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la vie en rose

19 Nov
papier cul

dunny paper, loo paper, bog roll, papier toilette, PQ… in PINK

Dunny paperloo paper, bog roll,toilet paper, toilet tissue, papier toilette, PQ (this one is good – it’s French and so tres elegant – it’s pronounced ‘pai-cue’, short for papier cul,’arse paper’)…  So many glorious ways to label a roll of perforated paper that wipes your bits.  But whatever the name, there is a fashion here in France that never goes out of fashion – your PQ in pretty old pink.

Forget baguettes, 2CVs, the Eiffel Tower… Yes, when I think of a recurring image over here, I think of pink PQ.  In almost every home you visit, you help yourself to, pink.  In any cafe, bar or restaurant toilet, pink.  Have a stroll down any supermarket toilet tissue aisle and you goggle over mountains of… pink.  Good luck if you’re searching for non-bleached, non-patterned or basic white.  They’ll be the few small piles hidden amidst the enormous volumes of joli rose – or once in a while spotted in a public loo!

mountains of lush pink dunny paper

mountains of lush, pink dunny paper

Why?  In fifteen years of frequent pondering (nearly always whilst sitting on someone else’s loo, reaching over for their dainty pink squares) – and asking most French people I know – I still don’t have an answer for it.  I’m by no means the first person to be asking either – I have friends!  Loads of them.  There are millions of internet search engine results concerning this very discussion in both French and English.  Some bloody funny theories too.  But still no answers!

It doesn’t explain the pink, but here’s a bit of trivia – correct me if I’m wrong! – about the French and their PQ, found in my search for THE answer:  it is said toilet paper was introduced in this country at the beginning of the 20th Century, but as it was long considered a luxury item, it was only from the 1960s its use became widespread.

And in shades of pink at that.

Chic.

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at last… my folks came to town!

31 Jul
the aussies came to town

a visit …all the way from home

They came, they saw, we drank – woohooey!

It was meant to have been a BIG surprise, but in the end we knew.  But that didn’t change ANYTHING in the way of how excited I was to have my parents – for the first time in 12 years!!- come and visit us.

My lovely brother had tried as hard as he could to keep it a surprise until the very last but, with all sorts of things popping up on his end and ours,  had to tell us that he was heading our way with two of his kids and da da da daaaa…  Ma and Pop in tow!

Since we moved here 14 years ago I’ve been enormously lucky to have had so many friends and family stay – and each time is so special as you get to enjoy each person on their own and usually over an extended time (hey, this is no quick side trip on the itinerary – if you’re going to travel from one side of the world to the other you’d better make it a decent trip!).  I adore going back to see everyone in Oz, but it can get hectic trying desparately to catch up with everyone at once.  This way, when people come to stay on our turf, I can relish every minute of their company and not have to juggle with a social diary.

So this was Jan and Pete’s – and Mark, Ruby and James’s turn to finally drop their bags and hang out (in the home that my parents hadn’t seen until now!)

I took them to all the places they’d rememebered vividly from twelve years ago,  dined in a few lovely bistrots, cooked my favourite meals for them, introduced them to our mates and even snuck in a few drinking sessions, bien sur,  with Benji’s wines (yes I’ll make it clear you don’t drink the stuff Mum).

I can’t tell you how good it was to have everyone here at last.   I’m still smiling.  Thanks big bro Mark for making it happen!

ps – a word of warning!  there’s a few pics down below, sorry – but hell, this trip was twelve years in the making!

waking up on the first morning

the view on the first morning

lilas' classroom

showing Ma and Pop the classroom

La Cite - aka Kevin

La Cite in Carcassonne – or ‘Kevin’ as we like to call it.
The original hill site dates back to the 6th Century BC, with the Romans fortifying the hilltop in 100 BC. The Visigoths claimed the land from the 5th and 6th centuries. It was held by various different leaders from the 11th century onwards and underwent a complete renovation in the 19th century.

the dunny

an elegant entry to the dunny

inside Kevin

inside Kevin

outside the Cite walls

outside Kevin

buying turkish delight

buying ‘Loukoum’ (Turkish Delight) at the Olonzac market

Acca Dacca rules

the Aussies at the Olonzac market – with a bit of Aussie culture thrown in

l'estagnol

lunch at L’Estagnol in Narbonne

in the cloitre in Narbonne

after lunch stroll in ‘le cloitre’ (the cloister) of the Cathedral of ‘Saint Just et Saint Pasteur’ of Narbonne – built during the 14th and 15th centuries

view from le cloitre

view from le cloitre (cloister)

2CV in Narbonne

a happier Citroen 2CV in Narbonne

dad and junior at the stove

Dad and ‘Junior’ at the stove making the family favourite, Osso Buco (YES Phillip, one more time!!)

mark, lilas and pop

Mark, Lilas and Pop (keep working Mark)

AOP St Chinian

Benji’s juice, Nicki’s artwork…

working hard

working hard on the terrace with Who and the Australian Woman’s Weekly, direct off the plane from Oz

going where?

off to Minerve

minerve

Minerve – this fortified village is perched above the Brian and the Cesse rivers and earliest writings on it date back to the 9th century. It is famous for being a Cathar stronghold until the early 13th century.

Chateau Minerve

Chateau Minerve

dunny view

one of the best views in Minerve – located from the cafe’s dunny.
Love the wallpaper

romeo and juliet on the bridge

Romeo and Juliet on the bridge

fruits of the season

a wine producer selling some other fruit!

swimming in Minerve

a great way to finish the visit… swimming in Minerve

canal du midi

one of the folks’ faves, the Canal du Midi

family portrait

happy campers

So just who are the vigneron and his wife?

10 Feb

Let’s get going and invite you in!

You’ve found us!

I’m Australian, Benjamin is French and we live in a remote, rural area in the south of France.  He is the vigneron, I am his wife and he makes wine that I love to drink.

Our daughter attends school in the local village (we call her the ‘Aussie frog’) and it almost feels like Little House on the Prairie except she wears jeans!

We’ve been living here for the most part since 1998, making and working in wine.  It is wine that led us here and wine that keeps us here.  Our life is inextricably linked to it and why I’ll probably be talking a lot about it here!  …And I guess living where we are, food may get a mention too!!

To outsiders it’s a quiet and very isolated life, if you compare it to the razzle dazzle of a city but delve deeper and, like anywhere, you’ll find a lovely hum of people busy in all sorts of interesting actvities.  People from all walks of life – the locals born and bred here, French people from other parts seeking change and a  growing community of ‘etrangers’  are all enjoying the wonderful landscape and quality of life that this region offers.

Influences and arguments fly in all directions.  In this mix, food and wine are two major elements of the day and what connects us.   There is an almost ritual-like approach to making or serving food and wine that I hadn’t encountered before living with a Frenchie in this area.  I can’t think of a better way of getting to know all these people either!  A few good wines and good food always seems to help my fledgling French.

I may not be sharing any images of the Eiffel tower, baguettes in hand, candlelight dinners overlooking the Seine – or frilly French knickers for that matter (who said all Frenchman were romantics?)… but a no-frills account of what we get up to here in this part of France. I’m not going to spend 365 days eating only foie gras and camembert either, but I will make a good go of drinking Benjamin’s wine – and a lot of others,  cooking and sampling foods  and sharing these experiences with you.

first blog collage - the wonders of La France

The jolie things I see around here…

Welcome to our home, warts and all, happy that you might visit!

Kat

p.s.  I know I promised no snowdome scenes of idyllic life, but  there are some beautiful sights around here that I’d love to share that are unmistakably ‘French’. Sometimes you do actually get those ‘ooh la la ‘ moments that take your breath away .  This occurs almost daily for me here and it helps keep the homesickness at bay!

…and I do LOVE the Eiffel Tower.

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