The wages of sloth

Of all the many things at which I’m utterly useless, I think housework tops the list. I absolutely hate it, more even than I hate undercooked egg, and just as I never touch an egg unless the white is solid, so I never touch housework unless a gun is held to my head.

Consequently, when we are expecting visitors, I plunge into a panicky state, up to my ears in animal hair, tools, fluff, cobwebs, weeds, jumbled drawers, crumpled bed linen, heaps of unironed clothing, and every kind of mess imaginable. I run around like a blindfolded chicken, wringing my hands and moaning softly, wondering how on earth to get it under control.

That’s what I’ve been doing all last week, and all of this week so far, with little to show for it. The garden which almost looked manicured 10 days ago has reverted to its usual jungular state; there’s a fine layer of sawdust over most of the house where TOH has been finishing off a number of small building projects started, and abandoned before completion, some years ago.

The reason for this flurry of unusual activity is that the wonderful daughter arrives on Sunday, with a couple of her friends, to stay for a week. We see far too little of her, so this is a momentous occasion which we are ecstatic about. Everything has to be perfect. It won’t, of course. I’m realist enough, and experienced enough to accept that – but it certainly won’t be from want of trying on our part.

The new Apprentice

Did Sralan get it right? I think he did. When it came to choosing between Claire and Lee, I suspect his heart over-ruled his head. Beneath that grumpy old carapace I believe there lies a big old marshmallow heart. Claire was the better man, but she will always land on her feet; for Lee, though, this was his one big chance. I thought he looked rather like a slightly crazy bird of prey, with his piercing eyes and beaky nose, and when he did his reverse pterodactyl impression it would have been hard to distinguish him from the real thing.:-)

Somehow I could not see Helene fitting in anywhere; she seemed to have difficulty in relating to anybody else. And as for Alex, he was doomed from the start, wasn’t he? I mean, after all, HE’S ONLY 24. But here’s the good news, Alex: soon, you’ll be 25, then 26, and before you know it, you’ll be an old man. 😉

The name game

Every day Gmail obligingly filters out all the spam from my inbox. Sometimes I check through it just to make sure that nothing has been moved there by mistake, and I run my eye down the list of senders.

Apart from a few fake Rolex watches, and cries for help to share untold wealth from total strangers with unpronounceable names, living in god-forsaken parts of the world, and who usually address me as “My beloved”, or “Dearest Love”, the bulk of junk mail is offering either sexual performance enhancing drugs or penis enlargement. Our household is already very well furnished in the latter department, thank you, and performance is more than satisfactory and no enhancement is required.

I suppose there are programmes which generate the ridiculous names used to send these dopey messages. This week I am offering two awards – one for the most appropriate name, and one for the least imaginative.

The award for least imaginative goes to: ejkdnaiqej6hshnarvnzvqa. A very poor effort.

And, for the most appropriate: Derck Kuntz. Well done, Derck.

Comedy capers

ITV today, at 11.47 – Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has called on Max Mosley to stand down from the FIA presidency despite his endorsement by the governing body’s General Assembly on Tuesday.”

BBC Sport today, at 14.23 – “Ferrari boss makes Mosley U-turn: Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has given his backing to motorsport boss Max Mosley just a day after he had called for him to resign.”

It gets farcicaler and farcicaler!!

What next?

I don’t know about you, but as soon as I heard that Max had asked for an EGM of the FIA to decide on his future as President of that organisation, I was certain that he had already made sure, by whatever means, that he would emerge victorious. Not for one minute do I believe he would have risked the humiliation of being ousted in disgrace. So he is still ensconced, albeit it in the shadows, as a pariah. World leaders won’t be seen with him, several motor manufacturers and more than one-third of the FIA members voted for his resignation, and today, quite astonishingly, since Mosley has always been accused of being blatantly pro-Ferrari (FIA = Ferrari International Assistance), even Luca di Montezemolo has called for him to resign. Major international motoring organisations are already talking of leaving the FIA, but none of this appears to have any impact on the spanker.

Now we will see what happens to those very few people in the sport who had the cojones to speak out against him – he isn’t known for his forgiving nature. His one-time mate Bernie is quoted as saying: “Max has always ruled by fear.”

One big issue that remains is the fact that a QC was appointed to decide whether or not Mosley’s antics with the hookers had a Nazi theme. If the result of his decision was given to the FIA members, then presumably it was that Max was clear on that count, despite the uniforms and faux-German accent. In that case, what are the implications for Mosley’s action against the News of the World?

Après Moi, le déluge

Is this what the old goat meant? It seems to have been raining for ever. Not that I am complaining – I’m not a weather-moaner. If you can’t change something, then put up with it or move away from it is my philosophy, and I’m not going to let let water falling out of the sky affect my life.

In my first book, Best Foot Forward, I wrote that the first week of May, 1998, was as dismal and wet as all the preceding weeks right back to January, but on the 8th, summer finally arrived. In 2004, when we set off in a camping car to circumnavigate France and write A Perfect Circle, summer had arrived in south-west France by mid-May. Last year it didn’t really ever arrive, and here we are, first week of June, and it’s not looking promising.

The most noticeable effect is the garden. When we first moved to France in 1995, by mid-August there was not a blade of grass anywhere on our property. The ground was cracked earth with crispy yellow whiskers of burnt grass straggling over it. We had to feed the horses hay right through to the following spring, and about the only thing that grew were the roses. In contrast, now, the house is surrounded by a tropical jungle, and just keeping it under control is almost a full-time job. Growth is so rampant – the grass needs mowing every two days – but because it’s nearly always wet, that’s not possible. The herbs like mint and dill are running riot; forsythia and wiegelia need cutting back constantly,  the Virginia creeper has swallowed the guest house, and ivy is eating the outbuildings. As fast as we cut back, it springs to life again. And the weeds pop up merrily from the gravel and the cracks in the patio paving.

Anybody doubt that climate change is taking place?

The

News round-up

Here’s a quick round-up of what’s in our local newspaper today, so you can see what you’re missing if you live anywhere else. 🙂

The big story is Saturday night’s storm, which has left many homes, gardens and crops devastated. That doesn’t surprise me – it was like a dam bursting here. The centre of somewhere called Oyré (of which I have never heard) was flooded by a great river of mud which swept away a car. In places, 70 mm. of rain fell during this ferocious storm that arrived very suddenly, without warning.

At nearby Le Vigeant motor racing circuit, the 14th “Collecters’ cars against cancer” meet took place, and fortunately the weather held good. More than 1,000 prestige cars were on display – among them Bugattis, Venturis, Aston-Martins, Maseratis, Austin-Healeys – and over 400 Ferraris.

A man led police to the site in a forest where he had buried his wife seven years ago. He has confessed to her murder.

The 50th anniversary of the Limousin-Poitou-Charentes-Correze naturist club will be celebrated on 7th and 8th June at the naturist centre at Château-Larcher. (I hope the weather has improved by then – it’s tipping down again.)

Sundry conflagrations all over the show were thwarted by the Pompiers.

The monthly meeting of Châtellerault’s stamp collectors will take place on 4th June, and there are still a few seats available for the organised coach trip to Paris.

And then there’s the kangaroo that was seen several times last September at Saint Secondin, and then disappeared, presumed dead. But suddenly, last Monday, up he popped again, to the very great astonishment of two men in a car. The animal was quite relaxed and composed, in very good health, and remained for half an hour, giving the men time to phone their families to come and see the unusual sight. The strangest thing is that nobody has reported losing one of the animals, so its origin is a total mystery.