Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Low-Life Bottom-Feeding Pond Scum ...

I mean, how many people do they catch out? I was out on the terrace enjoying the mild weather and doing my little bit for air pollution and global warning when my phone rang and lo! it was a recording to tell me that my order was waiting in an entrepot somewhere and could I please call back to arrange for delivery?

Doubtless to a premium-rate number where I'd spend ten minutes on hold, having my brain - such as there is left of it - melted with second-rate muzak ... Still, today I am wearing my smily face and so - albeit reluctantly - I shall not send out my crack team of black-ops assassins to terminate the lot of them with extreme prejudice. More reasonably, I shall not wander off to their offices - wherever they may be - and stick pencils into their eardrums, with a hammer. "And why", you may ask, "is this? Please explain, uncle T, because it is most unlike you."

Simply enough, it is because our poele is working. The nice man came around this morning with a new sonde for the exhaust, and so not too optimistically I wired it up and we pushed on the go-tit and it lit up a happy green and lurched into motion. So now it is about 23° in the Great Hall here at The Shamblings™, and we are happy campers. Also, someone is supposed to be turning up this afternoon with about 500kg of wood pellets in buckets, and I shall have to pay him (which makes me a little less happy, but that's life) and on top of it we shall have to find somewhere to store them all.

(As it happens, there is enough room in the garage - without moving the furniture that's been lurking there for more than two years now - to stick 50 10-kg tubs in there. So that's all right then.)

So someone from Zaire is looking up "download swagg notes saying busy bitches" on the great Google, and for some reason that gets them here? My flabber is well and truly ghasted.

Great news: Margo has painted the stairwell walls up at the top of The Shamblings™ and so maybe this weekend we will be able to wallpaper up on the top landing (assuming we don't manage to kill one another whilst we do it, wall-papering is such a stressful activity in my admittedly limited experience) and then move at least one of the great dressers out of the garage - working around the 50 tubs of wood pellets that are now sitting in there - and up there. Which will mean that we can then unpack a couple more boxes, some of those that are right now sitting in our future dining room ... of such little delights is pleasure made.

It turned out that having the poele working at this time was damned good timing - I will not say "planning" - for today it has been snowing. You go halfway across France to find somewhere it doesn't snow, and then what happens?

Any of you lot watching "Out Of The Badlands"? I would recommend it, except that would doubtless turn most of you off immediately - still, manga samurai meets psychotic civil-war plantation owner in a world with more than a hint of Mad Max to it, what's not to like? Also, the costumes are to die for. I want a red leather coat like that. (Mind you, I'd look pretty bloody silly wandering around Moux in it, with a katana slung over my back ... also, to get the full effect I'd have to buy a Harley.)

Watching porn leaves you feeling relieved, but somewhat soiled. Or so I'm told. Me, I look at packaging - when I have my glasses on, anyway - and it has the same effect. I came across this whilst I was getting my solitary chicken curry ready (for Margo has absconded to Montpellier for a few days) and I must admit I'm impressed. Two reasons: a) the people responsible for this miracle probably deserve a Nobel for creating the world's first 100% vegetable chicken (although I'm willing to admit that the only thing that distinguishes a standard chicken from, say, a potato is the feathers, in my opinion) and b) thanks to the draconian truth-in-advertising laws over here in Ole Yurrup, the consumer cannot complain that he/she does not know what's going down their gullets.

That chicken was not fed on scrapies-ridden sheep brains with a side helping of dried shit (only joking, that's what we feed to pigs over here) and prions - nossir! It was sliced off - a turnip! (Well, truth to tell, it doesn't actually say which vegetable on the label. But given the taste, I'd definitely opt for a member of the brassicae.) Incidentally, the invaluable - aka valueless - Whackywedia tells me that the turnip features in the coat of arms of the Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg. Who'd have thought it? So why does no-one have a lettuce on their armorial bearings? It seems rather unfair.

Whatever, after the vague du froid which dumped all of a centimetre of snow on Moux we seem to be rapidly approaching spring. Again. All the almond trees are in blossom, as are most of the savage plums, and the daffodils in various gardens, and today - having better things to do, as usual - I looked out at the sky and thought it was far too good a day to spend inside, and took Indra off for a good long walk (Shaun was dreaming doggy dreams, and fairly obviously had no intention of moving).

I really regretted wearing my jacket. In my defense, I can say that it was "only" 16° out on the terrace (not so bad for what is - technically speaking - the middle of winter), but once you start climbing up into the pinède with the trees around you to block any slight trace of a breeze and the sun beating down, it gets kind of hotter. At least, it certainly feels that way.

Goofed off from work to go off to Montpellier with Bob! the other day to check out the Salon International des Vins Bio. Entrance reserved for professionals, and over 900 exhibitors - including the French business who owns and markets Marlborough Wairau Valley. (I did not know that, did you? But the guy seemed pleased to meet me.)

As each stand had at least ten different wines on offer that makes at least 9000 to taste, which is a hell of a lot to do in an afternoon, even for me. I know, I know - spit, don't swallow - but somewhere in my raddled miserly heart it just doesn't feel right to spit out a sip of perfectly good (in some cases absolutely excellent) wine. And they all fill your glasses with an extremely hearty French-sized mouthful, and it fair makes me cry to have to pour that - less a sip - into a bucket. But drink/drive laws being kind of draconian in Ole Yurrup I did.

As did the serious-looking people in suits - or skirts, for wine-tasting is definitely an equal-opportunity job - wandering around with their notebook or iThingy full of tasting notes, and pockets/manbags bulging with visiting cards.

We did not manage to get round them all - about 40 was our limit. But I must be getting better at this tasting business, or maybe just more confident. We found the Uby (if ever you come across that, get some) and the smell of passion-fruit almost had me on the floor, and there was one 2013 Grenache/Syrah that had me sticking my nose in the glass as far as it would go, so much it smelt of fresh Madras curry powder. Think "spicy" here. (Mind you, still can't tell a chardonnay from a sauvignon. Must practice more.)

And we came across a charming English couple making excellent wine from 7ha of vines up in the Larzac, and I managed a lengthy chat with the charming young woman from the chateau of the book (that would be "Virgile's Vineyard" by Patrick Moon, and a damn sight better than anything by Peter Mayle if you ask me) because they are not in fact fictional, for Virgile Joly is a real vigneron, and they make damn good wine.

As do, oddly enough, the English winemakers, represented by someone from around Hastings (as in the Battle Of). The white was very good, and you have to admire someone who's been making wine in England since 1969.

I did not have my camera, or I would have added a photo of the label of one lot of wine just so that you'd believe me when I say it is actually called "No Sex For Butterflies". I'm still puzzled about that one. Also, the one with the poster reading "Organic Orgasmic Wine". (Did not have time to taste that one.)

In other news, I see that Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, is off to the Vatican. The sub-editors at The Register did their usual twisted hatchet job on that item, and the headline read "Leader of world's biggest religion to meet with Pope".

Mind how you go, now.

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