Tuesday, June 29, 2010

à bientôt

This is it.

Last day to finish up at the old chez moi.

Here's a question....

How come when The Husband moved into our old place it wasn't clean, and our new house wasn't cleaned for us, but I have to spend a day cleaning the old place to leave it clean for the new tenants?

I think I'm getting Frenched.

(Frenched is my new term, ie; I'm being Frenched over, or my favorite; French you.)

So here we are...

The garden at the new house has been tamed (tamed, not finished). 99% of our stuff has been moved. But that 99% of our stuff is everywhere. I was trying to move everything in a calm and organized manner, but the thing about moving down the road, organization goes out the window. Since you don't have to pack for a long haul journey, everything is pretty much thrown into handbags and shopping bags and then dumped.

And now after sleeping at the new place, I'm back at the old place with my coffee (it's 5am) and Fifty to get finished and say goodbye to the internet.

(Poor Fifty, he's very confused at the moment.)

Because sometimes French companies are less than efficient, I will be without my friend WiFi for the next two weeks until it's setup at the new place.

No internet. No blog. No Facebook. No contact with the outside world. No Real Housewives of New Jersey.

FRENCH!


bisou


P.S. 
See you in two weeks. I'll miss you. 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Busy Busy Busy

It's moving weekend.

Yesterday we got the keys to our new home and have started the massive clean up (homes in France don't come sparkling clean and empty).

I want it clean clean clean before we move our stuff over.

And that wonderful little garden I'm so excited about needs a little work...

A lot of work. 

And in the middle of cleaning, moving, and gardening, I'm trying to keep a heated Vicky away from Fifty. This is not an easy task. I think she's feeling a little bad about that whole Leo affair and now she's working overtime to keep her man (and steal his innocence).




When I opened up the shutters yesterday morning, there she was, waiting.

Stalker. 

So yeah, busy.

But the sky in Le Petit Village was so beautiful last night, I had to take a photo and share it with you...


The Husband told me that pink skies mean the return of the Nazi Ghost Zombies. 

Great. 

One more thing to worry about. 

Like that stalker in heat isn't enough. 

bisou

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Husband's Birthday

Yesterday, was The Husband's birthday and to celebrate, I did something I rarely do, I baked (I'm a cooker, not much of a baker).

(And if you remember a couple posts back, it was Brother-In-Law's birthday only a few days ago... guess what Papa likes to do in September... bowchickabowwow).

We have a teeny tiny oven, it's bigger than a toaster oven, but not quite an adult sized oven. It makes me feel like I'm using one of those lil' Suzy Homemaker ovens. And because I felt like I little girl, baking little girl goods, I baked little girl cupcakes.

(It took three batches, three separate baking rounds in that teeny tiny oven. We're talking a whole morning, gone, baking).

I opened up the windows to let the sunshine in and cranked up some Lynyrd Skynyrd for my baking enjoyment (and it gave the tourists a nice soundtrack as they rambled around outside... I have to hear their chatter, they have to hear my Skynyrd... WOOHOO!! Free Bird! YEAH!).

Baking does give me the excuse to get all retro and bust out one of my vintage tea aprons. Yes, I collect vintage tea aprons. Because I'm that dope.

The chaos of my cooking (method to my baking madness)...


Some of the finished little bitty girly cupcakes...

(I'm a terrible food photographer)

And Fifty insisted on wearing a bow to look more festive...

He's smiling because he looks dapper

The Husband, right after blowing out the candles on his little girl cupcakes... 
(he didn't want to wear a bow)



And then in honor of The Husband's birthday, the good ol' USA, went ahead and beat Algeria in that Sporting Even That Cannot Be Named

Wasn't that nice of them?

bisou

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Rugby... Doggy Style

The Sporting Event That Cannot Be Named may be going on in South Africa at the moment, but here in Le Petit Village, we're in the middle of our own tournament...

Doggy Rugby

What's that you say? Doggy Rugby?

Two dogs vs one man in a clash...

Oh hell, 

I don't know what I'm talking about, it's basically The Husband, Fifty, and Vicky running around a field chasing a rugby ball.

Just look at the photos...


The Husband explaining the rules to Vicky and Fifty. Team Dog has been known to cheat. Might change Vicky's name to Thierry and Fifty's to Henry (ZING!).


Team Dog on a timeout discussing strategy (cheating). 


The Husband mocking Team Dog's short stature before making a run for it...



And scoring a try!

(This is very exciting stuff here).

Unfortunately, the tournament has had to be put on hold for the moment... 

Vicky is in heat and isn't allowed outside to play. 

Bet that doesn't happen at the World Cup.

bisou



P.S. 
Last night both Leo (Papa's dog, son of Python) and Vicky went 'missing' together for a couple of hours. I don't have the heart to tell Fifty.  

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I'm Too Old For This

It was Brother-In-Law's birthday over the weekend and guess what he wanted to do...

Dinner in Avignon?

Nope.

Nightclub in Aix en Provence?

Nope.

Party in the woods, outside Le Petit Village?

Yep.

Um, OK.

Do I have to go?

Yep.

I don't really have much to say about being at a party in the woods in the thirty third year of my life, except it did make me feel like I was seventeen again and at a bonfire party on a ranch somewhere back in Texas (aw memories...).

I took a couple of photos...

(But only a couple because people were looking at me like I was some photo crazed Auntie.)

This was Honey Jr's transportation to the party...


Needless to say he had to hide the keys later from all the pastis soaked people who wanted a turn. 

The DJ 'booth'...



Yeah, it was that kind of party. I couldn't have felt any older if I tried. 


I'm bummed I didn't get a better photo of the speakers. Four large on top, four large on bottom. It was LOUD (you know that saying; if it's too loud, you're too old? Turns out that's true). Honey Jr and Brother-In-Law paid a €3,000 deposit on them. So for instance, if anything happened to the speakers, like some pastis soaked person accidentally bumped into them, knocking them over and breaking them, bye bye €3,000. Morons. 

Besides the €47 worth of watermelons and apricots that The Husband and I brought with us (€47! For fruit?!), we also had some lamb...

(Vegetarians look away now)

 
Lamb: My Big Fat Greek Wedding style




Nothing like being in the woods, deafened by booming House music, tearing into barbecued lamb, eating €47 worth of fruit, getting bit by mosquitoes through your jeans, and trying to steal a 4Wheeler.

At least this guy had a good time...


The Fashion Police are never around when you need them

bisou

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Beautiful Break

I'm tired of all this The Sporting Event That Cannot Be Named nonsense and am taking a break today to share some blogger love...



Sweet, Breakfast at Tiffany's loving, Rochelle at Penmanship of a Teenage Writer passed on the Beautiful Blogger Award to me. Merci beaucoup Rochelle!

It's such a treat to be told that my blog is beautiful, especially since last night, while on the phone with my mother (who I love more than all the Louis Vuitton luggage in the world), she said that my blog makes me sound like a dipso what with all the wine, pastis, and vodka talk. Well, I guess it's a beautiful blog, dipso style.

(In case anyone is confused by the word dipso; it's used in Ireland to describe someone who is a nice drunk, as opposed to angry leprechaun drunk).

And now for the bestowing of the Beautiful Blogger Award...

C'est si Bon is Stephanie's beautiful blog described as; My Private Boudoir Where I Like To Dream. Sounds a little racy doesn't it? It's more PG, but Stephanie has been on wonderful inner happiness/ self discovery kind of journey lately and she's kind enough to put her honesty out there and it's quite inspiring. For one, Stephanie is in the middle of the 100 items declutter challenge where she's cleaning out kitchen cupboards, and wardrobes. You can't read a post without looking around your own house wondering what can go (the other day, Fifty almost went out to the recycling bin).  And there is a great post about taking action that got me all in a tizzy (in a good way). You really need to read it, but only if you're in a pro-active kind of mood.

Passez un bon week-end!

bisou







P.S.
And speaking of being a dipso, last night I was in the bar (again) to watch Mexico beat France in The Sporting Event That Cannot Be Named, and while I was enjoying my Rosé, I turned and noticed that not only was there a baby in the bar, that baby was being fed, and not from the bottle (and not discreetly). Got milk?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

World Cup Fever Strikes Again!

I have a new nemesis...

The World Cup.

Not only did it close restaurants in the surrounding villages last Friday, ruining my dinner out, but last night, my beloved Pizza Night, also fell to the fever.

The pizza man must be a fan of New Zealand, Slovakia, Portugal, The Ivory Coast, Brazil, or North Korea (the only teams playing yesterday) because last night, when I walked around to Le Petite Notre Dame, where the pizza man parks the pizza van, he wasn't there.

Well now I'm not a fan of him! (Can you sense my fury? Can you?)

Pizza Night is the Skippie Team's weekly ritual; two pizzas, a few beers, and the box set of The Wire. Sounds like heaven, right? Sitting back, stuffing your face with pizza, washing it down with beer, while watching drug wars rage across the streets of Baltimore. Heaven!

And if you recall, there is even a Pizza Night song and dance that has been made in honor of my favorite night of the week  (one day when I'm brave enough, or drunk enough, I might record it and post it for you my Peeps so you too can spread the Pizza Night joy). It's my mid-week treat.

And now The World Cup is messing with my mid-week treat.

Well watch out World Cup, now I will mess with you!

Oh yes, your uppance will come.

bisou





P.S. 
For the record I have no idea how I will exact my revenge. But venting my rage has made me feel better. Thank you. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Kitchen Closed, Bar Open

How hard is it to get a meal on a Friday night?

Friday nights, I don't really like to cook. Not sure why, just don't. The Husband usually takes pity on me and we go out.

But last Friday, France was playing Uruguay in the World Cup, and even though The Husband is a rugby guy and not a football guy, being a guy, and a French guy, we were watching it (you know who I won't be cheering for).

The plan was to get out for dinner somewhere as close as possible for something quick. This ruled out our normal Friday night meal in Saint Michel (wonderful food and owners, but when we go, it's a four course kind of thing).

The Husband ran into our local bistro and asked the new Parisian owner if they were open for dinner.

Nope.

Because why would you be open for dinner on Friday night during tourist season when you're the only restaurant in Le Petit Village?

We decided to go to the pizzeria in Banon. Not too far away and pizza is fast and delicious. Sorted.

When we got there, the door was locked and the lights were off. There was a little sign that said they were closed for the next couple of days. No particular days and dates, just the next couple of days.

These guys clearly don't like making money either. My guess is there might be a little World Cup Fever going around.

Sandwiches at home it is then.

The new plan...

Throw some BLTs down and then head back out towards Forcalquier to watch the match in a friend's bar. Sorted.

And then Honey Jr popped in (of course he did). He had news and was very excited about it (so excited I thought he might piddle).

The new Parisian owner didn't want to feed us, but he was willing to let us watch the match and pour beer and pastis.

We walked the 70 feet to the local Bistro to watch the match on a little TV popped up on a table... Brother-in-Law, his girlfriend (the 18 year old), her father, Honey Jr, the Mayor, The Husband, and me.

And besides France not scoring any goals, something else wonderful happened...

The Parisian started pouring us free vodka shots that were yummy yum yums (think that had some black current or something in them, not sure, don't remember, they were that good).

Free vodka.

Think I might like this guy.

If I can only get him to feed me.

bisou

Thursday, June 10, 2010

New Home Hunting Take 3

I have been defeated.

OK, not defeated per se, but I am giving up, for now. 

Between my 17 days in Dublin, limited French skills, and guests arriving this summer, we (I) couldn't wait around to find a house that we (I) love. They do things much slower here and I feared it would be the end of summer (if lucky) before we found something and could move. So we're going with Home number three.

(When I say they do things S L O W L Y... papers were dropped off on 17th May and we were told we could move in 1st July... for renting... not buying... and the house is vacant).

The thought of spending the gorgeous Provencal summer in this stuffy box (yes, I've always referred to it as my cozy abode... cozy = stuffy... I was trying to stay in the positive) kills me, so we've called time out on the home hunting and are settling (kind of) temporarily.

Our new home...

It's only a three minute walk from our current house (I timed it). This will make moving a breeze. Packing, what packing? I'm just going to throw stuff into the Megane and Clio and away we go. Fifty can run along behind the cars (don't even have to pack Fifty... bonus.)

It's off the main street which means I shouldn't have tourists looking in my windows as I'm cooking dinner (shouldn't, but there really are no guarantees with those zany tourists). And it's up on a hill so the view from the bedroom is beautiful (this is great because the wall around the old village blocks out the view and sunlight from our current house). 

This is a few feet from the front door...

Home of Nazi Ghost Zombies 

Charming (haunted) ruins of a former wheat mill or something like that, that I'm sure will creep me out and scare the bejeezus out of me sometime. Hopefully, we'll be moving on before winter and dark mornings and early nightfalls come.
(And this photo does not do it justice. In real life, when the sky is not that wonderful shade of blue, and you're up close to it, it looks much creepier. I promise.)

Back to the new house...

It has a garden. A tiny garden, but big enough to sit out in, or have dinner in, and that's all I care about. But one of the walls of the living room is all glass, with sliding door, that can be left open and make the living room feel like it's outside (I might be being a bit too optimistic on this one... we'll see).

There is a huge fireplace in the dining room. I'm leaving this as a bonus, even though hopefully we won't have to use it because we would have moved on before winter. Plus I don't like the thought of Nazi Ghost Zombies coming down the chimney.

And it has two bedrooms, one for me and The Husband, and one for Fifty.

But there is one snag that you are not going to believe (I'm still coming to terms with it myself)...

Remember when Honey Jr moved in across the street from us in the apartment above his grandmother's house? That didn't work out so well what with Grandma Honey coming up unannounced all the time when Honey Jr was trying to entertain the ladies (you know what I'm saying). So Honey Jr decided to move back in with his parents. Recently, he found a little one bedroom house that he will be moving into in a few weeks. Great, good for Honey Jr. He will be free to mack on the ladies without Grandma Honey busting in. 

But then... 

A few days ago, The Husband went to show Honey Jr our new house... and guess what... it turns out Honey Jr's new house is right next to ours.... surprise!!! We even share a wall, and practically a garden. Oh how I wish you could have seen my face when I found out this little morsel of news. Like he hasn't been all up in my grill before, now we share a wall? Poppycock!

So The Husband, Fifty, Honey Jr, and me, are all moving into our new home on July 1st. 

One big happy family.

Poppycock!


bisou

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

It's On

The view from my kitchen window...


THEY'RE HERE!

(Say it in your head like that little girl in Poltergeist).

Tourist season is officially on.

Like Donkey Kong.

(Sorry, every time I say "on like Donkey Kong", I laugh)

bisou



Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hello Lover


It is impossible to hear, "Hello Lover", without Carrie Bradshaw's voice in my head. It must be the same for loads of other women; hence the the award.

Carrie Bradshaw = shoes.

Simple math.

sidebar - I saw Sex and the City 2 in Dublin twice! First with two girlfriends and we partook in the champagne bar that had been setup. We got to bring the little bottles with straws inside the cinema (the champagne totally didn't go with my movie nachos, such a bummer). Two days later, I saw it with my mother and Auntie (no champagne bar). This was fun. Auntie J had never seen a single episode and I loved watching her literally sitting at the edge of her seat watching Samantha's antics. Classic. At the end, Auntie J asked me why Samantha needed so many condoms if she was menopausal.... uh, because of a little something called STDs. Huge generation gap revealed.

Back to Hello Lover...

Fun loving, marathon running, London City Mom has tagged me with the Hello Lover, so now it is my duty, to share with you seven pairs of my footwear.

Some of these shoes are rarely worn in Le Petit Village so photographing them is a bit of a treat. I love my shoes.

Time to get my shoe on...

First up, my Adidas Hardshells. Aka, my b-boy shoes. Notice the fat laces. Yeah, I'm dope like that.


My first pair of Hardshells were a gift from my Nana when I was 16. One of those times when you beg your Nana to buy you something because if you don't have them you will just die. Die! Naturally, Nana caved. They are so comfortable (little pillows around your tootsies) that I buy a new pair every few years. Fat laces required.

Next, a pair of high heeled brogues that I was wearing the night I met The Husband.


Clearly, they have magical powers and must be treated with respect.


Sticking with The Husband. These are his favorite pair of my shoes (please note: that does not mean that he wears them, as far as I know anyway).



A pair of Jessica Simpson heels bought in Marshalls back in Texas two years ago. Of all my heels, these get the most play here. The color and wooden heel make them casual enough to throw on with jeans for dinner here without freaking out any of the locals.  Way to go Jessica Simpson. 

Next up, a pair from my old life. My old life being in Dublin working in banking. 


One of my favorite pair of work shoes.  A nice taupe, mushroomy color pair of Bandolinos. Perfect when wearing black, cream, or grey, and great on a bare leg before tanned, in other words, perfect for the blue tinted Dublin tan. These were also bought in Texas two years ago (when I go back to the states, I always end up coming home with an extra suitcase).

Might as well stay in Dublin...


These bad boys were the last pair of shoes bought before moving to Le Petit Village. They were one of my lunch time purchases (I used to work next door to one of the busiest shopping streets in Dublin... dangerous). My friends at worked laughed picturing me teetering around in Le Petit Village in these, scaring the villagers. How right they were.

Another pair bought in Dublin. But these had Le Petit Village in mind...


These were bought to wear when I was on holiday here last year before moving. They were a little more than I would normally spend on sandals, but I loved them. They look kind of Roman. And Le Petit Village used to be a Roman town. So there you go. The Husband hates these. But clearly Fifty loves them. 

And finally...


Black, hidden platform, stilettos. A new classic. These were my wedding shoes. They're great because in these, I'm the same height as The Husband. And that's a good a thing.


Hello Lover!

It's your turn.

bisou


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Friday Happy Hour

Friday and I was in a summery vacation kind of mood.

Le Petit Village was buzzing with tourists (Parisians, and Belgians, and Germans... oh my!). And with the beautiful weather, it felt like I was on vacation too. Screw the ironing! We should be outside with pastis, cold beer, and rosé (if it feels like this everyday, I'll never get anything done).

I ambushed The Husband when he arrived home and headed to the local bistro (all of 70 feet from our front door) to sit outside with a drink.

The Bistro was closed. 6:30pm and they were closed. I guess they were setting up for dinner but come on! How hard is it to toss me a beer and let me sit outside.

Instead we went to Brother-In-Law's to sit in his garden and have Portuguese beer...

This stuff is mmm mmm good.

And of course, be entertained by the dogs...
(entertained could be a bit of an overstatement)

Mika and her Father/ Grandfather Python (insert deep south jokes here...) 

And Happy Hour just wouldn't be Happy Hour without Fifty in the mix...

I was actually trying to take a photo of Karma when Fifty decided that it was all about him.

Lots of beer. 

Lots of sun. 

Lots of dogs.

Happy Hour Le Petit Village style.

bisou





P.S. When I got home I made these burgers... you gotta try them... they're mmm mmm good! 


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Papped

Yesterday Fifty and I got papped by some tourists while out for our walk.

Tourists with the largest camera I've ever seen, you know, one with a crazy big lens that can be used to take photos of celebs sunbathing topless on a yacht off the coast of St Tropez. Like, one of those.

This just confirms what I've felt all along. Le Petit Village tourists are nothing more than undercover paparazzi trying to snap me (I may be feeling a tad delusional this morning, lets go with it).

I was in my usual Fifty walking attire, as in converse, windblown hair, and ridiculously large sunglasses (best to shield my eyes from all the flashbulbs... delusional!). Fifty was in his new spiffy black harness. It's basically a bunch of thick black straps cris-crossing around his body, making him look like he is either 1. about to invade Poland, or 2. going to a sado-maso club. Either way he looks adorable.

Maybe it was Fifty they were trying to pap and not me?

Well that's a bummer. 

Delusion over.

bisou

 


P.S. Can you tell I haven't been up to anything since I got back so don't have anything to post about. Can you?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Taste of Garlic

It's good to be home!

Fifty's happy, The Husband's happy, I'm happy. Our little house is almost hovering off the ground with all the happy good vibes. But, (always a but isn't there), I've got an enormous amount of stuff to do to get the good vibe house back to normal (in saying that, the Husband really did try to keep it clean, but his clean and my clean are two very different things) and some serious Fifty time to get in (first scheduled long walk is in T minus 80 minutes).

So in the meantime my Peeps, I've got something different for you. Today, it isn't all about me (huh?!) today, it's about Keith over at Taste of Garlic.

Taste of Garlic is a blog about blogs in France. Keith searches out all the expat life in France blogs and posts reviews about them. What's not to love, right? It's great, because I like reading blogs about people going through all the same cross cultural confusion as me, and he finds them for me (and all his other readers). Well done Keith, very generous of you.

Since Keith is always doing the reviewing, and occasional interview, I thought it would be fun for a change to turn the tables, and ask him a few questions to find out what makes a mild mannered English bloke (I think he's a tad naughtier than mild manner but mild mannered goes so well with English bloke, don't you think?) want to blog about expat French blogs, and what got him to Brittany in the first place...

(And selfishly today, Keith's done all the work for me so I didn't have to post and I can hang with Fifty and clean. Well done again Keith).


SL: Why Brittany?

K: Most of my family holidays, when I was young, were spent in Cancale.  They were simple and happy times.  I suppose that I was always destined to end up here.  Brittany isn't really France, you know - it's more that that!  It is the part of France where most French people would rather be!  I was born in Cornwall (from where the Bretons originated) so perhaps I was just following my ancestors over?
And you know, Brittany really is a special place!

We may not have the culture of Paris but we do have a unique culture all of our own.  And anyway, Paris is only 4 hours away on the TGV.

We may not have the gastronomic choices that are available in Lyon and Paris but, with our great local produce, we don't need them.

To quote from some novel or other....

"This is a soft and gentle land, this place, and I find that I am treated here, not as a stranger from another country but, as someone who perhaps lived here once, long ago, and who has recently returned."

I suppose that to sum up; for me, in Brittany the towns are all like villages - everyone knows each other and everyone cares.  

And our cities are just big towns.

And anyway, the clocks all run a little more slowly in Brittany than they do in the rest of France.

SL: What made you decide to start A Taste of Garlic?


K: Of course, I have my own blog at http://www.BretonDiary.com and I read other blogs as well.
I was finding it hard to keep track of some of the other Life in France blogs that I was reading and thought that perhaps other people might be having the same problem.  I also thought that it would be a good laugh to interview people that I respect (and would like to emulate) in a tongue in cheek way. 

Most of the writers that I've interviewed so far (http://www.atasteofgarlic.com/category/interview-writer) have been up for it! 

Once it started moving, A Taste of Garlic seemed to develop a momentum all of its own and, apart from a slight gap over the last few weeks, I have been able to post an article every day of the week.
Now, there seems almost to be some sense of community about Garlic.  I've made plenty of friends through it; and I'm sure I'll make plenty more.

SL: Favorite interview subject for A Taste of Garlic?


K: If we're being totally honest... I do have a soft spot for Karen Wheeler, whom I interviewed in January (http://www.atasteofgarlic.com/interview-writer/the-karen-wheeler-interview) - if you've read her wonderful book (Tout Sweet), you'll understand that she came over here almost on a whim and she seems to have survived.

Then again, to be allowed to interview Joanne Harris (who, in a way, was partially responsible for my moving over here) was a great honour.

I'm still waiting on Gordon Ramsay (lived here for 3 years when he was starting out), Rick Stein (did a TV series about French food) and Nicholas Sarkozy (not sure what he does) to get off their collective arses and agree to be interviewed!

SL: Is there any standard topic that an expat in France will eventually blog about?


K: Yes!  Every Paris blog will, sooner or later, mention dog poo! Every Life in France blogger will, at some time, complain about French bureaucracy! Some talented blogs combine the two!  


Having said that, the one topic that, I believe, has popped up in every blog that I have reviewed (and I would double check but.... there are quite a few blogs now!) is the weather!
  
The French can talk for hours about the weather and, apparently, we can blog about it almost as well.  
I welcome this!

I call it a form of integration! 

SL: After reviewing so many expat blogs, and living in France yourself, you are a bit of an authority on moving to France. What advice would you give to someone who has experienced their 'A Year In Provence' and is ready to chuck it all away and move here?


K: To be honest, the only advice I could offer is to not follow my advice!
I did it all wrong; I came over with no money, no job and no real idea of how I would earn a living!  
Still, if put on the spot, I would say.... (a) rent before you buy, (b) learn French, (c) try to integrate (even if it's only popping to the bar for a beer every evening), (d) support your local businesses, (e) read A Taste of Garlic religiously, (f) learn French, (g) try not to compare your old home with your new one (especially prices) and, most importantly of all..... (h) learn French!   

Read lots about the experience of others who've already made the move.


Read A Taste of Garlic.

Buy books about moving to France.

Buy books about moving to France from the online bookshop at A Taste of Garlic!

SL: What do you love most about France?


K: Sometimes I can walk past a boulangerie and the smell of fresh bread transports me back to childhood holidays.  I can see a particular shade of blue and, all of a sudden, I'm 14 years old again - fishing off the harbour wall at Cancale.  I know that you can never go back but there's no law that says you shouldn't try to preserve happy times.

I also love the food, and the seriousness with which it is taken.

I love the way that France is different - and proud of it!

I love the pride that the French take in their great products (and in some of their less great products, as well!)

I love that, in Brittany at least, Family still matters!

SL: What drives you crazy most about France?


K: It would be trite to say "The English" but.... I don't have much time for the sort of Expat who constantly complains about how bad things are over here (and I'm sure to nut the next person who complains that you can't get Malted Milk biscuits in France!)  I suppose that I'm still amazed that I'm expected to be friends with someone just because we were both born speaking the same mother tongue.
I used to find that people, complete strangers, would introduce themselves to me in the bar, or in a restaurant, by saying....

"Oh, you're English.  You can always tell, can't you? We've just bought a place in Josselin.  20 Acres of land, 18 bedrooms; it was very cheap.  We're planning to turn it into a Gite complex.  Dodgy Dave from Dagenham is coming over to do the work (as long as we can keep him off the wine) - all cash in hand, you know.  Got to count the pennies.  Toby has got a problem with his four wheel drive - aren't spares expensive over here?"

And then go on to ask.... "And where's your house - how many acres have you got?  What type of four wheel drive do you drive?"

They'd always go a bit quiet when I'd tell them that I lived in rented accommodation, rode a push bike and worked in the local abattoir!  I wonder why? 

Realistically, the most irritating thing is not knowing my way around the bureaucracy.  During a recent period of illness I found that I didn't know which forms to fill in and what processes would take effect.  None of my French friends told me because they assumed that I would automatically know these things.

But (and I'm trying to be serious now), perhaps most important of all - and certainly what drives me the craziest is that most of the French guys I know (and certainly none of the French girlies - but that's to be expected) don't seem to have the faintest clue about football.  

I'm talking real football here; the sort that's played in London by real men (apart from the girlies that play at Emirates!) and supported by real fans (see previous comment about Arsenal!)

English football supporters know (in a way that the French will never understand) that football isn't a matter of life and death - it's far more important than that!   

SL: Favorite French movie?


K: A very hard question to answer!  I suppose it has to be Diva.  I've seen Diva about a million times and each time I discover something new.  It was Diva that instilled my enduring love for Opera!  

Having said that; I could watch Jean de Florette and 37 degrees (Betty Blue) over and over again, I'm always up for a Swimming Pool session and have got to be Mesrine's no 1 fan!  

I also liked Bienvenue Chez Les Ch'tis and think that Monsieur Ibrahim is an undiscovered classic!

However... A good bottle of wine, a quite night in - I guess it'd be time to watch Diva for the millionth and oneth time!

SL: Warm sunny day; Pastis or Rosé?


K: That's very kind of you.  Perhaps a small glass of Rosé whilst the waiter goes off to fetch the Pastis?



Merci Keith!

Now time for Fifty cuddles.



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