Thursday, 28 February 2013

Tidy again

Everything back in place..

As you know the freezer came and we had decided that it would have to go in the dining room along with the washing machine and tumble dryer as there is no room in the kitchen due to me wanting too many cupboards ( I have so much kitchen equipment) well I love to cook, You will see in the Picture below that the washer and dryer are behind the curtain next to the new freezer.

It is all looking really tidy.

But who knows we may move it again if I can't get used to it being there, goodness knows where to though.

I had thoughts of doing some gardening today as the sun was out but on inspection of the said garden, which is looking decidedly sad and drab and downright scruffy after the birds have been feeding I decided it was far too icy cold, maybe we will wait until the sun has had chance to warm it up a bit.

Feel free to leave a comment below, I love to hear from you.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The Big Freeze!

Il est arrivé

One of the things I love about France and there are many in this category, is that when they say they will deliver at a certain time they deliver at exactly that time. we ordered the freezer and delivery was to take place at 10am Tuesday, we are so used to the English delivery, you know "sometime between 8am & 6pm" usually turning up the day after or they push a card through the door having knocked it with feather like fingers that only a bat could hear. anyway 10am came and sure enough there was a knock at the door by the delivery man, Voila.

This is where it is going but John is taking the opportunity to sort out the electrics while the washer and tumble dryer are out of the way.

On the other hand one of the very few things I dislike about the French is their driving and total disrespect for others on the road, the French outlook is when they are on the road you had better get off or be prepared for a confrontation which amounts to a few hand signals mainly but leaves you a little peeved non the less, we had just pulled up outside our house to unload the shopping, John had given all the necessary signals that he was going to be stopping (something the french driver doesn't usually bother with or in fact understand it appears. this meant the car behind should stop as there was a car coming in the opposite direction but no she trundled on through only to find the gap was too small, she then had to back up, the two drivers exchanged the usual arm throwing at each other then turned on us, well me to be exact as they thought I was the driver, I gave my usual gesture back which is a thumbs up, this pees them off a little bit, well.

Tomorrow I will hopefully post the picture of the finished work surface and freezer in place. but judging by the noises John is making it might be Thursday.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Wow! that felt good..

I did it.

You know I have been learning French for what seems like an entire lifetime, and I am constantly saying to various friends "I am never going to be able to speak and understand this language" and I must say all our friends who can speak the lingo have been extremely helpful when it comes to needing them to translate for us and we don't know quite what we would have done without them when it has been something serious or technical.
We have been toying with the idea that we needed a bigger freezer and couldn't make up our minds whether to go for an upright or a chest (Armoire ou Coffre) but after such a lot of shall we shan't we, it has been decided that we would go for an upright mainly because I am short and probably wouldn't be able to reach the bottom of a chest freezer (Johns words) also stuff gets piled on top of other stuff and then gets left at the bottom, so the decision made we proceeded to look for a perfect freezer, I won't bore you with the details but eventually we found a lovely silver one, this is better than a white one as it will be living in our dining room due to there being no room in the kitchen for it.
The main reason for my ranting is that I went into the shop without a safety net (A translator) and ordered this freezer, arranged delivery and also arranged for the old one to be taken away, they understood me and I understood them, Eureka 
At last it is starting to all fall into place and trust me it felt so good. I will post pictures of the said freezer when it is installed next Tuesday.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Where to start!

Today is today, tomorrow is another day

Today is a strange day for John and I in as much as we don't really know where to start, you know how it is, so much to do but what to do first, we sit down for yet another cuppa, coffee for me and tea for John so that we can try to put everything in the right order, It is the French way of doing it too.
The roof space that was going to be an en suite bedroom has to be re-designed as we realise putting a bathroom in is going to be impossible so now what would have been the bathroom bit is going to be the storeroom and instead of a walk in wardrobe we will just have a bigger bedroom, but this is going to take a bit of mulling over with a few bottles of wine, most of our best ideas have come from the odd Corbiere.

I come across two wall candle sconces that I have had for years in a cupboard and it starts one of those chain effects, I decide they should go on the chimney breast either side of the constable (A copy of course) John thinks they should be in a church, I have the last say and John prepares to put them on the wall, but I think it would be a good idea to paint the wall white before putting them up, we are going to do the whole room white (It wasn't planned for this week though) after much sighing John starts to paint the chimney breast. 
John hates his photo taken and realises he needs a haircut

It looks great and will throw so much more light into a very dark room, alas it is making everything else look dingy and dirty even the ceiling between the beams, John can feel a very big job emerging but it will be a job well done as we hadn't realised how dirty  the walls had become from the wood burner.

The doorbell rings, we both think it will be friends come for coffee and cake, doesn't it always happen when you are wanting to get on with things but we are always happy to see any of our friends, but sadly it is not friends instead it is a lady courier delivering the exhaust part we had only ordered on Friday from England, 3 working days now that is service, we used Euro Car Parts from Wembley.

This is the beast - this picture is showing off Johns cave door he made too

While I am watching assisting John I think that the fireplace itself needs a bit of an overall, it is Breton stone and had been plastered over until our good friend Joy decided to chip it all off one evening when she was bored. the blackness is there from 100's of years of burning and perhaps cooking in the fireplace (it was just an open fireplace until we installed the wood burner)
You can see the black at the back

So I suggest we look for the correct stuff to point it with oh and of course we will need to take out the wood burner and re-tile the floor area, John is sighing relentlessly now but I haven't finished, he has the old carpet turned back and I see the old quarry tiles exposed, well they will have to come up and new ones put down I exclaim - John asks if he can have a medicinal Brandy in his tea.

Johns tip : Never Never say you are not sure what to do today.
My tip: write everything down that needs doing and pick them off one at a time in the correct order.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Is the car ready??

Indeed we waited all day along with our friends John & Pauline who stayed for lunch due to the fact they had to run us back to the garage when the car was ready, at 4pm I decided to call the garage and got passed from pillar to post, eventually I spoke to a technician who said it was en route ( I guessed he meant testing it) and it would be ready at 5pm so we all trundled off to the garage for 5pm.
The technician came to speak to us and as I don't understand spoken french too well he managed to make me understand that he thought he had fixed the problem but when he took it out for the test drive it was still shuddering, he asked should he look further, another day perhaps as he was sure he would find the problem. we hesitated as we knew we would be totting up hourly rates like there was no tomorrow but at the same time it had been like it for so long we had to get to the bottom of it so we agreed he would carry on looking but call us if anything too expensive arose.
In the meantime our poor friends had travelled 30 km each way several times and I was feeling very bad about it, I thought I would call our friend Helen who works not far from the garage and ask her to meet us there at 5pmish when she left work, which she did with no hesitation, we are so blessed to have such good friends, we went in and could see that the bonnet was still up on our car and fearing the worst - another day in the garage, after so long of having this problem we had started to think it was never going to go away. The Technician came out and spoke to Helen, it all sounded so technical, but wonders will never cease, they had fixed it and it was ready, she couldn't understand the technical details but it would be itemised on the bill, thank the lord I proclaimed, but now for the bill bearing in mind the last time the car went in it cost us 2,000€
but after two days and a lot of head scratching it was 369€ we didn't think that was too bad although still a lot of money to find.
We said our thank you's and our absolute appreciation to all our respective friends and got in the car to come home, John was so used to putting his foot down to pull away we almost shot across the road, he will have to retrain his gas foot now, I think we were almost waiting for it to start going wrong after a while but no a day later it is still going strong, thank goodness.... Just need a new exhaust part now and we will almost have a new car, we are so glad we don't have to get rid of it as it is a lovely car.

Bottle of wine tonight I think, have a good weekend everyone, see you on Monday

Thursday, 14 February 2013

The Car Again!

I hate French garages.

Well for those of you who are aware of the problems we have had with our car, the wonderful Opel Omega, it is a Vauxhall really but here it is an Opel.
It has had this ongoing problem for years of shuddering and juddering, not climbing the slightest hill and not changing gear properly (it is automatic) we have over the years spent an absolute fortune on it, anyway Saturday we arranged for our good friend David to meet us at the garage to translate for us (I still haven't mastered this language) also with David was his Daughter Karen who we hadn't seen for some while and her partner Sebastian,
They sent us off for a coffee while they put it on the computer, so off we went into Vitré...

 What a lovely old town Vitré is,
We sat in a cafe which overlooks the train station and had a coffee, then we decided to kill a little time by having a walk around and has we came into a square there was a delightful little market
This lady was selling the most beautiful Squash and pumpkins
And here there was the most amazing bread.

At the allotted time we all went back to the garage to be told they hadn't been able to find the problem and to bring it back in on Tuesday, so off we trundled home with a still poorly car.

Sunday we were going to our friends Elaine & Barry's for Sunday lunch along with John & Pauline, Elaine & Barry have a holiday home here and are on a long vacation and normally live in Bristol England. we were really looking forward to this and we weren't disappointed, we had a lovely time and a lovely meal with lots of chat and laughter.

As you can see I managed to master the time delay to get us all in, mind you it took a couple of goes.

Tuesday was D day, we had to take the car back but this time with no backup for the language, we left her there with the promise they would call us when it was ready, but that's another story for another day.

Friday, 8 February 2013

9 interesting facts about France and French

I came across these interesting facts on another site so forgive me for borrowing them, I am sure I am not breaking any copy right laws as they were taken from a book.

  • The Languedoc-Rousillon city of Nîmes is the birthplace of jeans. The distinctive fabric was imported to California by Levi Strauss in order to make tough work trousers for gold diggers. Denim is short for “de Nîmes”
  • The Statue of Liberty was made in France, and given to the United States as a gift. The statue’s face is thought to be modelled on that of Isabella Eugenie Boyer, the Parisian wife of sewing machine manufacturer Isaac Singer.
  • When Dom Perignon and his Benedictine monk colleagues first stumbled upon champagne, they regarded the bubbles as a serious defect, and were trying to work out ways to eliminate them until they actually had a sip.
  • The bikini was invented in 1946 by two French designers working independently of each other. Jacques Heim was first, calling his two-piece bathing suit l’Atome. However, rival Louis Reard trumped him by hiring a skywriter to advertise his Bikini over the Riviera, and his name stuck.
  • The stripes of the French flag are equal width, except on the version used by the Navy, where the red stripe is biggest.
  • George’s Perec’s 1969 novel, La Disparition, does not contain the letter E.
  • Cinderella didn’t have glass slippers until Parisian Charles Perrault made his own version of an old Chinese tale. It's often thought this was a mistranslation in the English version, but Perrault specifically refers to glass, not squirrel fur. The confusion is from the similarities of ‘verre’ and ‘vair’.
  • Under laws that no-one has ever got round to removing from the statute book, it is illegal to call a pig Napoleon.
  • If you laid out the cables used in the lifts of the Eiffel Tower end to end, they would stretch for 16 kilometres.

Well I bet you didn't know that and will be a better person for it 


Last nights dinner was gert lush. 

(I'm from the West Country)

All day John had been saying "what we having for tea" his favourite saying, I had put it to the very back of my mind for long enough as whatever we were going to have was still in the freezer - I love to cook but sometimes I get a day where I just can't be bothered, we are lucky enough to have an English Fish and Chip shop nearby and I thought about it but as the Doc said I have to lose weight I thought "No better not"
So Plan B 
The first thing I came across in the freezer were two chicken breasts (my favourite meat) so got it out with the intention of doing a Kiev type thing but with Garlic & herb soft cheese, coated in breadcrumbs and oven baked - delicious as I was collecting the ingredients together John came into the kitchen (He likes to cook with me ) Great! he exclaims, we are having curry! well who am I to disappoint a man when he looks so happy, so curry it was.. some time ago we had come across some Thai green curry sauce in Noz and had stockpiled it (you have to buy it when you see it otherwise it will be gone never to be repeated again)  
here we go then, Chop onions and gently fry, add Mushrooms,Assorted peppers and chicken
Fry onions
Add mushrooms
Add Chicken
Add peppers
Add Thai Sauce and some coconut milk

Simmer until sauce has slightly reduced and serve on a bed of rice, et voila Thai Green Curry & Rice

We also added some home made chutney given to us for Christmas by our good friends Sue and John, thank you guys it was delicious and I need the recipe.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Holidays of some of our French friends

It all looks so lovely yet different worlds

We have this week received two separate postcards from French friends who are on holiday.
First one was from our dear part time neighbours as we call them Dominique and Martine, they own the house next door but it is a holiday home previously owned by Martines dear Mama who sadly passed away.
They have been on holiday to Mauritius over Christmas and now are visiting Ile de la Reunion which as you can see by the map below is just down and to the right of Africa in the Indian Ocean.

This is their postcard

What a beautiful place it looks

I could really do with some of that sunshine, but doesn't it make sense that in the winter if time and money allows why don't we go to warmer places, why should we put up with winter when there are places akin to paradise out there.

Our other friends Cathy & Christian who are farmers and work very hard went off to Courchevel,
Courchevel is perhaps known as the first French jet-set resort and one of the most luxurious destinations for skiing holidays in France and located in the Rhone Alpes region. now don't get me wrong, I admire anyone who even dares to walk on snow but skiing now that is pure madness, your feet strapped to these long rigid things hurtling down a snow covered mountain at god knows what speed and to cap it all, no brakes, it's the stuff of nightmares but I can understand that some people enjoy it and get a buzz from it but it is definitely not for me. anyway here is their postcard.

I think it looks really lovely, like when it snows and you love looking out of the window at it but going out into it is a different matter.
Well I hope that all of you have had a wonderful time on your very different holidays and come back totally refreshed just in time for the spring, lucky things.
Oh and thank you to both of you for thinking of us while you were away.

I could open a bottle of wine to console myself but I am taking antibiotics - drat it


  1.  If you are going to ski get brakes fitted 
  2. Plan to spend the winter in a warmer place


Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Le Printemps

Has Spring Sprung?

It certainly feels like it today, the sun is shining, the garden is absolutely full of birds of all shapes and sizes, even the sparrow hawk payed us a visit but he was unlucky today, I fear he had to go and look elsewhere for lunch, the bulbs are up by about 6 inches and the crocus are out in full bloom, it is a very welcome sight and my mind is definitely thinking of what we will grow in the summer, as I have said before on here the veggies are going to be dear this year so I will be growing anything I can and definitely putting the vertical garden to good use.

This was a pot I planted up last year, it was a mixed pack of spring bulbs from Noz (pronounced nose) which explains why when I spell my name (Roz) they call me Rose!

And this is last years crocus, it is always a small miracle how things can stay in the ground then know exactly when to grow, it is of course what makes life interesting.
It really feels as if this year is going to be a good one, lets keep our fingers crossed.

The problem with Varnish.
Please has anyone in France had the same problem as us, we bought from M Bricolage some chien Rustique varnish but before we could finish the job they changed to La Maison, and when we bought the next tin it was a totally different colour, as shown below, there is a very big difference.

Admittedly the original colour on the right was two coats but I think even if we did 4 coats it still would not be the same colour, not to worry it will get used for another project, we now have to start the search for something to match as it goes with the stairs, but if anyone has any ideas we would appreciate them.

Tip: always buy enough of anything in one go as things change dramatically here

Monday, 4 February 2013

Best laid plans!

We were looking forward to a slow easy Sunday.

But it wasn't to be, it started off really well and I got all the Sunday lunch in the halogen cooker in record time
This little beauty is my all at the moment, it cooks everything all in one go and never dries anything out or over cooks it, this time it had roast potatoes, a joint of pork and the stuffing all going at the same time, the pork was cooked to perfection, you can do the veg also but I prefer to do it in the conventional way. the upshot is, it cooks french steak to perfection too.
I put a wash into the washing machine and we sat down to a wonderful Sunday Lunch. as I returned with empty plates I suddenly realised I was splashing in water, yes you have guessed the washing machine had done it's worst, my mind is thinking blast it we now have to fork out for a new washing machine.

by now John has taken every bit off the washing machine that would possibly come off but for the life of him couldn't find a leak so John said "put it on again and lets see where it is coming from" so I did, within a few minutes John was shouting "switch it off" needless to say it wasn't the machine but the s bendy thing, the outlet for the washer, he took it all off and re-did all the connections and we try again, no it is still leaking, so now John has gone off to town to get a new one. and I still haven't finished the washing.

But I have taken a picture of some of my plants I had for my birthday and a plant we got from some French friends just to cheer me up.

Never plan to have an easy day
Always have a plan B

Friday, 1 February 2013

Whats for tea?


Well it has been a pretty awful day weather wise as it has continually thrown down the wet stuff, everywhere looks so dank and dismal or dink and dasmil as John calls it, his favourite saying is "I don't do rain" and who could blame him. as I gaze out of the window thinking fondly of what I will plant in my raised beds this year as soon as it gets a little warmer, musing through my mind that there are certain things I won't bother with this year, a voice in the background says "what's for tea" as if reading my mind, food had just popped into my mind, I think it must be the bad weather and comfort food that does it.
I say "good question", well a few months ago I decided that I would get organised and so I have a house management book and in there is a monthly menu plan also a freezer inventory so we have a look at what is in the freezer that would make a lovely tasty gourmet meal, mmm quite a bit as it happens but I am decidedly not in a gourmet mood, so we opt for a fish pie from Lidl (they are extremely good and just enough for two) and some potatoes and onion rosti with stir fry veg, quick and easy, well it is Friday, I have the new Halogen cooker so it all goes in there and will be done in no time, all that will need doing is opening a bottle. must remember to cross off the fish pie from the freezer list.
John had to go to the bank this morning as a couple of weeks ago I cancelled my bank card as I didn't use it and we are charged for them here, but when I went online to do some banking I realised my name had been taken off the account, tut, so off John trundles to see Karen at the bank (she speaks good English) and tells her what has happened, she investigates and says, no my name is still on the account, John says, but not online, she takes a look and realises that it isn't but assures John it is not a problem it is still a joint account.

We have been told about a Bricoman in Laval that is very much like B&Q so we are going to investigate it tomorrow, maybe they will have some decent priced double glazed windows, we are hoping to replace all of the windows but finding the right size is proving difficult, of course as always I will want to have a good look round and no doubt will come home with lots of goodies that will come in handy.

So have a good weekend everyone and we will see you next week. :-)