Thursday 14 May 2015

Royal Baby Potato

As the swingometer is wiped down and put back in its box for another 5 years and the country resigns itself to lengthy spell of blue rule, green is definitely the colour of the day here in Chauffour. This month nature has taken a very firm grip of everything that grows, propelling it toward the sky with haste until the garden resembles a Borneo rain forest. After a three week absence, my return to France this week has been one of even more physical work than I left behind in Scotland. I have to say it was pleasant to see my wife again, complete with a pair of great tits, in the nesting box by the front door!
For all it totally disinterests me, I suppose I should give the election a mention, if only to congratulate Mark Garner on his Westminster seat. But what the heck were the opinion polls all doing? I mean, had they asked all the wrong people, to get their predictions so far out? Or maybe everyone they asked had been lying, or changed their mind last minute? All smells a bit fishy, if you ask me, especially in Scotland where the Sturgeon pulled down the red flag. I think I could have successfully predicted that one, but seemingly all the super intelligence of the media had no idea Labour would be toast North of the Border. Anyway, enough of politics, of which I think we are probably all bored now.  However, I do have to question the absurdity of some of the rules that the government puts in place to save ourselves from ourselves. The other day I walked into a shop to purchase a pack of cigarettes for a friend, only to be treated like a 10 year old. It appears that I am no longer able to view the packets on the shelf in case I instantly contract a lethal lung disease. ‘What sort do you want?’ asked the bored Cyclops behind the counter. ‘Urrh, not sure. Can I have a quick look, and then I will recognise which ones they are by the colour of the packet.’ This draws a venomous response. ‘NO. You are not allowed to SEE the cigarettes.’  ‘But you will have to open the cupboard to get them out, so when you open the door I can make a decision?’ I might as well have asked to see her underwear, such was the preposterousness of my request. Whoever came up with such ludicrous nanny-state nonsense?
A day later I am grabbing some quick shopping from the Co-op and chuck a cheeky bottle of Chardonnay in my basket only to be confronted at the till by the error of my unhealthy ways. ‘Not allowed to sell alcohol before 10am, sir.’ WTF? I am not going to drink it till this evening. ‘Sorry sir, it’s the rules.’ Despite it being nearly 9.45am, I had to leave the shop dry handed, to save me from my alcoholism! Is stopping people buying booze before breakfast really going to help Scotland over its drinking issues? Lifemeddlers, please stop.
By the way, ‘lifemeddler’ isn’t a real word yet, but I am running it in for the NEW Oxford Dictionary who update their good book a few times per year.  Sad though I may be, I do like to peruse their lists to see what’s new in the world of words, if only to confuse my spell-checker. This spring I particularly like Floordrobe, a form of hanging up your clothes by throwing them to the carpet! Others include Unrecyclable, something so dangerous that it will bring the world to an end, Unriveted and Unpunched! One assumes the latter may have something to do with not yet having met Jeremy Clarkson!
When we returned to France in March, I couldn’t help noticing that our friendly local speed camera had been removed. Oh joy, one less hazard to encounter when I pop out for a loaf of bread. Well, I am pained to announce that a new one has been erected in its place, possibly one which works. Except, it no longer does as, within 2 days of its installation, someone has already defaced it by spraying the lens blue! See, this is what the French think of laws that they don’t agree with. The latest news is that they are now going to install a camera to watch the camera and maybe catch the culprit and his aerosol can in action. Mind you, if he any common sense he will manage to overcome that little obstacle with yet more paint, in his vendetta against the ruling classes.
Nearer home, since the aforementioned lengthy wet spell, I can openly admit that this year I have an excellent, if not prize-winning crop of potatoes. Although I am not an aficionado on the pomme de terre, I am aware of a number of varieties which do well in our soil, among them the Balmoral, Queen Royal and the King Edward.  Yes, it is a pure coincidence that these all have Royal connections but it is commonly known, to most farmers anyway, that The Royal Family has often shared naming conventions with tubers, as it does with roses. What is perhaps the biggest coincidence, to me anyway, is that by far the best suited tatty to my garden is named Charlotte. I wonder if the right royal couple considered that one while picking names out of the upturned crown?