Left-Over Posts? Snippets Not Quite Meaty Enough On Their Own To Make A Satisfying Post?
This Is The Place To Come To Use Them Up.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Vignettes of French Life (No. 6 in a series)




Friday 1600 hours, LeClerc supermarket check-out somewhere in the south of France

Friday, 30 July 2010

Dr Strangelove Actually

OK, for the sake of balance (recent posts having being either scatological or plain old cultured) this one's going to be really silly... but I hope you'll join in and enjoy it!

The game is this: Take two (or more) famous movies which share a word and merge them seamlessly into a new title. 

Here are some examples:

Dances with Wolverine

My Fair Lady and the Tramp

Priscilla Queen of the Desert Rat

Cocktail of Two Cities

Charlie’s Angels with Dirty Faces

and, for the more advanced who don't want to stop at two titles

Ocean’s Twelve Good Men Who Stare at Goats

... and finally for James Bond fans who want to mess with their heads: 

Live and Let Die Another Day After Tomorrow Never Dies

Go to it!

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Hari Prasad Chaurasia and Zakir Hussian

for Martin

If Music Be The Food Of Love

I found this wonderful quote by Ravi Shankar, and thought the Soup would like a touch of its spice.

“How does one put the spiritual significance of music on paper? Music transcends all languages and barriers and is the most beautiful communicative skill one can have.
Music makes us all experience different emotions, or the Navarasa, as we call it. Different types of music, whether it is vocal or instrumental, Eastern or Western, Classical or Pop or folk from any part of the world can all be spiritual if it has the power to stir the soul of a person and transcend time for the moment.
It makes one get goose-bumps in the body and mind and equates the highest mental orgasm and the release of grateful tears!"

Monday, 26 July 2010

Greetings from Florida


Penthouse view in St. Petersburg (no, it's not the view from my home, but I'm fortunate enough to know some fabulous people).

This banyan tree grows in the park close to my home.

This night blooming cereus is in my yard. It may be a common flower, but every year when it blooms I rush out late at night to stand in awe.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Voyage of the Poo-Sucker

Dear Fellow Fridge Dwellers. 

Chief cook Friko has graciously agreed to the addition of a new ingredient to the soup: The Guest Post.  It is my pleasure to introduce a blogger dear to my heart whose comedic talents I envy:  Kath, of You Are Here, whose topic today is effluence.  

Hold your noses, but don’t forget to breathe!  




I don’t have any pictures to go with this post.  You will thank me later, I expect.

My son has a job.  It’s one of those jobs that you talk about when you are older and you’re trying to tell your kids that life was harder “back then”.  In my son’s case, he will probably, hopefully, be right.

My son’s company does, among other things, waste removal.  For most of the summer my son does Catch Basins, or “CBs”  .  A pumper truck, loaded with 1 driver and 1 labourer, drives the local streets, stops at storm drains, and the labourer (my son) gets out,  lifts the grate off the hole and then  uses a remote control to position a boom (small crane) over the hole, lowers a hose, and sucks out the sand and silt.  The truck carries a tank for waste and another tank holding water used to flush things out.I think my son enjoyed the job for the first hour of the first day last summer; after that, not so much.  However he has stuck with it, and is still at it while he figures out what he wants to do with the rest of his life.  In the meantime, he has to set his own alarm, get his 19-year-old self up very early, make his own lunch, and be at the truck yard by a certain time each day.  As parents, this delights us to no end: valuable skills that will  stand him in good stead the rest of his life!

Some days our son doesn’t do CB’s.  Instead, he does laser cutting (digging holes for construction using concentrated beams of water that can “cut your arm off!” if you don’t watch what you’re doing).

Other days he works at cleaning out septic tanks and/or pit toilets.  Everywhere there is a basin and a substance that fills it, my son may be required to empty it out.  As he says, “It’s a SH***Y job, but someone has to do it.”

Yesterday was a pit toilet day.   For my more genteel readers: a pit toilet is an outdoor toilet positioned over a large hole.  One uses these at campgrounds and public places not connected to the sewer system.  If you’ve ever used one of these and wondered, “What happens when it fills up?” (and who hasn’t  sat there and pondered this while listening for the distant splash or plop), now you know.  It gets sucked out!

The community of Pemberton is located a few miles north of Whistler BC, home of the some of the events of the 2010 Olympics.  To get there, one must travel the beautiful Sea-to-Sky highway for 2-3 hours.  The road is winding, the scenery breathtaking.  The destination, in this case, not so lovely.  Somewhere in Pemberton six pit toilets are filled to capacity, brimming with a pungent primordial soup.    The two men locate the toilets and start to work.  The driver positions the truck, my son inserts the hose and the truck pumps it all into the holding tanks. Everything is as hunky-dory as it can possibly be in such absurd and smelly circumstances.  The truck is now full, and the two men set off for home. 

Purveyors of poo, exporters of excrement, these shippers of sh** sail down the Sea-to-Sky highway at a jaunty clip!  Talk turns to the weekend ahead and a pleasant drive continues until the frantic honking of horrified passers-by alerts the men to a problem.

The twisty road has set the boom a swinging, and this swinging boom has bumped a cap on the holding tank.  The cap has parted company with the holding tank, apparently some miles back up the road.  The result is an excremental exodus.  A trail of breadcrumbs this is not.  Pulling the truck over has mixed results. My son runs to the back of the truck to survey the damage.  What was formerly a steamy stream has now turned into a powerful pile of poo. A muddy mountain, if you will.

“How much poo?,” I interrupt breathlessly.

“Oh, bigger than dad’s Honda civic!”, say my son. “More sh** than I’ve ever seen in my life.”

A few million of my brain cells explode at this spectacle, but I urge him to go on.  He continues with the story:  apparently there is a valve inside the vomiting exit port, which is controlled at the truck’s dashboard.  “Shut off the effing valve”, my son yells at the driver, and the valve is shut off  forthwith.  At this point most of the contents of six pit toilets is now percolating at the side of the road just outside the town of Squamish BC (which I shall now ever more think of as “Squeamish” BC, for obvious reasons).

“Was there, er, toilet paper in the pile”, I ask, trying to picture the problem (I am a visual learner, incidentally).

“Oh Mom”, he says, “Toilet paper, tampons, diapers, condoms….”he trails off and his eyes glaze over slightly.  I feel another billion brain cells popping and decide to think about something else.  But I can’t.

“What did you do then?” I ask, wondering about post traumatic stress, if not for him, then maybe for the tourists driving by on the highway. Is there counselling for this type of thing?  What form will their nightmares take?

Fortunately there is a spare cap in the truck. Once the tank dribbles out it’s last, the cap is attached and an eerie silence fills the air. A cricket chirps, oblivious to the load of lava sliding his way.  Driver and labourer look at each other and consider their options. The phrase, “Oh Sh**” comes to mind, but remains unuttered. No point in belabouring the obvious.

There is only one option.  The driver flips a switch.  My boy manoeuvres the boom, lowers the hose, and a fresh round of poo-sucking begins.  “It’s different when you can actually SEE what’s happening”, my son explains. “ It seemed to take forever.”

He sucks up as much of the mess as is possible, and the driver calls the regional district office to explain that there is a stretch of highway where it is best not to stop to change a tire.  They request that a street sweeper truck be sent out.  The regional office dispatcher tells the men that they will take it from there, and my son and the driver once again set off homeward.  They get back to the yard after a 10-hour workday; some of it an easy ride and some of it a hot, stinky lesson in humility.

We don’t normally talk about poo in polite company.  Such talk is reserved for doctors’ exams when we are asked to describe it and encouraged to produce it daily. After that, we don’t discuss it, even though it is something we ALL have in common.

  When people ask my son about his job I don’t know what he tells them, but if and when he moves on, whether it be to a “cleaner” job or to go to acting school (his dream), he will have earned the right to be there.  I’m proud of him, my poo-sucking young man.

- Kathryn, of http://kathryn-youarehere.blogspot.com/

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Another Insect Or Two

Low Love Life

The female spider
Can't abider
Till he's tucked

Ivor C.F. Treby

* * *  * * 

A centipede was happy quite,
Until a frog in fun
Said, ' Pray, which leg comes after which?'
This raised her mind to such a pitch,
She lay distracted in a ditch
Considering how to run.

Mrs. Edmund Craster

* * * * *

The Ant has made himself illustrious
Through constant industry industrious.
So what?
Would you be calm and placid
If you were full of formic acid?

The Lord in his wisdom made the fly,
And then forgot to tell us why.

Ogden Nash

* * * * *

Oh, alright then here's a squid to finish off:

The squid had an id:
Id is not nice, but the squid loved id.

Clark Stillman

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

A Quick Plea To The Raingods

The weatherman keeps promising that we will get some rain.
But it never seems to get here. Oh, what a crying shame!
My plant pots gasp; green leaves turn brown and fall off one by one.
Why can't the forecast get it right? Why can't the rainclouds come?

Monday, 19 July 2010

Once every six weeks isn’t nearly often enough.



Eyes closed to keep out all

but the feel of fingers stroking, lifting,

assuming their brief intimacy with my scalp,

contracting like skin on a cat’s back,

luxuriating in the uncommon.


Crisp scissors flash and dart, withdraw to contemplate their work;

the silken hiss of blades perfectly met

touches a rare place inside my brain

that perceives the sound exquisite, 

a tiny aural climax.     


If my hair grew faster, I would come more often

to offer my head to the hands of another

or I could just pay for another hour, asking to pretend, 

prolonging the pleasure,

as good as the prelude to sex.




Sunday, 18 July 2010

Raymond Chandler and Charles Dickens

I write like both of them, apparently.
I tried two different blogposts, one after the other, within seconds, and


said that's whose writing mine most closely resembles.

You won't be wasting much time, it takes seconds to do.
I wouldn't put too much weight on the result, though.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Can't Think Of A Suitable Title For This

The new Vatican rules , issued on Thursday , make the ordination of women "a crime against the Faith" and therefore incurring instant excommunication for any woman seeking ordination , as well for those attempting to ordain her . They also make child abuse by clergy "a crime against morals" leading to possible defrocking .
After reading this in this morning's paper , Husband , raised a Catholic , mildly inquired , "Can you ask to be excommunicated ? "

Friday, 16 July 2010

What Does the Queen Keep in Her Handbag?

I've always wondered.  .  . after all ER has ladies-in-waiting to deal with carrying things. Does the Queen have credit cards? A driver's license? Pictures of the corgis?  

I think she carries a handbag so that when things are particularly trying, she can open it and take a quick, reinvigorating peek at this little button which she has affixed to the lining.

A deep breath, a stiffened upper lip, and the House of Windsor carries on.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

T'other Day I Tried To Board . . .

. . . the "Poetry Bus."  Jinksy (the Finest Poet in the Fridge, but rarely in the Soup) told me about the Bus, about how "The Driver" sets the subject each week.  Last week or, since Time Flies, possibly the week before last, the task was to write a poem "on" something, set by driver Dominic Rivron who wrote a poem "on" a banana.  Follow the link and you'll see what I mean.  I had no bananas that day, so I wrote a haiku on . . . on . . . on . . .  and this was my reward for a morning's effort!   So in future I'm taking the train . . .

Sunday, 11 July 2010

What Was That You Said?

One thing that wandering the halls of Blogdom - or the Kingdom of Blog - has given me is an appreciation for the elasticity of the English language.  Sometimes English seems to have more in common with an amoeba than the structures that required me to parse sentences for the interminable years of elementary and high school.  

 Spag Bol.
Wheelie Bin.
Hush Puppie.
.............all words with confusing meanings whether British, Canadian or American......and I haven't even begun to think about the minefield of Antipodal English, Anglo-Indian, African or Caribbean English.

I would like to go on record, here and now, with my application to sit on the Board of the Academy of English, once it is formed.  There will be a need for a Canadian member who has experienced the richness of our language from Newfoundland to British Columbia.  In the meantime, anyone who has ever pondered over a blog posting, wondering What the.........should click here for a view on English, as the English speak it.

Friday, 9 July 2010

No Picture, Just Words

Late at night, Benno gets taken out for his last, very short walk, a quick ten-fifteen minutes round the Castle by way of the dry moat. At this time of year there is still just enough light in the sky to see light and dark but not enough to distinguish anything very clearly in advance.

We were just coming round the bend by the steepest path to the Castle when a man came sliding down it. Instantly, Benno stopped dead in his tracks, bristling and growling. Benno is a large dog.

"Don't worry about him", I said,  "he makes a lot of noise, but he's never bitten anyone yet".

The man, a scruffy, hippie type, replied "I have a wife at home, just like that".

We've Been Warned .

The Met Office have issued a Yellow Alert which indicates Extreme Heat , apparently .Though this morning's Volkskrant , which has this picture on the front page , warns darkly that it could be worse .... Orange or Red .

And they're not talking about the Dutch football team or even the forthcoming spy swap with Russia.

No , it's going to be around 29 degrees here this weekend .

Quick , I need a plastic bowl ....

Thursday, 8 July 2010

I know it’s only physics, but it still seems like magic.


 Air Canada flight 844 en route to Frankfurt

Next time I hear anybody bitching about flight delays, lost baggage or bad on-board meals, I’m going to pull them by the earlobe and tell them to consider this:  

It’s nothing short of incredible that you can sit in chair six-and-a-half miles above the earth and be propelled at over 500 miles per hour while watching a movie and drinking coffee in your shirtsleeves despite being only inches away from an air temperature of  –65F.  

I will never get over the wonder that a thin-skinned cigar tube weighing nearly half a million pounds can get itself off the ground and deposit me on a different continent a third of a world away in the length of time that I used to spend at the office on an average day. 

Never mind if I have to wait until the runway clears for take-off, if the beef is tough, or the flight attendant’s grumpy – it’s all a flippin’ miracle. 


Cannes, approx 14h30 yesterday. 

Going on holiday

There are certain people who should not go on holiday in July and August.  One group is those who provide holiday accommodation, as that is their busy season.  Another group might be keen gardeners, especially those who grow vegetables and run greenhouses.
I am a member of both groups.  I have somehow found myself about to go on a walking holiday in the Alps and am wondering why I didn't realise that the complexity of organising for someone else to look after my life for a fortnight would be a problem which might far outweigh any benefit of going away.
I am just going to shut myself in the cupboard under the stairs for a quiet aaaaargh for a few minutes.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Greetings from Alaska

Two tidewater glaciers in Prince William Sound

Friends ?

Would you remain friends with the person
who sends you 
this card?

Whole Country On Orange Alert .

At 4 o'clock this afternoon , local time , Holland plays Brazil in the quarter-finals . ( World Cup , of course ) .

Nothing less than a victory will do .
The offices are emptying , the market's packing up early , orange ice lollies and Paprika Doritos are being stockpiled , the oddest people are wandering around in orange curly wigs ....

And , down by the river , the imposing statue of a Frisian cow , known as Us Mem or Our Mum by everyone , is willing the team on .

Whatever sporting event you're supporting this weekend , Wimbledon , the Tour de France , football or horse-racing in Kentucky ..... GOOD LUCK !

I hope you've remembered your vuvuzela .

Grandhorse Cindyrella to run at Churchill Downs

Well granddaughter Cindy and husband Jeremy have been enjoying the excitement of having their thoroughbred Cindyrella running in Florida and other states.
This Friday July 2nd 2010 Cindyrella will run at Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, in Louisville. 
The entire family will be going to the races to cheer her own.