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Jill<br><br>Jill (99)

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

  1. Sorry if I bring this back to the original question, and 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?  I know all about the formal and non formal, but we are talking singular and plural here.  I don't think they used vous once during the whole evening and it made me quite uncomfortable asking them "vous-aimez habiter ici? and "quand est-ce que vous venez en Angleterre".  It made me feel I was being quite unfriendly with them. On the familiarity thing, I had a French Swiss friend living at Annemasse, married to a Frenchman and she found it strange that I called her tu when I first wrote to her (but all my other French penfriends tutoied from the start) and she said there are women she knows from waiting for children outside school and she would not tutoie them.  On the other hand, I remember watching "Chateauvallon" French soap in the 80's, dreadful stuff but it was actually something French on English television.  Anyway, I remember a scene where two lovers were just getting out of bed and they were vous voying, so I asked a French friend and she said it was because they were bourgeois. So, presumably my Swiss French friend is bourgeoise and perhaps vous is going the same way as thou in English with the less bourgeois classes?
  2. I've just spent an evening with French friends and occurred to me that they were saying tu even though they were talking to two of us.  Any explanation? One thought is that it is just bad French because they don't know how to conjugate vous. Another is that they do it to make one feel one is being addressed individually. Or they are using it where it could be possible to say one.  For example Tu as la grande cheminee a gauche, puis tu tourne a droite. Or Tu melange la farine avec le beurre et puis tu ajoutes........... Any thoughts on this.  I have noticed it before.  Is it a Normandy thing perhaps?  Thanks.
  3. I've just had the most horrendous journey between Cherbourg and Avranches, started out just after 11pm and it took 2 hours 22 to do the 95 mile journey.  It was raining and really difficult to see the road markings because of the headlights shining on the rain.  The white lines were quite far apart and some were faded.  At some points I went as slowly as 30 miles per hour as I just could not see far enough ahead to have the slightest idea which way the road would go.  I'm just amazed that there were no cats eyes - at least on the motorway!  But the worst was the N13.  The best bits were on the contra-flow - at least you had something to show where you were meant to be driving!  If I had seen a cheap hotel near an exit of the road, I would have turned off and booked in! We don't usually drive at night when we are in France as usually were are here in the summer or Easter and anyway, we are usually back by about 5pm in order to cook a meal and eat.  So, it has never occurred to us how bad it is before.  Please tell me there are cats eyes in some places. 
  4. I'm in the East Midlands too.  So you are definitely not alone!  I prefer to be with Owen in 66 though.  I love the area - except close to the sea.
  5. OK, thanks - I'll see if I can get access to a more modern one to get a photocopy or that page.  I'm not going to buy an new one as I've not referred to it many times in all the time I've had it.
  6. I've found my Larousse now, but it's a 1979 one, so I think it may be quite a lot different.  I can't find the pictures you mention.  What did you find them listed under?  Thanks.
  7. I never know what to ask for these days.  It was just an expresse back in 1976 when I first started drinking it.  Or come to that, you could ask for a coffee and get real coffee.  On Brittany Ferries a few weeks ago, I couldn't see a price for espresso or expresse, so I asked for a coffee thinking, this is a French ship, therefore coffee must mean real coffee - but no - it was instant.  So I gave it to my husband and went back and asked for the real thing as I knew they had a machine for it.  Later that day, I went into a very ordinary cafe in Avranches and had a cup of real coffee and it was the best coffee I had had in a long time, and that includes having had Lavazza at home and out, Costa on the motorway and coffee in other coffee shops.  It's a pity that even the French seem to call it Espresso now.  The only people likely to uphold any French traditions seem to be the British who moved to France for love of all things French! The French don't seem to be that bothered about hanging onto this type of thing.  Not the young, anyway. At least the expresso in the machines on the motorway tastes quite good, but I've no idea whether it really is expresso or just a very good instant.  Does anyone know?  I've never come across an instant coffee which tastes like coffee.
  8. Thanks - now all I have to do is find out which family member has removed it from the shelves and not put it back!
  9. This is probably going to sound crazy - but what about legionnaires?  The reason I'm asking this is because the place where I teach had a legionnaires disease inspector in the other day and he said I would have to get rid of our air cooler because of it being a potential source of legionnaires disease.  This is not air conditioning, it is simply a fan where you put water/ice in a reservoir in the bottom and it is supposed to make the air which is fanned out cooler than when you use a fan.  As it is, we don't use it that way and just use it as a fan as it really makes no difference in a large hall which is baking hot in the summer when we have all the windows open and at least 6 fans on.  But if one of those is a potential hazard, what about all other coffee machines, kettles, water sitting in water tanks etc.  Someone told me the other day that Starbucks keep the taps running all the time to prevent legionnaires disease settling in the pipes.  Yes, I know it sounds crazy, and I don't seriously believe these things are a source of disease, but these safety people perhaps just going over the top - like sell by dates on food.
  10. We spent a week in Villedieu a few years ago, and now I think about it, I don't think we ate out at all that week - it sounds like we missed out!  I suppose it was because we were self catering that week and had a few days in Chambres d'hotes prior to that and had spent out eating out budget!
  11. I'm trying to establish what men (and women) were wearing in 1653 in France.  I have a number of costume books, but they are English.  Unfortunately, particularly for Charles I, it was the time of the Commonwealth, so the book I have which is more specific to years shows only Cromwellian/Puritanical clothing.  I would like to know more about what French men were wearing at that time.  Does anyone have any costume books relating to the period in France? I've looked on the internet, but only find the same 17th century costumes that I find on historical sites relating to Louis XIV which is the whole point of my research.  You see I'm choreographing a representation of Ballet de La Nuit which was the ballet which Louis performed in at the age of 14 which gave him the name the Sun King.  The reason for this is that I teach ballet and dancers are always moaning about why ballet terminology is in French.  Also, the older girls who are working towards Vocational dance exams have to do some research into the history and culture of ballet, so as I find it all particularly interesting myself, I'm doing research and producing this as a ballet in our forthcoming show, to try to stimulate interest.  Anyway, looking at my costume books, it would seem logical to use costume from prior to 1649 - but that all looks rather Guy Fawkes and Cavalier, whereas when I research on either characters in French history in Louis XIV's reign, there still seems to be more in the way of doublet and hose, which seems to be more Elizabethan by English standards - although it is said that Louis' wife was still wearing the Spanish fashion of big skirts, implying that Spain was behind the times.  As I thought we got our fashions more from Italy and France in the Rennaissance period, you would have thought that the Elizabethan fashions would have gone in France at that time.  Actually, the clothes pre 1649 in my book do look like what you see in the film of the Three Musketeers, but paintings of people around during that time on the internet don't look like that. Costumes in my book from 1660 to 1685 are not like any I have ever seen in portraits in any era!  Except that later on the men are beginning to wear coats which clearly led onto the Georgian fashion in England and certainly in the latter part of the 17th Century, this type of coat is shown in French paintings.  There is a painting of Louis XIV as the Sun King, but that is definitely a cross between Tudor and Gladiator!  I have no idea whether that picture is authentic.  That comes up when you google Louis XIV or Sun King or Roi Soleil and ask for images on the internet.  Another of my sources is Antonia Fraser's book about Louis XIV.  Also, I have the film - Le Roi Danse - but I don't like to go too much on French cinema authenticity - if you have seen Les Rois Maudits, you will know what I mean, with Jeanne Moreau looking like something from a 1960's magazine.  Whilst the theme of the ballets of that period was Classical, Le Roi Danse shows the performers wearing normal clothes with head dresses, masks and other things representing Classical figures, as perhaps it wasn't acceptable to wear toga's at the time, and let's face it they would have been a bit dodgy to dance in!  Also, women were beginning to perform and as at the time Moliere's Tartuffe was banned, they could hardly have gone around dressed as Venus!  So, I think Le Roi danse is probably correct here. I know I'm going over the top with this research, but another reason for choosing this is so that a boy in the class who has long hair can dance with his hair down, as we do have a bit of a battle over his hair and I thought this was an ideal role for him.  Anyway, I want to avoid a costume which makes him feel he is dressed as a girl. Some of the things men seem to have been wearing looked more like skirts, so I want to avoid those. People say it doesn't matter whether or not I get this right as I would be the only one who knows, but it does matter to me! Sorry this post is a bit lengthy, but I thought I should mention the sources I have already used, to save anyone mentioning them.  If anyone has any costume books and could just scan a picture and e.mail it to me, that would help me greatly, please - thanks.  But I know my enquiry is a bit odd! The reasearch is really fascinating incidentally - there is even the book of the original ballet in pdf form on the internet.  It's great once you get to realise that u means v!  I knew about f being s, but not u being v.  Hence deuife took a bit of getting but it was divise - divided!  Also spellings are interesting - nopces for noces, nuict for nuit, and of course s everywhere we now get a circumflex.
  12. I suppose it depends on what her interests are.  Is she interested in History?  How did she seem to feel when visiting chateaux?  It depends on where you are and how far you are prepared to travel.  Then you have the problem of whether places will actually be open - even in March we were limited in the Loire Valley.  There are some lovely places in Provence if she is interested in history.  Vaison La Romaine and Glanum are supurb for those interested in Romans - or to gain an interest in Romans - the theatre at Orange too.  Aix is a lovely town and at Christmas, looking at Santons could be appropriate - my husband gave me a lovely Maryse di Landro dressed Santon for my wedding anniversary, to go with the one I already had.  Les Baux de Provence is also an interesting place and there are various castles in the area too.  The Bories at Gordes and Gordes itself is pretty to visit.  But in winter it may not be as pleasant.  The Dordogne is one of the most fascinating areas, there is so much to see and do there.  Places like La Roque St Christophe is interesting for pre-historic cave dwellings and Lascaux II and other places for cave paintings. My children found these places very interesting during summer holidays when they were children and still do at 17 and 20.  But I teach a lot of teenage girls who would hate to visit places like that.  There are plenty more Chateaux in France, so if she likes Chateaux, pick a different region. You could go to Alsace and discover the pretty fairy tale villages and go to the Christmas Fairs there.  I believe they have a pretty big Christmas market in Kaysersberg.  I love the wooden Christmas decorations they have in shops all year round in Alsace.  If in that area, you can easily pop over to Europapark in Rust, Germany, if it is open at that time of year. I hope you find something she likes.
  13. No, we've not used softened water or anything aggressive.  We just add tap water when we need it.  I suppose there is always some water sitting in the reservoir, then the fresh is just added to it.  I'll try covering it, in case it is simply the sun as someone suggested.  If it still happens, then I think I'll start removing the water container, rinsing it and putting it to drain each day.  Do you think the green stuff is harmful - only I'm thinking that some will remain in the inner pipes.  Failing this, I'll have to put it on the work top where it was.  This will mean putting the bread board onto the window sill.  I hate clutter on the work top and I just needed to make more space there.
  14. Does anyone know how you can prevent water from going green?  My husband thinks it is because we keep the espresso machine on the window sill and the sun gets on it.  It's only been in the last few months that we have kept it on the window sill.  I could understand it if we didn't use it much, but it gets re-filled most days as between us, we make at least 5 espressos per day, sometimes more - rarely less.  The green gunge clearly appears within only a few hours. The only thing I can think of is that perhaps we need to empty the water out every day and put it to drain until the next time we use it.  Even then, we can't be sure what gunge will be in the pipes.  I really don't want to have to move it off the window sill as I find our work surfaces limited as it is.  Any ideas please?  Apart from getting a bigger kitchen which would be a wonderful plan, but not possible!
  15. Thanks.  It was Sunday when we were over there and I finally chose a restaurant from what I could find on the internet and we found it very good.  It is le Tripot on rue Tripot.  They have 2 levels of menu - one from the blackboard and one from the a la carte menu.  They call it Cuisine recreative.  It is nouvelle cuisine, but very much based on traditional French but with a bit of a twist to it - a sort of oriental twist you can't quite pinpoint.  It was a delicious meal, anyway.  We just had a starter and main course as we couldn't manage a dessert, but they looked really good.
  16. My daughter is going to be moving into a flat in France, and according to the information she has received, it just has hot plates and no oven.  She wants to buy a mini oven to take over.  I thought she might be better waiting and getting one over there, just for the plugs.  But the other thing which concerns me is that French electricity always looks really dodgy.  Plugs always look like they are falling out of the sockets.  Also, when we were camping a few weeks ago, the kettle blew the fuse on the electric hook up.  Are British electrical goods more powerful?  So, what do you think would we be better getting a mini oven in England or waiting until we get to France.  Also, can anyone recommend any mini ovens.  We have come across them in gites and flats we have rented but I've only really used them for tartiflette.  My daughter is likely to want to do roasts, pies, pizza's, cakes - are these mini ovens good enough?  I've not really come across them in England - only in France.  Thanks.  
  17. Thanks for the information.  The one at Ducey looks possible - it's quite close.  The crab pie looks good!  If we don't go there, we can always try out the recipes on their website!  Unfortunately, we won't have time to go as far as Granville. Somewhere in the town would be good though.  The lower price at the Croix d'or would be OK but some of the menus are really special occasion prices.  There is so much variation and sometimes it's not worth the difference.  There is a restaurant we like in Calais, but we have discovered that the only real difference between the 18 euro and the 27 euro menu is 2 oysters and possibly a langoustine.
  18. Can anyone recommend a restaurant in Avranches for Sunday lunch, please.  We are going to be passing through briefly and would like to have a nice lunch rather than just go to a Buffalo Grill or something.  Something traditional would be good - about 25 euros.  I've looked on various websites, but some give prices and no menu and some give menu and no price!  Others are just addresses and phone numbers.  I e.mailed one a few weeks ago, but I've had no reply.  Failing this, I seem to have seen someone mention a good seafood restaurant overlooking the bay of Mont St Michel.  That should be quite close.  Does anyone know anywhere around that area?  I really would prefer to be able to see a menu, see the price and then telephone to book.  We aren't in the habit of going for meals at lunchtime in France as normally we are on holiday and grabbing a casse croute while sightseeing, then cooking or going out for meals in the evening.  I thought that Sunday lunch was quite busy with French families, which is why I thought we should phone to make a reservation. Thanks
  19. Eurapart website gives budget hotels.  The cheaper hotels are generally near to industrial estates near to junctions of main roads.  Have you considered looking at the possibility of mobile homes on a campsite?  You can usually get at 6 per mobile home, although it does usually mean some sleeping in the living room.  Still, if you are only looking at budget prices, then perhaps people won't mind.  You said April - it may depend on whether it is the French Easter holidays.  Some campsites may not be open that early, but perhaps for a group of 30, there may be one which would open 5 mobile homes for a few days for you. Another thought is Gites de France or Clevacances.  You can sometimes find really large gites which could accommodate a lot of people.  For example I have French friends who rented a small castle for their large family to gather at for Christmas one year.  You don't say how long you are going to be there for.  Gites are usually Saturday to Saturday.  Out of season, Gites can be very reasonable prices.  
  20. You could do the salmon as pinwheels by spreading cream cheese on sliced bread, putting the salmon on and rolling it tightly.  Put a cocktail stick through it to hold it and refridgerate.  When more solid, slice it.  Mini quiches are always good if you have suitable tins.  Either do as quiche or cook red onions slowly in butter and add a little wine vinegar and sugar.  Put a slice of goats cheese on top.  Actually, I'm basing that idea on haggis tarts, but I doubt you can get haggis.  If you had haggis, then you would put a little haggis on top of the onions - or it might have been the other way round.  I've forgotten.  Oh, the pastry recipe has parmesan in it.  I think it is a Nick Nairn recipe.  Then there are gougeres - I think that's a Rick Stein recipe.  That is like choux pastry flavoured with cheese.  I have a terrible weakness for vol au vonts, especially mushroom ones.  No buffet is complete without them!
  21. When we had two French girls staying, they didn't want the gravy - they went and got the discarded fat which was sitting in the fat separating jug and poured that over their dinner - Ugh!  Yet I've never been served that in their mothers or their grandmother!
  22. I've always been very fond of gravy.  We use the juices from the meat, minus the fat, and Tesco gravy granules.  But just lately, they taste like cardboard to me.  I'm going to have to discover some alternatives.  Perhaps using more wine, beer etc with vegetables to make a sauce.  I think though, that I'm just getting more and more bored with roasts and feel the need to liven them up - although I already use herbs and garlic.  I put Worcester sauce in gravy last time I made it, but it didn't help.  It's fine if we have roast vegetables or spinach, but I do feel  that brussels, carrots etc need gravy.  I might just have to start doing things au gratin instead of with gravy.  I do like to have some sort of sauce with a meal.
  23. We don't use Brittany ferries for our bookings, we use one of the budget companies.  Sometimes we have done our bookings through Camping and Caravanning but the return trip we are doing was £98 with ferrycheap and £212 with camping and caravanning, although I think that is because our return trip is for 3 people each way and the one I enquired about with camping and caravanning was for 3 people one way and 2 people on the way back.  2 people are more expensive than 3!  
  24. [quote user="Jane and Danny"] But, beware, I have been put off by little creatures (black, tiny) we discovered in the flour - as soon as it gets a bit warmer here they turn into flour-munching white maggoty things. Don't know if they came from the mill or where the shop stored the flour - either way, put me right off and I am currently just using the mixes and sieving all flour before I use it! Jane [/quote] We've had problems with weevils in flour bought in Sainsbury's and Tesco.  Usually in strong plain flour though.  We haven't had so much trouble since we started keeping the flour in jars.  I'm not particularly fond of normal wholemeal flour.  I prefer granary and seedy breads and also rye bread - although I don't make the latter.  I just think that some French bread has more flavour than the white bread mixes.  I'm not sure whether they add something else.  I love the bread from places like Petrin Riberou and places where they make bread like that.  It's quite hard to find.  It doesn't really seem to be wholemeal flour - not like normal wholemeal - you can see bits in wholemeal but not in the vieux petrin sort of bread.  The colour is more even and it is quite a rich brown.  It is as though there is malt or molasses or something in it.  Does anyone know?
  25. I was looking at prices of ferries to make a quick crossing Portsmouth to Caen.  We have to make a quick trip, there and back in 1, or 2 days, to get my daughter over for her year abroad.  I looked at prices for going overnight Saturday and overnight Sunday, as well as doing it over Saturday, spending a night there and coming back on Monday. The cost of a return trip for 3 Saturday/Sunday is £98.  The same trip over Saturday/Monday is £247.   We still have to pay the £5 for a recliner, even though only 2 of us will be returning.  I did try for a price over Saturday/Sunday with only 3 returning and it was £212.  Bizarre - so much more for one less! Then I just got to thinking. If it is £98 for a return trip over 2 nights, what if one booked 2 return trips at £98?  I've worked it out that you could get the same return journeys on other nights at £98.  So, what if I had booked a return for Saturday/Sunday and another for Monday/Tuesday - totalling £196.  That would be £41 cheaper than the £247 they charge for Saturday/Tuesday.  Now that is a bit petty for £41.  But if you did it over a week and booked a return ticket for each weekend, it would be a saving of £91!  If you do it over a fortnight, you would save £131, meaning you could afford to make another fortnight trip to France! So, has anyone tried doing the trip on two return tickets?  Or is it possible the computer at Caen on your return would notice that you hadn't actually used the ticket on the way out?  After all, you only give the ticket voucher for one half of the journey.  Would it be illegal to do it that way? Interestingly, a single is £171.  If I was going only one way I would certainly buy a return. Any comments on this.  If the mods decide to remove this message on the basis that everyone on the forum had cottoned onto this loop-hole and they don't want the ferry companies reading this, then fair enough - but private messages by anyone who has a comment on this if you do get to read it could be interesting.
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