dimanche, août 30, 2009

la mere denis

Here's some more Norman history for you! Again out on another geocache, this time over by the western coast we found a lavoir and the cache hidden in the stone wall behind it. We were so preoccupied with finding the cache in between muggle sightings that we didn't notice the board at the entrance to the little park.
It turns out this lavoir is famous! I've never heard of la Mère Denis before but Mystery Guest says that the ad that aired during the 80's is really famous. Considering that there was even a Japanese ad I'd say so!
Here's the original ad for your viewing pleasure (the sound is really low).

samedi, août 29, 2009

vendredi, août 28, 2009

I like this video, it's a good explanation to the obvious.

mardi, août 25, 2009


Playing with my new iPhone app: Polarize... puts your pictures into polariod form - too fun!

lundi, août 24, 2009

Norman History

Yesterday Mystery Guest and I went geocaching in the late afternoon. It was a beautiful sunny day and even though we didn't find the two caches (boo!) we had 2 really nice walks in the woods near V-town. The second cache was the most interesting because the person who set the cache up made sure to put up information about the history of this small town. Turns out that there are some famous connections! The family of Robert the Bruce of Scotland was nobility from this town (the Latin name of the town was Brus) and went over with William the Conqueror back in 1066. There is a footpath dating back from this time where the old castle used to be. They tried to reconstruct it but apparently some wars got in the way ;-)

That's what I love about living out here, there are a million little things like that which are not advertised or have a million people tramping around, even on a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon like we had yesterday. Makes you feel like you discovered something special :-)
Just a little side note about Norman French, it fascinates me to no end that English was not just influenced by French as the history books say, but by Norman French with William the Conqueror. Here are some examples of the differences and how English ended up getting influenced by both Norman and standard French as time went on. (Sometimes I hear old people out here still speaking Norman and it always surprises me that it still exists... however it is not the most beautiful patois... ) Another really interesting read on all this (and more!) is Honni Soit Qui Mal Y Pense. It is written in French but it is a very very easy read, very clear and straightforward. Her books are soooo interesting!

Anglo-Norman morphology and pronunciation can be deduced from its heritage in English. Mostly this is done in comparison with continental French. English has many doublets as a result of this contrast:

  • warranty - guarantee
  • warden - guardian
  • glamour - grammar (see below)
  • catch - chase (see below)

Compare also:

  • wage (Anglo-Norman) - gage (French)
  • wait - guetter (French)
  • war (from Anglo-Norman werre) - guerre (French)
  • wicket (Anglo-Norman) - guichet (French)

The palatalization of velar consonants before the front vowel produced different results in Norman to the central langue d'oïl dialects which developed into French. English therefore, for example, has fashion from Norman féchoun as opposed to Modern French façon.

The palatalization of velar consonants before /a/ that affected the development of French did not occur in Norman dialects north of the Joret. English has therefore inherited words that retain a velar plosive where French has a fricative

PS. Does anyone know what this fruit/tree is??? It grows out by the house and is a little bigger than a blueberry and the inside is yellow and looks like a plumb... but is tiny tiny... any thoughts?

dimanche, août 23, 2009

workin' workin'

Things are busy busy, we're working on the house as much as possible. Got the floor all nailed down yesterday. All of the plywood sheets that will be used as the floor upstairs all had to be put into place, cut to size and then screwed down - every 30cm. That was up to me and Mystery Guest. I went ahead and drilled little holes to make it easier to put the screws in and then he followed me with the battery powered screwdriver. That is a lot of screws people! It was nice and hot too so I'm beyond golden brown these days lol.After all that work on the house we ran home, got showered and decent and drove up to Cherbourg to go to the movies. There are 2 movie theaters in Cherbourg, one big multiplex which shows mainstream movies (and always dubbed) and a smaller one in the center of town that shows more artsy movies and sometimes subtitled. We were lucky enough for them to be showing Inglorious Bastards the same week it came out - in English! I'm sooooo glad we got to see it in English, we were cracking up at Brad Pitt's accent when no one else was and got some good comic relief from that :-)
All in all it was an excellent movie! Normally I'm not a huge fan of Quentin Tarantino's movies just because usually they are uber violent and that comedic violence of Kill Bill just doesn't do it for me... But this movie was just amazing, I think Christoph Waltz stole the show from Brad Pitt, he was unbelievable! Anyway go see it for yourselves :-)

It's Sunday and the weather is beautiful but we're happy to stay inside and veg a bit after cooking in the sun yesterday.

And I'm realizing that in just over a week I'll be going to my first office job ever.. hello! Talk about a big change coming up!! But I'm switching over to a new cell plan with BoogeyTel (that's how I like to say Bouygues) with 3G for my little iPhone so I'll be all connected while training it to Caen 5 times a week... :-)

dimanche, août 16, 2009

another house update

We've been pounding away! Mystery Guest has 2 weeks of vacation so we've been trying to maximize the time - busy! The reason we've really got to get on it is that the roofer comes mid-September so the 2nd floor has to be ready for him by then! Eeeps! But we're coming along, the frame for the first floor is almost done, including the beams that will support the second floor. We're starting to cut the plywood pieces that wrap around the outside (and really make it look like a house!) but now have to get going on the second floor so it will be prepped. After the roof is on at least it will be waterproof on the inside and we can start with things (like insulation) that are not waterproof...

In other news I got a job offer!!!! A couple days ago I got a job offer where I had an interview a month ago starting September 1st. It's just a temporary contract (6-months) for now but with a possibility of extending that contract or getting a full time job (fingers crossed!) Never thought I'd work at a bank, this will be my first job with office hours! But it will be an interesting change, something new and at least I won't have any classes to prepare when I get home or on the weekends!

lundi, août 10, 2009

learning curve.... er rather straight

On this house project I'm the gopher, I hold posts in place and get tools for the boys suspended on ladders. Biiiig learning curve for this MilkJam - don't know what these tools are in English much less in French! Now I can go fetch des pieds de biche and fils a plomb with the best of 'em! (and use Wikipedia in French to find the English translations... )

FIL used to be in the construction business back in the day and his tools may have seen better days but they still cut it. We have the straightest wooden poles you could ask for!

jeudi, août 06, 2009


Busy busy! Mystery Guest has these two weeks of August for vacation so we're gung ho on the house! Trying to get as many extra hands (and strong arms!) as possible! It's starting to take shape, we've got all the load bearing beams up and are now starting to link them all together to make them more stable. The weather's been interesting, yesterday it was well over 30C (over 85F) all day and almost no wind or shade to cool off - we all got sunburnt. Today it started off good but by the middle of the afternoon the clouds moved in and it started pouring buckets. Let's hope for a compromise tomorrow!

Yesterday we all cracked up when we saw a cow run across the field behind the house, about 30 seconds later a farmer followed him trying to get him back. We all cracked up. Then the cow turned around and headed back, then stopped and and looked towards us - then started coming our direction! The farmer followed him and we managed to shoo him over to another field. Good entertainment in the countryside!

So I'm pooped but just wanted to show some construction pictures. We're hiring independent contractors for the foundation, plumbing, electricity and roof but we (I should say the boys...) are doing the rest ourselves... makes for some long days!

dimanche, août 02, 2009

peach pie

I just pulled my first peach pie out of the oven... it smells YUMMY!!! I followed my favorite book, The New Best Recipe. Except for 2 slight modifications: I bought my pie crust (honestly at 40cents a crust and they are gooood in France I'm not going to spend my time making them...) and I cut the sugar in half. I made this pie for the family-in-law and they don't like things really sweet. Otherwise it's looking nummers! I have to let it cool for at least 2 hours, which is fine. It's Sunday and we haven't even taken a shower yet before heading over to their house. Love lazy days.