news from the butchery

on Monday January 19th they hired a third butcher to replace T.  you won’t recall because I am sure you have a life that they sacked T on December 10th.  so that’s just short of six weeks.   let us review:  the shop is open seven days a week.  with the exception of Sunday, which is an 8-9 hour workday for the butchers’ department, each workday is about 14 hours long.  So how do only two butchers cover for all of that time?  More to the point, how do two butchers cover for all of that time and not deteriorate into ghoulish husks of their former selves?

foreribs and loins of beef, whole lamb, suckling pig

foreribs and loins of beef, whole lamb, suckling pig

on Monday, January 19th I got my hair cut (for free by a friend of a friend).  when I emerged from the Covent Garden tube station on my way to the salon, blinking into the outside light like some pathetic trog, I burst into “Little Mermaid”-inspired song:

Look at this meat,
Isn’t it neat?
Wouldn’t you think my training’s complete?
Wouldn’t you think I’m the girl
The girl who has everything?
Look at this shop
Treasures untold
How many wonders can one display case hold?
Looking around here you think
Sure, she’s got everything
I’ve got pork chops and pâté a-plenty
I’ve got chickens and sirloins galore
You want lamb shanks?
I’ve got twenty!
But who cares?
No big deal
I want more

I wanna be where the people are
I wanna see, wanna see them dancin’
Walking around having their – what do you call ’em?
Oh – lives!

Sawing bones, you don’t get too far
Legs of lamb aren’t required for jumping, dancing
Strolling along down a – what’s that word again?
Street

Up where they walk, up where they run
Up where they stay all day in the overcast,
Wanderin’ free – wish I could be
Part of that world

london-snow-026

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biggest snow in 20 years so they say

hello again.  it started to snow on sunday evening.   I have to admit that after my experience in boston last year and after hearing how it pretty much just rains in london, when I saw the snowflakes from our bedroom window I thought it was really pretty but didn’t expect much from it.   I thought to myself all condescending-like: “Aww, london is trying to have a snow, how sweet”
jess and gabo and gabo's mother frolic in the driveway as the first snow begins to accumulate

jess and gabo and gabo's mother frolic in the driveway as the first snow begins to accumulate

our garden on sunday night

our garden on sunday night

On the way to work Monday morning--still snowing!

On the way to work Monday morning--still snowing!

a few brave souls hoofing it to work because just about no transport is running

a few brave souls hoofing it to work because just about no transport is running

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New vocab

Now if one of my friends went off to live in England for six months or longer, I would definitely be suspicious about his/her speech patterns after s/he returned.    I would be on the watch for any foreign mannerisms.  I would consider it my personal responsibility to hunt these affectations down and destroy them, not unlike a macrophage from my friend’s own immune system.  Because nothing makes you look more like a prat than bringing home a bunch of poncey slang and naf pronunciation from London, yeah?

That said here is some of my favorite and least favorite new vocab, totally jumbled together in no particular order:

Mufty (MUF-tee) – Appearance/clothing other than your uniform.  e.g. “Brilliant to see you in your mufty, love!”  Like the apocryphal cliche of the eskimos and their hundreds of words for snow–linguistic necessity being the mother of linguistic invention, in other words–I have to marvel at a culture having such a surfeit of uniforms that they need a single word that captures the concept of not-a-uniform.

Bung / Whack – To place, put, throw, turn, dial,  insert.  e.g. “Just bung that Treacle Tart  in the oven and whack it up to 200 degrees.”

Moany (MO-nee) – Whiney.  e.g. my butcher brother D, after turning up 30 minutes late, taking a “fag break” two minutes into his shift, coming back from his smoke and spilling water on my jacket and insulting my butchering skills just before labeling my ass fat, prompting me to tell him to fuck off: “God you’re so moany, Laurel”

Twat (TWAT) – Vagina of course, which is the same as in America, but the word is exercised with such variety and genius and depth of feeling here in the UK, such as I have never before experienced.

Cunt (KUNT) – See “Twat”

Slag – noun, Slut or verb, to Slack.  e.g. Upon D learning that the cheese-girl he fancied already had a boyfriend:  “Slag.”  Upon D learning that I went to the bathroom:  “Slagging off again, I see.”

Swede – Rutabaga.

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Burns Night

“A Burns supper is a celebration of the life and poetry of the poet Robert Burns, author of many Scots poems including ‘Auld Lang Syne’, which is generally sung as a folksong at Hogmanay (HOCK-muh-nye) and other New Year celebrations around the world. The suppers are normally held on or near the poet’s birthday, January 25,  sometimes known as Burns night, although they may in principle be held at any time of the year.” -Wikipedia

At the butchershop where I work we are proud to offer for sale the only certified organic haggis in the UK, in anticipation of Burns Night upcoming.  I have already reserved mine.  I am not trying to be gastronomically macho when I say that I love haggis.   Mike Meyers gave it a slanderous reputation in “So I Married An Axe-Murderer”.  January 25 I plan to subsist solely on haggis and Islay single malt (ok now I’m being macho/stupid).

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Really?

My last post was from November 25th?  Jaysus.  I’ve really got to improve my once-every-six-weeks average.

Well the job never really got less chaotic, because of the clash of the titans (the master butcher and the other managers).  This could not end well, and it didn’t, because they removed our–flawed, frustrating, but talented and quite kind–mentor right in front of us (D, the other butcher, and me) on December the 10th.  He was like, “Can’t I say goodbye to them?” and the other guy was like, “No, T, you have to leave right now” and D and I tried to follow them and the other guy was like, “Stop” and we were like, um, and then we went anyway, and it was all a bit hideous.  Especially as T’s father had just had a stroke the day before.  But hey.  Nature is cruel.  So is Retail.

So that left D and me alone.  The burnt-out, hung-over, homocidal, nipple-pierced South African and me, and what can I say about myself, really.

To give you some idea, out of this 23-day period I will have had one day off.

Christmas was terrifying because of everyone’s special Christmas orders, including Claudia Schiffer’s, which you do not want to f*%k up.  Indeed, Claudia likes beef and pork–she seems to be one of the only A-listers loitering about the shop who eats heartily.

Other celebirdies I have seen/talked to/held the door open for while at work:  Jake Gyllenhaal, Jennifer Connelly, Lily Cole, Elle MacPherson, Claire Danes, Reese Witherspoon, Joseph Fiennes, Boy George (!)

Near misses (i.e. I was probably mopping blood in the meat locker while my co-workers ogled them): Keanu Reeves, Bono, Stella McCartney

Now that I’m thinking on it, I have to say that the American stars were  all quite friendly and polite.  The European stars have been either a bit strange or a bit bitchy.  For example, Elle MacPherson asked my friend for parmesan reggiano.  Friend said sure, we have lovely 24-month old parmesan reggiano.  Rather than grated, Elle wanted it shaved into those fragile, broad curlicues you get on top of salads at fancy restaurants.   Friend said, I am sorry, I don’t have that equipment.  Elle got a bit heated and said, “I am a BUSY MOTHER I do not have TIME to shave my own parmesan!”

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keepin’ the faith

This is just to say that after a long while without–after only a brief time with–we now have internet again!  So even though I am still working 6 days/week, I should be able to post more often.  It should be easier to post “more often” than, say, never.

At the moment, though, I am heading to Bedfordshire.  ZZZZzzzzzz

zzzz

zz

J snapped this picture of me sleeping on the floor.  Which we did for the last two weeks!
Jess snapped this picture of me passed out on the floor. We’ve slept on the floor for the last two weeks. Air mattress now, though!

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Obamania

It has been interesting to be abroad during this time and get a first-hand sense of international sentiment.  it felt like the whole world’s feelings towards Americans in general changed overnight.  it seems that there is a deep well of affection for the rude (in the way children can be rude), optimistic, friendly Americans in many quarters of the world.  Thus it’s as if the global community was in fact pained to be so mad at us, and they are now almost relieved to forgive us.

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