mardi, juillet 29, 2008

summer in normandy

It has been a busy week over here, the weather was hot hot HOT and so there was some time spent at the beach, then a full day in the sun chez Natalie working on a translation project (she's housesitting and god bless beautiful garden patios!) Then the weekend afternoons were spent chez les beaux-parents where the weather is cooler, the beach rocky and the water nippy but refreshing! Otherwise I've been cooped up at home trying desparetly to get going on my memoire... the hardest part is just getting started! I've gotten a good few ideas sorted out and I'm hoping to be able to close all these Firefox windows and really concentrate. It's a good time, the weather changed with a huge thunderstorm last night and it is a little grey and that is a refreshing change!

I did get a haircut when I was in Caen last week though, pamper myself a little around here! My hairdresser is just adorable, she's so nice and loves to practice her English with me when I go in. This time they didn't have many customers, I think everyone was at the beach, so she decided to take a little extra time and at the end used a hair straightener. I like it but felt a little like an 80's rock star... :-)

Ok, enough procrastination, I'm back to work!

dimanche, juillet 27, 2008

kung fu fighting!

Last night Mystery Guest and I went out for a little sushi and a little movie - Kung Fu Panda. It was so fun! I really loved the animation, the landscapes were stunning! The story was cute and it was just funny, a feel good movie :-)

I can't waaaaait for Batman to come out in France! Why did they not release it at the same time??? Usually blockbusters like that are all at the same time... I'll just have to wait I guess...

mercredi, juillet 23, 2008

whew! busy weekend!

Wow! I had such a busy but fantastic weekend! Only just recovering now so I thought I'd make you all jealous with some pictures of the funness. :-)
It all started on Saturday when Sarah decided to "drag" her boy out to the countryside for the weekend. They reserved a night in a B&B not far from here and invited us to dinner. We already had plans Sunday/Monday with the fab duo Charlie & Kristina so I invited Sarah & Mat over to our house for dinner, lets call it our first crémaillère! It was great to see them and we had such a laugh!!
Then on Sunday morning Mystery Guest and I got the house picked up for the 2nd round of guests to arrive. They came late morning and after a guided tour of the apartement we headed off to lunch. Since Sarah and Mat were still in the area they joined us at the fabulous creperie where we celebrated my birthday in October and where Mystery Guest and I brought Charlie and Kristina back in May. This time however we ate outside in the sun and we knew it was summer!

I ordered la Normande, a galette stuffed with camembert, potatoes, mushrooms and ham with carmalized apples on the side... heaven on a plate!
Mystery Guest was tempted last time by the "big hunk of meat hanging on a stick" that we saw pass by our table last May and ordered it this time around.
After a loooong lunch (in which they forgot to put in our order for dessert so even longer!) we parted ways and left Sarah & Mat. They went off kayaking and we drove off in search of geo-caches! We found one near the old Moulin that we couldn't find last week! It was Charlie and Kristina's first successful find and I think we got them hooked ;-)
After a quick stop at the cookie store we drove along the coast, taking random roads and exploring until we found the most unbelievable beach. It was covered with sand dunes and with the low tide I swear the water was miles away! It was a bit windy but sheltered by the little ledge we lounged about for several hours admiring the view, trying to remember how to do a cartwheel and other fun stuff :-)
In the evening we made it back to the apartment in time to make some dinner and have a intense match of Catan! We all crashed pretty early after a long day in the sun - we needed our strength for Monday!

In the morning we got up slowly and made pancakes for breakfast. Instead of making them in the kitchen we used Mystery Guest's raclette/creperie to make them right at the breakfast table! That was the best idea ever, cooking your own pancakes right there, with a side of bacon and all of it doused with maple syrup! Heaven again!

We drove out to Saint Sauveur le Vicomte in the late morning and managed to squeeze in a multi-geocache and a picnic before hitting the river to go kayaking!
It was amazing! The river didn't really have any rapids, but it was so peaceful being on the water which meandered through farmland... that is until Charlie decided to have a waterfight! :-) No, but it was an excellent afternoon, we spent 4 hours paddling up the river 4km and then back again. We all got a little sun, Kristina tried to pet a cow and we all had a great time. Plus this kayak rental really isn't too expensive, we paid 17e per boat (2 people in each boat) which really isn't bad at all for a 1/2 day rental!

When we got back we attacked the leftover chocolate cake and then had 1 last game of Catan before our guests had to leave. What a weekend! Thanks to everyone who braved the 1 hour drive to come visit! ;-)

mercredi, juillet 16, 2008

14 juillet

The 14th of July was a beautiful sunny day here in la Manche! Mystery Guest and I decided to get out of the house in the afternoon and do a little geocaching. We drove out to the west about 25km to an old windmill. It actually still works and they sell all different kinds of flour ground by the mill itself! There is also a restaurant that is supposed to be very good, at least from the outside it looks great. They even have a thatched roof! I love the local tradition of growing irises along the top of the thatch. I'm not really sure why they do but it looks awesome to see these flowers growing on the roof of someone's house!
Sadly we didn't find the cache, there were way too many prickly plants, thistles, blackberries etc. Yuck.
Here is the view from the windmill, it looks out over the countryside, just beautiful!
And some flowers :-)
We drove out to Barneville-Carteret since it was only about 10km from where we were. It is quite touristy out there but it was such a stunning day and as we drove in over the top of the cliff you could see the beach filled with people, and suprisingly a ton of people swimming! (it's not all that hot out in the water here!) The water was an unbelievable turquoise, so nice!

When we got back we decided to try out the bbq for some hamburgers. We put it on our little faux-terrace and after a lot of work got it lit (mental note, pick up lighter fluid!). I made little hamburger patties and those things are gooooood when cooked over a grill!

So in the end we didn't sing the Marseillaise but it was a great day! I wish the weather would stay as nice as it was on Monday!

dimanche, juillet 13, 2008

A few appt pics!

Well you asked for 'em (or did you?) either way here you go! Here are just a few pictures of the main rooms, the living room. (it is not as dark as it looks in this picture, it was just the setting on my camera.)
The other side of the living room (aka the dining room yeah!)
The kitchen.
And our bedroom (its like living in butttahh!)

There are a few rooms I didn't put in, office, laundry room, bathroom etc, they're pretty much your average rooms (and hey didn't wanna go airing my dirty laundry on the web... har har har!)

Its really big, about 80m2 and I just love it! Central location and still so quiet! :-)

jeudi, juillet 10, 2008


One thing that has always puzzled me is what seems to be an obsession with des courants d'air. Ever since I had my first host family it has always been, "don't open that window, you'll make a draft in the house." Understandably so because when you've got all the windows open its true that doors and windows start slamming which is very obnoxious.

But why???

I have no memories of my mom telling me not to leave doors/windows open because of that, none.

This has been plaguing me (yeah yeah, what I dork I am to be plagued by les courants d'air...) but why is that?

We have windows.
We have doors.
We have air.

How does this not happen? Or is my memory failing me?

I think when great brains are put together answers come :-) Natalie and I were discussing this (well I brought it up because I'm that obsessed with it...) and I said that maybe its because our windows are usually sash windows which open vertically as opposed to French windows which tend to open horizontally. That way the windows never slam shut.

But what about the doors? That is where Natalie let her brillance shine through. We all have carpet she said. True true, having carpet does slow down the doors, especially that nice thick shag carpet that you can really dig your toes into and never need slippers... ahhh... but back to the theory, some rooms don't have carpet. There are rooms in the downstairs of my mom's house with hardwood floors and doors.

What then?

I'm stumped.

dimanche, juillet 06, 2008

moooovin' in!

Well things are finally getting calmed down and organized around here! It was complicated in the beginning because we didn't have any electricity, gas (for the hot water heater) or internet (tee hee) in the first few days that we "moved in" so we stayed with the beaux-parents.

That meant doing the 20 minute drive in and out of town early each morning so Mystery Guest could get to work and so I could get to unpacking. I was totally physically and mentally exhausted the first few days - not used to physical labor like that! I scrubbed this place down from top to bottom (the building had been sold in between tenants thats why the electricity and gas were actually cut and why it was so dirty, we have no idea just how long it sat empty) and put together all the furniture and moved stuff around the place.

By Thursday we had power and internet (yea Neuf!) but still no hot water so we spent 1 last night at the parents. Then Friday morning the same guy came to turn on the gas (don't get me started on why the same technician can't turn both the electricity and gas on at the same time but hey go figure...). So Friday night was our first night in our new home. It's great! It is so big and full of light and quiiiiet! Well mostly, we live above an automated lavomatique which is open from 8am to 8pm and when you're in the living room you can hear people's conversations down below. Most of the time it just cracks me up :-) And honstly doesn't bother me that much knowing that it will be nice and peaceful come 8pm. Our bedroom is totally quiet and the last two nights I've slept like a log!

Since Mystery Guest works in a local shop he has his weekend Sunday/Monday so today we slept in and made some gluten free pancakes for breakfast - yum! Then his mom came and we made our way down to Bayeux for the Medieval Festival. This is my third time going and Mystery Guest enjoyed it so much last year that we ventured out of the house to go back :-) The weather wasn't that great so we didn't stay all day but we did stick out the wind for a few hours to check out some of the stands. It's so much fun to see all of the different things being sold, people dressed up etc :-)

It was still raining when we got home so we just vegged on the couch sunday-style with a little X-Files and a nap, can things get any better?

Everything is pretty much up and running around here, there are just a few more boxes to unpack and then some decorations to put up ... pictures to come!

vendredi, juillet 04, 2008


Welcome to V-town! I wanted to show you some pictures of town since apartment pictures are still in the works (want to get rid of all the boxes before snapping away...)

I went out to the market this morning and on the way home decided to take advantage of the beautiful skies to take a few pictures of my new home! Here is the apartment, it is the beige building above the lavomatique. There is a bar/brasserie to the left always full of people. The apartment is a duplex so we've got all 4 of those big windows :-) Even when its raining we get tons of sunlight - I love it!
Here is a view looking outside our window, I love all the flowers they've put in the round about, it makes the view really nice.
This is one of the side streets leading up to the round about, there are lots of little shops, butchers, clothes shops and restaurants that are starting to put their summer side walk terraces out.
Here is the church in the main square, Mystery Guest's work is juuuust behind it. I wonder if he likes hearing the church bells all day... :-)
Another view of the church...
And the main square. It's really cute to walk around in and I just adore the stones around here. In the summer the light off of that white stone is beautiful, especially when people grow rhodies and roses in the front of their houses... Voila voila, a little tour of my new little town. Pop. 8,000 - the same as my hometown in the Northwest! (they don't have a lot of creperies though... muhhh haha!)

4th of July?

Happy 4th of July!!!

I'm writing this holiday post from my new internet in my new apartment! We had some problems getting all the electricity and gas hooked up (fridge and hot showers being quite high on our liveable list...) but they are all finally up and running!

In the meantime we were crashing chez les parents but that meant extra driving time and well, we want to stay in OUR place! So yesterday the power was turned on and our beautiful new Neufbox arrived the same day! (1 week for an internet connection? Can we say speedy? Right now I *heart* Neuf!) Today the guy came back to turn on the gas (why he couldn't do both the same day? yeah, I asked him that and he said that il faut respecter les rendez-vous.. whatever.) But now we have hot water, power and internet! And with the 3 full days I've spent scrubbing the place and organizing boxes we're almost good to go!! Tonight is the first night we'll spend in the new place after getting the keys about 10 days ago...

Just wanted to step out of my MIA shadow to say that all's well and to wish all those Americans out there a very happy 4th of July!