Here in vaguely entre deux mers France, the heat of the day has been inconsiderately collected by the rocky calcaire soil, and is now pulsating upwards again as the time approaches 10 pm. All around me, small lizards with little or no body thermostat controls leap onto anything white or cream in colour in a bid to avoid the dark surface of the herb and veg patch. They do passable impressions of Dudley Moore trying to get across a South American beach in the film 10, but lack the dysfunctional body equipment that made him so hilarious in the scene.

It has been so hot here today, even a raunchy thought is capable of producing instant sweat beads. In a bid to counter this, I have been forcing my boiled brain to conjure up images of Wolfgang Schäuble, Antonis Samaras, Jeremy Hunt, Christine Lagarde, automotive petrol pumps, remote keyboards and prefabs. It was effective for stemming water loss, but left me with a bp of 230/153 – which let’s face it, is well Beyond Petroleum.

Guests Peter and Rita have wisely moved on to head for the relative cool of the Pyrenees. They are, respectively, veterans of the media and education grinding machines who have opted for the open road and a look at the wider world. They were great crack, and left looking suitably rested – which is nice. Like all good guests, they arrived with their motor home fridge full of wine and protein, which married well with the garden produce of Slogger’s Roost. The entire world excluding us and our offspring was slagged off until the early hours. Life is for living, but gossip is more fun. Thus:

Peter and Rita/have a life so much sweeter/than Anouk Aimée/in La Dolce Vita

Meanwhile, I can offer an update on the development of solar-heated pools and Chinese manufacturing prowess. Ever since February, I have been buying cheap flexible hose piping from the naff stores that are sprouting up all over France, as the ability of its population to consume anything of quality plunges thanks to eurozone flatlining. The idea is that, on clear days during Spring when the pool is chilly, one fills the pipe full of water from the mains with the hose on lock, lays out the forty-odd metres in the sun for an hour at a time….and then releases the warmed water into the pool. By 4pm in the afternoon (it says here in the script) the pool will be more receptive to the wimpy human body.
The European (French, British and German) hosepipe coped with the temporary mains pressure with a minimum of fuss. By contrast, the Chinese piping wound up looking like an Anaconda that had swallowed – but not digested as such – fifteen hard-boiled eggs, three marrows and a wild boar. The outer casing had burst, and delicate rivulets of barely heated water were dribbling across the paving into the swimming pool. On looking at the tableau before me, I almost felt like fetching a crucifix.It is an odd globalist nether-world we inhabit. Chinese unprotected workers slave their arses off to produce shite rubbish unfit for purpose, and this is in turn consumed by downmarket western workers short (or devoid) of regular employment. Neither producer nor consumer gets any satisfaction out of the experience, and when the slumps come they’re left to their own devices when it comes to funds.The owners, shippers, importers and retailers of this garbage get to make their own nice little percentage. The wealth gap between producers and consumers on the one hand – and owners plus distributors on the other – widens alarmingly. The Rowntrees Foundation and other similar organisations point this out, but don’t point the finger…for fear they might have their donations cut off, or be smeared as non-violent extremists. The neoliberal fanatics, meanwhile, puzzle cluelessly about why worker productivity is falling. I don’t so much ponder as marvel at their inability to reach the obvious conclusion. On the other hand, perhaps they suffer from what my mum used to call Selective Deafness.But sod all that. Pam and Percy pigeon have eggs in the nest, the red squirrels are out again in search of food for their young, a pair of gerbils have set up home in the Bay bush, the ash saplings are thriving, and the Budleia is unfeasibly huge:DSCN1194Earlier at The Slog: Giving Greek truths the Oxi-gen of publicity