Sunday, 23 November 2014

Forty days: pt 36 (Sunday)

Today I was required to go and see Mockingjay. I have been force-fed the whole of the Hunger Games in the last week or so like a foie gras goose but with slaying instead of wheat. It is not cheery, is it (newsflash, there)? There aren't a lot of laughs out in District 12 even before it all kicks off, just the bleak satisfaction of occasionally killing a squirrel. It's even worse in Julianne Moore's pass-agg underground boilersuit camp. It is certainly not heart-warming Sunday evening viewing with mild romance and a lost dog in the manner of eg. Hamish Macbeth or Ballykissangel. Though it is not as bad as Polisse - a bleaker than bleak (though occasionally horribly uneasily funny) film about a Parisian child protection brigade - of which I caught the second half tonight. Coming on top of Latin revision and geography project homework (god, it only seems a few weeks ago that I was cursing oxbow lakes myself), this might all have sent me into a profound decline were it not for the following:

- ice cream at the cinema (side note: this ice cream is one of those knotty pronunciation problems. How on earth should one say "Un Ben and Jerry's Fairly Nuts s'il vous plaît?" Do you go for the full English, or do you try and frenchify for greater comprehensibility for the girl behind the counter? I have tried things like saying "the one with the nuts in", but it turns out loads of them have nuts in. Today I went for a sort of gallic version: "Ferrly Nuttes")

- Antiques Roadshow (STATUS QUO TAPESTRY).

- Beautiful sunshine, which I mainly viewed approvingly through the window whilst drinking tea and reading.

- The knowledge I have half a tiramisu hidden in the fridge for tomorrow when everyone is out.

- Laurie Colwin's Home Cooking. Someone here recommended I read her - her fiction, I presume - but the only thing I could get on Kindle was this and it's soooooo lovely (I read almost everything anyone recommends here and have almost never been disappointed). It encapsulates the exactly why I want to get good at hospitality (though it doesn't give me much hope I will because she was clearly such a delightful and extraordinary person). It is full of warmth and laughter and not taking yourself seriously and lovely things to eat without unnecessary fuss. I am not a reader of cook books at all (ha, as if this needs saying, though I could definitely have written something entitled 'Repulsive Dinners: A Memoir' as one of the essays is here) but this is enchanting, even though her repeated insistence on the deliciousness of potato salad revolts me.

- It is my birthday this week and even though I should be cast down by creeping mortality, some irrational part of me still goes "BIRTHDAY, YAY, PRESENTS, YAY, ME ME ME". By mid-morning Wednesday this will have worn off and I will be sulky and cast down (well, that or delightedly petting my new Shetland pony and trying to find room for him in the back yard) (I think we know which one it will be).

- Winning at Scrabble, yes, against the ten year old, what, shut up, French Scrabble is bloody hard. I am supposed to be writing something about board games soon, for which I think I need to acquire and play Risk. How likely is this to lead to total domestic breakdown? Is it worse than Monopoly? What are the best and worst board games for family discord, in your opinion?

How was your Sunday?


Anonymous said...

My Sunday was excellent because (1) sang Bach BWV 106 in church without mangling part too badly (and there are many potential mangles, including something like three pages of nasty coloratura at the end). Interesting to blithely sing "du musst sterben" a gazilion times - not me, obviously. And (2) did Thanksgiving, albeit four days early, and it was a massive amount of work but everyone pitched in (growing children - they help!). We had friends over, and it was fun, and filling, and now I don't have to do a turkey for another year.
Btw, Roxane Gay writes about playing Scrabble competitively in "Bad Feminist" - I enjoyed reading that. (I hesitate to say this but I didn't love Colwin's "Home Cooking", even though I was expecting to. Something about the tone - I felt bossed around, in a way. But it's been a while.)
I can't believe 36 of the forty days are gone already - this has been a real treat!

Susanjane said...

Hunger Games is def better read than seen. The books are marginally better than the film and you can put it down when it gets too fraught with angst.

Wait, they made a series out of Hamish MacBeth? WHY is this not available to Americans? I want to see the forest cat! I want to know if Priscilla is as tight arsed as she sounds! Oh, the unfairness!!!

I am so going to miss this after your birthday. I think you should do it for a whole year.

Anonymous said...

Risk is infinitely superior to Monopoly. I love the former and actively dislike the latter. Risk games are not nearly as long and drawn out as Monopoly and it requires a little light strategy (but not as much as chess) more so than Monopoly.

Xtreme English said...

my favorite board game was Smess--Chess for Dummies. Don't know if they make it any more, but I NEVER lost at Smess. I lost all the time at Chess.

Anonymous said...

I also wish you'd continue posting once a day, although it's more of a birthday treat for your readers.

I read a manga recently that features a Disney-style theme park in Tokyo with capybaras instead of mice. It made me think of you and I wish my fictional billionaire self could send you there as a birthday treat.

Settlers of Catan is way better than Monopoly, unless you drown in sheep and your husband and another player cheat by futures trading.

redfox said...

Laurie Colwin is BEST! I wonder if I was the one who suggested her all that time ago. Her fiction is very comfortable and delightful and definitely recommended but the cooking essays are probably her best work (unless you're Annette!).

Unknown said...

Risk is ace, but if you have an inner dictator, (and don't we all, just a little bit), it will bring it out, and you will wish to crush your loved ones to dust. Which is fine, as long as the feeling ends when the Risk does.

Dale said...

It's true, Laurie Colwin is the best (there's also "More Home Cooking" waiting for you). I say this as someone who cordially loathes cooking but at one time did quite a lot of it: hungry children, peckish elderly live-in inlaws, ravenous overworked husband . . . . What? No, I do not miss that time at all. Dinnertime comes every single day, as Colwin points out, and she helped me to stop sulking about it and actually cook.

Lara K. said...

I used to love Monopoly when I was really little, but only because I liked to arrange the houses and hotels around the board, and drive the car around so Dog could go to Thimble's house for a visit. I enjoyed it considerably less after I learned how to play "properly" with other people involved.

We used to play Cranium at parties, which I really enjoyed, mostly because I'm quite good at the "charades with modeling clay" bit. (That Art degree came in handy after all!) Also, there's a high silliness quotient.

Waffle said...

Annette - I can see how you could find it bossy, but I think I quite like books/authors that are briskly prescriptive at me (even with their depraved attachment to mayonnaise) because I feel so at sea with the business of feeding people.

Anon - CAPYBARA PARK. The capybaras would be furious, though.

Sally said...

We have one called Doggy Poo. The plastic dog eats bits of play-doh which are then miraculously turned into yellow doggie poos.

I'm not sure of the actual GAME, as we spent all our time cackling at the yellow turds all over the table. I had drunk four gins though so found everything funny at that point.

Shetland pony yay! I have one going VERY cheap - tis amazingly fat so could probably live off its blubber for a good six months without any grass.

Waffle said...

I am developing an obsession with your Shetland pony, Sally and I think for my birthday you should provide me with a picture of this beast, given that that is the closest I will be getting to a real one.

carolinefo said...

I have just implemented a strict 'buy no more books' policy due to incipient financial Armageddon and space limitations so severe that we are constantly in danger of serious injury from falling towers of books.

It has therefore NOT been a good start to the day that I have just ordered two of Laurie Colwin's books from Amazon.

I think I'm going to have to disconnect the 'one-click' button again.

Anonymous said...

For board games that create deep, irreparable rifts among friends and family, I'd recommend a recent discovery called Skull. It's really simple - some fancy bar mats with skeletons and flowers on - but requires just enough bluffing and bravado to get some good table-flipping rage going in under 10 minutes.

LS said...

I second Susanjane - you should definitely extend it beyond, if not for a year at least until the New Year! I love to read you anyway, but at this time of year, there's advent calenders, cakes/eclairs/mince pies, school holidays, the festivities at Tetanus Manor and most importantly if there are horse shaped presents for birthday/christmas etc.!

Thank you for your lovely writing x

cruella said...

Oxbow lakes in Swedish is "korvsjöar" which of course translates into " sausage lakes". Mm.

I think icecream sellers should practise their English on their merchandise. Thus no adjustment at your end.

Haven't seen nor read Mockingjay but the Swedish translator of the books is a personal friend of mine.

Trivial Pursuit has proven to be the most satisfying game to date in that respect because many opportunities to shriek with glee at opponents lack of knowledge and shout out the answer yourself in a very annoying fashion.

Unknown said...

So pleased you liked Laurie Colwin, it was my recommendation😊. I adore her writing.

Waffle said...

Oh, thank you AM! It was a total delight.

Anonymous said...

Definitely NOT a family game, but I have a feeling you may enjoy Cards Against Humanity... Very wrong, but very funny.

Sarah said...

As a child I remember many bleak holiday afternoons in North Wales, the rain lashing against the windows, playing family games of Contraband. It's an un-pc 1950s smuggling game my parents had no doubt acquired in a second hand shop. One player was a customs officer, trying to catch the rest sneaking duty-payable goods to each other. Great hilarity when caught smuggling perfume, a silver watch, some brandy or, delightfully, a pair of nylons. Feverish attempts to keep the crown jewels circulating between players for as long as possible. The great relief when you had nothing to declare - illustrated by a picture of a hat box, a pair of gloves and a copy of Vogue. The satisfaction of impunity, when dealt the diplomatic bag (might explain how I ended up in the Foreign Office). We all loved it. So much, in fact, that I bought it on eBay recently. And my 12, 10 and 8 year olds are now subjecting my parents to Contraband all over again. It has lost none of its charm. Incidentally as a habitual lurker I too am sorry the birthday is hoving into view, and the daily treat will be ending. It has been a delight.

Sarahgx21 said...

My Sunday improved immensely once I was persuaded to make butter'SCOTCH' (oh yeah!) and roasted pecan icecream, if only because everyone was suddenly nice to me!
Read Blood, Butter and Bones - Gabrielle Hamilton - was recommended by Nigella - I loved it!

breakfastlady said...

Still laughing at the B&J Fairly Nuts scene. This is the sort of thing I worry about endlessly, my other favourite being 'should you put your umbrella down if you're walking under a bridge?'

I can't do board games. We used to spent our 'summers' forced to play Monopoly whilst watching the stair rod Scottish rain pour down outside so I am completely allergic to it now. OTOH the place we stayed in also had a teeny tiny casino games compendium complete with teeny-tiny roulette wheel, which I can HEARTILY recommend. Plus it's v educational - maths, obvs, and I could say 'Mesdames et messieurs, faites vos jeux' and 'Rien ne va plus!' from the age of about 7.

Unknown said...

I second Blood, Butter and Bones, I really enjoyed it, too.

Patience_Crabstick said...

I love Laurie Colwin's books too, although I haven't read her fiction yet.

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