Tuesday, 23 November 2010

99. Wet wet wet

22nd November 2010. More rain today. There's a tale of living in Italy in the paper today.. This classic anecdote caught my eye:

"Daniela and I were reporting the theft of her handbag at the local police station when the officer hunched over his old Olivetti asked if he could change the time of the crime to 10.40 pm rather than 10.30 because the number three key wasn’t working on his typewriter."

23rd November 2010. Yet more rain. Went to the local hairdressers where I combine a 6 weekly haircut with the opportunity to mangle the French language with A****y! Still raining when I came out..

24th November 2010. And yet more wet stuff.

I'm not much interested in pop music but every now and again I hear something on the radio that I realise has been haunting me for a decade (or three) and after a spot of inspired Googling, I usually find it. This 1980 track by the Korgis is a prime example:
I once read that our musical tastes are set to whatever was a hit when we were 17.. So think back to what was around musically when you were 17 and tell me I'm wrong. Early Beatles does it for me - that's all I'm saying!
25th November 2010. Thunder & shivering pooch & more rain during the night..

Lunch or dinner (or both!) at the Tour d'Argent in Paris with its unsurpassable views has long been an ambition for us. Duck is the speciality there and they have a legendary wine cellar. I spotted the following clip in today's Guardian to give you a taste.. (might be the closest I'll ever get!)
More information about La Tour d'Argent here.. but the description of how the famous caneton is prepared might put you off. It refers to the method of killing as strangulation - which implies a slow death - as opposed to the traditional wringing its neck method which I believe to be instantaneous.

Not somewhere I'd have chosen to dine alone either.. but I suppose that comes with the territory when you're a food critic (and your expenses will only cover a solo dinner). Also, I'm sufficiently 'Old School' to have worn a tie. I'm no fuddy-duddy but out of respect for my environment I would have worn one. I'm surprised that the maitre d' didn't lend him one - but then, we're talking about a Guardian journalist ..!

I'd not heard of Dehillerin, the kitchen supplier that he mentions early in the clip.. we normally come here to look at kitchen paraphernalia.  

(PS. I'll be glad when someone can make a film about Paris/France without an accordion in the background..)

There was an interesting story on the TF1 TV news this lunchtime that caught my eye about an Auberge-Relais - Pitaval - near Lyon (specialising in duck and foie gras) that offers courses in foie gras, duck and chocolate. Now - be honest - doesn't this clip make your mouth water..? 
 If only it was a bit closer..

This is very apt for today.. too wet to go out..
Another deluge as we speak.. torrential rain audible through the double glazing. And I can't believe Christmas is only one month away. Happy Thanksgiving to any American readers..!

26th November 2010. Last night was enlivened by the sound of rain again.. at one point it sounded as if the house was moving slowly through a car wash.. (I know - "Good for the garden") It's crystal clear why lawns flourish in the UK - it has a mild climate, free from excessively scorching summers or seasonal deluges of rain that respectively burn the grass and then drown it. Just a gentle summer heat and a constant sprinkling of rain throughout the year to encourage its steady growth. I'm reminded of the apocryphal story of a visitor at Hampton Court who asked the gardener there the secret of the velvet lawns. He replied, "Roll it and cut it... roll it and cut it. For 400 years."

I've been able to get out of the house with the dawg in between rain showers but while the sky's black I look at a few other blogs (confessions of a sad owld git!) and there's a phrase that repeats itself across several of them.. namely "How to survive in France" - as though living in a Western European country equates somehow to living in the Mato Grosso or a time-share in Somalia, North Yemen or Baghdad. A day's travel from the nearest Waitrose.. eek! 

27th November 2010. No prizes for guessing what the weather is doing this morning.. yes, it's another downpour. That means no rowing for me. If it starts to rain during an outing - OK - but to go out in a deluge means a couple of hours of rowing soaking wet which, believe me, is less than fun.

Today sees the last of all but one of the autumn rugby internationals. If, as seems likely, they're played in wet conditions, we aren't going to see much in the way of running rugby with ball in hand. It starts this afternoon with Italy v Fiji, followed by England's heavyweight clash with the Springboks, then Scotland will be looking to continue their winning form against Samoa, then a huge game for a struggling Wales v the seemingly unstoppable All Blacks before finishing up this evening with France v Australia - a game in which Australia will definitely want to re-discover their form. Ireland face Argentina tomorrow.

This wet weather has had me blowing the dust off some old CDs. Mark Knopfler at his best here:

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