So Cool!

Did you mention food?

 

Not the weather, unfortunately, but a great new service available in the Possum Kingdom.

I have mentioned many times that there are days where I find the job of shopping for groceries outside of the village arduous, boring and time consuming. But, for the last few months, the SuperU in Mirepoix has  been advertising an online grocery service.

I’ve been tempted, but never got around to trying it. Now, they don’t deliver to us here in the Possum Kingdom, as we are too far away. But what they do offer is the equivalent of a personal shopper. You place your order with their website, pick a time when you want it to be ready and then go pick it up. The charge for this is 4 Euros, which is a bargain no matter how you look at it.

When  you get to the store, you go to the delivery bay and ring the bell. A very nice employee shows up, takes your name and brings all your groceries that have been nicely packed in boxes and then they even load them into your car! After that, it’s just a question of swiping your credit card and you’re done.

I never, ever shop on Saturdays. But I was out of almost everything, as it had been close to three weeks since I last went to do a big shopping trip. So I figured, what the heck, how awful could it be.

It wasn’t awful at all! It was brilliant! I even ordered a rosbif (that’s roast beef in French) and two kilos of figs, and they were all beautiful and perfect. The nice SuperU lady explained how she had looked for the farthest away “use by” dates on all the fresh things like milk and cheeses, and showed me that the one thing I had ordered that wasn’t in stock had been removed from the list and I wasn’t charged for it.

They threw in an insulated bag for the cold stuff and a second free, reusable shopping bag as a welcome gift, And, because it was my first order, I didn’t even get charged the 4 Euro fee. We had left the house at 2:30 and were back at the house with the groceries inside at 3:30! This has never happened before, since it takes 40 minutes just to get there and back.

Now, clearly, if there are special items that they have and which haven’t been added to the website,  you aren’t going to be aware of them. They don’t have EVERY item in the store online, although there is a place where you can ask for special things. So, I guess I will occasionally be going in to shop myself, but this has another huge benefit beyond the time saving: no impulse buying! If you don’t see it, you can’t buy it.

I have to admit that I am weak, and I am often tempted by things I see, even if I would never have considered buying them if I didn’t see them. So a system like this is ideal for me. It will undoubtedly save me money in the long run, because I will only purchase that which I know I need, not that which I merely want.

For you who live in big cities, this is nothing new, but for us out here in the Possum Kingdom, this is true progress and a service I plan to use in the future for sure.

Ciao for now.

Randy

Sproing!

That’s the sound of spring, springing!

What a change a week can make. Temps today are in the mid-60s; the sun is shining and all is well with the world.

When we were out walking the dogs we noticed that tons of daisies and other little unknown (to us) flowers were blooming like crazy in places that had, up until yesterday, had only grass and mud. Not expecting so much cheeriness, I hadn’t taken my camera, but I will try to remember to take it along on the dogs post dinner promenade.

It was actually amazing to be walking outside in just a light sweater and feeling almost too hot!

Not only are the flowers springing up, but the citizens of the Possum Kingdom are as well. The old men were sitting on their bench near the river; a sure sign that winter is over! Even my mother is contemplating sticking her nose outside today!

Apropos of nothing, I wanted to mention this recent study done by the French Institut national d’études démographiqes (National Institute of Demographic Studies): French women are not only the most slender women in Europe, but they are also the most dissatisfied with their weight. Their BMI is the lowest, but not content with that they say that their “ideal” weight is inferior to the suggested BMI. Clearly, for French women you really can’t be too thin! BTW, this is not true for French men who generally weigh more than the recommended BMI but actually THINK they are underweight!

Ciao for now.

Randy

The Strangest Thing EVER!!!

We were just out walking the dogs. It’s in the mid-40s, so not too, too cold; the sky is overcast but no rain, it’s not windy.

We had let the dogs do their usual thing and had just collected them to finish our walk and come back. Suddenly, out of nowhere there was a massive blast of wind. It was so powerful that JM and I had trouble standing against it. It was super loud, like a freight train and the weirdest part of all was that it was blowing hot air like you would encounter in July or August! It lasted for 30 or 40 seconds, then simply stopped.

There was no funnel cloud, so I don’t think it was anything like a tornado. No particularly strong winds are in the forecast either.

Clearly, if you’re like me and JM, you start going towards relatively far-fetched kinds of explanations. Me being the anxious type, my first thought was that it was the leading edge of a nuclear blast or an explosion. However, there wasn’t any type of noise like that other than the sound of the wind itself. JM’s first thought was that a cloaked alien ship had landed in the empty field where we were standing. We couldn’t see it, because it was, well, cloaked!

We came home and no one in the village seems to have noticed a thing. I just hope we’re not radioactive.

Ciao for now and may you have a Joyful, alien-free Christmas!

Randy

A Morning Adventure

When we got up to the bike path/rail tracks it was still pitch dark outside (not helped by the rainy weather). Shmoo was in a state; lunging and wanting to get “something.” I thought he was seeing my shadow, as I was back-lit by the street light behind me. I put my flashlight on and he practically dragged me ahead; this in spite of wearing his head collar!  We got to where he wanted to go and I see him sniffing a big, gray rock. Only, when I focus the light on it I saw it wasn’t a rock at all, but a HEDGEHOG! The ones I’ve seen up till now have clearly been babies, because they were tiny little things. This was pretty big; about 9 or 10 inches long.

At first, I thought maybe it was a porcupine and was kind of worried that Shmoo would get quills in his face, but I realized that it was not the right kind of quills to be a porcupine. I just had never seen a full grown hedgehog before I guess.

Anyway, he was VERY excited but I pulled him away before he could hurt it or get hurt himself. I think the fact that it was curled up and lying still saved its life, because he couldn’t chase it..

We finished our walk, but when JM showed up to meet us, I didn’t let Shmoo play the run-to-daddy game (now that I read that here it sounds very embarrassing) because I thought he was still too obsessed about the critter and might take off after it in the dark. I really didn’t want to deal with that.  When we got back to where it had been lying, it was gone, so I guess it took advantage of our leaving to get itself someplace safe.

I suppose that is one of the things that our “great hunter” is often tracking on our morning walks. I always assumed that it was just a cat, but that is clearly wrong. If I hadn’t been using both hands to hold onto the beast’s leash, I would have gotten a picture, although you all probably would have thought I was just photographing a fuzzy rock!

Ciao for now,

Randy

Frustration

I’ve recently discovered an absolutely TERRIFIC series of mysteries that is sadly not available in English. They’re by a Flemish Belgian author named Pieter Aspe and the hero is Commissionar Van In.  Apparently they’re massive hits in Belgium, with new titles selling well over a million copies (not bad for a country the size of Belgium!).

Of course, the problem is that they’re written in Flemish/Dutch, which means there is a limited audience. They’ve only just started being published in French and so far only 4 of the 28 titles are translated.

I feel so frustrated reading them, because I know that all of you who love detective fiction would love them. They’re a bit like Peter Robinson or Ian Rankin; complex hero, black sense of humor, three dimensional characters. In my opinion they would be bestsellers in the U.S. as well.

I wish I could read Dutch so that I could read all of them without having to wait for them to be translated into French.  If you DO read either Dutch or French, I highly recommend them. I think this is the first new series I’ve enjoyed so much in many, many years.

Ciao for now.

Randy