13 May 2010
First of all and just so that you know, The Blue Elephant is one of our favourite restaurants. A small family run place, it’s virtually straight across the valley from our house and is situated right in the middle of a village called Le Rouret.
We’ve been going there for years but despite this, we’ve never been recognized as regulars. In France, unless you frequent a place at least twice a week, restaurateurs refuse to recognize you!
We actually stopped going a couple of years ago because despite booking, we were allocated seats right outside the toilets which is not a pleasant place to eat a meal. When we challenged the owner’s son and asked for better seats, despite some being free, there was total indifference so we left.
At this point, maybe I should say that the reason we trek over to Le Rouret is because the pizzas are pretty good and the steaks, in J’s opinion, are terrific and so every now and again, despite much closer eateries, The Blue Elephant gets our custom.
On one occasion, when I’d ordered a ‘well done’ steak, the waitress went into the kitchen and all I could see was the chef/proprietor shaking his head and making that gallic shrug which usually means ‘no chance’.
She came back to our table and passed on the bad news – ‘no well done steaks’. No ‘sorry’ or any explanation. That was it!
Despite this inability to relate to a customer’s simple wishes (or should it be a simple customer’s wishes?), J insisted that we continue to go to the Blue Elephant because ‘her steaks were delicious’ so I had no option but to change my eating preference to their pizzas, which I have to admit, in the pantheon of French pizza places, are pretty good.
Last night we crossed the valley again to The Blue Elephant and last night I took my life in my hands and asked for a well done steak. Because it was a quiet night, the chef/proprietor took the order. He shook his head in the old familiar way. I put my hand on his arm, looked into his eyes and pleaded for a well done steak. He shook his head. I was just about to order a pizza when J butted in and in perfect French said my steak didn’t need to be cindered, just a bit more cooked than a medium but no blood. He shook his head and said something under his breath but then seemed to relent. Kitty ordered a pizza and then it was J’s turn.
“A steak with poivre sauce please”. ‘Non – no poivre sauce’, he said. “I’ll have the Roquefort sauce then”, she said. ‘Non – no Roquefort sauce’, was the reply. ‘But you always do a sauce on the steak’. We don’t now – it was too much trouble, nobody ever ordered it’.
At this point, I felt like pointing out that he had offered sauces on his steaks for the last 10 years so he’d obviously taken quite a bit of time to make that strategic culinary decision ….. but I didn’t.
J ordered a normal steak (without sauce) and then I pointed out that he’d raised his prices so that the ‘new’ price for a steak without sauce, was the price he used to charge with a sauce.
After picking her way through a dry steak, J offered the following observation: ‘We’re not coming back here’, she said. ‘But what about the steaks – well done, they’re delicious’, I said. ‘We’re not coming back’, I was informed!
Coincidentally, Nigel has been causing trouble in a restaurant as well. Read about it at the URL below:
12 May 2010
British politics hasn’t been so interesting for years. Not since Margaret Thatcher strode onto the Westminster stage, virtually unknown, has the relatively boring process of governing Britain Plc been so interesting. Of course in 1997, the ever-so-fresh Tony Blair who managed to convince the electorate that here indeed was a new Labour party, shook up the establishment a bit and for a while, even the City was enthralled.
Whatever measure you apply and hopefully, whatever your colour of politics, you have got to admit that the Conservatives won the election (by seats and votes) and by convention, had the right to form the next Government.
Talking to the Liberal Democrats (an oxymoron if ever there was one – what’s democratic about trying to side with losers in the election?) was a normal course of action for the Tories to take, but for a while it looked like Clegg had lost any semblance of decency the British electorate thought he had after the debates by trying to strike up a potential deal with the Labour party. This was akin to (and sorry, this is a football analogy) Man U and Spurs adding their league points together and saying – ‘hey – we won the league’. It wouldn’t matter that Chelsea had actually gained more points! It seems that everything is fair in love and war …… and British politics!
And as for that lying, conniving charlatan, Gordon Brown – he’s off, but not before he tried to ruin British democracy and if you think he’s got dignity by resigning, why didn’t he resign last Friday when both the public and his party blamed him for Labour’s worst election results for decades? The guy has got a skin thicker than a rhino and was determined to prolong his disastrous premiership until the very last second. In some ways, I admire his cheek but then when he stands up and spouts his crap about ‘a fairer Britain’, I’m almost sick.
I’m just thankful that his legacy will be one of an unelected prime Minister who made disastrous mistakes and who messed up the country and deceived everyone, well almost everyone, into thinking he was a genius. Once he’s gone, it’ll all come out in the wash.
And as for Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader – before the fiasco of dashing round and going through the back door to ‘have a chat’ with Brown, I was actually quite looking forward to them having some say in the running of Britain. But for the slimy greaseball to shuttle between both parties prostituting himself and his party to the person who offers the most money and the nicest ‘bedside manner’, is an affront to British democracy.
Call it good negotiating tactics of you like but I liken him to a tart wandering around Whitehall with her knickers round her ankles looking for the richest looking punter.
The picture above is courtesy of the Evening Standard and a great picture it is too. Time to go Gordo – time to go. It’s just a travesty that people have been put behind bars for far less crimes than he’s committed!
And finally, some comments from Guido Fawkes’ blog from fellow G Brown dissenters:
It was the bigot that did it – rejoice!
She (the Queen) will make him wait until Eastenders has finished.
I’m hoping the Queen will stab him with one of her swords.
Gordon still hoping the Queen will decline his resignation.
Champers for me and the Mrs, cod and cream for the cat, steak for the dog and a resounding goodbye and good riddance.
And the best one of all - Gordon who ?
11 May 2010
After ten days of my family listening to ear splitting sound levels from the TV and being unable to communicate with me other than with sign language, I thought it about time that I visited Dr Fang in the village.
Coincidentally, J also attended a dinner on Sunday night (which I had reluctantly told the hostess that I wouldn’t be attending because it’s embarrassing saying ‘pardon’ to everything, everyone says) and there she met a specialist doctor. Unfortunately, he wasn’t an ear specialist or I would have been down to Helen’s apartment in Nice in a flash but I assume he told J that with my long-standing ear problem I should see a specialist.
So on Monday morning when I asked her to call Dr Fang for an appointment and she said she would be calling an ear specialist instead, I envisaged being stuck in a world of silence for another week or so, but it wasn’t to be. Two hours after her call (good old France), I was sitting in the doctor’s chair nervously eyeing all the gruesome-looking instruments in his toolbox.
Thankfully, J had gone with me, as it was impossible for me to communicate and she told the doctor of my aural history. He didn’t seem impressed and asked me to sit in his examination chair. I was still looking at the instruments which reminded me of the things you see when you visit the torture section in the London Dungeon when he stuck something in my ear and that was it – it was like an automated car wash was inside my head. I assume this was a straightforward ear syringing (I had my eyes shut) but after about 10 minutes of very uncomfortable treatment, he stopped and asked me to go to another room.
When I stepped through the door, there was another tool tray of hooks, poles, syringes and other ear related paraphernalia but I just shut my eyes and sat in the chair. This time the ‘treatment’ was even more uncomfortable. It felt like a Karcher pressure washer was being used to wash my brains out through the other ear.
After another ten minutes of gouging and washing, I was ushered back to the first room (where J was playing with the things on his desk) and again was told to sit in the chair. This time, I thought my head was going to burst. I felt like saying that I had a Black and Decker hammer drill at home and I could probably do it myself but I didn’t and after about another 10 minutes of poking and prodding, he stopped and amazingly, I could hear.
Next was a hearing test to see if my new ears worked and it proved to him that my right ear is shot to pieces (thanks for that trip to Alicante in the early 80s J !!) and that my left ear is deteriorating in sympathy.
After paying him the usual €60 (he waived the other €2.56 as I didn’t have change) he said I should come back next week for an ear nerve test. No doubt that’ll be another €60 unless they decide to open me up and rebuild my head.
Of course, I just had to do it. As I left and he said ‘au revoir’, I turned quizzically to him and said, ‘sorry – what was that’. Ha ha - what a joker I am !
10 May 2010
It’s not what I wanted to hear on a Thursday night when my ears were killing me, I couldn’t hear a thing and J was insisting on watching some medical soap on TV when all I wanted to do was watch the cricket in the West Indies.
Kitty – ‘Thomas, can I have a sleepover?’
Sorry, what did you say?
Can I have a sleepover?
No you can’t.
Because when you and your girlfriends get together, you gang up on Guy and make his life a misery.
Guy – ‘but I’m at my dad’s house this weekend Thomas’.
Thanks for that Guy.
Kitty – ‘so can I have a sleepover then?’
Mummy – Thomas says I can’t have a sleepover.
J – ‘go on let Kitty have her friends over.’
Thomas – ‘ok then – how many?’
Kitty – ‘nineteen.’
Sorry – did you say nineteen?
How did you tell them about it?
I used Microsoft Messenger.
At this point I nearly fainted. I’d read about these Facebook or MSM postings which result in hundreds of kids turning up at a ‘party’ and ransacking and wrecking the house.
And so it came to pass that on Friday evening a collection of kids, both male and female turned up at the house, some carrying what looked like sleeping bags, others carrying bottles of coke and bags of crisps, and some just in the clothes they wore.
Kitty was still in the shower or painting her nails or whatever so I had to show her friends down to the bar which I’d prepared for them. The music was ready as was the full wall projector, the lighting was subtle and the drinks and snacks all ready on the counter.
I switched on ‘Club Raves’ and despite my virtual deafness, I could hear the beat blasting out of my hi-fi. I could certainly feel my sub-woofer making the walls reverberate.
But as I made my way out of the bar I saw their quizzical faces. Never mind – I couldn’t hear any grumblings. In any case, there was drinks and snacks – what else could they want?
More and more kids arrived. I didn’t bother counting them just in case I ended up with 50, 100 or more. I showed them down to the bar and the music had changed – no more Club Raves, on in its place was some French stuff – absolute rubbish – almost like a tone-deaf singer, reciting poetry to music. Absolutely awful. What terrible taste kids have these days!
I looked at them and they seemed happy enough. There was no dancing, not that you could have danced to the rubbish which was coming out of my speakers. They just stood around or sat in groups chatting to each other.
At this point, the pizzas we’d ordered arrived and suddenly the kitchen was full. It was like a locust storm. Within seconds, the boxes had disappeared downstairs and I only just managed to keep a couple back to take to Tan and Angie’s. I’d already decided that I wasn’t staying at my house that night so I grabbed a couple of bottles of wine and the pizzas and went next door.
Later that evening, I came back from next door. My ears had completely gone and I couldn’t hear a thing. I didn’t dare look downstairs so went straight to bed.
Next morning, J told me that the noise had been deafening until 3.30am. I hadn’t heard a thing – it was great!
Something like 30 pancakes and 10 pains au chocolat later, they all wandered off. Off to the next party somewhere in Vence.