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Jill<br><br>Jill (99)

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Posts posted by Jill<br><br>Jill (99)

  1. Without reading through every single other post, I would just like to add that I often find lights in many gites to be too dim.  In one place I had to lie on the floor in an entrance hall to get enough light to read in an evening and that wasn't enough, so I went to bed early with a headache.  I just found myself going to bed ridiculously early and not being able to sleep, because I could neither read nor do the cross stitch I'd taken with me. Also, in parts of the kitchen it was too dark to see what I was doing.  In future, I'll probably start taking a desk lamp or a bright uplighter with me.

    Also, I sometimes think that gite owners assume that everyone is going to go out to restaurants, or just barbecue or warm up a tin of cassoulet.  I now take with me a salad bowl, baking trays and sharp knives, having bought a rabbit (pre-decoupe) which actually needed decapitating.  After trying to hack at it with a penknife, I went to ask the gite owners if they had a knife, and they lent me one from a large case, containing more knives than they have in stock in some hardwear stores.  They didn't say to keep the knife for a week, so I returned it and bought one which I now take with me.

    In case any B&B owners read this, it would be really nice if B&B's could find space for either a communal kitchen (if they have several rooms) or just a coin cuisine.  We did stay at one B&B where there was a sort of cupboard unit which closed off, containing sink and hob.  I've almost run out of places in France where I would be able to find enough to visit for a full week, and whilst we usually camp, it is hard work having to pack up after only 3 to 5 days in order to move on.  Hotels/B&B's work out too expensively if you have to go out for meals, so B&B's with a coin cuisine would be really excellent.  I have considered taking in a Remoska and camp stove.  Thanks.

  2. I'd say it is impossible to define being English.  Very few of us are able to trace our families back to the 11th century (on every single line? or just on the male line of each generation).  I traced my family on whichever lines I could get a lead on, and got back to 1648. But I suspect my Durrant/Durrance ancestors may have come from France at some stage prior to the mid 18th century, where I found them.  It would actually be interesting for Nick Griffin and other members of their party to have their DNA tested.  According to one website I looked at, the Celts were dark haired and came from Spain, yet they have been considered by some to be the indigenous people of this country!!! The English language has been developed from various old languages.  We are all a complete mix, just as immigrants are mixes from their part of the world.  You may remember a few years ago when there was some DNA testing and a Black Caribean discovered he actually had German DNA.  So many immigrants may have had British DNA established 10 generations ago in different parts of the world.  So, how do we decide who is indigenous? How many generations should we go back?  If people are to be sent back to their original countries, how could this be done at the same time as keeping them alive!?  The British have always been mixed, as is the case in most countries.

    I agree with those who said that it is about how English/British you fees and being proud of being British.  There are people who choose to be called British Asians, and why not? I know Asians who are very British.  If they were born here and speak English.  I agree that there does need to be some controls on people coming in, but the French probably feel the same way about those of you who live in France.  Gosh, imagine if the Americans wanted to send everyone back from where they came from!  There are many British people who don't have any pride in Britain.  I'm English, but I'm also European and proud to be both, but also proud to be part of a multicultural society which makes life more interesting.

  3. Sorry no - not instant coffee - foul stuff.  I know about it if I haven't had strong ground coffee in the morning.  I'm like a zombie if I have to have hotel coffee.   Going over to France on Brittany Ferries in October last year, I was horrified when the bar didn't open in the morning to serve espresso as it had done a month earlier.  I was desperate for a coffee by the time I'd driven from Ouistreham to Avranches.  How can they not serve decent coffee on a French boat!? Thanks for other suggetions.  I'll take a look at Gaggia and see what Senseo is, as I've not heard of that.  Meanwhile, we have got out our Bialetti which we usually just use for camping.  I'm thinking of getting a smaller one.  The one we have does about 3 teacups full, but I like to space out my coffee in a morning, and by the time I get to the second one it's cold.  So, I may just get a smaller one of those.  I don't think I'd want a pod one, because the Illy pods which came with our current machine were tasteless, and with pods you are tied to a brand.  They might have been OK for a thimbleful, but not a cup. I do like to get Lavazza when it is on offer.  Thanks for all the suggestions.
  4. Can anyone recommend a good make of expresso machine?  Ours died yesterday after months of dripping when it was not in use.  It's our second Di Longhi.  We don't really want the sort that operates on pods as I expect that would work out too expensive and they are only really for small cups of after dinner coffee. Some pods came with this machine, but the coffee was too weak.  We tend to have two tea cups each for breakfast.  We used to have filter machines, but as we have very different work hours, it always meant that one of us had to have coffee which had stood for several hours - then it gets a film on top of it and isn't as nice.  So we need something more instantaneous.  Today, I had to use my Bialetti and it took about 15 minutes before it was ready and then more than 5 minutes for it to be cool enough to drink.  I also think that the Bialetti give it a metallic taste.  I suppose 3 espresso machines in 10 years isn't too bad really, because things are not made to last these days.  We don't need anything fancy such as frothers as we don't take milk with our coffee nor have capuccinos etc.  Thanks for your suggestions.

  5. Does anyone know anywhere good for lunches (or perhaps dinner) on the Tourlaville side of Cherbourg or on the southern side?  We are meeting with French friends - a couple who live at Tourlavile and a couple who live near Caen who will come up there to join us.  I'd like to take them to a restaurant - good food at reasonable prices - bearing in mind that one of them used to be a chef in the French Navy and also used to own his own restaurant.  Although his tastes are quite simple - he really appreciated a Beef Cobbler I prepared on the only occasion I have had to entertain them.  We have been their guests so many times, but seldom managed to receive them as our guests because when they have seldom visited England, and when they did they tended to stay with relatives (French/British war weddings).  We've visited them many times, but it's always been a problem to find an opportunity to return their hospitality.  So I really would like to take them out for a meal, especially since one was a bridesmaid at our wedding and the other was a guest - 30 years ago.
  6. I've not encouraged my children to keep Mother's Day.  Yet another commercial event!  I told them when they were quite young that if they didn't appreciate me, then I didn't want them to feel obliged to do anything about Mother's Day.  If they should wish to show they care about their mother (or father) then it would mean far more to us to receive a gesture of some kind at any other time of the year, rather than on Mother's Day, which is just plain artificial.  A gift given because someone as seen something they think someone would appreciate it at some randome moment has far more meaning.  I've just spent a pleasant couple of hours with my 18 year old son - an aperitif, dinner, a chat over a glass of wine and now we have gone our own ways for the rest of the evening.  My husband is at work, my daughter is working in France and I doubt if she even knows it is Mother's Day.  She phoned for a chat this morning and we are going over to see her in a couple of weeks.  The fact that my son and I had a pleasant couple of hours had nothing to do with Mother's Day - it is just what we do some Sunday evenings.  When my mother was alive, I took her out for a meal from time to time, but I have to admit, Mother's Day was a chore - going out for a meal in a crowded restaurant or pub is not pleasant, and buying gifts for the sake of it doesn't have a meaning.  But it was good to take my mother out for a meal at other times of the year and know that she enjoyed it.  Well, I hope you enjoyed Mother's Day and other days too.
  7. [quote user="NormanH"]' habite'
    as in the joke about the ascenceur
    'tu mets ta main où t'habite'

    more seriously I have problems with making the difference between nasalised vowels, such as
    tente/tante "démonte sa tente" could be misunderstood.

    although down here it sounds more like  veng et vang I can't do those either..

    I had a problem with that too.  I was waiting for a castle to open at the top of a hill village in Provence, when an elderly lady went past, saying "il fait chaud - heureusement qu'il y a du vin".  I was looking around for the wine and wondering why she thought wine was such a good thing when it was so hot (I only drink red, which is hardly refreshing).  But then I decided to ask her again, and then realised it was wind she was talking about.  I love that accent - I wish I could do it.

  8. I don't know about euro to euro bank transfers - I just know it is expensive to pay English money by bank transfer to a foreign account.  Anyway, it's OK, the place in Italy has accepted our reservation and said that we can just pay cash when we arrive.  Very kind of them really, but that happened last time we booked a place in Italy.  Some do in France too, but I'm always a bit wary as a Chambre d'hote did not honour our booking for a few days a few years ago.  We arrived there and they said that a booking for a full week had come in so they had booked us in at a neighbouring Chambre d'hote - it was miles away and instead of us having en suite bathroom, kitchen, dining room and lounge to make use of, we ended up with rooms where we couldn't even stand up straight in half of the room!  So I'm always a worried about booking without official stuff.  My daughter is living in France this year and has a French bank account, I was hoping we would be able to use that to make a deposit.  My bank advised me against bank transfers and told me a few years ago that making out an English cheque was acceptable.  I've found that does work - they just give it to you to tear up when you arrive, but if you didn't turn up, they could at least get some money out of it even after charges.
  9. If you have a French bank account, can you pay a cheque to another country which has the Euro, such as Italy, without incurring additional costs?  Have any of you done this?  Or is it classed as being a foreign cheque?  We need to pay a deposit on a holiday flat in Italy.  No we aren't being traitors - we'll be in France at Easter and for a few days on the way from Italy too.  Thanks.
  10. I'll get her to look into it.  It was quite simply that it would be useful if a family member had a bank account in France.  I'd like one myself if it wasn't going to cost much.  This is because of the problems making reservations for campsites and gites.  Gite owners don't usually take credit cards and as we prefer smaller campsites, they don't tend to take them either.  So we always have problems making deposits.  Once, we booked a chambre d'hote and it was confirmed in writing.  When we got there, we were told that they had taken another booking in preference to ours but had found us an alternative chambre d'hote.  Perhaps they wouldn't have done that so easily if we had been able to pay a deposit.  We used to have a Eurocheque book (not as in Euros but the cheques where you could make a cheque out in the currency of the country - pre-Euroand it would come out of your bank account and only cost £1.50 to do it).  When Eurocheques were stopped it became a problem.  The cost of having a cheque made at the bank is ridiculously high.  Sometimes people will take the booking on trust, but you always have the worry that when you arrive they will have put someone else in your place.  My bank did suggest that making out a cheque on an English cheque book was actually acceptable and I have found that some places will accept an English cheque on the basis that if we don't turn up, they can cash the cheque and will at least get part of the money after commission has been taken off.  They always give us the cheque back as soon as we pay them cash.  That used to happen with Eurocheques too.  If only we had the Euro.
  11. This leads me to ask - are there charity shops in France?  I don't think I've ever seen any.  Most High Streets in England are full of them these days.  Oxfam has an excellent bookshop in Nottingham (I even got a really old volume of Balzac in French there - leather bound and a volume of Moliere with a date of something like Lac Leman 1870 handwritten in it.  When my children were small, I used to come back from our local town with carrier bags full of books.  I still have a real weakness for buying books in charity shops.  Mind you, I did get a bit carried away - I think we have about 5 copies of Pride and Prejudice!  I often buy books on markets in French.  We bought a book about Catherine de Medicis (a pretty one - imitation leather) for my daughter's coursework and when she started doing the research in English, it turned out to be the definitive book.  I love second hand book stalls! 
  12. I can adjust the beam up and down, and I'm not sure whether I had done or not, but I had full beam on most of the time because there were no other cars about most of the time.  Because it was wet, the tarmac shone the same colour as the white lines.  But also, the white lines seemed shorter and further apart than they are in England, so when I could see them, I couldn't see them far enough ahead to maintain a decent speed.  The worst problem was when approaching a slip road.  The road just seemed to open up in front of me and the arrows you get dividing main road from slip road on the motorways didn't seem very apparent on that stretch of road.  Admitedly, a lot of work is being carried out at various points on that road, but that was where I felt safest as there were traffic bollards and separators to guide me.  My daughter mentioned it to a French colleague who said - yes, that's how it is.

  13. Hi and thanks.  It's actually that my daughter is in France for her "year abroad" and has a bank account for her salary to be paid in.  It's a question of whether she can keep it on when she returns - i.e. she won't have a French address anymore.  It would be useful to keep the French account if it were possible.  She doesn't seem to want to ask the bank if it is possible as she is sure it isn't, but she has until May to find out.  Of course, if we'd got the Euro ourselves, everything would have been a lot easier!  If people can have Swiss bank accounts then they ought to be able to have French ones!
  14. I'd heard Gigondas was good, but it is expensive, as you say.  Probably I'll have to sneak one into the shopping trolley when no one is looking.  Yes, I like Chinon too, but hadn't even realised that you could get red wine from the Loire Valley until we rented a flat in Saumur at Easter this year.  The owner of the flat left a selection of wines for us, which he had bought from local vinyards and bottled himself.  That was a good opportunity for us to discover Loire reds.  I liked the Saumur Champigny, but the Nicholas de Bourgueuil was not so good.  You don't see much Loire wine out of the Loire valley though.  The range of wines varies a lot in supermarkets.  Some have very limited ranges.  I was in an Intermarche a few weeks ago and found they had a much better range in small quantities (and at better prices) than the local huge Leclerc. 


    I'd like to be able to go to vinyards and taste wines to bring back to bottle myself, as the visit to the Loire valley as well as wine a friend in Annemasse used to serve to us was proof you can get good wine that way.  However, having had an unpleasant experience at a Foie Gras degustation where the owner virtually barred our way out, demanding why we were not buying anything, we haven't got the guts to go to degustations any more.  At that time, we had never had Foie Gras and on tasting on that occasion, we didn't think it was anything special.  But, since then, I have had it in restaurants and now I love it.  It doesn't mean I would want to buy Fois Gras at degustation prices though - although I have bought it when there has been degustations on camp sites.  We also bought some wine from a degustation at a campsite near Carcassonne this summer.   I just don't really want to go to a vinyard and find the wines aren't to our tastes, and then the owners turn nasty if we choose not to buy anything!  We stayed in the Chalonnais a few years ago and didn't take to the wine in that area at all.  We'd had a bottle of the local stuff from the campsite, not liked it and decided to give it the benefit of the doubt and went to the local co-operative to taste the wines (safer from bullying hopefully), but having tested the various wines there, we decided not to buy - tasted like grass. 

    Have others amongst you had unpleasant experiences with owners of vinyards or other degustation places turning nasty?

  15. So, Frenchie and Ame - any particular red wines you are likely to buy. 

    It's always difficult when travelling around to get through enough bottles to be able to choose specific ones for bringing back.  Have you any recommendations for any red wine (including label) which has been particularly good, which you've bought in a supermarket in France?

    As you say, each to his own - I never said people were wrong to drink Champagne, I just said I don't understand the obsession, I don't understand why it warrants such high expenditure, because as much as I like red wine, I wouldn't want to pay champagne prices for it, and although red wine is a matter of taste, it is useful to know when people have found some wine particularly good.  For example, I've not yet had a bad St Chinian, Tautavel or Faugeres, but we had some diabolical Beaujolais a few weeks ago and the only time I've had Cahors it was very acidic, so I've not bought it again.


  16. Yes, Patf - things always get changed.  I can definitely say that I have never hear the term bas relief in English - only read it in guide books probably.  I think if I came across that or similar terms in English and was reading them out aloud, it would be difficult to anglicise them. 

    Place names vary in any language according to where you are and according to whether it is the locals who say it.  Near where I live, we have Southwell, but many people call it Suthull, yet I understand that it is Southwell to immediate locals, but not to surrounding locals.  Then, what about counties?  Some say Nottinghamsheer, some say Nottinghamshy-re and others, including myself say Nottinghamsher.  Bath or Barth depends on how you have been brought up to talk.  Down south, people say Barth anyway, but up here in the East Midlands people say Bath unless they are from a family background where old BBC English is spoken.  Some friends in Normandy lent us a flat in Samoens which they called Samwan, but some friends from Annecy called it Samwance.  But even with other people we knew in 73/74 called it one or the other.  Then there are a lot of places in 73/74 which end -AZ and some say az and some say a.  The French don't break pronunciation rules in the way that the English do, but they do do it!

    On the matter of the solicitor who spoke fluent French with a lot of slang - that doesn't surprise me at all.  I think that someone who speaks fluent French is more likely to use more slang or at least coloquialisms.  I did CSE French, then Institute of Linguists 1, but then spent 7 weeks in France before doing A level.  More of my French has been learnt from being with French people than from lessons and I expect my French is more slangy than I'd like it to be.

    With regard to regional accents - I don't think there is any point in trying to "imitate" it, as an adult, but surely those of you who are talking to provencale (or other southern) people will pick up that accent if you have an ear for accents.  I'm sure that most people speak differently with different people - not to impress better spoken people, not to mingle with more local people, but because you just can't help it.  My children said I always spoke differently when I'd spent a couple of hours with my mother.  I'm sure any children who are at school will pick up the accents of the children and speak French like the natives, which is wonderful if they have that opportunity.  On the other hand, if an adult does pick up a regional accent that makes their French sound more French than British, then that is surely better.

  17. How do you deal with French words in English?  With me, it depends on when I discovered the words.  Most French expressions I've come across in English have been since I learnt to speak French (age 11 and upwards), so I find it very difficult to anglicise such words.  On the other hand, I've done ballet all my life and was brought up to pronounce the French ballet terminology very badly, which drives me nuts, but old habits die hard.  For example "bras bas"  becomes "braaar baaaar", "pas de chat" becomes "paar de shar".  But if I was to teach my pupils to say things the French way, they wouldn't have a clue what examiners are telling them to do in exams.  My son has been reading a book today, which used the phrase "bas relief" which he knows from French, but doesn't know how to say in English - nor do I!  I've never come across it in English (or if I have, it was written down), so my instinct is to pronounce it the French way. So, is it ba relee-eff or is it bass rileeeef? 

    It's a similar problem with place names.  I went to Buloyn when I was 8, so it takes a lot of thought to say Boolonye.  But it bugs me when people say Dordoyn as I first came across that in French.  I first travelled to Cherbourg with a French woman, so when they say Cherberg and Strasberg, that also irritates me.  On the whole, I feel that French place names should be said the French way, but if we said Paree when speaking English, people would think we were being pretentious.  But going the other way, if I'm speaking French, I would say Douvres and Londres, which I feel is wrong, really. 

    Do you use French pronunciation for French words in English or do you anglicise them - or like me, does it depend on what stage you were at with French when you came across those words? i.e. the way you are used to hearing them.

  18. What will you be drinking with your Christmas dinner or to bring in the New Year?

    I don't understand the obsession with Champagne - it's too fizzy for me, and makes it difficult to digest the meal which follows if it is served as an apero.  Call me a heathen if you will, but whatever we eat, it will be red wine that we drink, whether with fish or white meat or red meat.    I can drink a dry white if it is served with a meal, but don't like it as a drinking drink.

    I'm not sure how much you have to pay to guarantee a good wine.  I have a mixed selection of red wine at home at the moment - some bought in France and some bought with Tesco points.  Some, I like.  Some has become vin chaud or has been slopped in with dinner.  A few weeks ago we had a very nice Beaumes de Venise at a very low price, so I've bought a few bottles of that for Christmas.  The problem for me is only being in France for holidays and never being in one place for more than a week and using different supermarkets due to visiting a wide area.  So, I'm never in a position to drink enough wine in one region to select a wine that is consistent.  I really like some cheap wines, but then you go back and buy the same the following year it is foul.  On the other hand, French friends have recommended more expensive wines, and I've not liked it. I usually pay between 3 and 5 euros a bottle (less if being supervised) but have paid more if invited to the home of French friends.  But I've never paid more than £10 for a bottle.   Mind you, I've always preferred it to Champagne.

    I don't drink dessert wine with dessert either.  Sweet food needs red wine or coffee to counteract the sweetness.  On the other hand I love sweet apero such as pineau or pommeau with nibbles.

    On the old fashioned side - I like a glass of Bristol Cream on Christmas morning and at midnight at New Year.!

    Anyway, what is your celebration wine?

  19. [quote user="Scooby"]Sorry Frenchie but I prefer English bread - unless you eat French bread within minutes of leaving the shop it takes your fillings with it....  Good door stop material though!

    As an aside - one of the nice things about having 'a foot in both camps' is coming back to England and having a lovely mug of tea with a cheese and bacon sandwich - thick smoked bacon, melting cheddar cheese with lashings of HP sauce on lovely warm, soft granary bread....heaven.  Still not worked out why tea never tastes as it should in France - even using good old Yorkshire teabags it tastes odd. Not sure if its the milk, the water or what...  If you have the solution would love to know!

    That is true of ordinary baguettes, but not true with regard to the wider range of French bread you can get these days.  Not all boulangeries sell these other types of bread, but when you do find a boulangerie selling a wider range of bread, you can usually find something which will last until the next day.  If you buy bakery bread in England that's no better at staying fresh than a normal baguette.  Pre-packed bread in England has things done to it to make it last for days - but it is tasteless and textureless.  If you make bread yourself, ordinary white bread is stale by the next day, whereas if you make granary or bread with other mixes of dark flour or grains, they will last a day or so longer.  The same applies to proper bread in France.  It's all down to preference, but I'd rather have bread with a firm crust (craquante preferably) and soft in the middle, and not something floppy.  Perhaps this will change when my teeth fall out, but I'd still rather dip a tasty French bread into coffee, soup or sauce than have to revert to white sliced plastic.

    With regard to food - there are good recipes in all countries and food is as good as the cook who is cooking it and the ingredients used.  British food can be excellent, but we are limited in flavours and ingredients.  When I stayed with families in Normandy and Savoie in 1976, I'd never previously had food cooked with creme fraiche, never had tomatoes that tasted like tomatoes, never had peppers, aubergines, courgettes, garlic,various cheese dishes, and apart from macaroni cheese and tinned spaghetti, I'd never seen pasta before.  When you travel round France, food-wise it is more like visiting different countries - which of course it used to be.  Italian Food is more varied than it has credit for too - but I must admit that when we went there last year, we were struggling to find ingredients, even for Italian dishes which we had recipes for - but I'm sure that was just due to the small towns we were staying in and not having time to go out and look for other food sources such as markets.  The food we had in restaurants was good.  I'm just considering dishes which are considered to belong to these countries.  Of course, Britain does have a wider range of foreign foods, but that doesn't make British food better, it just makes the choice better.  Whichever country you are in, you are not likely to find something of very high quality in a restaurant, unless you are prepared to pay for it, although lower priced good food can be found.  If anyone is not happy with the food in the country they are living in, they have only to cook what they want to eat, the way they want to cook it. 

  20. [quote user="Frenchie"]

    Steak haché bleu or rare is the normal way in France, and I must admit if it is too cooked ( I gues that s what most of you would call the normal way ), for me it spoils the taste..

    I fancy one NOW ... [:-))]

    Just like what we French call rostbeef.. just 20 minutes in the oven.. OMG , it s delicious ( rare ..) 



    I love roast beef done the French way, but I just don't know what cut to use.  Can you tell me please?

    As for steak hache, there is no comparison with McDonalds.  I've never been able to understand why McDonalds is so popular in France (apart from price) when you could go elsewhere and get steak hache.  When doing overnight stops, we sometimes go to Buffalo Grill and sometimes I choose to have steak hache rather than a proper steak and don't mind it being pink in the middle, yet in England I would never eat a burger when I'm out.  Then there is the minced steak.  Many years ago, we used minced beef in England to make spag bol.  On one occasion we made it in France, and as far as I'm aware, you don't get minced beef - only minced steak.  That was the best spag bol we'd ever had, and since then, we don't look on it as something to do with cheap mince, but buy minced steak in England for all things that use mince nowadays.

  21. Sorry, I can't agree at all regarding bread.  When I first started going to France regularly, over 30 years ago, I thought the baguette was fantastic compared to any bread we were getting in England back then - even though you had to buy it fresh for each meal because if you bought it for lunch it would be stale by dinner time.  But over the years, bread has improved greatly in France.  The greyer campagne breads last longer, have a good texture and are delicious.  But there is also the growing range of breads - pain aux cereales, lots of others and also that delicious vieux petrin stuff - brown with big holes in it - tastes nothing like the tasteless brown bread we get in England.  On the other hand, bread in England has improved a lot, although in my area I don't know of any small bakeries that do good bread - supermarket bread in England is now the best (unless you make it yourself).  I certainly can't agree on Marks and Spencers bread.  I was at a shop near our local M & S on Sunday and needed bread for lunch, but decided to detour to Tesco, remembering that M & S only sell pre-packed stuff and that I could get a very good walnut or mediterranean or campagne or ciabatta or Irish buttermilk bread, which had been baked on the premises that morning.  You can now get Tesco petrol stations where bread has been baked freshly - even if it does come as ready made dough, it's still better bread.  Actually, I do think that Germany is very good for bread - but can't get up much enthusiasm for German food other than Black Forest Ham.  Anyway, it's my dream to live within 15 minutes walk of a good bakery in France.  That would be one of the most important factors if buying a house in France.  When it comes to cooking, I think it comes down to whether you have enthusiasm for cooking and creating good food.  It can be done in any country if you can get the ingredients for what you want to cook.  I don't use many convenience foods, but I do think that French canned food is better than English canned food.  We use it as "emergency rations" when camping, and cassoulet, petit sale and the various cous cous cans are better than any tinned food you get in England.  Although, our usual emergency rations tends to be confit de canard, which is a bit pricier than normal tinned food.  I like the tabouleh where you mix the sauce in yourself and hey presto, in half an hour you have tabouleh. I've never tried any other types of packet ready prepared food in France as even when camping, we tend to prepare 3 course meals from scratch - but only one course when at home, so I can't compare.  I'd like to try some of the ready prepared food from a traiteur some time.  That often looks delicious, but seems expensive - if paying those prices you may as well go to a restaurant.
  22. [quote user="Clair"][quote user="Jill"]So, what you are actually saying then, is despite the fact we are taught that tu is for talking to one familiar person and vous is for talking to more than one person (or a non-familiar/formal person) we can all forget that rule and address a room full of people as tu!  In other words, as I suggested at the beginning, the rule is dying out and so we can all forget about the grammatical rules, which presumably are still being taught in French schools.  Well, that should make life a lot easier for everyone, especially as far less people use the formal vous these days.  I'd prefer to stick with what I've been taught though.  It is the way the rest of my French friends speak - this occasion was the first time I've noticed it, but I imagine it is more of a question of education.[/quote]
    Do not put words in my virtual mouth.
    What I am saying is that languages evolve.
    The spoken language is different from the formal language usually taught at school or college.

    You did ask for my opinion.
    I happen to be fluent in French but because I do not agree with you, your implied conclusion is that my education is not quite up to your standard.
    I really do not think that comment was necessary.

    [/quote]  Sorry Clair, I think you misunderstood and took this the wrong way.  It was not intended to insult your French, or to suggest that mine was superior (I thought you were French)- otherwise why would I have asked for your opinion in the first place -  although I think that there are a few people who perhaps assume that I don't have much of a level in French, whereas I am quite fluent myself.  It was some years since I'd been with these French friends in a situation where we were chatting for about 8 hours, whereas the last few times I've seen them was at weddings and we were all moving about talking to different people.  So being with them for 8 hours just highlighted something I hadn't noticed before and I'd not noticed it with other friends.  No one has actually said that they have noticed other people speaking French that way.  Yes, I realise languages evolve.  It's a shame really.  Call me old fashioned if you like, but I don't like the way English or French are going, as evolvement of language tends to mean loss of richness and lack of vocabulary. When I said it is more of a question of education, I was referring to my friends, not your own education.  Meaning that people speak according to the environment they are in.  Just in the same way as some people will never tutoie people they know really well.  I hope that explains what I was saying more clearly. 

  23. [quote user="Clair"][quote user="Jill"]perhaps Frenchie, Leurne or Clair would be most suitable to answer it (sorry everyone else), but why do you think my French friends address two of us at the same time as tu?[/quote]
    I'm with Betty, even though she doesn't have the right birth certificate [:D]

    So, what you are actually saying then, is despite the fact we are taught that tu is for talking to one familiar person and vous is for talking to more than one person (or a non-familiar/formal person) we can all forget that rule and address a room full of people as tu!  In other words, as I suggested at the beginning, the rule is dying out and so we can all forget about the grammatical rules, which presumably are still being taught in French schools.  Well, that should make life a lot easier for everyone, especially as far less people use the formal vous these days.  I'd prefer to stick with what I've been taught though.  It is the way the rest of my French friends speak - this occasion was the first time I've noticed it, but I imagine it is more of a question of education.

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