Lies, Damned Lies and Bus Driving

I suppose there are degrees of shame. I’m always telling people not to beat themselves up. In the absence of the confessional I’m just gonna confess to all you guys out there, most of whom are Russian Mafia spamming me from websites with a .tk suffix. All you computeroids out there probably knew about these creatures years ago but they have only just come onto my radar. If you see postring, glowlan, massprofits on your traffic BEWARE! They constantly change their names so keep alert.

So here is my confession to you sweet readers and also the Russian Spamming Mafia. Last night I parked up my bus and came home. Somehow a large gin and tonic slipped accidentally into my hand. As I lifted it to my parched longing lips the phone rang. It was the bus company. There was a crisis and a mob of kids had not been picked up. Was it possible for me to dash back to the depot, collect a bus and save them? Enraged parents were foaming at the mouth with anger and only I was capable of confronting them. And then I lied. Oh Great Unisex Progenitor of the Busiverse, I told them I was not at home and could not get there within an hour. Even as the lies slithered from my throat, a life giving infusion of gin passed it on the way down to my deeper soul. Did I want to deal with rage filled parents? Um – no to be quite frank, I did not. Kids – I am so sorry. I have felt wretched all day.

Another reason for my deception was that I was going out. I was going to dine with some friends of Gilles and the food would be Romanian. Just the idea of Romania reverberates in the follicles of the romantic novelist. So, I prepared myself with interesting comments about Romanian culture. I had googled the work of Mihai Eminescu (headline photo) and read (in English) his passionate poem “Desire”. I enquired as to what the hostess liked to read. And the answer was “Pride and Prejudice”. That shut me up. I’ve never read it! We had a lovely meal of pork with the finest ever mashed potato which was as light as mousse. There was beetroot with caraway seeds and cheese filled pancakes.  Gilles has such wonderful friends who do big stuff in the world. Sometimes I wish I’d gone to school properly instead of wandering about wanting to write the poem that is out there somewhere in the Universe. At least I knew the smell of  river water on my hands and knew that I had stolen it from under the nose of Time before it faded into the hour, the lifetime and the deception of personality.

I’ve been hiding from Formula One and football. Oscar Sparrow called me to say that he had to put out his first ever blog in preparation for the launch of his collected poems. As a blogavirgin he needed inspiration. I told him, rather exasperatedly, to write about bloody racing cars going round and round and round. He said he would but was worried about the jargon. I tried a translation myself.

Emma thinx: Drag reduction system: keeping Queens out of Formula One.

Pick Of The Crop

Every billboard on every street and on the side of every bus is announcing the Coming. Tomorrow it will be here. Have you got yours yet? I guess you folks all know that MW 3 “Call Of Duty” is launched on Tuesday 8th November. Of course I was aware of all this. Well, I could see that these ads were plastered everywhere and that they looked like they had been stuck up using a bucket of mud. To the horror of the anger management lads on the bus I did not know that this was a deliberate effect and that the product was a computer game for the sex box 360. It’s all about grunge, squalor and violence. I must admit that in a world where films are seen as sensational if you get a full nipple exposure, it astonishes me that “gaming” revels in psychopathic violence seemingly as a celebration and a joy. If you wanna see a clip this is the trailer.

I have no right to pontificate on such matters. The closest I have come to warfare is when my mother took me to the January Sales in Croydon, South London. In those days “The Sales” actually offered bargains. We queued from about 6 am. The plan was to attack the doors as soon as they were unbolted. My mother was going to run flat out for a winter coat. My job was to drop back and obstruct pursuers by running far slower in a zig zag. It worked and ever since I have had a kind of interest in military tactics. However, this was not the master blaster machine gunning engagement of “Call of Duty”. I guess that it was not real war either. But what I want to know is whether proper brave soldiers, serving or vets, want to play these games? Is there a problem when violence is fun and painless? I bet there are all manner of studies and I really would like to know, but there again I’d like to know so many things about human behaviour.

 I mean does anyone have a child and say to themselves “I want to bring this kid up to be kind, modest and honest as a priority”? Should one not say “I want my kid to big themselves up, muscle to the front and get rich/ important /successful/ admired/be a bishop with a palace/martyr/ etc.” I am not a Christian but I have no argument with their outline propositions. In a world where there is no sign of the meek inheriting, to what extent should you influence your kids to be meek? I’ve been a parent and I am a grandparent and I just dunno. Do I say “Go snatch it kids” or do I say “Maybe someone needs it more – hang back and help them.” ? I am a hard line Atheist, Buddhist, lighter of cathedral candles, pinko commie, semi revolutionary property owning hedonist. I have no special insights.

As I passed a run down take-away pizza store tonight in my bus, light spilled out onto the footway. I glanced into the empty shop  to see a large moustachioed man at the counter poised to serve his next hungry customer. Obviously a slice of pepperoni had become lodged up his nostril and he was attempting to gouge it out with what looked like his thumb and several fingers. The meat feast could be a no-no. 

Emma thinx: Don’t solve the problem until the solution gets you noticed. 

Relativity For Ripples

There are some words in French that just convey how different life is here. The word “Auberge” carries such a quality of  hospitality and warmth. Oscar and I decided to lunch out today at Taillebourg at a restaurant named “L’Auberge des Glycines”. For the Romantic novelist this is the kind of venue where lovers might dine. Earlier in the year I strolled past when the front of the building was ablaze with mauve wisteria. Today rain fell on the river Charente as it swept past. In this mood I think the lovers would be discussing the impossibility of their love. As they talk, the raindrops leave their stamp of ripples on the flowing water – perfect circles, reaching for ever outwards and yet are swept helplessly onwards in the flow of life. These reaching innocent moments of perfection are born to fade into the chaotic power of the river. Maybe our lovers can escape the pull of time?  As I sat sipping my aperitif, these were my sketches anyway. This restaurant is in a beautiful location. The cuisine is absolutely first class. The menu is relatively limited – but believe me, this is no bad thing. It means they know what they are doing and do it well. If you are in the region and fancy a real gourmet treat at a very reasonable price check out “L’Auberge des Glycines” here.

You know those cookery shows where some celebrities get a tin of baked beans, 2 kippers and a cabbage. Their task is to create a gourmet meal whilst celebrity chefs pontificate and mock their efforts. I thought I’d give it a go but without the mocking supercooks.  I had some left over salmon, some Brussel sprouts and some potatoes and a couple of slices of bacon. I also had a rather dried out baguette, garden herbs and some chillis. The result was breaded salmon fish cakes with chilli sauce served with stir fried sprouts with bacon. At Intermarché whole Pacific salmon costs about 6 Euros and the bottle of Bordeaux will cost you 1.43 Euros. It’s obviously not a grand cru but it’s more than acceptable.

One day I’m gonna patent the safety cheese grater. Making my breadcrumbs I managed to remove enough fingerprints from my thumb to keep me out of Scotland Yard’s data base for life.

You can tell I’m back in France because I’m rattling on about love,  food and wine. Well everything else is just dust and existence isn’t it? (Well, there is cycling I suppose).

Emma thinx: Love does not confer rights. But it makes your wrongs delicious.

French Leave

I wanted you all to be the first to know. I’m going home for the week.The photo is of one of my views. Can you believe it? I just can’t tell you how lovely St. Savinien is. Away from the urban madness I will live properly again. I’m just so lucky. It’s half term in the UK so I’m free from the bus. Gilles works for an Anglo/French company and he’s convinced them that the corporate thrust needs to be applied over there for a few days. Poor old geezer should retire really but I don’t think they do retirement any more. Soon there will be a mass army of unemployed young people who’s only work will be as coffin bearers as all the old folk work themselves to death at all the jobs the young should be learning and taking on. I might write a book about it called “For whom the bell doles”. For the benefit of non natives the word “dole” means unemployment pay. Ooh I’m a cynical old cow.

Quiet day on the bus. At the tower block, intercom mom told me that her lad was “not really up to it today.” I asked if he had been kind to her. “Ee’s been a right little darlin’ Emma,” she said with a genuine smile in her voice. Somewhere in the concrete sky above me was a little warm sense of love. Ah – made me feel quite motherly smotherly. 

Gotta get stuff in the car and calm myself. Much will be forgotten I’m sure. This time tomorrow I’ll be home, gabbling to friends in French, wondering about dinner…..and the possibility of cassoulet du lapin. I love my man and this is the only proof he ever asks. Can a woman deny her man a nice bit of hot furry game?

Emma thinx: Don’t just sit there. – Boo something. Be a fan not a spectator.