Every year, I watch the TV coverage of the Grand Prix de Monaco. I'm not exactly a fan of automobile racing, which can be quite boring on TV, but the legendary Monaco event is inevitably exciting.
For me, there's also an element of nostalgia. Shortly after my arrival in France in 1962, an Australian friend drove me down to watch the race. At that time, tourists could wander around the circuit at ease to find a vantage point. I recall that we spent most of the race at the famous Mirabeau hairpin. These days, of course, the famous race is a gigantic event that paralyzes road circulation on the French Riviera.
As if car racing wasn't enough to draw a crowd on the shores of the Mediterranean, the red carpet of the 60th Cannes Film Festival will be rolled up this evening after the announcement of winners.
Finally, for those who love to spend hours in front of their TV [on a par, I suppose, with spending hours in front of a computer screen], there's the French Open in Paris, which starts this afternoon.
At a personal level, to put the events of this busy Sunday in their proper perspective, I should point out that the Monaco supershow on my wide flat TV will be relegated to the status of a background blur and noise. I don't intend to spend time at Cannes, and the ball is out at Roland Garros. In fact, if it's sunny this afternoon, I plan to build a fence around the patch of Batavia lettuces I planted yesterday.
The future enclosure [of the sheep fence style] will protect my lettuces from Gavroche the billy-goat. But what about snails, which are presently thriving just a meter away from my lettuce patch?
My ex-neighbor Bob, who dropped in yesterday to pick up his mail, is an experienced vegetable gardener. He made an interesting suggestion: "Grow your lettuces to feed your snails. Then collect these lettuce-fed Burgundy snails from time to time. They're far more tasty than lettuce." Bob's right. A few years ago, I used to prepare regularly a stock of Gamone's excellent Burgundy snails, but the dry summer of 2004 seemed to eliminate them. I see now, at exactly the same time I'm planting lettuces, that the snails appear to be back in force. Gastronomical days ahead...