Saturday, 15 May 2010

The French Paradox

I am not feeling quite so favourable toward the froggies at present as we decided to go on Thursday last to Avignon & Nîmes for a long weekend and yesterday morning found our nice shiny black Haute-Savoie plated* VW Golf with windows smashed and all our mountain/randonnée gear stolen plus a Leica camera that I forgot was in a day pack in the boot, the idea of France being paradise on earth seems far away...

* Haute Savoie plates - 74, suggest to the rest of poor France, "les bastards riches"...

The previous evening we went to Nîmes. Years ago this used to be one of my favourite places in France, nay, on the planet. I had in ignorance always been under the impression that France had it's own rules for Bullfighting. What they did in Spain was not what they did in France. Only here had I seen the fantastic spectacle of the bull being the champion where the matador would run in front of the bull and with a kind of knuckle duster with hooks attached rip coloured ribbons tied between the rounded horns. The ribbons had different values and, putting it in simple terms, the bull that had the highest number or value of ribbons remaining on the horns at the end of the Corrida would be declared the winner. But in Nîmes that night the winner was going to be wearing not ribbons but a tight little matador number, a black hat and ballet pumps and the loser would be dragged across the rain and blood soaked sand, the smell of death dampened by the heavy dark clouds racing overhead.

Outside in the rain were the Spanish TV mobiles beaming by satellite the events within the Arena. Occasionally the odd sound of approval could be heard, hardly roars and shouts of glee from the crowds in their plastic give-away macs.

Though dinner was delicious, Aubergine rôtie au caillé de chèvre frais, followed by Pluma ibérique (that little piece of back of neck of pork) grilled over charcoal washed down of course with a recent Costières de Nîmes, it would have been better had the weather had that usual sense of mid-May... the promise of better to come. And so driving off through Nîmes one-way streets lacking any form of direction, we found our way back to our cheap and dirty hotel with broken electrics and bare light bulb, wardrobe with door hanging off and no rail upon which to hang the three provided coat hangers. But it was cheap. Well cheapish. Mmm, not that cheap perhaps given the events to be discovered the following day...

Hence the paradox.

Please, Sir, I want a little Vacherin

A boy abducted from France in a custody battle has told a court his most compelling reason for wanting to go back home: he would get a better quality of cheese in a French school than he does here. This highlights a point on which we fail, largely through laziness and incipient poor taste, to match our friends over the water. There, all food is taken seriously: they do not feed their children, or their proletarians, on cheese made from rubber, as we do, but feel all have a right to the small luxury of decent food. That this child should humiliate us so serves us right. And perhaps, too, it is no coincidence that if one gives children food fit only for animals, some choose to behave like them.

The above is part of the article ....

The French Are A Law Unto Themselves

We are still battling the Tax people as they refuse, on grounds we cannot find, to accept that ITC for whom Mrs Pondlife works is a bona fide body of the UN and have slapped us with a bill for more than forty thousand euros, yes, € 40,000 and have taken a charge upon our house until it is sorted so that if ever it were not sorted we could not sell our HOME and move elsewhere.

We must battle on.

More to come. The French are a law unto themselves.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

So what happened to April 2010 then ????

Rognons de Boeuf

Immerse rapidly in boiling water. Drain. Put into a frying pan of heated olive oil. As they cook...feu vif for 2mins, add some red wine and sprinkle some flour to thicken. Season, feu doux 4 mins. let rest.

Served with risotto cooked in chicken stock...