Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Christmas is coming to France.

I frequently get asked, what is the difference between a French Christmas and an English Christmas?
Well, as the years go by, I have to say that the differences get a little less, but the main one is that the French do not start thinking about the festive season at the end of September!
When I first came to France, I never saw much in the way of Xmas decs until December, now, I can find them mid November.
Also, the French don't send out dozens of Christmas greeting cards.
They only send them to people that they don't see throughout the year, I call these my "Forgotten Friends", although they aren't really forgotten, just put to one side for special occasions!
You can see my thinking on my other blog here..., I think the French christmas is much more traditional, family oriented and old fashioned and long may it survive.
Joyeux Noel
Happy Christmas
or just Festivus Greetings!

No snow yet, but it sure feels close!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Chestnuts are falling on my head!

Ouch, it's raining sweet chestnuts at the moment. I can't walk anywhere around the garden without running the gauntlet of these little green spikey objects that drop from the trees like round bullets and do they hurt if they happen to bounce off my head!
They are indeed delicious roasted, but by the time I have collected them, prised them from their barbed casings, made a cut in each one so that they don't explode in the heat, roasted them & then burned almost all of my fingertips prising off the shell, well, I'm done for and the taste of a freshly roasted chestnut has suddenly lost its appeal.
I actually buy them in a jar at the supermarket. I know it's not really the thing, living in the French countryside as I do, but to preserve my sanity not to mention my hands, it's what I do.

The worst part of having chestnuts in the garden, is the lawn mowing.
There are hundreds of the things on the ground when I come to do the last cut of the season and as they coincide with the leaf fall, they combine in a prickly hedgehog like ball and conspire to choke and clog the mower chute, making it impossible to do the mowing.
Still, it's better to live in this lovely part of France and have small annoyances than to be banged up in the prison that is a city.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Vide Greniers and Brocantes

Vide Greniers and Brocantes, which to UK expats are car boot sales (minus the car) and bric a brac sales, are very popular here in France from March to October.
Almost every Sunday, we pop off to the nearest one and see what people have to offer.
Vide Grenier literally means "empty attic" and it's amazing what sort of things the French people have to sell.
I have see, everything from clogs to butter churners, to old oil lamps and beautiful French porcelain. You name it, you'l find it there.
Also, there are copious amounts of French wine, sausage and frites to be had at ridiculously low prices.
A large sausage baguette, frites & a glass of wine usually comes in at around 6 euros or £5.10 sterling at todays exchange rate.
The atmposphere is something one cannot buy though, and it's real family affair all day with no worries about crime or drunken behaviour.
Give me France any day!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Still raining in the Limousin!

Well, I have to report that it's still raining here in France.
Most unusual for our neck of the woods at this time of year, but I guess that's what we can expect after months of drought during the Spring.
Not that I'm complaining mind you, although I know many who are!
Like the poor girl in the bricolage store this morning who is desperate for a little summer warmth.
The beans & tomatoes have slowed considerably, but on the plus side, the potatoes are loving the rainy days & they are big enough to make good Jacket Spuds from.
The price of petrol in France seems to be on the up again.
It had come down a little recently, but this morning, when I filled up with 95 octane, it was 1.55 euros a litre and I passed a filling station that had there's at 1.64 euros a litre.
Bastille day came & went without to much noise. It was raining, so I expect that kept a fair few indoors.
The French summer holidays are upon us now though, & the A20 autoroute to the sun that runs from the North to the South coast of France has become much busier.
Time to relax at home & tend the garden methinks!
Have a good week.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

South West France & Limousin in July

Hello & welcome to the July blog about French Country Life & living in  the Limousin area of South West France.
It's been a strange few weeks weather wise. In this part of France, the Haute Vienne, at this time of year, we normally experience some very hot weather. When I say hot, I mean temperatures of up to 40°c which sends the French and expat population running for the shade of the house or garden trees.
However, after a very long, hot Spring, June was considerably cooler with showers and now July has followed suit.
I am very happy about this, not being a lover of the very hot weather, but my little French cherry tomatoes and green beans are not liking it quite as much!
So, this week, I've been indoors a fair bit, making green bean relish and my greetings cards that I sell online.
It can be hard to get just the card you want in France, and the French aren't big into greeting cards, so I decided to set up an online store & make my own. 

There are greeting cards depicting French Country Life, but also many other themes.
Once ordered, they are dispatched either to the recipient or to the buyer. I also offer a customization service, so if there is a card that someone really likes, but it's for a different occasion, I can easily adapt it for the customer at no extra charge.
If you are an English speaking expat & would love to get decent cards, check out my store , Chez Inkflo. 
English Greeting Cards For Expats Everywhere

On the plus side, the weather is doing my potatoes the world of good, so there is a silver lining to even the heaviest of clouds!
Have a good July wherever you are.