feel, one that Jerry really shared.

Whatever, although today it is gray and raining sullenly, yesterday was fine (truth to tell, we had a lovely week, even if the blossoms did get knocked about a bit by the tramontane) so buying strawberries and asparagus at the market was pretty much a moral imperative and then, although my intentions are always good and one of these days we will get around to having a vegetarian meal once a week (start off easy with a butternut curry perhaps, and work our way slowly up to the dreaded nut cutlets), we are carnivores at heart so a quick trip to visit a couple of butchers was a necessity.

What I'm trying to say here is that those strawberries are not going to hull themselves, nor is the poitrine fraîche that called out to me going to jump into a ziplock bag with salt, sugar and herbs without a bit of assistance, so I am going to go look after our bodily needs. Enjoy autumn, won't you?

PS: Jerry arrived more or less on schedule, albeit apparently smelly and minus the bottle of wine he'd bought for the Elder One - the Australians wouldn't let it through, for some reason. (Mind you, what can you expect from a country that elects a Tony Abbott as PM? Collectively they have to be more than a few twigs short of a bundle.) And I was kind of hurt because it seems he cooked dinner on arrival: something he has never done for us, dismissing the concept with a flippant "You want me to cook? Put me in a professional kitchen". I guess Nyarlathotep is better kitted-out than we.

No comments:

Post a Comment