Saturday, April 29, 2017

Watership Down ...

Not, sadly, The Shamblings™
And there came to be a great slaughtering and an evisceration of bunnies, yea! and even of chickens, and there was much wailing and lamentation, for it was Easter and those things made of chocolate were between a rock and a hard place ...

Not being a religious person, once I'd bitten the head off my little Lapindor and devoured it, branes and all, I took the camera out for a little walk, which turned out to be about 14km (I had not really planned on that): approaching the chateau la Baronne from the arse-end (where the imposing gates are inexplicably absent, there's just a few tractors and a pair of gumboots) I accidentally strolled through their gardens, admiring the pineapples, before coming to my senses and making a quick exit before someone decided to pull out the WW I artillery piece that serves as a shotgun. Shit happens, and I hereby extend my profuse apologies to the Lignère family (who just happen to own the place).

Still, I might have been let off with just a warning for a first offense, or even invited in for a drink, for our friend and neighbour Johann takes Widdling Emma out that way most days, and she is known in the vicinity. Especially to the elderly Dr. Lignère who apparently haunts the chateau, so I guess I'd probably get away with it. Anyway, it's not really trespassing so long as you don't nick any olives.

What proper blue sky looks like
And one more thing ... the Friday before Easter the shelves at Carrefour were laden with every conceivable variety of eggs, chocolate bunnies, chickens, you name it. The Tuesday after lundi de Paques - one little tray of sad-looking Lapindor, who seemed to realise that they were condemned to the slaughter but, being rabbits, were not going to do anything about it. I can only guess that Carrefour negociates extremely attractive - from their point of view - sale or return terms with their suppliers.

Sniff, sniff, waily waily and I has sads, for today is the last day of the proper asparagus season - after which there will be but dried-up stuff from Spain (which is usable, if you're not fussy) and maybe a few huge fat white things, which are inedible whatever might be their provenance.

So I bought a kilo from my trusted supplier at the Carcassonne market, and most shall be roasted with olive oil and a bit of sea salt on tomorrows barbecue and the rest will be stewed in butter as is only right and correct, and then it's on to other things until March 2018 rolls around.

The "other things" in question being strawberries, which will last long enough to overlap with the cherries, and there are already nèfles (which are, I admit, a bitch to eat), and the first of the melons, and the tomatoes are starting to smell like the real thing, and soon enough there will be peaches and nectarines and stuff. So don't start feeling too sorry for us just yet.

Whatever, you probably do not need to be incessantly reminded of the state of misery in which we live, so on to other things: the itinerant bar-café Chez Réné seems to be working rather well so far, five weeks into its admittedly brief existence. Helped, let it be said, by the fact that Friday nights have, up till now, been fine and warm - which makes it much more inviting to get together for a convivial evening with twenty other like-minded souls.

(Seems likely enough that it'll go on for a while yet: the bar, sadly, seems to be embroiled in litigation. So we've little choice, if we want to drink in company.)

Widdling Emma, hellhound
To add to the jollity, Chateau Mansenoble have apparently offered to host one of the next gatherings: probably quite an astute commercial move on their part. Organising a degustation in a caveau need not be rocket science, I'm sure they can spare a couple of dozen bottles of their (excellent) red, and I'm willing to bet that they'll get themselves some good word-of-mouth publicity; not to mention a bit of everyone's disposable income, for as everyone knows the English jump on good wine. (On bad wine too, if the price is right.)

I had planned on being a productive person last Wednesday, but that did not happen. Tuesday, as Margo was walking Indra and Jara, they decided to play silly buggers and bounced into the back of her knee, sending her to the ground with a loud "pop!" ...

She felt a few twinges but the next day it was pretty clear that she needed to see the doctor, plus she was in no state to drive and had an appointment at the hospital in Lézignan with the dermatologist and on top of that I'd discovered a large festering sore on Widdling Emma's neck, hidden beneath her very thick black fur, so it was off to the vet for her ... sometimes things just do not go as you could wish, I won't say that the day was wasted but it was spent otherwise than foreseen.

Anyway, Margo's hobbling around with a full knee brace on while her torn ligament heals, I have a few minor scratches from holding Emma down while the vet shaved her and stuck a large needle in, and she's on antibiotics for ten days and hates us because I'm also supposed to spray the scabby bits with cortisone moaning and night, which she loathes. Such is life.

But very soon it will be the merry month of May, notable in France for having a vast number of public holidays. In better years they fall on a Tuesday or a Thursday, thereby ensuring a four-day weekend because everyone takes le pont: sadly, not the case this year. Whatever, I'm self-employed, I could care more. But I'm still planning on doing nothing on Monday, Labour day - in a spirit of solidarity with the oppressed working classes.

Of which I am a card-carrying member, something of which Johann reminded me a while back when it came up that I was about the only person around here that actually works and am consequently paying everybody else's pensions: he shyly asked if I "would not mind working just a little bit harder, because I would like to take a holiday in Guadeloupe this year". Hey, no-one ever said that the German sense of humour was always subtle.

Also, it's tax time, which means that I shall have to dig out a whole swag of documents and send them off to the accountant so that he can prepare my declaration and I shall be whacked with paying an eye-watering sum to the state - some of which will, no doubt, be spent on holidays in tropical islands.

Whatever, I don't care, summer is on its way, life is good, and I have to go stick some chicken bits to marinate in tandoori spices and a bit of lemon juice. Mind how you go, now.

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