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.