Archive for August, 2009

cec477bbc5396f6e3fa5a23aa73d50e22Just a quickie as we are in the process of preparing for what could be loosely termed as a Vacance en Famille.

It is mid-August, which means that ‘The Monsters’ have successfully completed their transition from semi-wild to totally feral.  The aged and decrepit mutt has become even more senile (do dogs get Alzheimers?).

The Drummer has taken to sleeping ‘al fresco’ under the cherry tree to reap the benefit of the “bracing night air”, and I can now no longer distinguish between a simple ‘night sweat’ and a ‘fear-of-what-I’ve-forgotten-to-do sweat’ which renders me wide awake and gibbering at 3.36am EVERY night.

The roof box has yet to be put on the car.  There are piles of clothes on tables, chairs, beds and dog basket.  The only bag fully packed is that containing the medicaments. This will cater for every possible injury or virus which could be encountered; immodium, motillium, savlon, dettol wipes, mosquito spray, neurofen for kids, neurofen for adults (3 boxes), five bottles of sun-cream (factors 15 to 50), St. John’s Wort, lithium and kid repellent.  I’m taking no chances, people.

Now, The Drummer being available to holiday with his nearest and dearest during the month of August is about as rare as a sighting of Halley’s Comet.   He is either holed up in some airless studio composing offbeat music for quaint television shows or sweating it out on a tour circuit of South East Asia.  When deciding on where to relocate the brood for the vacation, the fact that he would actually be here was much cause for celebration and what better way to whoop it up than with and to be in, ‘La Champagne’!


Moments of true inspiration are rare with me, but this has to rank up there with the other one.  Having inveigled our very dear, old friends to accompany us with their less feral, better dressed offspring, we found our perfect holiday rental smack dab on the ‘Cote des Bar’ Champagne route.  We will be a ten minute drive to Les Lacs D’Aube, three enormous lakes with plenty of water sports, swimming and exotic French ‘bird’ watching (the men are oddly eager to engage in the latter.  There has even been talk of buying binoculars).  A large children’s amusement park called ‘Nigloland’ (pronounced Nee-glow-land) is situated but a few kilometers from our cottage.  Le Pippin and La Pipette are spewing with excitement about this and despite constant correction, keep gleefully informing everyone they meet that they are going to ‘Negroland‘ “pour les vacances”.

I will not even begin to describe to you what scenarios this conjures up in my unhealthy imagination.

But the best part of all, the icing on the ‘gateau’ if you will, is that yours truly and ‘The Wise One’ will be able to indulge in our most favourite activity: Cellar Hopping.  Thirty-eight glorious kilometers of vineyards and Champagne houses offering copious quantities of ‘degustation’ (tasting). We shall nourish ourselves along the way by sampling super-stinky cheeses in tiny hamlets and keeping a crusty baguette to hand at all times.  Come evening, cock-eyed and helpless, we shall stagger home to our loved ones and be, to quote ‘Charlie & Lola’, “completely ready to do sleeping”.


All that remains to be seen is whether our aging livers will cope with the excess.

All that remains to be said is:

“A Bientot”!




There are two things in life of which I can be completely certain:

– Death.

– Another pointless Dairy Product.

Because I am a caring kind of harridan and if I can prevent even ONE other person from experiencing this abhorrence, I will share with you now the letter I felt compelled to post this morning. It was written in French but I will do the best I can with the translation.

Some parts just do not translate.


August, 4th, 2009.

Cher Bonne Maman,

For many years now you have provided the warmth and security for my family.

Scarcely a day passes without your loving presence on our table. Whether it be your teeth-coating ‘Gelee de Framboises‘ (much beloved by ‘les enfants’ for the breakfast) or your truly remarkable ‘Confiture de Cerise Griotte‘ which, I must confess, is used more than the Ketchup a la Heinz in this house – do you know how well that is the match sublime with the Steak au Cheval?!

You can imagine therefore, Messieurs, our delight totale when today we saw, while walking through the ‘Produits Laitiers’ aisle of our supermarket, the sign –

“NOUVEAU!”,   Petit Pot Nature

– accompanied by the red/white tablecloth ‘ancienne’ design which can only be ‘Bonne Maman‘.

“Youpi!”, cried my progeny, beside each other with the joy. “Maman, may we, pleeeese…?”.

Because mes enfants are more sticking to me than La Bruni to your Nicolas, I agreed with sagacity and having completed the courses, we returned to our home.

Ensuing was the happy scene in our foyer:

"Miam, miam!"

"Miam, miam!"

With the eagerness of the weasels who chase the rodents, they tore open the ‘Petits Pots’;  Messieurs, such moments of harmonie are rare with us.

Helas, what was to follow was the disaster totale:

Le collapse

Le collapse

“My small fleas!”, I screamed as they hit the terrasse.  With the horror I peered within one of your ‘Petits Pots’, entered my spoon and took the taste.

Nom de Dieu, Messieurs!  This mess of lumpy coddles, this pale melange of addled eggs, milk and sugar, this insult to even the most bland of produits culinaires.   Let me assure you ‘Bonne Maman‘, there can be nothing “natural” about your ‘nature’ .  Do you make to presume that your consumers are possessed with the palates of the goats?

Upon the revival of my dazed and choking enfants, they made the decision to send to you this message:


I fear to have to tell you, ‘Bonne Maman‘ that we shall now be returning to the products dairy provided by the ‘Aldi‘.  At the least, with their addition of 25 enhancers of flavour and the gum in every pot, they have the understanding of the pleasures of the young.

Enfin, we place your odourless preparation to rest:



Please agree with me Messieurs, my fullest sentiments of distress,

etc, etc.

P.S. We shall be happy to accept a large carton of your assorted jams and fruit merchandise to aid in our recovery. Merci.



So, The Drummer flies off again for some Studio Recording, or DVD Shoot, or Hi-Hat Convention, or Stick Get-Together…whatever. As is customary, he telephones the next day to assure me that he and his skins are not shark food in some ocean somewhere.

He is unaware that I have PMT.

The conversation goes something like this…..

DR: “Hi hon’, arrived fine, all set-up here. Everything looks good. Busy day ahead but should be smooth enough.  How’s the new Blog coming along?

ME: (What Drummer actually hears)

“….kids wrecking head….blah….bloody grass not cut……why didn’t                            you…moan…ironing pile….blahdy, blah, blah… pee….bitch…I swear I              will….groan….underpants under bed AGAIN, couldn’t you                                                have…..whine…never get around to…blah, blah…..just in middle when                       goddamn Jehovah’s Witness…..wail….cannot listen to f***ing ‘Granny                       Murray’….grumble…WILL kill that tomcat….grouse…gripe…

DR: *Silence*

ME: “….hello…”?

DR: “Yup, still here”

ME: *Whiny Tone* “My blog page doesn’t look like everybody else’s”

DR: “Uh-huh..”

ME: “Well, how the f***k am I supposed to know about bloody Pingbacks and                    Trackbacks?.  What the hell does HTML mean anyway?  The last I heard,                   Tags and Toggles were things belonging to clothes.  Aren’t these people                       supposed to DO all that stuff for you?  WTF is a Widget? Oh yeah, and                         WHERE is the stupid hash symbol thingy on this keyboard…”?

DR: “Babe, shouldn’t you have kinda’ looked into all that before you started?”

ME:    *CLICK*

A few things here:

I’m posting this because I woke up this morning feeling ansty.

Yes….I AM in the middle of the next blog, (see above rant for explanation of delay).

I am totally working on getting the site to resemble a normal Blogspot.

This morning at 6.30am (Belgian time), I learned how to “insert an image”!

....and how to "insert caption".

....and how to "insert caption"

Yes, thank you, I am aware that this “image” has absolutely nothing to do with this post.

Most importantly:

No Drummers were injured during the course of this conversation.