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Potato torturing

It seemed rather simple, just peel a spud and chuck it through a grille to make a set of chip-like pieces. Toss the pieces in oil (for the Maillard Reaction) and then drop the lot into the air fryer until done, shaking from time to time.
Chicken nuggets and home-made chips
Chicken nuggets and home-made chips.

The chips were... well... limp. The potato, I don't recall the variety but it said on the pack that it was suitable for chips and for roasting. Did I do something wrong? I mean...potato...cut...heated...what else is there?


Speaking of which, slowly baked in the halogen oven, then with lightly melted cheese on top, lovely...

Cheesy jackets
Cheesy jackets (sorry Mick ☺).


Some light gardening on Monday

I didn't sleep on Sunday night. It happens from time to time. Well, rather more than I'd like, but...

Anyway, I went through Monday on auto-pilot. Came home, decided chocolate and Netflix was... oh, sorry, nope.

I dragged out the remaining fence posts, smashed down the ivy roots with the pickaxe (that which cannot be fixed with tea usually succumbs to the pickaxe!), tidied up the bits of barbed wire, fired up the rotovator and smashed through the roots and stuff in the ground.

Then, because a bramble got me in the finger as I was turning the rotovator around, I smacked down the brambles and got out the little mower to learn 'em good.

I didn't take a "before" because I wasn't planning on doing this. I mean, what the hell was I thinking? I'm surprised I didn't pass out face-first in the dirt.
Still, it's done now. ☺

The potato patch without the fence bits
The (former) potato patch without the fence bits,
it's a lot bigger than this picture makes it look!


A cooking oil adventure

Because of Russia, there are bare shelves for flour and vegetable oil. They had been rationing, but it's all sold out now. I bet those people that chucked out all their panic-bought flour from the pandemic are sick now that we're right back there.

I looked at the shelf and picked up the last bottle of a rather expensive organic sunflower oil. Thankfully I don't have a deep fat fryer, so I won't be wasting it on stupid. It looked nice, which was good as pretty much all that remained was olive oil and those weird preparations the Frenchies like for their salads like oil with mustard seeds in.

A granny behind me clocks that it's the last one and starts shouting to anybody who will listen. I start to walk away (note, I'm wearing headphones) and she shouts even more.
A checkout girl comes over and asks me what is going on (as I was closest). I look behind me and shrug. "No idea", I said.
So the girl goes to the granny, who paints a picture of me wrestling the bottle of oil from her frail withered hands.
Glaring at me, the checkout girl says that if I don't give the oil back she may have to call the gendarmes. This isn't a weird threat - checkout girls are not to get too involved in disputes, call the rozzers and let them sort it out.
I point to the camera mounted in the ceiling and tell the checkout girl to please call them, I'll wait. This surprises her somewhat.

Immediately the granny changes tack and starts on about how she's a poor pensioner. I notice how she is dressed (very coordinated, expensive looking) and I say "I'll give this to you if you answer one simple question".
"How much is your pension?"
She stalls, then goes on about how hard done by she is, how difficult life is, etc etc. She even throws in about all the foreigners clogging up the Sécu (possibly aimed at me, but I'm not falling for the obvious bait).
In the end she says "One thousand six hundred".
"A month?"
"My god, I work full time and get paid less than that", I say, handing over the bottle as promised.

She asks me what terrible company would pay so little. Before I can reply, the checkout girl says she works full time and gets paid less.
I tell her the name of the company I work for, and granny hands the bottle right back telling me "I'll pray for you".
She shuffles off rapidly.

"What the hell was that?", I ask the checkout girl, who replies that she was about to ask the same thing.

Why oh why do I seem to attract the crazies? I wear headphones as a not-so-subtle message to "leave me the hell alone, please". Must I write that on both sides of a T-shirt as well? <sigh>


Sunflower oil
Sunflower oil.

Just noticed as I uploaded this, it's French oil. I mean, that's not a problem, it's organic and it has a lovely colour but... how much of all this nonsense is a genuine hit to the supply and how much is demented panic buying? (emphasis on the "demented")


I should add a note here that the company that I work for has a poor reputation in town. Apparently the girls on the line pick on and torment each other endlessly. I say "apparently" as I'm neither a girl nor on the line, so I don't have experience of this. I pretty much work alone most of the time, and like it that way.
Anyway... that may be why the place has a bad rep, but to pray for me? Uhh, okay. Perhaps rather than bothering her mythological sky fairy on my behalf, she might want to look into getting her medication sorted out...

Oh, and the SMIC (net, monthly) is €1,269.03, or €15,288.35 annually. So there are people who are paid even less than me. But I think I've already established that granny is somewhat... what's the best word... delusional.



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J.G.Harston, 6th April 2022, 22:09
Kudos on being able to argue with somebody in a foreign language, I knew my Japanese would let me go shopping, but would fall to pieces if anything departed from the script. 
J.G.Harston, 6th April 2022, 22:18
My Mum's probably a similar age to your grande mamam. A few months ago I was trying to get my Mum to shovel through some paperwork and sort some bills. Irritated I said: You can't afford all these bills, you'll be running out of money! Oh, it's alright, she said, I'm fine. 
So I dug and asked her how much she actually had coming in. Oh, there's XXX pension, YYY state pension, ZZZ care allowance, and AAA from late-hubby's pension. It comes to twice what I'm on full time.
Rick, 6th April 2022, 23:00
Granny didn't understand that much really, it was the checkout girl I was speaking mostly to. But, yeah, I think French might be just a tad simpler than Japanese. 
VinceH, 6th April 2022, 23:15
I assume SMIC is the French minimum wage? Here, it's defined as an hourly rate - currently £9.50, or £7 for those under 21. 
What that (£9.50/hr) works out in people's pockets depends on the hours. A weekly 35 hours works out at £17,300pa gross per year, and 40 hours is around £19,700. Net per month those are probably around £1,250 and £1,400 respectively. Ish. 
From a casual look at jobs paying minimum wage, 40 (or sometimes slightly more) hours is likely to be 'full time' for someone on that rate. People are literally expected to do more if they're paid less (per hour). Odd that. :|
Zerosquare, 7th April 2022, 15:58
Yeah, SMIC is minimum wage. 
Arguing in Japanese is probably more difficult. But on the other hand, you're much less likely to encounter a lying and vindictive granny like that in Japan in the first place.
David Pilling, 7th April 2022, 19:29
Good story. Last week Tesco had a range of sunflower oils available. Today, all the cheap ones are unavailable. UK government has given permission to use replacements for sunflower oil without changing the packaging to indicate what the oil is. Flour we do not seem to have a problem with, M&S were selling off 1.5KG bags for 42 pence this week. 
Rick, 7th April 2022, 19:49
Changing the oil without changing the packaging? 
Terribly dumb typically Tory idea. Not only is it liable to be abused by the unscrupulous looking to stick in cheaper (and potentially environmentally unfriendly) palm oil, it could also be potentially deadly if the switch is to peanut oil. 
Rick, 7th April 2022, 20:27
The SMIC is, as has been pointed out, minimum wage. It's €10,57 brut, or €8,37 (~£6.97) net with the usual set of deductions. That's per hour. 
Per month, €1269,03 (£1,057) net. That's based upon the 35 hour work week. 
I am paid €10,78(52) per hour. No, the company isn't particularly generous... a fair number of people say that other places pay more. But since I have a CDI (full time contract), hours I like, and it's not that far from home, I have no plans to change. 
I get various perks on top of that miserly hourly rate. €5,20 a day "prime panier" for buying food (as there is no work canteen). Well, for 19 days it's an extra hundred euros. 
I also get paid a euro a day "prime de poste" for turning up, and turning up on time. 
Since I'm a long term employee, I have an "oldness benefit". I have no idea how it's calculated (some weird number of hours multiplied by number of days multiplied by some coefficient, I think). It works out to forty euros a month. Not a lot, but it is a new thing and is a little under five hundred a year. 
Also, because I'm an oldie, I qualify for a thirteenth month. Which means in January I effectively got paid twice.  
So while the hourly rate isn't that exciting, if you stick with it, various extras eventually turn up to help make things better. 
Granted, it's not keeping up with the current cost of living explosion, but it's not month to month bouncing in and out of overdraft. I guess being an introvert and not doing exciting things on my days off helps, too. ☺  
Usefully, I'm able to claim a tax deduction for my commute. Even more usefully, there is no category for dinky toy cars. It's "3CV or less". The amount of my deduction is more than my tax, so... I don't pay any tax. Plus the social system credits me with some money, currently €47 a month, but I think they calculate this by throwing darts at a wall. 
Which means - most of France would probably say my wage is abysmal. I think I'm better paid than I was when in the UK. I made about €9/hour as a Care Assistant, but NI and tax were both a fair whack (about a third, leaving me with about £6/hour in my pocket), and since I was an agency employee, I was classed as a part time worker so, back then, no rights to holiday pay (or holidays), etc etc.  
Thankfully, the UK has done PAYE since forever. It's a new innovation over here, believe it or not. They've only been doing it for a couple of years! 

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