Monday 18 July 2016

Meatballs and Méchoui

Hello again, or should I say ‘Bonjour, mes amis.’ For it appears I am now a true exile. Although I, like many others, haven’t the foggiest idea how the British Government’s recent faux pas will affect us in the long term, at present the sun is at last shining, the wine is still cheap and plentiful and I have to be content with the bed we made for ourselves here in South West France. Onwards and upwards
As the dust settled after the announcement of the above referendum result, I had to admire someone making the best of the situation in the name of Frederika Roberts, who claimed to be a professional ‘happiness and resilience expert’. What a great job that would be, trying to cheer people up and wandering around telling folks to smile, ‘things could be worse, you could be American!’ I am guessing she got a job with the England football team after that. ‘Knocked out of the Euros in the first round? Don’t worry about it, you’ll still earn a million quid a year.’
But it did get me thinking, ‘what is the answer to ultimate happiness?’ Apparently it isn’t drink, so that’s my theory out the window! Money? Good health?  Retirement? Well I am reliably informed by Google that it is to ‘spend some time alone!’ That way ‘You can focus on your hobbies, or just enjoy some good music all by yourself to celebrate life.’ Thank you Doctor, I’ll just leave via the 3rd storey window, shall I?
On the subject of football, we have had rather an overdose of it here in France, as optimism for Les Bleus reigned supreme until the bitter end. Not being a huge fan of the sport, I devised a cunning plan. We used the hour and a half during the Final, to go to Ikea. Brilliant idea: all the French would be in the pub watching the game and we could breeze through and collect our Metrob, Firndhort and other unpronounceable furniture, in peace. Sadly what we hadn’t bargained for was the whole place being full of disillusioned English! Although France didn’t win, they still had a good laugh though, which can still be heard echoing around the hills, when they found that Les Rosbif have elected Boris as Foreign secretary. Ha, has he ever been out of London? I wonder how long before his bike runs out of batteries as he tours Europe looking for someone to shake hands with?
So, for the last week or two I have been on the end of an allen key once again, assembling this and that. We now have fully functioning fitted wardrobes, with all clothes filed away in colour coordination, as well as a brand new kitchen on the outside terrace. The latter has replaced the original one, now in its tenth year, which consisted of a rusty gas-ring, a cold tap and a few makeshift worktops. With a field full of decent lambs this year, I am hoping to christen it next week, to celebrate our birthdays with a Méchoui: a French meal which involves a whole lamb, a large fire and a few gallons of red wine. What could possibly go wrong?
By the time this goes to print, we will be gearing up for another Olympics, this time south of the equator in Brazil. I will admit to being a convert to the global tournament, following on from London 2012. Hopefully GB will once again find success, topping up a year of good sport from the nation, which included Wimbledon, Le Tour and others. However, a few of the disciplines bring a slight concern by the fact that the waters in and around Rio are dirtier than Trumps election campaign and anyone falling in is likely to end up in ER pretty damn quick. A couple of years ago we had considered attending the event; South America always being on my ‘bucket list.’ Thankfully we did not book up due to financial reasons, since Typhoid is something I could gladly do without!
Never being one to let the absurd slip by unnoticed, I have to highlight yet another round of lunacy from the French law office. It appears that, as of this month, Paris is now limited to under nineteens, since they have outlawed all vehicles made before 1997 in the city. Yes, if you have a handy little Renault Clio which has stood the test of time, it has suddenly become a death nail in the planet’s coffin. Obviously it is high time you sold it and bought something newer. How about a Dodge Charger, or maybe a V8 Land-Cruiser with twin tailpipes? The reasoning for this prohibition quotes a staggering statistic that car emissions are responsible for 42,000 deaths per year in France. Really? Is there any evidence behind this astounding fact? So road deaths are down to an all time low in this country but cars are still killing us.  I am no scientist but surely the way the French drive, especially the Parisians, may suggest a simpler answer to their problem would just be that everyone just slows down a little, n’est pas? If they would do that around here too it may have saved our poor kitten getting run over on the road last week..