Thursday, 5 May 2011

We Can't Eat A Horse, Cos We don't Want to.....

It's not unusual or uncommon to hear someone say:'I could eat a horse': here in France, of course, it can be meant literally. A few days ago, we came across this little delicacy at a local market:

Donkey sausage

And very good it was, too. Sweetish but most acceptable. The French, of course, love their chacuterie. And they eat horses, too. We also eat Cheval/horse from time to time; it's generally fine - and reasonably priced to boot. Many Brits seem a bit squeamish at the very thought of it. To some extent, I can understand their feelings. In general, I prefer my Donkey on the hoof:

A bit more like this one. She lives in a small paddock at the end of the road and is wonderfully noisy in that seemingly never-ending braying way, peculiar to the breed. I've oft been tempted to get one as a friend/pet rather than on a platter, but think it cruel to keep only one. I believe they are gregarious beasts and think it unfair to keep only one without another, or a pony or horse, for company.  In addition, I'm not really sure what I'd do with one - apart, that is, from eating it!  So, for the moment at least, as I don't want or have the land to support a couple of them, I'll have to forgo the pleasure of  Ane ownership.

The Hens seem to be thriving and we've been getting an egg a day recently,. A few days ago, we had a decidedly small egg and so assume that it was a first from whichever of the pair had yet to lay. Now, we hopefully expect a couple a day, though that's yet to happen with any regularity.  They could really do with better accommodation:

At the moment they're in a (badly) fenced off part of the garden with a Varikennel for shelter. The cage was in fact our means of transporting Charlie internationally. It's big enough to keep him secure, with a litter-tray at the back, a blanket/bedding and his food-bowl. It's a doggy-sized affair and is very secure, so the Chooks are fine inside it overnight for now. But I'll have to arrange something a bit better for them in the longer term.

J went back to England this morning, flying with FlyBe from Nantes to Gatwick. Yesterday she decided to add additional baggage to the booking. The website said this was easily done and cheaper than adding it at the airport itself. The FlyBe website, however, refused to cooperate. It simply wouldn't permit the alteration or addition of any baggage. At the airport itself, the staff - as usual - behaved like Ostriches, denying all knowledge of website difficulties and refusing to permit additional baggage at online/pre-booked prices. Instead they demanded an extra thirty-seven euros. We told them to stuff it and I brought the bag back with me in the car. When we complained to the airline itself, they responded in the usual anodyne way and failed to address the point that it is clearly - and greedily - in their interests to ensure that their website blocks these requests prior to flight but post booking online.  It drives me to distraction.  There seems to be no effective control over these businesses and their outrageously avaricious behaviour.  I used to think this lot were not too bad - a long way better than the awful Ryanair - but now I'm not so sure.

We have a guitarist friend coming over from Pittsburgh, PA, next week. He's coming over on holiday but will be doing one gig in a small venue near Bordeaux, followed by a guitar masterclass/workshop on the next day.  I'm really looking forward to seeing him, and his partner, Nancy, as it's been a few years since we last met. He did a similar type of gig up in Stockholm a few years ago. Luckily that coincided with our travelling down to Spain, so we stopped off in the Swedish capital for the evening and had a fine night out with Ernie and Nancy, though he was on stage for most of the time and selling CDs/DVDs and signing bits and bobs in between sets. Hopefully I'll have a better chance to spend a bit more time with him this time round. He is primarily an acoustic blues/ragtime-blues player and the French tend to prefer electric blues - generally of a poor standard:

Ernie is one of the leading players in the acoustic blues/ragtime/jazz genre in the USA - and elsewhere! A former guitar student of the late, great Rev Gary Davis, these days he is the backing guitarist of choice for Maria Mauldaur and often plays with Jefferson Airplane's former guitarist, Jorma Kaukonen. His repertoire is extensive and he often plays his own arrangements of Loiuis Armstrong classics from the 1930s. He is also a formidable guitar teacher and widely admired internationally. I expect to have a pleasant evening out though the three hour, each way, drive is not so appealing. J would have loved to go too, as she is a friend of Ernie's partner, Nancy, who will also be there at the gig.

Our French friend, Patrick, is likely to come down with me, as he also knows and likes Ernie's music. Our recent evening meal with him was much as expected: a just missed triumph of microwaveable grub featuring tepid pots, duck in a mushroom gloop and a number of other eccentric dishes. However, he did make a real effort to provide a four-course repas - of sorts!  

The weather has been a bit variable over the past few days, with cloud and lower temps than we're getting used to. Today has been splendid, however, with temps in the mid-twenties and wall to wall sunshine, though we had a fair bit of mist in the early morning when Charlie woke us by breeping and  jumping onto his blankety thing at the foot of the bed at about 06:15.  He has already got used to the fact that the Grandsprog and daughter have departed and spent much of yesterday nearby with frequent in-house visits for tucker and affection. Back to normal, in fact.

Jack was taken to the vet yesterday for his Rabies, and other general, vaccination updates. Whereas in the UK and in Sweden, the anti-rabies updates are only needed on a three-yearly basis, the French have opted for an annual regime!! God knows why!


  1. It is odd with the vaccinations especially since the vaccines are the same (same manufacturer at least) in France and the UK.

    There was talk of a European standard in 2008 for the length a vaccination is valid for but I don't think anything ever came of it.

  2. Talking of guitar players, here is a potter and guitar player...writes a good blog too....