Saturday, 14 May 2011

143. Grey Saturday

14th May 2011. It was a dreich day out on the river this morning.. grey, cold and with a constant fine drizzle.. We went out in a coxless quad sculler but there was some kind of problem with the steering because we seemed to have a magnetic attraction to one of the banks! In the end, I suggested disconnecting the steering as I suspected it wasn't set up correctly and once we'd done that there was a marked improvement. Arriving back at the clubhouse, we were pretty much all wet through and cold and G (le responsable) suggested an impromptu apéro - he was going to get no argument from me! It's surprising the difference a little whisky makes to the world. Did 12km (Running total: 674km)
The pooch - unhappy at being told to sit still!
This afternoon should see Chibby, our cocker spaniel, in action for the first time. Some friends of ours have a black cocker spaniel bitch - Cerise - and yesterday they phoned us to say that she's come into heat.. Between us, we decided some time ago that the next time she came into heat, Chibby would be given the opportunity to do his best (lie back and think of England) to spread his genes. We'll be getting one of the pups if everything works out fine. Poor lad - he has no idea what's in store for him!

And just in case you were wondering:
I heard this 60s song on the radio earlier today and it brought back lots of memories.. it's full of that Phil Spector "Wall of Sound" excess - it has every instrument you can think of in it - including the kitchen sink - and a few you can't. I looked it up on Wiki and there it was in black and white - it was released in shhhh -  1963. This goes back to an earlier comment I made that we're scarred by the music that was popular when we were 17. It's still a classic though after all those years (especially after an hour or so wasted watching the latest Eurovision Song Contest this evening - don't ask!!) Turn the volume up, listen to it and then tell me that's not a great pop song.. 
I mentioned the Eurovision Song Contest - this is the entry from Moldova - complete with girl on unicycle - that drove me to despair:
15th May 2011. Went for a windy walk along the sea front at Biarritz this morning. Ended up in Dodin's café having one of their hot chocolates and watching the surfers. Chibby is still on alert in case the doorbell rings with his date..! He's showing no signs of big match tension.. 

Today's special offer: if you don't already know it, Radio Nostalgie, a French radio station, has sorted all its catalogue into genres. So, if you're an ABBA fan, this might be right up your strasse - this link plays non-stop ABBA hits. Or, if you like non-stop 60s hits, try this! But maybe you'd prefer to browse the blog with some classic French hits in the background.. Zut alors! In that case, look no further! Or if it's that time of day, here are the non-stop smoochy ones.. (what have I started!!?) Think you need Google Chrome set as your browser to access these links.. 

You'll find that links on the blog will open in a new window from now on - I found the code that allows that to happen - so you can click on the music channels above and carry on reading - that is, if there's no paint drying in the vicinity that needs watching!

16th May 2011. I must admit to being puzzled by the allegations levelled against Dominique Strauss-Kahn (or DSK as he's known here in France), the managing director of the IMF. He'd been positioning himself as a strong Socialist candidate for the 2012 Presidential campaign here in France - and, according to many political commentators here, he would have been very electable versus the unpopular incumbent. He had a lot to lose. I'm not alone in finding the situation that unravelled over the weekend in New York a little bizarre. Without going into details, the claim is that a man staying at a major New York hotel allegedly forced his attentions on a chambermaid - in his hotel room! He's hardly an anonymous figure and hence he stood no chance of the incident passing unnoticed or that he could escape identification.

I started wondering if it might have been a case of entrapment.. Perhaps the chambermaid thought, "This guy's loaded.. I could squeeze him for a few bucks or I'll tell the cops he assaulted me." It wouldn't be the first time. I'm never a great believer in conspiracy theories such as Elvis is alive and living in Essex, or Hitler's U-boat was found on the dark side of the moon, etc etc but DSK is/was probably the only credible candidate the Left could have fielded with a chance of beating Sarko.. (Martine Aubry? No chance. Ségolène Royale? Likewise..) By the time these allegations have been proved/disproved, months will have passed and even if DSK is found to be innocent, the smear will linger. And, in case you're wondering, I don't share DSK's political views.

The Telegraph has more on this unhappy saga. It appears that DSK has an Achilles d--k. (fill in the blanks yourself!) Maybe he was so jaded by everyday life that he needed the rush that an adventure like this could provide.  

In the context of DSK's trousers, I'm reminded of Spike Milligan's alternative version of the traditional nursery rhyme about the Grand Old Duke of York

Oh, the grand old Duke of York,
He had ten thousand men;
He marched them up to the top of the hill,
And he marched them down again.
And when they were up, they were up,
And when they were down, they were down,
And when they were only half way up,
He was arrested.

Anyway, that's enough of that.. here's an interesting web site to browse when you have a spare moment. It looks suitably dull, as befits a product of the EU (sponsors of the world's dullest looking currency below). I hadn't thought it possible to reduce half a millennia of European cultural heritage to something akin to base metal but with this site they've managed the impossible - and in spades. I'm not a euro-sceptic by the way. This clip may throw some light on what they're about:
On the other hand..


Lesley said...

I've just had a Sunday morning Ronettes Fest. In 63 and the 6th form at school I didn't realize I'd be married to a (or should I say The) Ron one day!
Eurovision was awful the background sets were so flashy, songs, of course, mainly worse. Why do we watch it? Graham Norton is getting a bit better at being sarcastic with humour and will become the institution that T.W. was.
Best of luck to Chibby -have you had some training sessions for him?

Pipérade said...

Welcome back L! Don't know what happened to your other comments..
The Chibster had a stay of execution - he's being lined up for a Command Performance this afternoon..!
Eurovision..? Aaaagghh! Makes me wonder why we bothered having the 60s? Last night was all so formulaic.. the winners (just had a squint this morning) could have been called the Beige Twins. That's my Eurovision fix for another 10 years.