I have been totally cool about the whole terror threat stuff, lockdown, whatever, but yesterday with two armed fugitives still allegedly en fuite (not that this necessarily makes them any more dangerous than when they were holed up in their nice arsenal in Forest I suppose, also how many armed fugitives are STILL en fuite since November? I have lost count), I did get slightly ruffled when the police closed down our street with cordons and tape and sat in their police cars right in front of next door for HOURS, literally about 4 hours.
"If the neighbour has been hiding Salah Abdeslam in his saxophone case all this time," I found myself thinking "I am going to be fucking FURIOUS." The atmosphere outside was not exactly one of febrile urgency, more bored standing around and there were no men in balaclavas and armbands, but nevertheless I double locked the front door and closed the shutters because you never know. This did not prevent me from falling deeply asleep within seconds.
Anyway, they had gone in the morning and I haven't had the mental wherewithal to go and get the full lowdown from Corner Shop Guy, so I may never know what was actually going on.
I am having one of those days when you are slightly, but critically, out of kilter with the universe on some basic physical level and many disasters ensue. I have forgotten my keys, broken a glass, spilled tea in my bed, misjudged the tipping of some spinach into my punishment soup (the tipping of spinach into already spinach flavoured soup was my first error here) causing the most ridiculous degree of splashing/spillage (jeans and cashmere jumper liberally coated in slimy green soup, also work surfaces and floor, dog uninterested in helping with clear up) and let us not even try and count how many times I have dropped my phone. This all culminated horribly in the supermarket an hour or so ago when, having foolishly chosen not to take a basket for my purchases, I made some kind of involuntary flailing movement and had to watch as my litre of milk flew up in the air, then, describing several athletic flips, landed with unerring accuracy RIGHT on top of a box of twelve eggs in the basket of the woman standing next to me. It was as bad as the time I catapulted a prawn into a woman's handbag in a Parisian noodle bar, actually it was worse because more noisy. I am a bit frightened for the rest of the day and indeed am sending a child for the traditional Wednesday frites because it seems safer. The child is thrilled. Apparently "you can get yourself a can" is insufficient blandishment for the over-stimulated, jaded, youth of today.
I have also made some kind of pecuniary declaration of intent by buying several key items for my proposed patisserie challenge, a spatule with an elbow, apparently essential, lots of vanilla, some whole milk (hence the supermarket flailing shenanigans), a cadre pâtissier and other nonsense. Jesus, I am fearful. What shall I try first? I am still waiting for a kilo of fondant pâtissier to be delivered from some esoteric French trade website so religieuses are out. Flan? Paris-Brest? Some kind of Opéra? Help. My percentage success rate with crème pâtissière currently stands at 0%. I have managed choux pastry in the past, sort of, but everything else is a mystery. I am using this book, which seems to make out that everything is a piece of piss as long as you have the spatule with the elbow and the cadre for patissing:
We all know this will turn out to be a grotesque lie.
One of the cakes is actually called "Success":
And yet I note that the first instruction involves boiling sugar and a sugar thermometer. That is CRAZY TALK, Christophe and my trust in you is already dwindling.
Dutch word of the day
Elleboog = elbow
50% Why are Belgian stamps designed by 8 year old girls giddy on a diet of Haribo and Cute Overload? Whither dignity?
50% Totally buying some of the kitten stamps for my next VAT return and will absolutely charge them to the 'business'.
0% En fuite