Broken garage door spring

On several blogs written by Americans living in France there have been references to how long it takes to get things accomplished in their new home country versus in the US. In other words, this experience has taught them patience. When I looked up the etymology for that word, unsurprisingly it originated in Latin, moved on to Old French, before being adopted by Middle English. What did surprise me is that in the UK it’s the name of a card game that we call solitaire. Continue reading “Patience”

Be square

Boxes on a 3′ X 4′ square waiting for shipment to France

The title of this post probably should have been “Be rectangular” but that just doesn’t seem to have the same ring. So what am I talking about? It’s the shipping container that we’ll be using to send the few things we’ll be taking to France that won’t fit in our luggage. The company that we’ve chosen, UPakWeShip, suggests putting a 4-foot by 3-foot rectangle of tape on your floor to approximate the size of the container with the height being a little over 3 feet tall. Continue reading “Be square”

Fruit cake—European style

Dried fruit and hazelnut cake

One of our blog posts that solicited a lot of response dealt with “shopping from the pantry” where the idea was to use up what we already had in stock rather than buying more from the grocery store. You may recall that it involved gelatin and tapioca, but not at the same time. Many of you will be relieved to know that since then we have cleared the shelves of anything that resembles a box of pudding or its relatives. It’s now time to move on to the freezer…or at least one of them. Continue reading “Fruit cake—European style”

A sign of the times

House soon to be sold

Yes, it’s a sign that it’s time to move on. I was a bit apprehensive about the visit last Tuesday from real estate agent, Pat. This was the first time for her to see our house so naturally we wanted to make the best first impression we could on the person we will be paying to sell the place. We also had a couple of conditions that we wanted to talk about with her; something not at all unusual in France but definitely out of the ordinary here in the US. Continue reading “A sign of the times”

Ghost of Christmas past

Boxed up ChristmasHere’s a photo of what 60 years’ worth of Christmas decorations looks like all boxed up. Some of you will note that Bill and I have been together only 30 years; therefore, some of this has to be from a long time ago, right? Not so much.

First off, that stack of blue containers on the left is full of lights, both indoors and out, so you know those can’t be too old . There are wreaths we got for specific doors in our current house. The same is true for the miniature trees that go on either side of the front door. There’s a mantle cover that Bill made and custom fit to put over the fireplace where logs are burning nicely right now as I type. Continue reading “Ghost of Christmas past”

Under the radar

Dark German Rye
Bill’s rye bread fresh out of the oven

When we first told some of our neighbors that we were moving to France and, therefore, selling our house here, the reaction was very positive. There were lots of congratulations but the real excitement seemed to be centered around the house. Everyone appeared to know someone who would buy it and true to their word, we did have visitors. In fact, one brother and his fiancé returned twice but their bank has not been forthcoming with a mortgage. We certainly aren’t opposed to using a real estate agent, but it would have been convenient to have passed “under the radar” and sold directly to a buyer. Continue reading “Under the radar”

What price art?

Exterior of house for sale in Carcassonne
Exterior of house for sale in Carcassonne

Each year on July 14, Bastille Day, Carcassonne goes all out with a non-stop 50 minutes of fireworks over the castle. The spectacle attracts 700,000 people to a town of 50,000 and there’s a link here in the right hand column to a 4-minute video of the highlights. I still get goosebumps when I watch it. As you can imagine, coping with the influx of that many people in less than one day is quite the challenge for the government. Streets have to be closed, parking spaces created, extra security provided, restroom facilities put in place, on and on. That got me to wondering: who pays for all of this? Continue reading “What price art?”