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A trying week

rain 20 °C

Lately life around here has been quite trying.

It seems there are not so good developments with the health of their business and It looks like they will fold within a month. or the next 2 weeks. They had a solar panel installation company but thanks to the government demand has dropped significantly in the last year. They seem to be going back and forth between different ideas, mainly starting a new company supplying pool coverings (like mini greenhouses, so you can still swim under the cover) or having to find other work. Neither want to work for anyone else so it looks like a new business will be pushed for. As far as i know i'm still needed so otherwise things continue. Needless to say Nadine and Frederic's stress levels are high (mainly Nadines, and it shows). The children aren't helping either...

The improvements with Antonin were short lived. Nobody is surprised. I think i heard Military College being threatened. Something amusing (for me) happened on Tuesday - He had been a lot better for all of a week, but was in a mood on the way home from school because he wasn’t allowed to buy a computer game (Dofus?) magazine. So we pull into the driveway and i park and get out of the car. He's slumped with his feet up on the dashboard having a sulk, then kicks the windscreen from inside and shatters it! Its still intact but with the mother of all cracks covering a third of it. "Oh merde" ("shit") comes out of his mouth as he's as surprised as anyone that it broke. I just say "oh merde is right" and walk off into the house.
Mind you, he still plays up that arvo and the next day as usual - even a physical reminder of what happens when he carries on for not getting what he wants when he wants it doesn’t stop him misbehaving. *sigh* seriously, was he dropped as a baby?? There are some neurons or synapses not connecting there.

On a more personal note,
Last week I had my first run in with the police! without the kids luckily. I was pulled over for going through an orange light. Apparently you can drive with little patience or consideration of for others and ignore pedestrian crossings, but if a light has just turned orange you MUST stop. I thought that was the purpose of the red light? A bit like you can buy 40% spirits in the supermarket but must go to a chemist for basic paracetamol, and ask for it as it’s kept behind the counter... ok then.
So I don’t know what the fine would have been but luckily the “I’m Australian and I’m very sorry I didn’t know orange was not ok” (mostly true, though to be honest Amarine had mentioned a few times that orange meant stop…) line worked and I didn’t get a ticket..
Of course of the 3 policemen in the car the one who approached and spoke English was just gorgeous – really drooling, belonging-in-a-calendar degree hotness. But overall it was a tense experience and i might not be so lucky again so I will be driving like a Saint in future!

Sophie and i got to the pool for the first time this week and it was soo good! to push myself at something again.
The pool at Chalon has good facilities and even both a humid and a dry sauna - That's where i'll be found when winter rolls around! I managed 22 laps, the same i was doing before i came here and not sore 2 days later so a good sign. i think the staircase in the house is keeping me fit.

Mum and Dad's visit was good, even though i got lost after picking them up from the airport on Saturday afternoon. The 'problem' being that there are several motorways leading away from Lyon Airport and i wasn't sure which was the one i arrived on. The sign's are ok but a bit to general for someone with not the greatest knowledge of the ma of Europe. They point you to either Paris, Geneva (in Switzerland) or Italy.
Anyhow we had hours to spare so i just ignored Dad's backseat driving and impatient sighs and enjoyed being lost with a car in France. Stopping every now and then to ask for directions, i encountered one amazing sight - a giant Arab-Indian style (or french-style for that matter) food preparation session at a town hall, with all the women sitting around chatting while making up great platters of salads. Only one younger girl spoke english but she wasn't from that area so it was most amusing with 7 other women pitching in their ideas of how best to get en route to Chalon without going back through Lyon and one translating into english the bits i was't sure of.
The 29th May was also Mother's Day in France so we had made cherry and mint jam as a gift for the mother's at Amarine's Communion lunch, and mum did manage to get that back into Australia.

I've been a little frustrated with Nadine this week, it hasn't been a problem as such but i find more and more we have different 'preferences' for food and i feel she is really inconsistent. Little things like something i suggest to cook she will have another idea for, but then the next week mention making something awfully similar. Hmm. And something i think is perfectly fine she has to comment that it needs 'more salt' or 'more sugar' or 'more butter,' 'too crusty' 'not crusty enough' etc.
Let's face it, If somebody else is preparing your food then its likely not going to be exactly to your maximum preference 100% of the time.
Personally I prefer to be able to taste the ingredients I top my pizza with for example, especially when its roasted capsicum and delicate fresh cheese, instead of the entire box of tomato concentrate that has completely over-rided the other things. But did anyone stop to ask me what i like or my opinion of the finished product ?? No, i just accepted that and decided next time to chime-in before someone else starts dressing all of the pizzas.

Yesterday i spent hours picking, cleaning and de-stoning cherries. They had to stay in a covered container on the bench overnight as there was no room in the fridge, then this morning she picks out 2 cherries from the container of several kilos and deems they are all fermented and not even good enough to stew. Right. Fermented fruit has a pretty distinct smell that i know and it didn't exist. Then later at lunch time when a few friends arrived she had suddenly decided they could be sorted and the good ones cooked. I don't know if she sensed i was more than a little shitty about this (i was politely trying to hide it) and changed her mind or if one of her friends put her straight. I did see the discarded ones in the bin though, and what do you know, there was maybe 2 handfuls there. Gee for someone who claims to not like to waste things there was an awful lot of perfectly good fruit that almost got ditched!

Anyway to avoid any more polite disputes, i picked more this morning and after another 4 hour sunday lunch i'm about to wash, dry, freeze, cook, make sorbet and anything else i can think of before the day is over :)

I had resolved to spend my time much more efficiently this week but so far unsuccessful. I really do not know where the time goes. I took myself off to Louhans last Monday to visit one of the bigger weekly markets but was somewhat disapointed. It was bigger than most and i think there was a section i didn't see, but it was raining so it wasn't nearly as fun, and there is still a severe lack of produce advertised as local. The price of fruit and veg is always higher at the markets too which makes no sense (hello - lack of overhead costs, come on!).
I appreciate that the stall holders don't laugh at my efforts to speak french. And voila, at one latier (dairy producer) at the Friday market in Chalon i discovered he didn't just sell cow's milk but goats also so i snapped up a bottle. Surprisingly it is much more mild than the Goats milk i've bought in Perth, much like the goat's cheese we usually buy. While i envy the different fuit and veg that is plentiful here we really are quite lucky in Perth also, especially with the variety and high quality.
Anyhow i'm going to try and continue my foray into the world of French markets and aim to visit at least 2 each week. Maybe with summer here there will be more local things (a lot comes from Spain).

As far as the language goes i'm ordering a simpler french learning book online as it's clear i'll have to do most of that myself.

Posted by Madeline84 11:48 Archived in France

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..... Just on a month and we'll be there!! Any ideas how your plans with the family are shaping up??


by Rach

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