jeudi, septembre 29, 2011

contrôle de papiers

A random little anecdote... in France the police are allowed to ask for your papers for no reason. I've never had anyone ask for them on the street (it's not often you see cops asking a young, blond woman for her papers...) But you'll often see the police at a roundabout where they will randomly pick cars to ask for their papers (pink slip (carte grise), driver's license and insurance). I've never been singled out but yesterday as I was driving out of Caen I got the wave and pulled over. Happy that I had all of my papers on me (and didn't leave my carte grise in another purse etc...) I handed everything over.

Then the cop took me by surprise, "So you have a new license?"

Awww crap. I forgot that I have never put the "A" on the back of my car and you can get a fine for not having one.

So I pulled my American smile out and explained that the Prefecture "told me" that even though I already had my American license they were required to put the date on the back of my French license because I only just passed it here but that "they said" I wasn't required to put the "A" on the back of the car. I handed over my American license.

He asked a lot of questions about my American license, why the date when I passed my license wasn't written on there, why it expires etc... Then he said that he was just curious, that it wasn't a problem :)

I looked it up and according to the different fines and loss of points I would have been required to pay 150 euros! Eeep!

So the moral of the story, always have your American license on you just in case!

Oh, and ladies, make sure it's a nice warm day with a low cut tank top...

mercredi, septembre 28, 2011

carte 12-30!

Just to publish the news that's flying around facebook and twitter: to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the TGV the SNCF is selling a limited edition of the Carte 12-30!

For us old farts (I'm turning 30 the end of October! Eeek!) we can now take advantage of all the wonderful benefits of our youth... for the next year anyway :) I'm SO excited you have no idea! I foresee many train trips in the next year...

dimanche, septembre 25, 2011

deux americaines dans la manche

I met one of my good friends, Sarah, when we both lived in Caen and worked at the university. Since then I moved out to the countryside and Sarah moved to Paris to get her Masters and then as of a few months ago, get an amazing job doing what she loves in Paris.

But every hardworking Parisian girl deserves a break in the countryside! This weekend happened to be one where her boyfriend was on a business trip and where my Mystery Guest was gone helping some friends with their house in haute-normandie.

So girly weekend in Normandy it was! Luckily for us the weather is the best we've had this September, beautiful sunny skies, no cold wind but a gentle warm breeze and of course the scenery around here is pretty spectacular!

It was mademoiselle's request to eat at the Auberge des Grottes which is a charming restaurant out on the very tip of the peninsula a the Nez de Jobourg. They didn't have any place left for dinner so we decided to go for lunch. What an amazing lunch, oysters on the halfshell, sauteed scallops, lamb, cheeses and dessert... YUM. Plus the restaurant is literally out on the tip and our table had one of the best views overlooking the sea.
After lunch we decided to take a hike and we ended up at a quiet little cove where you could hear the waves rolling over the pebbles making the most delightful tinkling sound - Sarah said it should be the sound you put on those machines to fall asleep. I agree. I was too lazy to take off my shoes to dip my feet but Sarah went for it. I had my camera all prepared to catch her screams as her feet hit the ice cold water but she said that it was not cold but refreshing - a true Normande :)

I had wanted to take her to visit a Cidrerie in the area but apparently you had to reserve the guided tours in advance... oh well next time! We still go to wander around the orchard (full of ripe apples!) and sample some of the apple juices, ciders etc and bought a couple bottles of course.

When we got home we took a little walk around to enjoy the end of the day and ran into my neighbor. When we mentioned that we had been out to Jobourg she asked if we had seen Paul.... ummm... didn't know any Paul... Turns out there was a book and then a documentary written about a old farmer and his life. She gave us a lesson in patois and then lent us the DVD and we watched it last night. It was so sweet and it was fun to see the same scenery that we had just seen that day. The only problem was that Paul really mumbles and half speaks in patois so I think we missed quite a bit of dialog!

vendredi, septembre 23, 2011


 No no, don't worry I haven't switched to a CrackBerry, I still have my trusty iPhone!

But it is blackberry season! They are ripe much earlier than last year and they are big and beautiful! I just went to go pick for 20 minutes or so just around the house and came back with a big bowl full. The weather is just stunning today, warm and sunny with no wind - my kind of September day!

Don't you just want to lick the screen?? 

jeudi, septembre 22, 2011


I was chatting with my neighbor (who has left goodies such as potatoes, rhubarb, eggs etc on our doorstep and I leave cookies, apple jelly etc on hers) and it came up that she goes down to fetch milk from her friend's farm. She offered to get me a litre if I wanted.

Of course I jumped at the chance! Her friend has a non-registered organic farm but doesn't sell to individuals so even when I offered to pay she wouldn't let me.

As promised when we got home today I saw this little mini milk jug on our doorstep full of whole raw milk! Yum!

Thanks neighbor!

mardi, septembre 20, 2011

fall garden

 I took these pictures 3 days ago as a little garden update more to chronicle how things are moving along rather than as a fascinating blog post for you readers! First up my one lone spaghetti squash seems to be doing great, it's huge! It stopped growing so I'm hoping it's going to start changing color soon.
 I had planted butternut squash in between the pumpkin plants - a mistake not to make next year! The pumpkins totally tookover and it is only now that the pumpkins are dying back (powdery mildew) that my butternut is escaping but it's too late in the season. The little dead butternut made me so sad!

 I planted some wax beans the beginning of August and they are doing well, lots of flowers and I'm hoping to get a fall harvest of beans! :)
 The corn stood up to a HUGE windstorm we had last week, the ears are looking good but are still really small, I hope they mature before October when we have a risk of frost...
The zucchinis are still producing a few and my baby basil is fluffy and cute, I might try to make a mini batch of pesto...

dimanche, septembre 18, 2011

Chickens and rainbows

Last night I looked out our sliding glass door only to notice a chicken out for a stroll on our newly paved road. It must have flown the coop - literally.

As we were cracking up I looked over and there was the most beautiful double rainbow on either rise of the house; the first one I've seen since we moved here.

I take the escaped chicken and rainbow as good signs :-)

vendredi, septembre 16, 2011

finishing up...

My job contract was supposed to just be for the month of August. Then the end of August I found out that I was renewed for 2 more weeks. Then last Saturday I found out that they added 1 more week. So technically I'll finish up tomorrow. I'm replacing a woman that comes to work maybe a month or two out of the year and as she has a CDI contract they can't really fire her. But as she is often out "sick" she might come back and then leave again.

The other good thing is that now that I've "proven" myself in a local branch the chances could be good that they call me for another position in a different town. In the meantime I'm on the look out for that dream job cause I don't hate this one but it isn't a job I see myself doing for the next 5, 10 or 20 years either... hard to say because the money and the advantages are quite good!

samedi, septembre 10, 2011

iphone posting

Yea!!! After a few years of waiting they have finally released a blogger app for the iPhone! (Android of course has already had one for a long time)

No more sending emails to blogger where half of the text doesn't show, pictures are out of order and no way to add labels!

vendredi, septembre 09, 2011

pulling my hair out

I was a sub back in June for a couple of weeks. Then in the middle of the summer the Pole Emploi requested a copy of my pay stub. So I called the admin office - the phone rang and rang and rang. I finally went on the website (which happened to be updated!) too bad, they were closed for a month in the middle of the summer.

Then I started working in August and by the time they reopened the only times I remembered to call were either first thing in the morning before they opened, at lunch or in the evening. Had I remembered to call at any other time they probably would have been on their coffee break anyway....!

So today I call. "Oh, I'm sorry, this is the wrong service, you'll want to call this number.." Ok... I look at my colleague and say, this is going to be like that scene in the Auberge Espagnole...

I call the second number. "Oh, no, this isn't the right service, please call this number..."

Finally the third number. "Oh, we can't send you your pay stub without a written request." Me: Can I send an email? "Sure, here is our email address."

I send an email requesting that my pay stub be sent to my house asap. At the end of the day I get an answer: "Your pay stub has been sent to the school where you were subbing..." Umm.. notice the past tense? Yeah, thanks, I DON'T WORK THERE ANYMORE. Why on earth would you send a pay stub to a place where the person is no longer employed?? So I wrote back a rather terse email demanding that a copy be sent to my home de toute urgence. Honestly, I'm not going to drive 45 minutes to pick up a pay stub, it is the job of the administration to do that, god knows they don't do much else!

Last time I work for them!

.... rant over

lundi, septembre 05, 2011


I decided it's about high time for a house update! Mystery Guest has been hard at work the last few days putting together the threshold and pillars to hold the gate that was bought several months ago. I'd come home from work to find all the boys (his dad, brother and friend) hard at work and up to their elbows in concrete. It's looking pretty fantastic!!!!

dimanche, septembre 04, 2011

kayaking to dinner

 (please excuse the bad  pictures, my cell phone camera doesn't do well when I'm moving and trying to take a picture at the same time! Didn't want to take my big camera on the water so you'll get the idea...)

One of our friends invited us to join them and their friends/family on an outing last night. After a summer of fairly crappy weather it turned out to be a hot and beautiful day Friday so we had high hopes for Saturday evening. The skies finally cleared and a nice warm September sun came out when we hit the water and kayaked 17km downstream.

We saw cows.
 The view from the river, in the winter this river floods the surrounding wetlands.
 The sun setting behind us.
 We arrived at our destination about 2 hours later just as the sun was getting low in the sky. Apparently this auberge and the surrounding houses used to be a port in the wetlands back in the day...
 It was the most amazing still evening, not a poil de vent, not a wisp of wind and the sun was warm and toasty as we enjoyed a rosé apératif as we watched the sun set.
 Then we moved on over to the auberge and had a nice tasty meal.
The best part? They came and picked up the kayaks and so we didn't have to paddle back at midnight when we finally finished eating dinner! That and today it is now pouring buckets outside, torrential rain I tell you! Lucky us, it was a wonderful way to start the weekend :)