Wednesday 22 September 2010

bloody tax payers money

While in London, managed to nip to the Tate for a few minutes before boarding a train to Dorset. Actually I must digress here for a moment . . .
I don't know if I have become an old git and a peasant, but I did find Victoria station scary. Not because of its size, noise, or train holding capacity, it was the level of consumerism.
I went into Smiths to buy a paper but got sidetracked into looking at crisp packets the size of a dog, buy two get one free anything you like and more magazines on 'famous people' than you could shake David Beckham at. Everywhere - sweets, new chocolate products, right-on organic snacks, jewellery for one's phone (how useful is that), bestsellers, ones that didn't make it, cookies, cake, doughnuts, coffee masquerading as puddings, beer, wine, ties, socks etc.
My point is, when you go to Toulouse station you can buy a newspaper, choose between about eight types of snack, or a real coffee, thats it. Long may it rest thus.
The Tate. Wonderful display of huge fighter aircraft with people muttering about the cost of it, and what did it all mean . . . don't ask me, but they were astoundingly beautiful things, especially the one they had sandblasted down to shining silver; upside down as if it had missed its target and slithered to a halt just before crashing into the Vermeer section.
Also, drawings by Rachel Whiteread - her of the inside out house.
The video of her talking about her work-making process was fascinating except there were two men talking about their respective house extensions so it was difficult to really concentrate. Or perhaps they were considering making inside-out house extensions having been inspired. I should have asked.

Monday 20 September 2010

Funny thing life . . .

And death.
While in Dorset visiting my Mum, I went to pay a visit to my lovely uncle in his resting place under this young tree.
As a muser, I spend a fair bit of time thinking about the after-life, if there is one. Whether one might return as a dung beetle, or a table leg . . . or perhaps some famous game show host of the future.
Anyway, uncle Ben is in a beautiful place called a burial ground as appose to a churchyard or crem's grounds The first bodies installed so to speak, are now nourishing majestic oaks and rowans as tall as the eves of a house. Compared to an average graveyard I think it would be a nice place to while away a few years watching the blackbirds nesting and listening to next door's trees rustling.
I hope Ben, who was an expert wood carver and lover of birds, trees and nature generally, is happy there.
My general mood at the time of contented melancholia was slightly pushed off its armchair when I found the following plaque dedicated to a certain Reg someone: 'Well, he tried . . . " Tried what? Morris dancing? Taxidermy? or maybe they should have left out the comma. Perhaps it was supposed to read 'WELL HE TRIED' in a sort of Victorian stiff shirt and brass fanfare sort of a way.
One cannot help reflecting on what ones own plaque might say: She piddled around a lot; she had a lot of ideas; she could really spot a bargain at a vide grenier.
I just looked up the definition of death in the dictionary: 'state of being dead' — don't know quite what I expected. Also saw this phrase 'death on'. Apparently means to be fond of/ good at. Related to 'dead good' I suppose. Sounds like something a thirteen year old buttock-exposing trousers-wearer might say. New verbal trend: 'Hey — death on!'
She was good at procrastination.

Friday 10 September 2010

The first soup

Over the balmy months we seem to had forgotten soup, apart from an occasional dabble with a few cold variants.
I decided to 'have a go' at some Bouillabaisse as we had invited fish-loving types over.
Walking into the local fishmonger I casually mentioned I would like some ingredients to make the aforementioned dish. The shop owner and assorted elderly fish-buying members of the public started back as if I had asked for items for DIY bomb equipment.
This was serious, several days careful thought should have been given . . . not to mention days to 'commande' the stuff. 'Madame, you are clearly insane, English and no nothing more of the cuisine of fish than opening a packet of 'doigts de poisson', he said fixing me with a cold fish eye. Not really, but he obviously thought that.
When it became clear I was not going to go away, he suggested some other fish that could possibly be used in an approximation of the hallowed dish of the south coast: moules, red mullet, wolves (loup) salmon, mackerel and white boingy stuff (squid bodies) etc. Agreed, fell over with shock of price, paid and went home to recover with tea and reassuring book of basic greek cookery.
Actually, I found an excellent idea for a fish soup with loads of veg which the Greeks used to make and take for lunch in big cook pots on their boats.
Along these lines . . .

Chopped up: carrots, leeks, celery, tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, bay leaves, parsley, ouzo (or a bit of white wine and brandy seemed to work), boil up, simmer and add all fish, simmer, eat.
- was really good; even French folks said so!

Also I made a sort of 'aoli' (classic Marseille garlic sauce) but realised at the last moment we didn't have bread for bread crumbs, so used an old croissant.

Egg yolk, ton of garlic, hot chili pepper, rock salt, croissant. Not to be eaten if you are newly dating someone.

More soup later.

Monday 6 September 2010

Sensible time

Summer's end, even though its still hovering around 30 in the shade. Insect bites fading, plants devoid of colour, static, waiting for water. Its been a good one, but now time to think about college, tax foncière and ordering and/or scavenging wood.
The in-tray has stuff lurking in it that should have been looked at and I have nagging feelings that someone is going to mention family arrangements at Christmas.

Swallows, warm evening air, cypress tree perfume, dogs motionless in shade, water — precious, peaches, last apricots (the king of fruit) 'till next year . . .