Thursday 25 December 2014

Monday 22 December 2014

Christmas will be gold, crinkly and knobbly

As decreed by Ferrero SpA: massive corp that is apparently responsible for churning out the most boring (according to our households' tastebuds) chocolate . . . the Ferrero Rocher (rock in french). They own Nutella, so, not surprisingly each 'spherical chocolate sweet' - (wikipedia) contains a good dollop of the brown stuff along with an unsuspecting entombed hazelnut making up a total calorific value of 73 calories.
Actually, I've just noticed SpA is also the name of France's chain of dogs' homes . . . wonder what else is in them.
The reason I'm rambling about this is the result of my annual shock on seeing the ever-increasing chocolate displays in the local supermarkets as Christmas approaches with all the red/gold/fois gras/gallons of fizz/last desperate purchasing mania that we have somehow created.
On my last trip to Leclerc recently, I listened to some poor woman as I stood waiting for the promised offcut-dogmeat to be wheeled in. Her job was to trap people into buying more chocolate than they might have envisaged buying.
"Mesdames, c'est moi le chocolat, " - "Madames, it is me the chocolate!" (odd phrase) she called with the nagging repetition of a small child at a sweets-infested checkout.
I looked at her smallish black-clad form standing between two towering displays of Ferrero Rocher and suddenly felt very worried. It was like being in Terry Gilliam's 'Brazil' where it has become eternally Christmas and everyone is giving and receiving the same present - F. R in this case.
Mark has come home each day this week from the Conservatoire holding various presents from pupil's parents. Nearly all of them feel like a plastic round-edged box that give out a certain muffled rattle - that of spherical chocolates containing a hazelnut.

Friday 19 December 2014

You either love it or . . .

Yes, 'fraid I do . . .  love it. A favourite scene from D and D No 1.
No 2 on release now with both actors looking remarkably okay twenty years on.

Thursday 18 December 2014

Small things of no consequence

But oddly satisfying and life-confirming . . .
Our kitchen is a strange mix of vide grenier and car boot sales from across the decades. One of the few things bought from a SHOP is a pepper grinder. Found in Crete about fifteen years ago it is greatly loved (even though an ergonomic disaster - falling over at the slightest table movement).
A small routine Chez Nous, is to fill the grinder, which used to involve exploration of Mark's curry spice box; a slightly annoying task as the box is deep, dark and usually covered in dog bowls and storage containers (very small kitchen).
All this changed a couple of weeks back (told you this post is of no real consequence) when I discovered a small copper 'pot' in our favourite brocante/flea shop in Carcassonne.
Delighted that it was priced at two euros, I asked the shop owner what it was for.
"Aucune idée, Madame," 'No idea, it is but a small pot.'
It sat on the kitchen table for a while on my return until I noticed it had a very strong urge, or at least I percieved it as thus, to be close to the pepper grinder. A holding bay for peppercorns! I exclaimed in my head and filled it.
They now sit on the cook book shelf in peaceful harmony, discussing perhaps the origins of their respective metals or the use of the pepper corn in world cuisine.

Sunday 14 December 2014

Cerbère wanderings

Following on from last post: a few photos from a windy walk (end of the Tramontane wind that had been madly blowing for three days -140kms per hour at some points).

Don't know what this is/was, but it appeared strangely beautiful in the late afternoon light

Lemon and clementine trees

The tenacity of plants

DIY plant holder/water meter reading cupboard/ electricity-reading cupboard and defunct letter box

Summer days departed

Saturday 13 December 2014

Building No 47

On a stroll through the hills behind Cerbère I was lucky enough to see this oversized tea chest, dropped presumably by an interstellar beverage delivery ship with a malfunctioning guidance system.

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Continual loop

Mark doesn't do this - play records (CDs) over and over and . . .  He's onto the next thing: heard it twice and he's absorbed it, discovered what he likes and moves on - me, I like to wallow in the sounds that appeal to me, listen again and again, picking up new un-heard bits in the mix: a synth I hadn't noticed, a snare's pleasing click, or just want to re-live the whole sound, the same fix.
I'm cheaper to run, music-wise that's for sure.
Recently our friend Amazon sent us a CD of Temples: One play was enough; it's the new infinitum . . . I try to keep it to when the boys are out so they don't have to experience the loop, and I'm sure I'll tire of it . . . somewhen. Here they are in all their hairy (very clean) acoustic glory. I was going to post a big production version of this with all the wonderful cheesy violin samples, choirs, fantastic drumming etc etc but this was just so . . . good!

Tuesday 9 December 2014


A walnut grove owned possibly by a surrealist - sign reading INTERDIT - forbidden. What though? Reading, sitting on grass, frolicking, peeing, bird-watching, picnic-ing, walking, landscape painting, running, ping pong? nut picking-presumably?

Friday 5 December 2014

Favourite film moments

While picking up a slew of DVDs and VHS cassettes earlier on that had fallen out (with that particular sound of slithering plastic) of a cupboard this afternoon, I played my own Desert Island Films selection through in my mind. On picking up the yellow box of The Full Monty I realised it has to be in the Top Ten somewhere. Few films contain such humour, brilliant acting and memorable script. The combination of the warehouse, the Chinese take-away-eating and the (actually, very sexy) dancing must make it one of the best scenes in the film - but then there's the dole queue and the final strip scene . . .

Thursday 4 December 2014

Pine demise

As anyone knows who casts an eye over this blog from time to time, supermarkets are not my favourite places. One of my least favourite is the 'Leclerc' that sits at the edge of our town like a giant mutating virus, gradually spreading outwards, engulfing helpless small businesses and sucking in all shoppers.
The only thing, apart from the fact they sell offcut meat for dogs, that I like, or should say LIKED, about the place is/was the maverick Parasol Pine trees that some misguided person had decided on for the car park about forty years ago.
The trees (presumably small saplings) had been planted in well ordered lines to provide shade for cars. I can imagine the scene: French people in flares stepping from 2CV's and Renault 5s, admiring the shiny new supermarket and small pine trees gently swaying in the summer breeze. Perhaps a few of them might have thought 'I wonder what these trees will be like in forty years time or so, alors.'
What the car park designer hadn't considered was that the mature trees would send out pretty hefty root systems creating fissures and mountains in the once-perfect tarmac. I'd always liked the fact that the car park was filled with non-level cars as if bobbing on a dark grey sea; a reminder that man really has no control over nature, how ever much he tries to imprison it within sticky tarmac.
Of course the wobbly car park- and I like to think, sniggering trees - didn't eventually fit with Leclerc's shiny new shop extension . . .

I think Mark's photograph here captures the desolation of the non-tree car park on a grey Sunday morning alive only with the ghost-rustle of pine needles on a summer breeze (Sob).