Tag Archives: france

a happy new year

31 Dec
Aussie Xmas Tour

An Aussie Xmas Tour…

We’re about to greet the new year and I want to shout out a G’day from stinking hot Adelaide.

Don’t be fooled by the home-made version of our tree for this year… we’re not in gay Calamiac, we’re down here in Oz.  And on the eve of Christmas, our family’s old tree, after 40 years, decided to hang up its boots – so Lilas and I put together a ‘Xmas Tour’!  It’s a wonder what you can find in a shed full of old boxes…

And I must say it’s thanks to you, Mum, that we have a ‘tree’ this year.  Much to my objections, you put up this tower, festooned with ribbons as part of the decorations for our post-elopement-wedding party.  Did I squirm! – wondering what the Frenchies would think… But it was a hit, and thanks to you, it’s come out in full glory again.

Bonnes Fetes and Happy Days for 2014…

IMG_3856 IMG_3926 IMG_4062

picking

11 Oct
Ambroise emptying 'la hotte'

Ambroise emptying ‘la hotte’

Picking at last.

There’s been stops and starts… and now it’s all GO to get the grapes in.

We’re harvesting three weeks later than previous years, but it’s shaping up to be a pretty good ‘recolte’ … there’s a charged atmosphere and smiles all round.

I’ll fill you in on this harvest over a few posts, but here’s a selection of pics from today, in and out of our village.

(you may note some ‘fx’ in the images – my dear old camera is on the blink so what you see are the results of lumping around with a clunky electronic rectangle)

woke to to the noise of the harvester outside the kitchen window

woke to to the noise of the harvester outside the kitchen window

tent-picking

tent-picking

checking out the noise... a tractor cruising down the driveway

checking out the noise… a tractor cruising down the driveway

picking 1

pick cal1

here comes the sun

cal pick3

empty 2

empty 3

empty 4

cal 7

house on the prairie

pick cal 2Meanwhile, back in the village…

ca 4

chat arnaud

clearing out remains of the ‘pressoir’ (press)

ca 3

the Vigneron having a spray

the Vigneron having a spray

...and the ladies are still out checking the 'raisins'

…and the ladies are still out checking the ‘raisins’

 

Greetings…

9 Jun
Paris postcard found at a 'vide-grenier' - 'Place de la Republique'

old Paris postcard found at a ‘vide-grenier’ – ‘Place de la Republique’

Up early this morning and dashed out to a village ‘vide-grenier’…  it’s a type of garage sale, but instead of just one household selling their wares on the street, it’s a whole village full!   If you’ve never been to one, they are just brilliant and full of potential treasure – and trash (as many would say!).

I’ve got to say I’m a little hooked and it’s one of those rare mornings where I’m ready to spring out of bed at 6am.  There’s even get a slight adrenaline rush as I jostle for a car park close to the sectioned-off streets and head towards the first stand displaying its wares.  I’m on a mission –  my purse is heavy with coins and my chest is literally bursting with excitement.  Sicko, you might say.  But really!  Vide-greniers (this translates as ’empty the attic’) offer all sorts of wonderful objects. And hey it’s in France, so for me that makes it totally exotic (mind you, being far from home, kangaroos and gums are also completely exotic for me now).  It’s not everyday you can buy the old scribbled-in picture books from the elderly monsieur’s childhood collection, or the 60s flowery frock from Madame’s hand-me -downs.  I’ve even picked up a whopping Le Creuset cast iron pot  for 8 Euros (now this find was in the half-dark it was so early and I had a torch!).   Mmmn, a post on vide grenier treasures will follow!

These ‘village garage sales’ are held on weekends (Sunday is the big day for our region)and start from around 8am, with people beginning to pack up around 4pm.  But if you want to find the ‘better’ stuff and real bargains, it’s best to head out as early as 7am (ie 8 Euro cookpot) – the time where you’ll rub shoulders with the ‘professionals’ already out for the hunt.

Here’s a few pics of some local vide greniers to whet the appetite for some…

vg 8

aaargh!!! this is a sight that sends me CRAZY

vg 2

vg 1

vg 10-11

vg 9

vide grenier 7

vg 7

I just loved this lady’s pricing for her old linen

vg 12

Lilas’ already an old hand at these things

vg 5

…that’s her with the Viewfinder

Today the weather has been pretty dire, so I headed out early and came home early (it has been raining much of this weekend – not something we’re needing when it is already difficult to access the vineyards by tractor, we’re hoping the forecast for heat for this week dries everything up).

I came home with a few postcards amongst my finds.

Goutez nos olives

This first one, above, was actually written (from the 60s?) on today’s date!?!  Woh!

Reading over the cards from this mornng over a coffee, I noticed the date marked was today's

Reading over the cards from this mornng over a coffee, I noticed the date marked was today’s

But have a look at these beauties…

'Babyface'

‘Babyface’

'Rond Point'

‘Rond Point’ (the guy on the far right side is to blame for this purchase)

...not much to be said

…not much to be said

guitar chick

You go girl, stroke those strings…

st eloi

this guy’s a fave

frenchie loveeers

check those fellas (mounds of muscle)

…and on the above theme,

...love an old recipe postcard

…love an old recipe postcard

But I do love a pretty card too.

sailboat postcard

another old Paris postcard:  'Marche aux Fleurs de la Cite'

another old Paris postcard: ‘Marche aux Fleurs de la Cite’

some sights #7 – pics from the South!

5 Mar

Hey, hey it’s time for some more sights from around our ‘hood!

I'm always passing this old 'cave co-operative'  - the date on the facade always reminds me of some special people back home, and now there's always this lovely old Renault '4L'

I’m always passing this old ‘cave co-operative’, ‘Costos Roussos‘ – the date on the facade always reminds me of some special people back home(!), and now there’s always this lovely old Renault ‘4L’

This was a first for me...  the ladies in the market vans had old quilts and blankets protecting their produce on a recent market morning.  It was below freezing and bloody cold!

This was a first for me… the ladies in the market vans had old quilts and blankets protecting their produce on a recent market morning. It was below freezing and bloody cold

... and on this moring it was -4 degrees

… and on this morning it was -4 degrees

It's starting to snow, approaching Chateau Violet - a beautiful old wine property near us

It’s starting to snow, approaching Chateau Violet – a beautiful old wine property near us

Saturday morning at the supermarche... preparing delicious 'Aligot'  - yes, a delightfully light, refreshing dish, composed of cheese, cream, potatoes, cheese, garlic, butter and then some more cheese

Saturday morning at the supermarche… preparing delicious ‘Aligot‘ – yes, a delightfully light, refreshing dish, composed of cheese, cream, potatoes, cheese, garlic, butter and then some more cheese.  Come on, it IS light – really!

Wine of the Month in our house- 'Boulevard Napoleon' with local smallgoods (where are you Dad?!)

Wine of the Month in our house:
the recently bottled ‘Boulevard Napoleon‘ with local smallgoods (where are you Dad?!)

the local hospital for the old metalheads

the local hospital for the old metalheads

Sunday night and pooch is hangin' at the pizza van

Sunday night and pooch is hangin’ at the pizza van

hot drinks at the cafe after a playing in the park...but check out the tele, the kids are getting clued up on winemaking

Hot drinks at the cafe after playing in the park
…but check out the tele! – the kids are getting clued-up on winemaking

downtown Narbonne

Downtown Narbonne

Carcassonne market

Carcassonne market

butcher collage 2a

Meat, anyone? Delicacies at the Carcassonne market… lungs, heart, tripe. Note: bottom right in the tripe corner, the butcher has his Rose ready and chilling

...and another glass of Rose.  ONe of the many perks of living around here is the access to delicious, cheap wines served from tap straight out of the wall of our cave co-ops - simply BYO your own bottle

…and another glass of Rose.
One of the many perks of living around here is the access to delicious, cheap wines served from tap straight out of the wall of our cave co-ops – simply BYO your own bottle…

I love this - it's Pierre the baker's price list at the Olonzac market

I love this – it’s Pierre the baker’s price list at the Olonzac market

check out the airbrush work on the hot rod... a Renault 4L van

Check out the airbrush work on the hot rod
… a Renault 4L van

our local school celebrates 'Carnaval' each year, where everybody accompanies the school kids on floats in a tour of the village

Our school celebrates ‘Carnaval‘ each year, where everybody accompanies the school kids on floats in a tour of the village

A few things from last weekend's 'Vide-Grenier' (village garage sale):  some keyrings and an old "Science et Vie' magazine from 1944.Ashamed to say I get obssessed with many things, advertising keyrings from the 60s is one of them!  And I've just discovered there is even a name for it - 'Copoclephliie' (!!)

A few things from last weekend’s ‘vide-grenier’ (village garage sale): some keyrings and an old “Science et Vie’ magazine from 1944.
Ashamed to say I get obssessed with many things, advertising keyrings from the 60s for eg! And hang on, I’ve even discovered there’s a name for it – ‘Copoclephliie‘ (!!)

my favourite view coming out of Olonzac

my favourite view coming out of Olonzac

...and a favourite close to home, this wall in our hamlet

…and a favourite close to home, this wall in our hamlet

favourites, favourites, I think I have a thing about apples?

Favourites, favourites… now I promise this one wasn’t planned!  I think I have a thing about apples? (you started it Mum!)

on the road, yesterday

on the road, yesterday

Short, back and sides in lovely Toulouse

Short, back and sides in lovely Toulouse

the old 'manege' (carousel), downtown Toulouse

the old ‘manege’ (carousel), Toulouse

Phew, I hope you got through that!

xo

crazy weather here and there

21 Jan

Talk about extremes.  44  degrees Celsius and then minus 4 in just over a week.  15 000km apart.

There’s ground to cover from my trip to Oz, but I just had to share these pics first!

We were ragged and hot (and sick) and then arrived home to this…

Crazy!!

l’Australie…

carricks 2

Carrickalinga Beach, South Australia – 44 degrees Celsius

carricks 3

carricks 1

the heat can feel pretty bloody ominous

the heat can feel pretty bloody ominous

carricks heat 5

no-one about, 2 o’clock in the afternoon and 43.5 degrees

La France…

snow 1

snow3

snow calamiac

snow5

and then out in our pj's the next morning...

out for a walk in our pj’s the next morning… (mini-me in pursuit)

snow walk

snow walk 2

out back snow

But stay tuned!  Pics from Oz to follow…

jug house

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.

wrapped in France #2

24 Sep

“1.  a bundle or parcel.  2.  that in which anything is packed, as a case, crate, etc.  5.  to put into wrappings or a container.”  – ‘Package, packaging’ from the Macquarie Dictionary, 2nd Edition, 1981

Do you remember when I let it slip that I have a thing for packaging?  Mmn, yep, still have it and lately I feel like I’m being bombarded with even more wonderful examples of it, everywhere.  At home, at the markets, at the vide-greniers (the village garage sales – something I must absolutely tell you about soon), at friends’ houses,  in the guise of gifts from friends…  everywhere.

Colours, texts, fonts, old, new, shabby or shiny…  I can’t get enough of it – and if there’s a text or a word here or there in French, even better!  It’s amazing how much you can improve your vocabulary just reading the fine print!  (and probably a lot more educational than my dippings into, shock, horror – Voici).

At the moment I’m getting a buzz out of OLD packaging and the eg’s here are from either home (my mother-in-law is a great help here) – or from stands in the markets and vide-greniers.  I understand why people start up businesses selling this stuff – there are crazy people out there, like me, who love it!  But a lot of it can be quite expensive so I’m happy to admire it and ask permission to take a photo or two.  Yes, I think I am mad!

So here’s a second instalment of boxes, tins, bottles I’ve seen here in France lately.  I should add however, that not all these products are French.  Some come from next door in Spain (thanks to Vincent who is aware of my condition) or further afar.  But they seemed too lovely to leave out.

I hope you enjoy them!

tins of pois chiches

Tins of ‘pois chiches’ (chick peas) at the supermarket yesterday. I thought you Miss Nick might like these!

Pineau de Francois Premier

I love this bottle of Pineau from the Charentes – “Pineau Francois 1er” Not only is the label just fabulous, but the sweet, fortified wine, a speciality of the Charentes region (near Cognac, not far from Bordeaux) wine inside, is DELICIOUS! It is a family-run winery, established in the 1930s by Gaston Riviere, with the wine now made by his grandson (who greets you at his cellar in leather pants).  He said it was Gaston himself who designed and drew the label and there is a great quote on it – by him?… the ranslation:
“Women often change, Mad are those who trust them. Only this Pineau remains faithful to his King.”

Olympic Thermor iron

Don’t need one, but loved this box for an iron at the vide-grenier

Ortiz El Velero tuna

Ortiz ‘El Velero’ tuna.
Merci Vinnie.

bonbons!

a few old ‘bonbons’ tins (sweets, lollies or candy to us)

deux pigeons

‘Les Deux Pigeons’ (the two pigeons) allumettes – an old matchbox found amongst other treasures at my mum-in-law’s. Merci Christine!

Chromex hair dryer

…don’t need this either. But just love the bangs and make-up.

Ippodo tea

Adore this tin.
But it went back home with V.

carving knife

I almost wanted to buy the old knife just so I could have the sleeve it slid into!

Lipikar

My body moisturiser.  Mamy  put me onto this.   The ‘pharmaceuticals’ look is big here, but I love it for its smell

apple box

Spied this at Emmaus. Tres simple, no text but I LOVE red apples

Sanchez Romate sherry vinegar

Another item from Vinnie in Spain and oh so delicious, “Sanchez Romate Vinaigre de Jerez” – sherry vinegar

old packets

old packets for bonbons, dried beans, cream cheese…

LEO dried peas

no, it’s not a French product but it made me laugh when I saw this at the supermarket… the first time I read the box I thought it said ‘with sleeping tablet’
You try it!

Kusmi teas

a favourite at home – the whole range is great together

Offenbach

Saw this Offenbach record, “Gaiete Parisienne”, in Emmaus and loved the image

Caille and Yoghurt

The ‘Caille’ desserts are delicious. Seems like this style tub has been used for much longer than I realised.

vw car collage

Once a VW owner, always a fan.
Certainly didn’t need this, but I fell in love with the radio-controlled VW at the vide-grenier.  It is the sedan version of my very first car, a Type 3 station wagon that I called ‘Fritz’. The price was extremely high. But the man was kind enough to let me take the photo.

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