Monday, May 26, 2008

The Conquering Hero departs....

All too soon he came and went (make of that what you will!) and once again the remote control is MINE all mine!

Truly vile weather marred the weekend with torrential rain which poured through the bathroom roof, conveniently watering my plants on its way down. Thank god because I forgot to. My mum recommended I buy Peace Lilies as they are 'impossible to kill'. Let me tell you, I've despatched more 'impossible to kill' plants than anyone else in the northern hemisphere.

The highlight of the weekend was undoubtedly the Eurobysmal Song Contest, that triumph of mediocrity and block (or should it be bloc) voting. They should let me be the compere which I could well be with old Tel threatening to resign over the clearly biased voting! Each year we wade through it, more for the sake of the children of course, in the hope of... I don't know what? Real talent, great lyrics? It served up the usual mix of songs composed by throwing random sentences into a bag and picking them out ( why do they let them sing in completely incomprehensible English?), the truly bizarre (the French entry looked like a cross between a 70s lounge lizard and an escaped paedophile and one group had women in beards) and the blatently talentless (just about everybody in it).

We always watch it with the subtitles as these are far more entertaining than the songs themselves and our favourite by far was the Spanish offering of 'my lady love does the chikichiki with her pants in her hand'. What on earth does that mean? Any Spaniards reading who might enlighten us? We've also asked far and wide in France and not found anyone who has a clue what the 'Chivers' are that weirdy beardy Sebastien was singing about? Could it really be about a popular English jam - or maybe even a jelly? That's taking the Entente Cordiale a step too far!

A sudden storm put paid to watching the voting but we all knew it would be an Eastern European country and sure enough it was. So, should we withdraw our funding in protest? Should Terry Wogan resign as compere? Should it become a separate competition for Eastern and Western Europe? Oh who the hell cares? It's just some loony singing competition that should have been axed around 1987. It ain't never gonna change the world and I for one was not shocked to the core to hear the Sir Cliff had been robbed of the title in 1853. It just ain't news to me.

The other highlight of the weekend was replacing the cover of our septic tank. God we know have to have fun. Are you jealous? Are you?

Since we bought the house, we've had no idea where this wonder of modern living was located, the useless eejit of an Irish bum we bought the house from having just waved at the steep slope behind the house and said 'it's over there'. In actual fact it wasn't 'over there' at all. It's 'over here' in a completely different direction, stoopid! He was a class act, our vendor. Most people I know inherit at least one piece of beautiful country furniture when they buy their house. Us, we got an old, broken and very used toilet and the mouldiest old washing machine in Southwest France.

Just a quick sewage diversion... The French government is currently carrying out checks on all septic tanks in France to check they conform to new EU regulations. It's estimated that approximately 92% don't. In our area, the rather bizarrely named SPANC (oh how the French love their acronyms!) are responsible for the checks.

The SPANCman duly called at the homestead requesting to see the septic tank. 'Mais oui, Monsieur, if only I knew where it was'. So with the aid of his long pole (quiet at the back!) he prodded and poked around in the area that Useless Irish Eejit had indicated housed our lovely fosse septique. After half and hour, we were no nearer finding it, though I had found all sorts of marvellous information that I just know I will put to good use one day. Like, if you have a party, collect up all the leftover beer and pour it into the septic tank. Clearly the man has never attended one of our parties where the chances of leftover beer are about as likely as our Maire saying something nice about foreigners and even if there were leftovers, the day I lift the cover of a smelly septic tank to pour it in is the day that I ask, nay beg, someone to have me committed. He also suggested live yoghourt and raw meat. Flaming hell, what does this thing need? A banquet? Should I maybe ask it for some meal suggestions or whether it has any preferences for brand of yoghourt? No, the cover once in place, stays firmly in place.

A whole 14 months later, we received a remarkably detailed report about our septic tank and what problems it may pose to the environment, all the more remarkable because until last week we still hadn't found the thing.

However, once found, it seemed that the cover was broken and a new 'couvercle pour la fosse septique' was needed. Looks like a job for the Conquering Hero.

Now, knowing how much he hates bodily excretions - the man blanches at a Tampax advert for goodness sake - it was pure joy to watch him clearing away all the overgrowth round the top of the very full, very smell septic tank, alternatively clearing his throat to hide the fact that he was gagging and looking very green around the gills. I casually dropped into the conversation that as the septic tank is shared with our cottage, we couldn't even be sure that everything in it was ours. Barf-o-rama!

Still, the new cover is now fitted and I can open the bathroom windows without fear of assault from sewage pongs. Ah, ain't life great!


The Lehners in France said...

I love septic tanks! We have one in our house in England shared by 3 other cottages. Our neighbour would not empty it after 3 months as was the norm, they wanted a "time and "motion" study." Luckily it backed up raw sewage into their house. There is a god after all!
If it aint broke don't fix it, but treat with respect. Debs x

(Very) Lost in France said...

Debs - you love septic tanks? You are truly a very sick woman! :))