Monthly Archives: October 2016

International signs

Mop dos and don'ts

Mop dos and don’ts

International road signs and other symbols have intrigued and confused me ever since we started traveling in Europe. I’m certain that we’ve driven down many one-way streets, the wrong way, because the navigator (me) couldn’t distinguish between “No Parking” and “Do not enter”. In my own defense, they are both round, red, and have a line through them. It’s just like those easily mixed male/female symbols so it’s a good thing that public restrooms here are all unisex—no, not really (sort of) but that will make for a funny future blog post about our experiences. Read the rest of this entry

Tempting tarte treat

Fresh apple tarte

Fresh apple tarte

Look what we’re having for dessert tonight. It’s apple season here and the bakery at the end of our street has taken advantage of the abundance of fresh pommes to offer these delicious open-top pies, if you will, at about half their normal price. We’re in this shop almost daily and seldom give in to any of the delicious pastries always on display, opting instead for a baguette or the larger flute, but tonight will be different. Happy weekend!

Pizza here

No advertisements, merci!

No advertisements, merci!

A couple of times a week our mailbox is literally overflowing with advertisements from local businesses. Many (maybe most) of our neighbors post discreet little signs on their mailboxes saying Pas de Pubs meaning they don’t want all of these publicités but we figure these ads let us know what shops are near us and give us one more lesson in French. To be honest, we already look online at the weekly flyers from national chains anyway, but seeing what we think of as the mom-and-pops have to offer, who sometimes don’t have a website, is a real treat. Read the rest of this entry

Bed in a box

Whale rib or bed slats?

Whale rib or bed slats?

We bought a bed today. Actually we bought it about a week ago and it was just delivered, with emphasis on those last two words that I’ll explain below. Since we needed an address in France to apply for a visa to live here, the easiest option was to rent for a year a fully furnished “holiday home” that would normally be used by people on vacation for a week or two and then handed back to the owners to prepare for the next round of guests. In our case, the landlords need only to check their bank account monthly to see that the rent’s been paid and in exchange we get a comfortable home where everything has already been provided. Now that we’ve bought our own house, that came with just the walls and roof, it’s time to fill it up. Read the rest of this entry

Narrow minded

Steep, narrow stairs

Steep, narrow stairs

When I think of people from the Netherlands in general, probably the last words that come to mind are narrow minded. In the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century, persecuted religious groups elsewhere in Europe found refuge there and authors were free to publish their articles and books that might have otherwise landed them in jail back in their home country. Over the centuries that tolerant attitude seems to have expanded to all segments of their society, giving their capital city Amsterdam claim to the title of the world’s most diverse by hosting immigrants from 160 nations. With that background, while looking for interesting things to do on our recent trip there, it struck me that the word “narrow” kept popping up. Read the rest of this entry

Fan fan

Open shutters let the breezes through

Open shutters let the breezes through

Growing up in the 1950s and early 1960s in the southern US meant that we experienced some hot summers without air conditioning. Schools didn’t have it, so it was a good thing that summer vacation extended from June 1 to September 1, and private homes certainly didn’t. Once my brother and I were old enough to mow lawns for other people, guess what was the first thing we both bought for our bedrooms: window air conditioners. What a glorious summer that was! Read the rest of this entry

Buried treasure

Spring bulbs at the floating flower market

Spring bulbs at the floating flower market

With a blog post title like that I wouldn’t blame you for calling out “Arrrr!” with visions of pirates, bottles of rum, and the Flying Dutchman in your head. You’d be right on the money with that last item, and probably not far off with the second since we went to Amsterdam last month but the treasure we went in search of was to bring back here and bury: tulips and other spring bulbs. Read the rest of this entry

A new life in Lille

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wcs

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The Vicious Cycle

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