Tuesday 8 December 2015

A bridge too far

Seasons Greetings, Bon Noel, Deck your balls with prickly holly, etc...
 Currently we are still in East Fife, sheltering from yet another storm with an inexplicably stupid name that, according to the national press, is wreaking havoc across the country. Seemingly Brian or Eric, or whatever it is called has dropped 13 inches of rain in one day, although nobody could actually measure it properly as everyone’s rain gauge only goes up to one foot. It appears that the North West England flood defence was about as useful as England Rugby’s World Cup defence, but nobody really cared much because it was not in London where all the important people live. Dave ‘don’t-f**k-with-me-or-I-will-carpet-bomb-you’ Cameron did pop up to the sodden area and pull on his Hunter wellies for a few minutes where he patted a few locals patronisingly on the head, promised to send some rubber dingys, and then nipped into the Sheep and Garter for a pint of ‘craft’ beer.
Meanwhile, it is a boat that is also required here in Fife since the announcement that the Forth Road Bridge will be closed until further notice following the discovery that one of the nuts that hold it together was on cross-threaded. The government has now devised a plan which will take 150 PWC consultants two months to write down and a further year and a half to find the correct spanner to tighten the bolt. Currently those who voted YES in September, all 122 of them, will have a real taste of their Independence as their Southern relatives are unable to visit the area with Christmas gifts and they get to keep all their home-grown potatoes and oil to themselves. Unfortunately Amazon, the world’s greediest online supermarket, also has an eggy-face after it decided to locate its main distribution warehouse just north of the bridge so it can pay its s­­taff tuppence-an-hour instead of the English National wage. Obviously the book the SNP ordered online entitled ‘Bridge Repairs for Dummies’ now has to be sent by carrier pigeon, so should reach them by early February 2017. I cannot help but smile at the irony that currently the only way from Fife to Edinburgh, unless you want a sight-seeing tour of Glencoe and Ben Nevis, is across its old rail bridge, constructed out of Meccano over 100 years ago by men in flat caps. Based on this fact, while the old rail bridge made of steel is still pretty rock solid, but the road-bridge they built out of string in the fifties has now fallen apart, then I suspect the brand new one due to be completed in 2017 and made out of recycled cardboard milk-cartons will struggle to survive a decade at best!
Although we are due to head back to France in a few days I have gotten quite attached to the Firth of Forth which I can now happily gaze at while seated on the toilet. It may sound rather strange but it has always been an ambition of mine to have a sea-view from the kazi, so I can now add a tick in that box, since completing a new bathroom in the attic, which includes the original old Victorian bath in situ. I suppose I should apologise in advance to my neighbours, should they wish to spy on me with binoculars, and even more so to the one downstairs who got a warm shower when she opened her back door just as I was emptying the bath-water. Well I wasn’t to notice a cracked downspout, was I?
Anyway, I am a little hesitant about returning to the country we call home, not because of the frequent terrorists attacks on the French, but because we have a pandemic of Bird-Flu in the Dordogne, according to the Daily Mail, who are experts on such matters. As a consequence Japan, possibly the most paranoid nation on Earth, have banned imports of our local delicacy, Foie Gras, in case they contract the disease when spooning duck pate lavishly onto their morning toast. Despite being advised by Professors of Intelligence that implying they could catch anything other than gout from the product is like suggesting you could catch Mxyomatosis from Welsh Rarebitt has done nothing to quell their suspicions. So, now we will have to run the gauntlet every time we visit LeClerc supermarche of having some moustachioed fragrant peasant trying to sell us tins of the stuff at the door, before it goes out of date. Call me Mr Picky but, personally, I would rather French-kiss a skunk than eat the slimy mush that has been reared in such a barbaric fashion.
Finally I have to report that Louis the pointless-pointer – possibly France’s waggiest tailed dog – has made not one but two trips to the dreaded vet this week. Firstly we have a stomach bug, probable cause, eating too much seaweed; measurable outcome: well, let’s not go there! Then, during last weekend’s hurricane Norman, the garden-gate slammed shut, trapping and injuring his tail in the process. Poor thing has been in such pain and cannot understand why it hurts so much when he wags it. Trying to persuade an otherwise happy dog NOT to wag its tail is like attempting to explain to the gullible American electorate that Donald Trump is nothing more than a war-mongering racist megalomaniac who is out to tailor himself a pair of million-dollar trousers before you have time to say ‘oops, where’s all the cash gone!’