Category Archives: Hols

Pour titiller vos papilles.

miniature yumminess
Soufflé à la courgette

Now you know what to do when you’ve made mayonnaise, have an egg-white in need of a good home and don’t fancy making langues de chats. (By far far the best option to my mind, except I’d run out of icing sugar, which scuppered that idea.)

"I'll have a little fishy in a little dishy, please."


A  jewel in the crown of tasty moments over the past few month on the culinary side of life.

The apples in the crumble are courtesy of the laden apple trees at Dad’s.

I did want to take a picture of the cooked  crumble but the camera was in use and we gannets couldn’t bear the wait.

The following marvel was found not far from the apple trees…

Liquid gold

Et voilà!

A little taste of ‘Savoie’ – or something I wrote last term…

I forgot how to save photos smaller to upload them, so this became a forgotten draft. Sorry. Just before Christmas I remembered and have been meaning to finish this post since. Here you have it, piccies included.

one of my birthday roses


For my birthday I got 20 red roses and tickets to go and see Sting. (I’ll tell you more about the symphonic experience in a later post.)

Right. I know that wasn’t yesterday, but look anyway:



I thought I’d write and post some photos, specially with summer having rushed off and autumn galloping in…

I’ll start with the Mont Blanc simply because I spent a couple of weeks working in Savoie this summer, took some nice clear mountain pictures and want to show them off.

A shed with a difference!

This little hut was next to our neighbours’ house. Most traditional chalets have a cold store like this where they would have kept things like grain and hay over the winter.

Work isn’t always hard and can have perks you don’t expect.

I spent some very  relaxing cooking or washing up times having a book read out loud to me, all about Savoie customs and life in previous centuries. As well as making much lighter work, I learnt loads of old savoyard tricks and admired beautiful old sepia photos.

I worked as home-help for a disabled lady and her sister took us round the mountain in the family’s work van to see sights and go for a walk.

My Beloved having lent me his camera, I was snap-happy, testing features like zoom, panoramic and more.

This combination yielded a squillion photos from which I’ve had a hard job choosing.

Here are my favourites.

Le Mont Blanc vous fait coucou!
Le Mont Blanc vous fait coucou!
Lilac coloured and snowdrop shaped.
Lilac coloured and snowdrop shaped.
3 witches
3 witches

See, out of 500 taken, these are only a drop in the ocean and you still have lots of examples of my photographic skill (!) to admire.

(So many in fact that, having finally published this post last night, I decided it was stupidly heavy to load. This morning, I scaled all the photos down for an easier read.)

Luckily for me, fuzzy photos made it a bit less difficult to choose.

The Alps are so beautiful! I keep repeating this and thinking it, over and again, every time I look back at the photos.


May I have inspired you to take a climb and a breath of fresh air!

Mont Blanc, later in the day with less clouds. View from a valley instead of the crest of a mountain.
Mont Blanc, later in the day with less clouds. View from a valley instead of the crest of a mountain.

Next is one of my favourite mountains and I forgot it’s name. It’s a stereotypical mountain shape and I find it so satisfying to look at.

Aiguille Verte
Aiguille Verte

I first thought of the Pic du Midi, but then remembered that’s in the Pyrenees, and anyway the name simply didn’t sound right… Google has come up trumps finding me this link which shows the Aiguille Verte from a different viewpoint.

So the peak with ‘midi’ in its name could have been that one, but judging from the earlier link it’s probably this next spikey friend of Mr Mont Blanc’s.

Aiguille du Midi
Aiguille du Midi

I’m not sure whether this was the one, but while I was in the Val d’Arly, there was a lot of talk about some awesome engineers and crew managing to figure out how to drain a glacier that was fit to burst above a large alpine town.

It was tense.

Those guys have my respect and then some: great inspiration, resourcefulness and inventiveness and most of all courage to work on the dodgy landscape in the first place.

a mountain I thought looked like a good climbing frame
a mountain I thought looked like a good climbing frame



(Argh! The frame extending above a picture, underneath the previous one, is annoying! I’ve successfully fought the previous occurrence with waffle. How does one make a frame obey?)


And a final shot before turning my back on the majestic view.

From left to right: the Aiguille Verte, the Aiguille du Midi, the glacier and Mr Mont Blanc.

Mountain range
Mountain range

apart from the waltz

I don’t know why Barbary organs and this one in particular sound so amazing, beautiful and out of this world. Whatever the reason, I was enchanted by the waltz the old man played yesterday, walking up the street outside our window. It sang away in my bones for much of the rest of the bank holiday and still slightly echoes now… Marvellous!

Anyhow, the serious news is that I have now completed most of the formalities needed to be a freelance translator. I’m wondering whether I can tap into a basic business training of sorts via the ANPE and what to do about a website. I’ve got leads as to people who have the know-how to set up a website but I would like a domain all my own rather than something free that’s full of adds… Hmmm.

Watch this space.

Not right now…

I’m sad to say I didn’t get the job. It was a very exciting time and both Fabrice and I would have loved to move to such a beautiful town, but Bordeaux is not for now. I can’t say I’m not sad, but I know there’s so much of Lyon and the area yet to discover and I’m quite glad to stay near my sister and her kids, so I’ll survive. Also, having little choice now but to go freelance, that’ll keep me out of trouble I’m sure. Fabrice is the one who most needed the change I suppose and I think he’s far more disappointed than I am.

We spent this week on holiday there visiting and discovering the town, the area, the wine, and we enjoyed that and the sun which warmed each day in spite of the nippy wind.

There’re proportionally more British tourists and expats in Bordeaux than in Lyon, probably because of the wine and the sea.

Tuesday was spent on the beach in Arcachon, lovely long sandy… then St Émilion on Wednesday afternoon and Château Pape Clément on Friday afternoon. The rest of the time we mostly trod the majestic streets of Bordeaux, noses in the air and  sun on our backs and found many nice places to eat and stop a while.

I have been meaning to … really

I’m losing track of all the things I have enjoyed over the past couple of months which I still haven’t sat down and said anything about.
In short:
it was wonderful having my English and Welsh visitors,
the glorious sunshine under which we’ve been cooking has finally thawed me out of UK temperature-habits,
the beautiful ring and and other presies I got for my birthday and many lovely facebook notes and cards have made me a very happy lady,
and the afternoon in the park, pedal-boat ride and picnic Fabrice and I enjoyed for my birthday were the best 🙂
VERY happy bunny!
Erm … mouse! 😛
Erm … Princess!

Also, a much needed update on my brothers:
Dan is plodding on along his upward road to better and is currently on holiday down south with Maman.
Guy has FINALLY moved from Dotty P’s to a better placement. He has a room he chose and likes in a house he asked for with staff he seems to appreciate. It’s closer for Dad (on their side of Brum) and to our cousins which is good too. A private trust, different from the last one. We’re not home and dry yet by far but WOW am I glad the replacement social worker and the hospital staff who took to Guy have achieved the work his social worker was putting off and talking about… Dotty P’s was a sad place but some of the workers there are bright shining stars!

I’ll have a try at figuring out how to put photos up… I want to show off the sliding wardrobe doors I put last week 😛
Oh, and photos of the lamas in the field under the tree-house we stayed in for a break in July. That was most fabulous. It’s all the craze over here at the moment (that and camping in teepees).

We go on a well earned week’s holiday this Friday, on the night-train to Biarritz. Well kinda cos it doesn’t actually stop there, I thought I’d show off about going to the surfing capital of France anyhow 🙂

a whole month putting it off, and then some

You’d think that seeing as I’m looking for work I’d take time to stop and write a few blog entries once in a while 🙂 You should be so lucky… And that’s in spite of Fabrice’s efforts to encourage me to get round to it. He’s been reminding me and making jokes about me not writing since before we went away.

Fabrice took us both on holiday to Strasbourg first week of February and I still haven’t got round to saying anything about the lovely week we had in one of the most picturesque areas of France.

I’m still looking for a job and it’s looking like a long haul because everywhere either says ‘No, you haven’t got the qualification’ or ‘ No, but we’ll keep your CV in case something comes up’. I do prefer the second answer by far but it has no consequence short term.

I’m low on agency work this week so far and I’ve caught a cold/sore throat so I’m happilly staying in to carry on decorating the entrance hall and catching up a little on the job-searching I didn’t get time to do last week. It’s been long enough I haven’t done many hours per week that last week’s 32h killed me dead! I was so tired by Friday, it became a joke and i forgot loads of things I was meant to do. This week’s main missions are as follows: this afternoon I get ID photos taken and put in the application for my French Carte d’Identité, tomorrow evening we go and get a French mobile and SIM (has to be on a prepaid contract cos you don’t have cheap pay&go options here!) and finally I have to take the odd form I got from the UK expats social services/national insurance dept and give it to the French equivalent office, hoping that what the form contains is what the CAF need to know, fact of which I am really very unsure.

Oh, a little news on Guy, who is still back in the hospital and seems to be doing nearly ok. He’s been given some info by a protected housing co in the Midlands and has to think about it. The social worker and hospital still seem to find it impossible to keep Maman informed and I’m not sure Dad knows much more either. Maman got this news from Guy when she last rang him. I think she’s been trying to get in touch with sw or hospital to complete the picture but it’s not an easy task.

Well well, I’ve got a cup of coffee going cold and it needs some attention 🙂

Back on the treadmill

I’m back for last long hard grind.

I’ve moved. No more house of Cecil. I’m a lodger again for a while.

I’ve had a great holiday with Fabrice. My nephew is as cute as I expected and a strong little babe too and his big brother and sister are as high in energy and fun as ever and then some.

September’s pay will see me pay off the final credit card and free of nasty debts. Until then I’m carrying on with overtime to make sure the process is as fast as possible.

In between shifts, the plan is to sort some of the things which are in some friends’ garage and need selling. I didn’t have the time or energy to put things up for sale properly so I’ve got a clutter of chests of drawers and beds and the like needing a home. If I were rich and famous I’d give them and be done. It’s so tempting to just do that and not bother, but I need new reading glasses 🙂

I’m missing Fabrice both more and less than usual. The fact that I can soon move to France helps I think, yes it’s good that I’m in the last lap of that race too. It’s easier nowadays to be far away but it doesn’t beat popping down the road together for a pint or a coffee. I’m looking forward to being able to do that without thinking I’ll be back a world away within a few days. I’ll be able to see my nephews and nieces grow and be part of their life regularly. 🙂

Iliana was 2 last Friday! I had to travel back the day before. No more of that.

There’ll always be people I miss but it comes from being a whole lot of halves and can’t be avoided.

I’m re-reading ‘The Money Secret’. I don’t often re-read books so soon but it was awesome and still is. It could do with being spread as wide as the Bible in this debt-ridden western society of ours. I wanted to refresh it’s truths in my mind. Renewing our mind… Essential!! Absolutely essential. Thank you EA, Rob Parsons and Care for the Family.