Sunday, August 21, 2016

Summer Lawns, Hissing Of ...

Over here in Ole Yurrup it is, as you are doubtless aware, summer-time. It is also and quite incidentally 2016, which means that as the stifling air starts to get that just-baked smell about it around these parts (about 9am) we retreat indoors and, for want of anything better to do, dip into the on-going cluster-fuck that is the American presidential election cycle.

It's an odd thing, I have the best adjectives, the greatest adjectives ever, but I couldn't think of a single one that I really wanted to stick into that sentence, just before "cluster-fuck". Purely out of a sense of decency, and because I actually like words and do not want to embarrass or hurt them. (Also, my fingers are perfectly average in size, maybe the left index is a bit stumpy but nothing to worry about when the Digit Police come around.)

This is France, and so things are more complicated than they need to be. Margo's little MiTo is all organised, and we have but to pay for it. First option, of course, is to get financing through the garage, but then they want your proof of residence, in my case the bilan for the company, plus tax returns unto the seventh generation, and you know what? I can't be arsed.

So I phoned the bank, who have had the privilege to have us as clients for some time now, to arrange a loan, which they are more than pleased to do: apart from a few signatures no paperwork need change hands and on top of it the interest rate is about 1.7% which is, quite frankly, not too bad. The fly in the ointment is that although the cash will land in an account as soon as the bank gets a copy of the bill, I still have to pay the garage at some point. (Unreasonable, but there you are.)

Which means that I have to obtain a bank cheque, rather than a personal cheque, so that I can hand it over tomorrow when we take delivery. In principle there is no difference, there is no way the bank is going to honour its cheque if, somehow, you manage to clean out your account and flee to Bolivia before it gets cleared, but it seems to make people feel more comfortable.

This in turn means that I have to go into a local branch of the CIC to get such a thing, and as it's summer here (see first paragraph) all the people who are actually allowed to sign off on them are on holiday, and the desks are (wom)manned by pimply-faced interns who ask me to please come back in the afternoon, when there is a slight chance that there will be someone competent to handle the matter.

I am not, by my oath, a violent man, but I swear that I am, at times, tempted to perform certain acts which would make even Attila the Nun look shame-faced. The same pimply-faced youth was there when I went back and apparently a) he has a short memory, for I had to go through the whole bloody schtick one more time and b) he has no idea how lucky he is, for he had the culot to tell me "Sorry squire, can't do you one of those: you is with CIC Savoie, down here we is CIC Sud-Ouest."

I swear to god I nearly killed the little bugger on the spot, followed rapidly by an invasion of maggots in the eyeballs of his immediate superiors and then a tactical nuke on Orbiting HQ in Paris, but I refrained. And phoned the garage, and worked out that they would take the money anyway they could get it.

(Incidentally, if that interests you, they have an elderly Rolls Royce Silver Ghost - only it's painted cack bronze, so not quite silver but never mind - in stock, only €22 000.)

So anyway Friday was a big day. We went off and got Sarah's little sister, and then that afternoon I had to take Sarah back to Carcassonne so that the nice mechanics at the Alfa garage could put their hands up her skirts (and as it turns out there's another bit playing up, I has sads) and finally we went off and picked up Waddling Emma.

Who looks, more or less, like this. She's (mostly - well, partly) spaniel and she definitely loves water. To the point of not wanting to have any of it in her water bowl, which involves sticking the muzzle in to drink, then the front paws go in to see if she can't splash it all out that way, finally the hind paws go in too. Water bowl as foot bath. And if all else fails she can always pick it up in her teeth and empty it out.

This makes for a fair bit of cleaning up in the moaning - and, to be fair, at any other time of the day. Also, we have her sister Manon staying with us at the moment, due to Angela and Martin having gone back to the UK to sob about the exchange rate these days go to a music festival.

Both belong to the old school of gnawers, as witness the state of the cross-bar on the wooden table on the terrace. Puppies are why we can't have nice things.

Some people are apparently concerned, to the point of obsession, with emoji - those stupid yellow Pacman heads that sometimes crop up in your SMS, for those of you that are the proud possessors of an ancient Nokia candy-bar and have been living under a rock for the past 20 years (and quite rightly too). The possibility exists for everyone to create their own, and - I quote - “If this is taken to extremes, it could result in entire sets of incompatible emojis that are indecipherable on other platforms,” Jeremy Burge, founder of Emojipedia, told Ars. “That would be a problem.”

Actually, no, it wouldn't. It might - by some stretch of the imagination - be a slight inconvenience to some wankers. Having a thermonuclear bomb detonate over New York - on the orders of POTUS, à la Failsafe - now, that would be a problem (especially for New Yorkers, but maybe they're all actually Woody Allen so who cares). Go get a fucking life, you sad tosser.

And we wrapped up the week  with another manifestation, organised by the comité des fêtes and this time they'd had the brilliant idea for a soirée dégustation. (Well, I say "brilliant" because it all worked out very well indeed, but quite frankly you never know and it might well have been that no-one at all turned up - which would have been a shame.)

They managed to get five of the nearby wine domaines to turn up, along with the guy from St-Couat who makes beer as a sideline (and of whom I have spoken before) and the principle was quite simple: pay 5€ and you get a glass and five tickets, each good for a refill. Pay another 5€ and you get what I personally considered a way-too huge assiette de tapas. Could have sold them for twice the price.

Unfortunately Moux is a bit behind the times and it is felt that serving such things on a slate rather than a plate is edgily trendy, or vice versa. It's not, believe me. They're a pain in the arse to actually serve up, dull the knife, are excessively heavy and are a bitch to clean. Mind you, if you don't happen to have a pizza stone they'll do the job quite honorably.

Be that as it may, the Chateau de Cavailhès, just across the nationale at Montbrun, had a wonderfully spicy nose so I think I just might go get some more of that at some point in the not-too distant future. Also, the domaine des Demoiselles was kind of promising ...

I make all these good resolutions about not drinking any more than is strictly necessary, and then something like this happens. Bitch!

In a fit of more-than-usual stupidity I happened to go past the sports ground this moaning, taking Indra for her bowel exercise, and seeing only Dominic and one other person up there volunteered to help clean up. (Volunteering? I don't do that! Or shouldn't, at my age.) Whatever, didn't hurt too much, and at least I got an invite to a full guided tour of the cave coopérative on Thursday. Which has to be a plus.

Anyway, I'm sure I have better things to do - like go top up my glass - and it is hot, and the puppies are lying out on the verandah having a sleep and it would be nice if they stayed like that for a while, and the Canadairs are droning back and forth overhead because it looks like a fair bit of acreage about 4km east of us is up in flames, so I'll let you get back to your doubtless blameless pursuits.

Think of us as we suffer in the heat, and mind how you go now.

Just a quick PS: what the hell happened to journalism whilst I was out of the room? Or have sub-editors finally evolved to the point where they can do spontaneous sarcasm?

I suppose I should credit for the image and the headline, but it's quite likely that they're already cringing and I can see no point to adding to their humiliation - apart from the purely gratuitous fun and pleasure, I mean.

Also, the answer is, apparently, between 7 and 13 minutes. Reflect on that. 

PPS: don't know if that includes foreplay. Perhaps I should ask the scientists.

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