A good way to ensure you fail to update your blog, I find, is to post something you're faintly ashamed of and really don't want to leave hanging around for ages. Thus it has proved with the last post, though your comments were heartening and often hilarious, thank you. To obliterate my whining about my misshaped midsection AT LAST, let me tell you about the mating call of the capercaillie. I'm not really sure how I stumbled across this, file under 'and you wonder why you never achieve anything meaningful'.
"The mating sound of the male has been described as beginning with a resonant rattle, continuing with a pop like a cork being pulled from a wine bottle followed by the pouring of a liquid out of a narrow-necked bottle and ending with the sound of knife grinding.
The males can be very aggressive and have been known to attack deer, dogs, sheep and even humans if they are disturbed".
I would really like a capercaillie. B suggested a part capercaillie share and that we could send the bird to and fro on the Eurostar. I can imagine it would be very popular in the Carte Blanche lounge, trying to chat up the hostesses with its distinctive cork/knife grinding melody and attacking wheely suitcases when disturbed.
Apart from that I:
- Made skeleton biscuits:
Sweet baby Nathan, that was hard. I don't think I left the dough thick enough so the indentations were barely there, and then I didn't have a fine enough piping nozzle ("nozzle" is such a good word. If I ever get another dog, I'm calling it Nozzle. Ps, I am never getting another dog). Also, my gingerbread was disappointingly soft when it reached the recipe's required golden brown colour: does anyone have a better recipe? I am looking for your traditional gingerperson, the kind you buy in cheap bakeries in the North East.
- Painted my nails the same colour as my shoes, inadvertently, in an attempt to jolly myself up:
- Went on another trip to Paris yesterday for a farcically chaotic interview (not my fault, for once and indeed I was proud that a tiny shred of iron entered my soul and I was, very briefly, Assertive) that left me craving the sweet embrace of gin and a proper job. Instead, I bought 3 cakes, a jar of jam and the François Nars lipstick recommended to me in the previous post's comments. If and when bankruptcy finally comes, the official receiver is going to look particularly coldly, I imagine, on my serial purchases of (i) pinky-brown lip colours and (ii) preserves. Because the interview was, ahem, delayed, I was unable to enact my cunning plan to go to the Hermès cafe in Rue de Sèvres and to buy nail varnish in Bon Marché and drop in at La Pâtisserie des Rêves, curses. Instead, I walked from Batignolles to Boulevard Haussmann in the chilly February sun thinking about the amazing bits in La Bête Humaine that happen around there, death, guttering fires, confessions, cake, uncontrollable murderous impulses, trains. I am a bit obsessed with La Bête Humaine. Also Caillebotte's Pont de l'Europe, Manet's the Railway, Monet's Saint Lazare, the Batignolles rail accident in the 1920s .. Everything that happened in that triangle around Saint Lazare, really. I had the most horrible time living around there, but still I find it completely fascinating and could wander around there for days. The age of steam and the arrival of modernity and so on..no one could ever call Zola subtle, but he was really great at pinpointing and shouting about huge themes in (then) contemporary life. This is quite interesting on that whole area. It doesn't really fit in my cake book, but nevertheless I am obsessed and need to find somewhere, some way, of writing about it. Want my rambling essay on rail and danger and modernity in late 19th century Batignolles with a tenuous association with my son's infant fascination with trains and peril? Apply within!
- Picked at the side of my cold-inflamed nose until it bled uncontrollably for hours. Wondered if one could die from side-nose blood loss. Asked F, who said she thought it was very likely. Cried a bit at the state of my face generally (self-inflicted! Suck it up, idiot!). I need to have my hands bound like an infant with eczema. I am thirty eight.
- Had an interesting discussion with the eldest about the current craze in the playground for playing "Findus contre l'Angleterre". Apparently they form two teams, and 'England' pretends to be furious at 'Findus', saying things like "my ponies, how could you", while the Findus team is unrepentant and tells them how delicious horse is. It's not quite British Bulldog, is it.
There we go. Now there isn't a picture of me moping about my face leprosy at the top of the page. Job done.