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Big Town and Picard

I am not working today. I had three holiday days and fifty four hours to use by the end of this month. So I have taken today, as it's mom's birthday tomorrow, plus the week after next (35 hours). The rest, they can pay me...

I got up fresh and early... half four! Made a tea, went back to bed to get up at a more respectable time. I didn't set any alarm as there was no schedule. I woke again at quarter to nine, and spent a half hour doomscrolling the state of the world. I can't help but wonder if people are suffering derealisation as reality gets increasingly unrealistic.

A little after ten, I set out. In the pouring rain, such is my luck.


I did a round of the Leclerc and picked up the usual stuff. Spoke to a cute girl with big glasses stocking the chocolate shelves, and she explained to me that there's a shortage of Mars bars everywhere... what? How can they run out of Mars bars? I mean, I could understand if Mars were short of chocolate due to supply chain issues, but there was no apparent problem with Twix, Kitkat, or The Coconut One ☺. Just Mars.
Guess which one I eat... <sigh>

I had to put effort into keeping myself still. I was listening to PPN with my headphones while shopping, and they played Lunatica's excellent cover of the Ultravox song "Hymn". Imagine if Freedom Call got themselves a female vocalist... it was really catchy.

The system still trusts me. My scanner was checked and I was directed to pay at the information desk, and then out I went.
I waited while a poor guy tried to back out of his parking space while this doddery elderly couple were completely engrossed in the maintenance work being done on the roof, and wandering all over the car part of the car park while looking up and paying absolutely no attention to the cars. Or other people.
I motioned to the driver that they were crazy, and he burst out laughing and gave me a thumb up. But, seriously, it's amazing they made it to old age.


I stopped at Action and picked up a set of precision screwdrivers (the tiny ones) as I didn't have any, and five gas cartridges for the stove. Get them while the price is still €1,49 each. Can't imagine that'll last too long the way things are going. I think I have a stock of around 12 or so. That'll see me with tea and pasta for a while, should the need arise.


I then swung by the indoor vide grenier. Nothing of interest, but I did get a 35mm film camera for €2 which I thought I could use to make a sample of should I do anything further with Mamie Fletcher. It's a fairly teched-out Samsung thing with buttons on top, and... yeah... it takes a weird 3V battery that's like 2/5ths of the size of an AA cell.


Then I broke the bank. Oops.


I decided I wasn't going to go near Burger King, I would go to Picard instead. Which might have been a mistake as...

  • I was hungry
  • They were doing a "Crazy America" promotion (funny doing that around mom's birthday)
  • It's mom's birthday tomorrow

I saw something special for tomorrow that cost €15, well expensive, but...

Sadly they didn't have The World's Best Mac & Cheese. I've had it before, and it is. The man running the shop said he put in an order for it, because he remembered me talking about it... but it didn't arrive, already out of stock... dammit!


As I was driving home, yet another downpour. I think it was forecast to be around 14mm of rain today.

Oh, the rain
Oh, the rain.


After unpacking the shopping, I tipped some things into the air fryer.

Chicken sticks, onion rings, and potato donuts.
Chicken sticks, onion rings, and potato donuts.

They went in for, I think, about fifteen minutes. I don't know, I set the temperature to 180°C and just kept periodically shaking the panier.

In the picture is the cheesecake I was going to have afterwards, and a cake that I was planning on making tomorrow...


As it was cooking, I checked the postbox and saw that my two bottles of Sarsons had arrived. I was worried that I might have to pay import duty. The parcel had been stuck in "dédouanement" for a couple of days (according to the tracking), but it arrived. I decided not to use Sarsons, as that's better on chips.
I will admit to being somewhat fascinated by the packaging. Do they inflate this around the bottles? Whatever, this is quite possibly the best wrapped glass container I've ever received by post.

The packaging around my vinegar
The packaging around my vinegar.


I could no longer stand the smells wafting from the rear of the air fryer, so I tipped everything out onto a pasta plate (higher rim than a normal plate).
Everything was beautifully cooked - crisp and just lovely.


I call it lunch, but when I'm not working I skip breakfast as I don't really like eating early. So this was breakfast and lunch. ☺

The potato donuts were alright. Potato paste, in the shape of a little wheel. Not really much I can say about that to be honest.
The chicken sticks were crisp and hit you with pepper and rosemary. I had to pull a stringy bit out of one (a vein?). This is good, because it suggests that this is proper pieces of chicken cut to size, rather than the chopped and shaped muck you get in... shall we say "lesser places"?

That's the thing with Picard. The prices can seem frightful, but the quality is good. It's real food. I am looking at the cheesecake box as I write this. I won't bore you with the ingredients (basically cream cheese, egg, flour, sugar, butter, and some other bits and pieces) except to point out that there isn't one single E number. No preservatives, no flavour enhancers. No artificial colouring. Nothing like that.

The onion rings. Holy bloody crap, the onion rings. You know I liked Burger King's onion rings? Well, these ones blow them out of the water. Like, from freaking orbit.
That I do not have a freezer is the sole and only reason why I didn't get back into my car, drive right back to Big Town, and buy every pack they had.
Yes, they were that good. And, of course, real actual battered pieces of onion.


I sat in the kitchen and devoured it all, washing it down with a tea. Of course. ☺

Afterwards, I sat outside in the blazing sun, all five minutes of it, to eat the cheesecake. I'll be honest, I didn't really want it, kind of stuffed with chicken and onion rings, but there's literally no space in the fridge or the freezer compartment, so I'll have to find some space inside of me.


I think it costs something like €4,60? I don't have the receipt to hand. Like I said, expensive, but worth it. It's proper honest-to-god cheesecake, and not some concoction made from milk powder.


Since I have a lot of stuff to eat this weekend, dinner this evening will be a rinse-and-repeat of lunch. But until then, looking out the window it's black and miserable, so I think I'll lie down on my bed and watch Ryan Reynolds wise crack his way through some sci-fi nonsense - a new release on Netflix.



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Rick, 11th March 2022, 23:49
Didn't make dinner, as lunch was so filing it's ten to midnight as I write this and I'm not hungry. 
Now, time to enter Standby Mode. ⏻

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