At the End of the Day

The Rain in Aquitaine

Three days ago, I very nearly posted a piece about the continuing drought problem here in South West France. But then the Ward v Coppola 16-rounder got in the way, and I ran out of time. Ever since then, somebody up there has been urinating on the area. And she’s obviously got a very full bladder. As the Buddhists say, “Look for the good in the bad”. It’s always there somewhere.

For example, on seeing this afternoon that some poor devil had tried to open the emergency exit during a Chinese internal Capital Airlines flight, I was reminded similar desires in the old days while on board the flights of Iberia, Alitalia and the infamously legendary PanAm. It forced me to realise just how much better even bucket-shop service is these days than it was when British Airways didn’t have Branson to worry about. The table stakes have been upped by that near extinct species, fair competition….or as one client of mine used to write, ‘table steaks’.

Anyway, it’s piddling down here, so the three times dug up patch at the back of the gite is now mired in quag. Apparently, a quag today is some kind of marriage between a query and a tag (in the online space) which perhaps does explain why Twitter is, indeed, an appalling quagmire. But originally, it meant a marshy area. So a town built on a quagmire – for example, under new Tory planning rules – might wind up being called Much-miring-in-the-Marsh. Or alternatively, ‘Hundreds drown to pay off Camerlot election-bung debt’.

Whereas the English say “It’s raining cats and dogs”, the French suggest that “It’s raining like a pissing cow”. Similarly, while your Rosbif says “I’ve got a frog in my throat”, your Frog complains of “a cat in the throat”. I’m on the side of the French re this one: micturating cows and tickly fur seem to me far more apposite and infinitely less obscure. But when it comes to idioms, every linguistic culture is different – and equally odd overall.

Few languages display idiomatic surrealism more than German. ‘Ich muss mich bergeben’ for instance (I must overgive myself) means ‘pass’. Surely if you pass, er….anyway, ‘Halt die Ohren steif‘ (keep the ears stiff) means ‘stiff upper lip’. I have seen lips wobble when people are scared, but never ears. And ‘jetzt sitzten wir ganz schön in der Tinte’ (We’re sitting pretty in the ink) translates as ‘this is a fine mess we’re in’. So fear not all Greek Sloggers, it’s nothing more than a question of ink.

Yesterday I toddled off to the GP to see what difference three weeks of anti-hypertension pills had made. The answer seemed to be “an enormous one”: from being very high just before Christmas it is now absolutely normal. Truly amazing, but it still leaves me with two thoughts. First, how much medication these days is prescribed purely because idiots like me are too foodie for our own good? And second, if a doctor tells patients they have high blood pressure, won’t that immediately make it worse?

After having been diagnosed with hypertension, by the way, I had to take a blood test and wee into a large canister during a 24 hour period. The laboratory results (as usual) confirmed that I was dead from a deadly combination of fat and alcohol.

“I see you like a little drink now and then,” remarked the doctor. This was a caustically impertinent reference to the fact that – while the normal liver enzyme output range is 24 to 60 – mine is 92. So I informed him politely that three years ago it has been 130. This, it seemed to me, was progress. He didn’t agree, but then GPs rarely do. Slightly more concerning was a cholesterol score of 5.8 – the result of too much confit, foie gras and terrine, and a distinct lack of exercise beyond lugging stuff around.

Personally, I blame sex. That is, the lack of it. Over the last year I have managed to make Cliff Richard seem a libertine by comparison. It has got to stop. Or rather, start. For me, not Cliff. Mind you, if he wants to reboot too, that’s a matter for him: far be it for me to judge.

Earlier at The Slog: The Challenge of waking the Dead.

16 thoughts on “At the End of the Day

  1. When I was in Mongolia I noticed that most of the sheep had black wool. My hosts told me that there is an old saying. “He’s the white sheep of the family”. Amazing but true.


  2. ” First, how much medication these days is prescribed purely because idiots like me are too foodie for our own good?”

    John at this time of year everyone is nervously walking up to gym doors then walking away hung over. Then a day later their fear is overridden and they enter.

    I think they don’t need to bother. The trick is to watch the blood sugar. Start with a bacon and egg breakfast, or boiled eggs, always breakfast. That is key to the day. Then watch the sugar, just the sugar content of everything. After that watch the sugar. And the wheat.

    I peed into a pot a month ago and was told what wonderful kidneys I have at 48. “Do my kidneys look big in this?”


  3. “When I was in Mongolia I noticed that most of the sheep had black wool. My hosts told me that there is an old saying. “He’s the white sheep of the family”. Amazing but true.” Stan I met my German wife in Ulan Bator. Is the Khan Brau still the place to go? Doesn’t the Mongolian language sound like klingon?


  4. Did you know that the acceptable level of cholesterol is determined by the pharmaceutical industry? You know, the ones that sell the medication that lowers it.
    Another classic case of manufacturing a problem then, miraculously inventing a cure for said problem.


  5. Not like you to take anybodies view at face value mate. Look at them like Medical geeks, the programming goes deep. My perspective? Quality over quantity?

    In your life, you hold the scales, you are the fulcrum.

    Another way…

    विचार कर नाभि बंद करो। ऐसा करने के लिए काफी है।


  6. I was actually talking about the cabin staff not the pilots. Being offered slop by a woman with a moustache to rival Zappata is worse than any crash could ever be.


  7. “Halt die Ohren steif‘” simply means ‘listen carefully’, e.g. while on guard duty or in a class room.

    “Ich muss mich bergeben” should probably read “Ich muss mich begeben”. Begeben is one of those words that have many different English translations depending on context. It basically indicates movement, e.g. if you need to move from one lane to another on an Autobahn you could use begeben. One translation could in some contexts be ‘pass’ – thought not to my knowledge in the context you hint at :-).

    One of the more amusing details of the EU is reading their various pieces of legislation in different languages to see how the meaning of the same piece of legislation varies with language. Sometimes it really is chinese whispers. Good fun. There is plenty of room for misunderstandings – and even malicious intentions should anybody be thus inclined and well enough versed in languages.


  8. You should be a little careful about your diet/booze intake John. I just spent my Christmas in hospital with acute pancreatitis. Hell. I (was, they’ve told me to stop outright) a moderate drinker, but I do like my fatty savouries! Believe me John, you NEVER EVER want acute pancreatitis…… five days of unremitting 11/10 pain with only three days of morphine (nothing else even comes close to touching it). I won’t even touch on how catastrophically shambolic the hospital was over the Christmas period…… a dangerous understaffed nightmare of pain and dehydration!


  9. That sounds deeply unpleasant, Roland, I hope you are on the road to recovery. My brother in law, a GP in Wiltshire, has been desperately trying to retire for about a year but they can’t find anyone to replace him – it seems general practice has become seriously unattractive to the dwindling number of young doctors coming out of medical school. He was admitted to Swindon Hospital on Sunday evening with breathing difficulties and left on a trolley for 15 hours before a bed could be found. The stress that our medical practitioners are now having to endure in order to try and keep up with the various government ‘initiatives’ on top of their thoroughly unrealistic workload is a killer. The future for the NHS looks bleak indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Happy new year JW and all, here’s to ‘happy times’ in this new (leap) year

    My sympathies Roland, I’ve had full on Kidney stones, so I know what 11/10 means!!! and thank God for morphine!!!

    The NHS is one of the best thing this country has ever achieved, shame it’s being destroyed to fit in with a TTIP future!

    As for sex…Go visit the Seychelles, plenty of sex there….“SEX”+highly+sought+after+by+collectors.


  11. Thank you for all your kind words guys, I’m pretty well back to normal now, sans booze (forever), crisps, pork scratchings and two stone in weight! (so, a silver lining!). Not something I ever want to repeat I can tell you.


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