Monthly Archives: January 2017

The big move

Bill and the big, little van

Bill and the big, little van

We’re in. There’s still a month to go on the lease of our rental house but we wanted to be into our own place to start the new year. That will give us plenty of time to thoroughly clean what we’ve called “home” for the last 11 months before we turn it back over to the landlords. It also means that if we get any last minute out-of-town guests before March 1st, they can stay there instead of stepping around unpacked boxes, over cans of plaster and paint, and through ladders leaning against the walls. Just as we did a few months ago, we rented a van, only this time instead of going to the supermarket to pick it up we literally crossed the street from there to a rental car agency. Read the rest of this entry

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Getting to know you

Welcome home

Welcome home

The other morning we were out early to get our daily baguette when we walked by a brasserie that was open for breakfast. As we passed by, a gentleman was leaving so we exchanged bonjours and continued a few steps down the sidewalk when the strangest thing happened. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him turn around and then we heard him call out to us “You’re the Americans I read about in the newspaper”. A short and pleasant conversation followed regarding the article and about being new in town before he said “Welcome to Carcassonne” and then we wished each other Bonne Journée (Good day) with smiles all around. Read the rest of this entry

Those pesky numbers

House number 5 built in 1610

House number 5 built in 1610

The plumber was here the other morning and a bit before noon said that he would be back around 3 o’clock. I told him that was fine since we had to go into town and he then asked if he should come back later. My thoughts were “No, 3 hours is plenty of time and besides, I’m sure that you want to finish the job today” but all I said out loud was “That’s fine.” About an hour and a half later we were surprised to see him pull up in front of the house where our clock said that it was only 1:15 PM. Why had he come back so early? Read the rest of this entry

Business as un-usual

The new ironing shop

The new ironing shop

We were walking home the other day when we noticed a lot of activity going on in a storefront that had been for rent ever since we arrived here. One advantage of living where we do is that there are lots of businesses close by so when we need something it’s often just a few steps away from our front door. We were curious and excited to see another shop opening since it would just enhance what is already a great neighborhood. After a few days of cleaning and painting it was time to post the name of this new enterprise on those sparkling front windows—La Repasserie—an ironing shop. How unique is that? Read the rest of this entry

Did you say rum tasting?

Ready to taste the rum

Ready to taste the rum

When you live in the middle of what we think of as “wine country” it’s not surprising that there are at least a dozen shops in town devoted to that one product. Every supermarket has aisles and aisles of bottles and boxes of wine and even the tiniest inner-city convenience store devotes a full floor-to-ceiling area to red, white, rosé, and sparkling. With that in mind, it surprised us to hear our favorite wine shop owner invite us to attend a rum tasting that she was hosting later in the month. Read the rest of this entry

Watt are you talking about?

Just hangin' around from the ceiling

Just hangin’ around from the ceiling

Light is very important to both of us and had a lot to do with the house we chose to buy here in Carcassonne. Since it’s built around a courtyard and almost every room has a window and/or a glass door opening onto that space, lots of sunlight floods in even now when the sun is low in the sky. With all of that natural light you might think that we wouldn’t need to spend a lot of time searching for table lamps or lighting to hang on the walls and from the ceilings but it’s just the opposite. Here, when someone moves out of their home, be it a rental or a sale, it’s not at all unusual to take everything with them including kitchen cabinets, all of the appliances, the lights on the walls and ceilings, and yes, sometimes even the kitchen sink. Read the rest of this entry

The kitchen’s in the living room

Kitchen in a box

Kitchen in a box

Like many of our neighbors, we’ve gone paperless. One of the first things that you have to do to establish yourself in France is to open a bank account. Shortly after that your mailbox will contain notices, sometimes several days in a row, from your new bank to welcome you, to confirm the details that you’ve provided, to inform you of the appropriate government regulations, to let you know that a fee will soon be charged to your account and then another after it has been taken. In other words, you are kept very well informed, including a notice on how to receive all of that information as emails. Luckily that option also exists for the various utility companies, grocery stores, and pretty much any other place that we shop. Of course that means that all of those tempting catalogs no longer arrive at our house but when you have a determined shopper around, nothing stands in his way. Read the rest of this entry

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