Monday, September 21, 2015

Where Is My Cow Lunch ...

I'll tell you where: in bloody Indra's stomach, probably mixing with road-kill figs and splattered grapes. My own fault, I guess: having no baguette around and no particular inclination to hop in the car to go get one I hauled some sliced bread out of the freezer (everyone knows that sliced bread is a yardstick, the best thing that ever there was, and this was whole-grain) and put it on the kitchen bench to defrost.

With hindsight, it was perhaps a mistake to not close the kitchen door.

Helping SC: everyone has no doubt seen the article reporting on the homeopathic practitioner's group hug conference in Germany which ended in disorder due to the consumption of pyschotropic drugs. I can only say that it's a good thing they didn't take them in homeopathic doses, or the effects would have been much, much worse.

I guess up in the South you is enjoying the beginnings of spring, with asparagus and everything else that makes life worth living: over in our corner of Ole Yurrup you can tell that summer is drawing to an end. Don't get me wrong, there are still figs on the trees (and the dogs do their best to get the road-kill) and the days are still bright and sunny, but it's pleasantly cool in the moaning when we go off for our trot and in the evenings I tend to put on one of my ancient jackets. And I guess that soon I will be able to consign my single pair of shorts to the tender mercies of the washing machine.

Sometimes I feel like I'm a construction gang, working for a someone with corporate ADD. Thursday you have a conference call with the client, the architect, the CEO and it's all "OK lads, we're going to build the biggest, meanest skyscraper that ever there was, and it will be pink and maybe frilly because that's in our mission statement, and we're going to do it on time and under budget. For once. You hear that? Go, go, go!"

And then, as it might be the next day for instance, you get another call. "Ah, lads. Yerss, that skyscraper. Um, put it on hold. I know you have 5000 cubic metres of cement ready to go, you'll just have to stick it somewhere safe and hope it doesn't go off, and no-one nicks the stuff. The thing is, we have a bijou Stockbroker Tudor residence to do right now, top priority, for Wednesday. Oh, by the way, it's in Aberdeen. Hop to it.".

It is a worriment.

Which is why, right now, I'm faffing about doing some shit that was a few miles up the street on the original development road-map but which has suddenly become urgent, so forget about the leaky sewers. You get my drift.

The other night Julian and his wife came - kinda late- for dinner. They're the ones that bought into the Mayle dream and the bio-dynamic organic vineyard that goes with it ... all 8 hectares of it, scattered about the place. And because it's the first year, and noblesse oblige and all that, they are harvesting by hand - and of course the friends that were going to turn up from England to give a helping hand couldn't ... it's a long, tedious business, let me tell you. Never mind, the end-result could well be worthwhile, let you know in a couple of years.

At some point in the not-too distant future I am going to set off on a mission dear to my heart: I shall load up the tile saw, my trowels, the rubber squeegee and my sponge into the boot of the car, and we shall drive off together into the wilderness, in search of a crevasse. When we have found one that seems sufficiently deep I shall fling the whole damn lot into it, cover it with concrete and then - from a prudent distance - detonate a small-yield tactical nuke just on top.

Yes, you guessed it, I have finished tiling the very last bathroom here in The Shamblings™, and quite frankly if I never see a bloody trowel again it will be too soon. Or if anyone chooses to ask me about such things, they might well find one somewhere unexpected.

I have been having a few problems with email recently: for reasons which escaped me, Thunderbird was refusing to automatically download new messages every however many minutes. It turns out that this is a known bug (No! Really?) which occurs whenever your machine goes into hibernation. Or so it seems, going through the bug lists. The proposed solution, whilst waiting for version 38.3 to come out, is - roll of drums, please - to restart Thunderbird when you wake your machine.

Are they serious? There is another solution, which is to disable automatic upgrades, then download and install version 38.1. It will nag you at least twice a day, saying that there's a newer version available and you really should install that, but I am stubbornly deaf to these siren voices.

Don't think it's just me - there seem to be an awful lot of mobile phone scams going around at the moment. You get a robo-call from an innocuous 09 number which either hangs up as soon as you pick up, or you hear an anodyne recorded message purporting to be from an anonymous Queen/government department of your choice/Donald Trump. So you ring back the 09 number, and you get another message telling you about a knighthood/tax rebate/bridge for sale in Brooklyn, for more information please call 36**.

Which is, of course, a premium-rate number and I'm willing to bet that if you called you'd be invited to push various buttons to get through to the appropriate department and then get stuck on hold with tinny muzak and muffled sniggers in the background until you lost patience. So that'd be €50 down the tubes then.

I ask you, is it wrong of me to want to push the scamming pond-scum responsible into a vat of bubbling tarmac and then poke their eyes out with a blunt instrument, such as a sledgehammer?

Many people have laughed at French "road safety" laws, on the general principle that the French could care more. And let's face it, I myself have overtaken on a solid white line: my excuse being that I was following a tractor doing about 5kph, there was at least 100m of road clear ahead, and quite frankly you have to, don't you? (Back in the days when we got our Frog licences, this was quite acceptable: a case of force majeure. Literally, something more powerful than you made you do it. These days, not so sure if that works. Whatever.)

But nowadays this sort of thing is taken very seriously, to the point where getting behind the wheel with more than two bottles of red under your belt is considered a Bad Thing, and it's getting worse. I guess they're trying to fill the coffers of the state, because not only may you be fined €68 for smoking (as a driver) in a car containing young children - and why the driver puffing away on a weedy roll-yer-own should be fined rather than the child's mother, sitting next to it inhaling a Corona-Corona, is beyond me but never mind that - you may also be fined for listening to music on headphones, looking at a screen (wot, even your bloody GPS of Doom?), eating a sandwich, putting on makeup or looking in the glovebox: even if stationary at a red light or in a traffic jam.

It is still legal to have the car stereo blaring, which is good news.

An interesting food fact if you happen to be into that sort of thing: at Pézenas, a pretty little town a shade south-west of Béziers, you can buy a Pézenas pie. These are, as the name suggests, little pies about the size and shape of an old-style cotton reel, made from a sweet short pastry (in these degenerate times) stuffed with a mixture of minced roast mutton, suet, sugar and lemon peel. So about as close as you'll find to an Olde Englishe mince pie.

The story has it that Clive of India, when he wasn't busy having some of His Majesty's loyal wog subjects slaughtered for failure to pay taxes, introduced them to France (for he stayed at a château not far from the place). Yet another example, were one needed, of the French appropriating English cuisine for their own use.

And there's another thing: I was doing the grouting in the last bathroom the other day - and yes, thanks for asking, the tile saw and the trowels are now interred in the garage. I can't actually chuck them out yet because I still have about six tiles to cut and put down on the top-floor landing, but at least they're out of sight. Anyways, it was a kind of beige, and I couldn't help but think to myself as I squoze it into the gaps "Hey! That is exactly the colour of the inside of a perfectly-cooked foie gras." Maybe I have been here too long.

1 comment:

  1. the homeopathic practitioner's group hug conference in Germany which ended in disorder due to the consumption of pyschotropic drugs. I can only say that it's a good thing they didn't take them in homeopathic doses, or the effects would have been much, much worse.

    Ah, you forget, in homeopathology the diluted version is supposed to have the *opposite* effect from the original concentration. So diluted Aquarust would presumably cause *sanity*.
    Edzard Ernst extracted some LOLs from that, describing the episode as "Homoepaths discover cure for homeopathy".