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Friday, 14 December 2012

Descent into squalor

(Above) I bought the light bulbs. Post-it has recipe for sausage casserole

Alone in the house (with VR in Lille, Aachen or even Aix le Ghent) I behave squalidly.

FOOD VR worries about this. She offered to make me a sausage casserole but I said this penalised her holiday. She told me how to make one myself and covered the kitchen chalk-board with accessible and easily prepared freezer items. Alas I forget to take them out in advance; also I suffered trauma thawing something in the microwave two decades ago. Instead I fried three sausages, split them longitudinally with a knife I had just sharpened (very proud of that). This enhanced their physical stability and I laid them on two slices of toast. The following day the same again adding another slice of toast which bore a fried egg, yoke deliberately punctured. Were VR away for a month scurvy would be a distinct possibility.

TIMETABLE I eat when hungry and go to bed two-ish. Last night I watched a Randolph Scott movie, High Lonesome, directed by Bud Boetticher, well regarded by French cinéastes. Did this after News at Ten!

HYGIENE Easily forgotten, I find.

BEHAVIOUR I sing aloud in unseemly places, eg, on the pot. Pick out carols on the keyboard at 7 am (The house is detached, I should add.) I open Christmas cards sent to the pair of us, albeit with a sense of guilt. Incautiously I drank a whole bottle of Cremant last night; fizzy wine metabolises far more quickly than still wine and my headache interfered with an erotic dream I was vouchsafed this morning.

QUESTION Why is the Agincourt Carol a carol? What's seasonal  about:

Our king went forth to Normandy,
In grace and might of chivalry.
Where God for him wrought marvellously.
He hath both the field and the victory.


  1. You're having such fun! But I expect you'll be glad when order and ascorbic acid is restored.

    I have to deconstruct Tom's sausages like that. Seems a waste of the sausage form to me, one might as well just have sausage meat, but he says you get more crisp edge bits for your banger. The requirement for crisp edge bits precludes sausage casseroles hereabouts, though I'm rather partial to same.

    Corpus Christi carol also. A carol was just a song once, apparently a circular dance originally, though I can't imagine doing that to the morbid strains of the CC carol, especially as sung by Jeff Buckley. Nuns used to jig about to carols, in Merrie Englande and elsewhere, I've heard.

  2. Would you like my Sauerkraut recipe, RR? I made a huge pot last night and now it's resting in the fridge. When I heat it again this afternoon, I'll insert smoked pork chops, a new bay leaf, and voila! You could sing in German whilst assembling the ingredients (just be certain to drain the Kraut completely after taking it out of the can/jar). And since the house is detached, the lingering aroma would only affect birds who may land on your roof. Each reheating of the Kraut increases its potency and flavour. You could be in hog heaven for a solid week.

  3. The battle of Agincourt was on 25th October. Perhaps "our king" thought there was an early Christmas market on somewhere in Normandy, and then got sidetracked having to fight a tiresome battle?

    It wouldn't be surprising to learn that the retail sector, even in those times, launched into Christmas before getting Bonfire Night out of the way.

  4. Lucy: The sausages were sliced (after cooking) for ergonomic rather than culinary reasons. Reduced to a cylinder with a semi-circular cross-section, the sausage assumes a single flat side which makes it less prone to rolling off the toast and ending up amidst the fluff under my couch. Tom appears to have taken things a stage further, based on the advantages of increased surface area.

    I can't tell you how delighted I am by the increased sense of fellowship brought about by knowing we share a taste for sausage casseroles. Quite frankly I thought you'd be above them but when I cast my mind back I seem to recall that your gamut does approximate the scope of the English class system.

    I had to remind myself about the Corpus Christi carol but only needed one bar of Jeff Buckley to identify it as a piece of music (without name) I've owned for at least thirty years, albeit sung by Janet Baker. Not just morbid but also medico-historical; one wonders what the medieval treatment would be for a wound that bled both night and day and why said knight hadn't by now exsanguinated. I assume Buckley specialises in castrati roles (I didn't listen long enough to identify his voice as falsetto (sounded too well controlled) or counter-tenor (sounded, unbelievably, too high)) and wondered somewhat destructively whether notes in the upper reaches cause him to twizzle a bit.

    RW (zS): I don't deserve such attention. The fact is I don't care to devote writing time to cooking and a quarter of an hour is all I allocate for meal preparation. You come close to shaming me into preparing that SK after which I would feel justified bursting into:

    Gloria sei dir gesungen
    Mit Menschen- und mit engelischen Zungen,
    Mit Harfen und mit Zimbeln schon.
    Von zwölf Perlen sind die Pforten
    An deiner Stadt sind wir Konsorten
    Der Engel hoch um deinen Thron

    imagining myself to be a reincarnation of DF-D.

    You may be interested to know I am halfway through a short story called Gorgon Wings in which the characters appearing in Gorgon Times (set in 1990) age two decades and join the characters from Risen on Wings (ie, today) to attend a gathering at the Italian ski resort of Cervinia to offer their views on the defects inherent in the two novels. It is of course aimed at a readership of one, since only I am able to identify all the whos, whys and whens of the twin plotlines. A technique tweaker if you like and the trigger to some goodish dialogue.

  5. Another piece of the carol puzzle - they very often include refrains (or burdens). Which leads me off topic and into the land of bag pipes (bourdon), drones, etc.

  6. Vide Lucy: the OED gives carol as "a song of joy or praise", so I guess that the Christmas version is simply that.