Saturday 22 January 2011

One small step for dogkind

Yes its that time again. Small dog in pee-stained silly jumper braving the snow. Only a few 'flocons' today. At the risk of being a grumpy old bugger . . . I hope that's it. Not being folks compelled to fix chains to car's wheels or encase ourselves in happy-coloured padded outfits in order to get really in the white stuff, it's just a big nuisance. Rain would be good though, please, or next summer is going to be very drought-like.
Me off to old home rock for a week, bit of London nostalgia, then to Dorset. Back soon.

Wednesday 19 January 2011

Ménage manège

Up until a few weeks ago, I thought the word ménage - house work - was in fact: manège - merry go round.
There I was happily thinking what a wonderfully poetic race the French are, to have such a delightfully descriptive word for this endless chore. I couldn't post a picture of our house in chaos to illustrate as I have just cleared up AGAIN. So therefore, here be a lovely fish dish which I and Ezra enjoyed in Agde in the summer. It was all calm on the terrace overlooking the sea, but I could imagine the piles of washing up, floors to be cleaned etc at the end of the lunch session.
The start of this particularly thorough clean yesterday was because I had lost the key to my studio. I was just about to go in there and START WORK as the period of earlier procrastination-clearing up had just passed . . . Thus prevented, I then cleaned out the car in case the hapless key had fallen to the floor amongst nut shells, dog blankets, discarded bits of instruments and other detritus that we normally convey along the roadways with us.
Gave up and concentrated on boy's birthday. Today, started looking again: pockets, bags, car again, under trees I had pruned, dog beds. Then Mark found the spare key in the drawer that has spare keys in it. Forgot that . . .
"Here, don't loose this one," he said, with the smirk of a very tall and perfect camel, who never looses anything. Except that time of the wallet, the car keys, several very expensive pen knives . . . etc.
The lure of the filthy shed is calling. It hasn't been cleaned out in months; it's difficult to shut the door, let alone find a hammer. The garage - impossible to find anything in it at all unless it is within a few cm's of the entrance. However all this will have to wait, having found the key, must see if it can turn on my brain to do some other sort of work.

Friday 14 January 2011

Body of Christ.

I went to a French Funeral this morning.
It was interesting to note the differences. Several U.K ones I can remember seemed to be rather 'in and out' - bit like life really, on a certain scale. This was elegant, touching, lengthy and freezing.
The priest was majestic in his Polar-white robes, his gentle voice echoing around the ancient stones. Unlike me, dressed in black, complete with VAT inspector leather coat, most folks were dressed casually, no weeping weeds, veils, or crisp once a year-used suits. The coffin was placed in the entrance of the church at the beginning while the priest began the service; we all gathered around and thought about the body inside, the workmanship of the coffin, etc.
This is the bit, where I usually start sobbing. The finality of the human frame incased in wood . . . then to be immersed by flame or soil, but as I had never actually met him, and was there to support his wife, it didn't really seem appropriate.
So the service came to its end; incense was waved, psalms sung and many prayers said.
The moment which will become one of those imbedded memories was when the disc of bread was broken in the total stillness.
A tiny resonant 'criiickkk'

Monday 10 January 2011

Species of sound.

There are two members of the household who really appreciate 'free jazz'. I want to like it very much, but it makes my brain retreat to a small recess at the back of my skull and I cannot really function. Mark love's it, especially when cooking.
This is a film of the other one who loves it. The usually silent feathered-being launches into a wonderful repertoire that Messiaen would have found inspirational.
The other two sounds today issued from the IRM machine surrounding me at the Clinique Montreal. They warned me that it would be loud, and clamped clinical white padded headphones to my head so I could enjoy some carpet adverts in French.
It's an odd thing to be confined in a white tube with huge pulsating noises firing from various directions - a cross between a secret rave in a small operating theatre and some sort of very squeaky-clean torture.
Tried not to imagine they had all left the room and the machine was in fact out of control. The squeezy rubber 'bulb' I had been given to hold in case of distress became an object of increasing fascination . . . just one little scrunch, would anyone appear?
In between the crossfire of sounds there was the possibly worse sounds of French 'popular' music - breathy women singers and voice modulators. I think Wagner would have suited the occasion, or perhaps Dolly Parton, so one could take one's mind off the present and consider how extraordinary it is that she can keep from falling over with her unusual weight distribution.
Back at base now. Current noises are Debs recording a song called "on the edge of madness" and Ezra eating with his mouth open, while watching Carry on Doctor featuring Kenneth Williams making that wonderful 'neeeiieer' sound.

Saturday 8 January 2011

Summer memory

Was just going through a few old photos and saw this one.
Sitting in furry leopard slipper-boots and nasty old jumper, it's difficult to remember the intense heat of that day. We had taken Ezra for an ultra special treat to 'le clos de St Hilare' beautiful eatery in afore mentioned village where Mark sometimes plays the piano.
We sat in their garden and sweated. The shade of the trees made no difference; the air was all full up with some kind of syrup, no breeze. We acted out the meal, a small bowl of cherry tomatoes with a side dish of ice would have been very ample.
To the log pile now - rapidly disappearing log pile - early winter; allowing ourselves a little more heat in the day, tighten belts okay but being cold has to stop. Have taken to having four hot water bottles in bed with us now - glurping rubbery packets of heat. I'm rather fond of them, preferable to waking at 3.00 a.m after a dream of being in a sauna and finding the leccy blanket on.
Anyway, first catkins out this week, and strident blackbird song. Moving in the right direction.

Wednesday 5 January 2011

In with the new.

Bought new diary yesterday and wrote list of resolutions on front page.
Useless activity as I never follow them, but this years is just . . . smile a lot. Not so much in a 'count your blessings' sort of a way, more that I look less manky if I do, even in moth eaten winter garb.
So out with the old. Christmas is once more in a box in the loft; two glass baubles bit the dust, and a new piece of tinsel joined the crew for the next outing. Tree is usefully engaged in fire lighting, and parrot cage is installed in its place.
All the lurking bills and unpleasant phone calls are being slowly paid and made; trees will be pruned, work will be restarted, carnaval masks will be painted, and a gradual move towards spring is anticipated.
Happy New Year.

Saturday 1 January 2011

New year at Le Café de la Gare . . . HELLO QUILLAN

Excellent food, far too much fois gras - did resolve never to eat this terrible, evil substance again . . .
Packed house, and general happy atmosphere.
Stan singing 'Lucille' and me, although I look as if I'm about to attempt 'Ave Maria', preparing for 'Should I stay' . . .

And Ezra's debut drumming in public.