Still on the countdown… buying packs of vegetable seeds like mad and contemplating how many different strains of carrots to grow, in amongst countless viewings and worryings and so on. I’ve been compiling a list of things to be sure we can buy in France, food-wise, that make up part of our weekly diet… judge not!
- cornflour…. custard, thickening, gravy
- suet… dumplings, suet puddings and suet crust
- olive oil – simply because last time we were in Geant, it didn’t seem to have any! Can’t believe it would be a rare commodity, but there you go
- corned beef – you can’t beat a tin of corned beef in the cupboard as a classic favourite to make a mighty meal with – much like last night, when I’d mislaid my shopping (it happens!) and we had corned beef hash with a suet crust!
- curry spices
- mushroom sauce
- worcestershire sauce
- toasted sesame oil
- baked beans
I’m sure there’ll be more, but this is about it. As long as I’ve got something as a substitute, I’ll be okay. I know we go through pints of double cream, so it’ll be creme fraiche from now on, and I know we’ll have to make the switch to French cheeses, which is fine, although you can’t beat the versatility of cheddar or double gloucester, or the lovely acidity of lancashire or cheshire or caerphilly. I’m sure I can manage with good old Port Salut for melting on stuff, and I’m looking forwards to a proper tartiflette with a reblochon cheese, rather than mozzarella and cheddar. I’m not sure I mind going completely native, but it is good to have a suet crust from time to time, or a bit of custard. I am, however, looking forwards to the rewards of fresh eggs on tap – home made mayo, ice-cream, meringues, pavlova, forgotten pudding, yummy baked cheesecakes, boiled eggs for breakfast and proper egg pasta, and eggy bread, and bread and butter pudding…. I was reckoning I spent about £250.00 a year on good organic free range eggs – I might have given up my vegetarian ways, but I can’t quite bring myself to buy something made in a cage by a poor life-less animal, unless I can absolutely help it. I don’t even buy things with eggs in these days, for much the same reason. I’m planning on turning Steve meat-free, over the long run. I reckon with our own eggs, plenty of fresh fish and lots of vegetables and cheese and bread, that’ll happen fairly easily.
What I love is how often he tells the Molly-dog ‘you’ll love it in France’, which is sweet, if un-needed. I know animals understand a lot of what we say, but I’m not sure she yet understands she’s moving from England to France. I think what he’s really doing is getting himself excited. I hope so. He’s not a gig-dancer like I am, so it can be very hard to the untrained eye to see if he’s actually giddy.
There’s a lot I shan’t miss… the media frenzy and deliberate misinterpretation of facts, the ‘sleb’ focus we have in this country. I don’t care what Jordan/Katie Price/Kerry Katona et al are up to, but someone must. They keep buying magazines with their faces on them, tuning in to programmes about them. I shan’t miss that at all. I also shan’t miss the way the press make demons of people, or angels, when we’re all somewhere in between. It’s shallow and fickle and cruel. Headlines won’t affect us so much, I hope. I’m sick of the way the world has become managed globally, although I appreciate that someone somewhere has the foresight to see a big picture on our behalf, and I’m hoping I won’t feel as enmeshed in politics as I do here, and that the media frenzy which turned a slump into a credit-crunch and a recession, in my opinion, is in some way responsible for the panic that ensued.
Neither shall I miss the foul-mouthed, nasty, small-minded underclass we’ve got in this country, the kind that litter the Jeremy Kyle show. I wish, I really, truly wish, that Jeremy Kyle had no guests and they were actors, but you can tell that they aren’t. They’re symptomatic of the foul society that Britain rests on, its weakest link, the Karen Matthews’ of the world, who pop out children and fill up the welfare system and drain resources, and there’s times when I wish the government, the police and social workers would say ‘you’re a foul individual! Stop being such a fuck-up and sort yourselves out. You’ve got no-one to blame for this but yourself. Now step up to the mark and start contributing to society instead of sucking it dry’ Petty-minded, over-fertile, badly-nourished alcoholics and drug addicts and dependants who haven’t got the slightest concern about any other living being, and feel like the world owes them a living. The worst thing is, there seem to be more and more of these as time passes. I don’t know whether it’s the distorted view I get from the press or the fact that I run into these oxygen thieves on a daily basis, but I’m sick and tired of the fact that nothing is ever done about them, although we all seem to despise them, and no-one would own up to being one. Where have all the nice people gone??!
And now you get a small sense of what it is that’s driving me to abandon this country and have a go somewhere else. I’m tired of everyone running each other down with words, terrorising each other, abusing each other and thinking it’s harmless. It’s okay to scream at your children instead of loving them, blaming a seven year old for being ‘bad’ instead of thinking it’s anything to do with yourself. I hate the way there’s no-one left to intervene and neither the police nor social workers are even allowed to say ‘this isn’t okay’, and it’s left to Jeremy Kyle to say ‘it’s not okay for you to behave like this’. Heaven forbid anyone should cast blame on a parent for not bringing a child up effectively. I hate that. Maybe if we did say ‘it IS your fault your three-year-old is naughty’ instead of accepting excuses, then things might be a little better. Too few people take responsibility for their own weaknesses, yet find much to criticise in others. I hate that.
So… I’m hoping the nun-like solitude and the occasional copy of Charente Libre will keep me up to date, and revive my faith that the world is a lovely place after all.