Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The Wednesday Whatever

Everyone in this house is behaving oddly, as if the interminable, terrible rain has dissolved our last scraps of self-control and rationality. The dog is the worst of the bunch (though the dishwasher is a close second).

Things that currently make the dog lose his shit:

The words:
"Right", "Ready, steady, go", "One, two, three" or "Ok".
Either of the children's names, shouted up the stairs
Opening a cardboard box
Blowing down a cardboard tube
Raspberry noises
Board games
Card games
Bees
Flies
Anyone running
Anyone going into the cellar
Anyone lifting anyone else up
Hugs
Balloons

Fun, basically, in any form. He's the whippet Oliver Cromwell. LAY DOWN THE CARDBOARD TUBE OF VANITY AND REPENT YOUR SINS.


British
I am writing this while I watch possibly the most British programme ever. It is some kind of Springwatch (basically enthusiastic people in sludge coloured Goretex standing in a field trying to show you footage of small sludge coloured birds) spin off and a middle aged lady in a pink rugby shirt is describing the behaviour of three birds in the back garden of her 1930s semi. She has given them all names: Marge and Marvin the Magpies. Jeremy the jackdaw. Marge and Jeremy are engaging in some kind of unusual inter-species courtship behaviour. Marvin is displeased. Back in the makeshift studio (mugs of tea and exceptionally plain biscuits clearly just out of shot), a woman professor from Cambridge in wispy scarves and sensible shoes gives a tango demonstration with a colleague then talks about the insights her research on cognition in a colony of rooks give into the Marge/Jeremy situation. I am pretty sure this would not be considered televisual entertainment in any other culture but I am enjoying it enormously.

Cultural exchange

Speaking of cultural specificities, My friend F (who lives near New York) and I are discussing sending each other a shoebox parcel of highly specific treats as a mood enhancer.

F: I want Marigold bouillon powder.

E: Ok.

F: And any magical beauty creams you have left over.

E: Ok.

F: And a live owl. Smallish.

E: Fine. I'll pack it tight in a snug box. Would you like the Manneken Pis? Or a Breughel? We have some nice ones.

F: Oh yes. What do you want from America? Would you like some kind of restrictive immigration policy?

E/F simultaneously: HANDGUNS.

E: I hear good things of your "Shake Shack". Send me one of those.

F: Would you like some more sons?

E: God, NO. NO MORE SONS. I want tooth whitening strips for my horrible British teeth.

F: Anything else?

E: Optimism. Self-belief. Better teeth.

F: Empire. Arrogance. Obesity.

E: Nah, we can get obesity over here now. In specialist shops.

What would you send - in a box or otherwise - to a friend from your country on a cultural exchange?

19 comments:

Peter said...

You need to include me in future exchanges. Also, not for nothing, but "lives near New York" is true in the same way that you live "near Paris" is.

Waffle said...

Perhaps I was being DELIBERATELY VAGUE. (Perhaps not). Also, your country is huge. Mine is the size of a postage stamp. This is totally legitimate.

cruella said...

Cheese doodles ("ostbågar") and Kalles kaviar - obviously. The Swedish model? Help yourself, it may be a bit blurry at the edges after long wear though.

Patience_Crabstick said...

Whippet Oliver Cromwell? Dead.

I live in the American South. I guess, to F's contributions, I could add "vehicles" and ham biscuits, and a 17 year cicada attack.

Patsy said...

Ah springwatch. The shipping news of TV. Only people in a land where the weather is shit most of the time can watch a programme about leaves growing. But all the same, it is compulsive if I remember rightly.

Ellie said...

From Texas we can send you fire ants, jalapeño sausage, grapefruits and Rick Perry if you promise not to try to give him back. He would be very useful for answering the door when people come and try to sell you magazines. (Do they do that there? If not, we will also send you ours).

Ellie said...

Patience, are those VEE-hickles that you are going to send? I hope so, and not those vehicles without the hard, hard h. Those ones don't drive as hard.

Peter said...

It's not the size of your country, it's how you use it.

The Reluctant Launderer said...

Not sure anyone would be particularly excited by the contents of my parcel: alcohol (Guinness, Bailey's); Church-protected paedophiles; medieval laws "protecting the unborn" (even if the unborn has a terminal defect with 0% chance of survival - your womanly duty dictates that you must carry it to full term AND THEN BEAR IT). Oh, and rain. Lots and lots of rain. Mind you, you can now buy cheese and onion crisps encased in a chocolate bar, so it's not all bad.

The Reluctant Launderer said...

(obviously I meant "apart from the alcohol...")

Lara K said...

As a resident of Seattle, I think legally I'm restricted to sending things that can be described as "locally sourced," "sustainable," or at the very least "micro-brewed." Fortunately I think at least one of those terms could be used to cover sending you some Strawberry Balsamic ice cream.

Stacy said...

I think the same Seattle rule applies to us here in Madison, WI--must be local cheese, local beer and smugness.

Chris said...

I'm in Florida and would love to send the world lemons, grapefruit, oranges, etc.; because most people here let fruit rot--the trees are all so prolific. (Except in drought years when there aren't any)

ali_jane said...

I can send poutine, maple syrup (but not maple leaf shaped maple cookies, as those are considered by some "federalist cookies"), $7 a day daycare, ridiculously cheap college and university tuition, but that comes coupled with ridiculously high drop out rates.

Helen said...

From Oxford I would send you the sense of blind panic and lack of library seating which is seasonal at this time of year, for Finals. I could send you some nice torrential oh-but-it's-good-for-the-garden rain, but I think Belgium's got that covered. What else? The smell of old books, pottering about, and as many afternoon teas as your heart desires.

Ohlala Maman said...

Well I'm in Paris so I will have to send you an assortment of cakes, repetto shoes, Benjamin Millepied, maybe something from Deyrolle? sense of humour failure and an array of scathing put downs about your weight and accent. You're welcome!

Krazy Kitty said...

From Germany I'd send beer (Reinheitsgebot compliant), 10 different kinds of wurst, a pair of ugly but oh-so-comfortable slippers (to be worn with thick wool socks), the concept of Rabenmutter (feel free to have it resomated at your earlier convenience—do they do resomation in Belgium?) and a sense of impeding doom.

J. said...

From the Windy City I would send you a overly friendly/chatty Walgreens drugstore cashier with an insanely thick South Side accent, Portillo's fast food (Italian beef or a Chicago style dog, your pick), a corrupt politician (again, your pick--we've got loads to spare), the best Mexican food outside of Mexico, and the beautiful vistas of Lake Michigan/the Loop from Lake Shore Drive on a sunny day that never get stale.

SUEB0B said...

I'm from California, so I'll be local. Fruit-scented surfboard wax whimsically called "Dr. Zog's Sex Wax." Five pounds of tangerines, which, is for some reason, the way they sell them here (who needs 5 lbs of tangerines??). Handguns. Teriyaki-flavored beef jerky. A t-shirt spray-painted with my neighborhood gang acronym, which is VAG (Ventura Avenue Gangsters).