Monthly Archives: November 2015

Would you like a rose bush with that dog food?

Garden and pet food store

Garden and pet food store

Today we went to see what kind of dog food we might find for Heather…at the garden center. Yes, in France it’s really quite common to buy your favorite pet her/his food at the same place you would pick up potting soil or a hanging basket of begonias. At first I thought that was really bizarre but considering that there are at least two nationwide chains of stores that sell exactly those products together it made me wonder if we did anything similar in the US. Ever hear of Feed & Seed stores? Read the rest of this entry

It’s a sign

Wine Shop sign

Wine Shop sign

No, really it IS a sign. I know you probably thought that this was “a sign” that Bill and I have found the right place, which we have, but its real function is to tell you what’s inside. We were visiting the town of Villefranche-de-Conflent, listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France, and Bill spotted this iron sign above a wine shop. This type of graphic sign was popular in the days when people couldn’t read and they still seem to work today. Since this town is not far from the Spanish border and gets lots of non-French speaking visitors, it still makes sense.

To or from?

Canal-du-Midi walking path

Canal-du-Midi walking path

This morning we were out walking Heather when we stopped to talk with our neighbor, another dog walker, at the top of the street. He said with a grin that he and his wife had already looked into the closest airport to Carcassonne (you know, the one right there at the edge of town that we could walk to, if necessary) and asked if we would be missing things here. My first reaction was to look askance at him as if to say “Are you kidding?” but immediately I realised our motive for moving has never been one of escape. Read the rest of this entry

Cake & Bake

Butter croissants

Butter croissants

If Bill and I were to open a boulangerie (bakery) I’d want to call it Cake & Bake. The French would understand the words and any Americans who grew up in the 1960s watching TV commercials for the meat coating called Shake & Bake® would get the added connection–“and I hepped”.  I’ve wanted to be a baker since childhood perhaps to be surrounded by all of that wonderful bread right out of the oven. There’s something almost magical about mixing some dry ingredients with a bit of water, popping it into the oven, and then coming back 30 minutes later to a delicious baguette. Read the rest of this entry

He had what, where?

A colorful caleçon collection

A colorful caleçon collection

There are 3 regional newspapers that include Carcassonne in their coverage. This morning a headline that caught both of us by surprise included the line “du sh*t dans le caleçon” except the paper did not substitute an asterisk for the vowel. OK, then, what does that mean?

The story was about a driver who habitually ran through the toll gate on the highway leading into Spain without ever paying, 38 times alone in October. When the police arrested him he gave them four false names and was never able to provide a driver’s license so they added those charges to the primary one of avoiding the tolls. But what about that “stuff” in his underwear/pants (le caleçon)? Did they scare it out of him? Can you be arrested in France if they do?

Read the rest of this entry

No wonder we’re confused

Books to learn French

Books to learn French

This morning I was listening to a song where the lyrics included “I don’t want to be apart from you” which is clear enough to native English speakers, especially when you can see it in writing. As an exercise, I often try to translate in my head phrases that I hear. It went fine until I got to the word “from” which many of you will know in French is de that also means “of” plus at least half a dozen other words in English. Read the rest of this entry

In training

TGV at the Carcassonne station

TGV at the Carcassonne station

The weather forecast for today was rain so we planned a relaxing day in. That meant a bit of a sleep in, a leisurely morning with a full pot of coffee to go with a baguette and croissants, and nothing particularly planned for the afternoon. Then the sun came out and Bill said “Let’s go to Italy. There’s a train at 11:32”. Uh oh, the last time he started a sentence with “Let’s…” we ended up moving to France. This turned out to be just an exercise to see if we really could be spontaneous and take advantage of being within a 20-minute walk of the station. Read the rest of this entry

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The life of a British Francophile

Southern Fried French

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The Vicious Cycle

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