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Jill<br><br>Jill (99)

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

  1. [quote user="Helen"] Much more down to earth than LED flashing pepper pots...I remember that when I visited France as a teenager several decades ago, the family I stayed with had a cute little dustpan and brush specially for sweeping breadcrumbs off the table at the end of the meal.  Much better than a damp cloth. Try as I might I haven't been able to find anything similar now that I want one, apart from one really old, unappetising example at a vide grenier.  Don't people use them any more?  And if they do, what are they called - what do I ask for in a shop?  Which shops?  The supermarkets don't have them and neither do the rather tasteful tablewares shop in Falaise nor the local quincaillerie. Suggestions please? [/quote] When my husband's granny died - and this was in England - I was asked what I wanted as a souvenir and I chose a table brush and dustpan.  I'd never seen one before and I've never seen one since.  She was of the lunch at 12 and cucumber sandwiches at 4 brigade and I just remember her sweeping the table with that brush and pan.  It was a specific memory for me, but I must admit, I've not used it.  I expect it is buried in the attic somewhere.  It would be ok for crumbs from aaaafternoon tea, but no good for spag bol! For example. 
  2. I think it would be a real shame to lose the circumflex.  I find it quite helpful in translations. If a word has a circumflex, then it probably had an s in old French and then it makes it more comparable to English words in many cases.  It may not always be necessary and I may not use accents all the time because they are a pain on English computers, but I don't like to see things like that going.  For example I use apostrophes in texts on mobile phones.  On some old English typewriters there used to be "dead" keys which were keys which had the French accents and it would type and then you could type the e or whatever under it.  Because it was a "dead key" it didn't move on after being typed.  I wish there was a simple solution like that to using French accents on a computer!  It's true that language has always evolved, but surely education has reached a stage where everyone can learn the same thing and keep it the way it is now.  There is surely no advantage to simplifying things further, it will only make language become more and more boring.  We need to retain it.  
  3. Yes - thanks - that's her!  I'll have to remember to look for her books next time I'm in France - although I do have quite a lot to get through at the moment.
  4. [quote user="Judith"] Interestingly, today I attended a lecture on medieval English, and I think they all may bear some ressemblance to (or even development from) that.  [/quote] If that aspect of language interests you, i.e. origines, then try "Adventure in English" by Melvyn Bragg.  There is also a woman who wrote a book about the evolvement of French, but I can't think of her name.  I attended a lecture by her a few years ago.  It was quite interesting the way some words went from French into medieval English, then returned to French with quite a different meaning - particularly in the legal system, I think.  I did manage to make a roughly comprehensible translation of a 13th century troubadour song a few years ago with my knowledge of French, Italian and a bit of Spanish.  I'd love to study medieval French and English.  I think the routes of language are fascinating.
  5. A few months ago, I had some spare pastry after making pear and frangipane tart using a mascaropone pastry.  I had chocolate, but no cream and so I used the spare mascarpone and it was very good - better in fact - not as rich, but I can't take fresh cream anyway - only creme fraiche.  Cream always gives a creamy taste which I don't like.
  6. [quote user="Suninfrance"] The only other gadget (but not for the dining table) that I have is a hard boiled egg slicer - excellent if you want to put sliced hard boiled eggs into sandwiches or lay them out at a buffet for people to help themselves.  It caused much amusement with a friend who offered to help me get the food ready for a party and I asked her to slice the boiled eggs - such a strange look she gave me - then I produced the slicer and she is now a complete fan.   Mine was an 80s purchase, but you can still buy them at our local Super U. [/quote]   I haven't seen those for years.  I remember that I used to love to have a go with it when salads were being prepared at my mum's bowls club back in the 60's.  Shame you've not tried your fondu though.  It does make a sociable meal and the steak goes further than if you served meat in a normal way.  Or the cheese version is good on a cold winter's night.
  7. I was surprised to see that you said that a lot of work goes into a fondue.  We always consider it a quick and easy option, but then we do use a food processor to grate the cheese.  I know the people I stayed with in Chambery said you should cut the cheese into long slivers, but in Switzerland, you can buy the cheese ready grated and there they just use a bit of sliced vacherin to make it stringy.  Beef fondue is also quick and easy - I suppose it depends on what you serve it with.  We used to serve it with chips and salad plus bought sauces.  If you make your own sauces I suppose it does take longer.  But at mayonnaise, I fail!  So I buy that and add my own garlic and buy bearnaise and tartare too.  With pierrade we tend to roast potatoes and do a separate dish of roasted vegetables or a salad.  But we still cheat with the sauces.  I find these all to be quick and easy meals to prepare.  We use them as standbys for when we haven't much time - for example, when we arrive back from a holiday in the evening.  We had raclette for dinner this evening although the weather was warmer than it had been for a week or two!  I'm interested in what has been said about Tagines.  I really would like to get more into North African cuisine.
  8. Last week there was talk on the television and radio in England, about useless gadgets.  The Fondue set was mentioned as a fad of the 70's which is now "useless".  I never knew anyone in England myself who owned a Fondue set in the 70's, but I did have one myself, as a result of staying with a family in Savoie and we used to use it quite a lot for Fondue Bourgignonne and Fondue Savoyade.  Since we bought a Pierrade a few years ago, we haven't had Fondue Bourgignonne, but still occasionally have Fondue Savoyade.  The Pierrade was bought as a result of eating it with friends in Normandy.  We use it at least once a month.  We also have a raclette set, as a result of visiting my brother-in-law in Switzerland 25 years ago and although we couldn't get hold of suitable cheese for a long time as we couldn't afford trips abroad for a while and couldn't find the cheese here, we have used it a lot - probably 6-8 times a year for the last 10 years, but we do it the Savoy way using Charcuterie as well as the Swiss way is a bit bland.  We use all these gadgets for just the 4 of us regularly as well as for guests, as they make for a very sociable meal.  We use them because they are an easy option on a day when we haven't much time to prepare a meal. So I just wondered, do you find these gadgets useless, or do you use them?  Do you have any other similar gadgets?  If so, what?  Do you use them regularly?
  9. Kendal Mint Cake is from the Lake District but can often be found in areas in England where walking is common, such as places in Derbyshire where people start walks from.  I believe it has a high sugar content for energy giving.  I think I've heard of mountaineers carrying it.  You can get it chocolate covered too.  It isn't a cake by the way, it's very solid, between a peppermint cream and a peppermint. Other things I've given as gifts to foreigners, although this is not the time of the year for it, but you could consider it for later - Christmas Pudding, Rum/Brandy butter, Christmas cake, mincemeat - although I must admit, I wouldn't give bought mince meat, only home made, but I usually give home made pudding too.  I suppose any fruit cake at any time of year might be appreciated.  I don't recall having seen fruit cakes like English ones.  Sausage Rolls.  Bakewell PUDDING (not tart - completely different) - can be posted from the Bakewell pudding shop. If your friends are adventurous, they might even appreciate something like Pataks curry pastes or sauces and pickles. Harvey's Bristol Cream - I know it's Spanish, but it's not the same as French aperitifs - it's sort of English.  I don't know what sherry is like in Spain - or how it compares.  
  10. Yes, even picnics can be quite formal.  I remember my husband being stung by a wasp at Lourdes and there were some people sitting round their portable picnic table nearby, all fully laid out.  We went over to ask if they had any vinegar and sure enough, they did.  Also, it surprised me in an area we went to near a river one Sunday, just how many people were there for a picnic, but all carrying picnic tables, barbecues and the full works, while we sat on a blanket to eat a casse croute! 
  11. [quote user="Kim"]   However, I would make sure they had a place to sit down, especially the ladies.    [/quote] I'd agree with this about sitting down.  At all barbecues and buffets I've attended in France, there have always been tables and chairs.  I've never come across the informality of eating standing up or sitting on the ground that we have in England.  Also, other French friends have commented on the importance of being able to sit at a table properly to eat meals.  However, I daresay this will have changed quite a bit now, especially the way the French walk around eating fast food and shop bought sandwiches these days.  Something which horrified them 15 years ago.  
  12. My understanding was that at one time, waiting/bar staff in France were not paid a wage - the only money they received was from tips.  When I stayed with my penfriend in 1976, she was working at her aunt's bar/cafe (not really restaurant, but it was possible to get some food).  I remember that the tips went into a bucket, and at the end of the week, we all sat down at the table to count it all out and share it between her and the other member of staff.  Things have probably changed - laws have doubtless improved.  But what about when you are taken on a guided tour of a castle or something?  I don't think those guides receive a wage either.  Yet how many people actually give tips?  My daughter was on an archeological dig in France last year and a member of the team was doing guided tours of part of the site and he didn't get paid.  I'm never really sure what to do on these occasions as it usually costs quite a bit to visit a castle, for example, so we feel we have paid enough - and of course there are volunteers at NT and English Heritage places and they don't get tipped either.  But guides in France tend to be students and in England the stewards are often retired (although there are students too). It's difficult - when you don't know whether people are being paid, whether they expect/need payment, or whether they do it for the love of it.
  13. Admitedly, I was thinking of markets I'd been to in other parts of France - Le Bugue, Vaison La Romaine and other places.  I just assumed other places would have markets like that too.
  14. [quote user="LyndaandRichard"]Yet to see a British beer being sold in France. Come to think of it, I can't think of a single world famous brand beer from Britain. I'm sure there would be one. Ireland has Guiness, Australia Fosters and the US, Bud. [/quote] This is because all the best beer in Britain comes from the smaller breweries, or the larger breweries selling beer which had been made at the smaller breweries, so that there are more varieties and therefore none monopolise the market.  I feel this is better, as variety and quality is worth having.  I expect that the beers in mass circulation are those which keep better and travel better.  Years ago, I think you used to see Watney's Red and Double Diamond advertised outside the "British" pubs in France and it was everywhere in England too (awful stuff).  Most foreign countries are used to lager type beers or are faithful to their own beers.  The better known British beers in circulation abroad are the mass produced ones, which may be OK for many people, but not for those of us who are into Ale.  British beer is considered by foreigners to be warm and flat - I drink it because it is less fizzy and if beer is too cold you can't taste it.  I expect this is why you don't see much of it in France. Over the last 30 years, I've noticed a big change in beer in France.  The changes have been more in the last 20 years.  20 years ago, we used to buy Pelforth Brune and 1664 Brune (the latter seems to have disappeared).  It was the best we could do to find a beer with flavour.  Then we discovered Jenlain Ambree which was a big improvement.  For those who want something a little more like British Beer - not really the same, but good beers come in many varieties - the Ambrees are not a bad substitute - although I love La Goudale which says it is blonde, but tastes nothing like a blonde. Unfortunately, the better beers are not easy to find in some regions of France (the further away from Nord/Pas de Calais you are) and even from the better breweries, there tends to be more of the blondes than ambrees in other regions.  I did get a bit fed up of Jenlain last time I was in France as I was feeling the need for something more refreshing such as Speckled Hen, or Marston's Old Empire which I'm drinking at this moment.  But if you can't find British beer, I would recommend the French bottled beers - Grain d'Orge, Lutece, Cht'i, La Choulette - other bieres de garde.  I'm not so keen on the Cerveze - old style beers though - it's pot luck.  Some can be a bit like dodgy home brew!  Cheers!
  15. At a flat we rented recently in France, I was really surprised when I realised that the curtains were not heavy cotton as they appeared to be, but were more of a pvc - a little like the plasticised table cloths you can get, but actually less plastic feeling.  I thought curtains like that would be good for a bathroom - although this flat had them at all windows.  Do you know what this material is called and whether these would have been ready made curtains or material off the roll?  Also, where do you get it?  They certainly looked like properly finished off curtains at the top, but they had no hems at the side or bottom - yet it was only when you got close enough and handled them that you could tell that they were not normal curtain material.  I couldn't get to look at the top as the flat had really high ceilings and the windows went right to the top.  Thanks.
  16. [quote user="Clair"][quote user="Jill"]the British would rather get lunch out of the way quickly, get the job done [/quote]... and that is a perfect illustartion of the differences betwenne the two cultures! Yet, you ask about how to integrate into the French community another thread (http://www.completefrance.com/cs/forums/1204613/ShowPost.aspx) [:)] [/quote] I don't understand the connection you are making here.  Eating in a French way is not the same as integrating.  I've eaten in many French households and always prepare the same types of meals when I'm in France - even when camping.  What I was trying to get at in the question about integrating was to do with how you get to meet people.  Most people make friends through work or through their children's friends, unless they belong to some sort of sports club or something.  What I was meaning in the other thread was how did those of you who have integrated get to make friends with the French people in the area where you are living or where you own holiday homes.  Having people to talk to is important to me.  Perhaps you were suggesting that it could be done by going to a restaurant.  But restaurants are not like pubs in England where some locals might go on a regular basis. Perhaps you could let me know what the connection was that you were making?  Thanks.
  17. What about markets?  You often find second hand book stalls on markets.
  18. If you live in France and have integrated into the community where you live, how did you do it?  And I do mean French community. I live in a fairly large village in England and there was a lot of integration going off while the children were in playgroup and primary school, but after the children hit 11, this has gradually faded away.  When we moved to our previous house in 1985, there were housewarmings as all the houses were new and the whole-cul-de-sac became friendly.  5 years later we moved to another nearby cul-de-sac and very few people even talk to each other.  12 years on, things haven't changed! I expect that those of you who have moved to France and have been living there with young families have had an opportunity to integrate because of them.  But what about those of you who have moved or bought maisons secondaires after your children grew up? I can't move to France, but hope to buy a property where we can spend a fair amount of time.  Did you find any sorts of clubs or organisations which helped you to integrate, or did you just do it by talking to people in the vicinity?  If we buy in France, we want an opportunity to mix with the local people.  Have you any tips for how to get to know the locals?  Amongs my own French friends, there doesn't seem to be anyone who has a social life.  Social life appears to be concentrated around their own families.  Any thoughts on this could be useful.  Thanks.
  19. My daughter, who is studying for a degree in French, can't understand why I watch French Films.  She says she couldn't watch a French film just because it is French because French films are boring.  Well, I don't actually watch the films because they are French.  That is perhaps my initial reason, but the basic thing is that I like to receive French films as presents, but it can't be helped if some of them are not enjoyable.   Some are, some aren't - but when they are being bought, it is not always possible to know what to expect (same with books) I was recently at a lecture about French cinema and one of the basic comments was that American film is entertainment and French film is Art.  I'm inclined to agree with this - what do you think? I have quite a lot of films which do not entertain me and which I will not watch again - perhaps they were too arty and I didn't understand the theme, even if I understood the dialogue. It wouldn't have made any difference if they had been in English.  But I have others which I enjoy from time to time.  I have a few films on Artificial Eye and I have come to the conclusion that they are too arty to be comprehensible to me. Do you feel that most French films are too arty to be entertaining? Do you think this is why young French people watch so much American soap and film?  Which French films have you enjoyed for, quite simply, entertainment value?  
  20. It is surely a question of language.  French people may not necessarily know where the borders are and therefore anyone who speaks English might be considered to be English.  Then, also bear in mind the car plates - GB is for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland too, so if French people see GB on the car, it may be that they think of Anglais rather than Britannique.  As far as I am concerned, I am English and European.  I'm not bothered about the British bit.  But, for example, a Breton person may consider themself as Breton, rather than French - but are they actually classed as French rather than Breton.  Is there a difference between being Welsh and being Breton?  OK, there is a Welsh parliament, but that is new.  I just think that when the French refer to us as les anglais, they are thinking about English speaking Europeans.  I can understand that Welsh, Scottish and Irish people may not want to be considered as English, but how are French people supposed to know?  The language we speak is English - the same language as appears to be spoken in Calais!!!! All we can do as individuals is let people know where we come from and use the right name for our country of origine.  They can't be expected to understand dialect etc.      
  21. I don't think I've touched instant coffee for about 30 years.  A French penfriend gave me a filter machine for a wedding present in 1978 and for 2 years before that I used a filter anyway.  But - when you stop off at a service station on a French motorway and buy an "expresso" - are you actually buying expresso or instant coffee?  I don't know!  All I know is that it is far better than the vast majority of coffees that you get in British restaurants (although I'm not including the coffee shops which have become prevalent in the last few years where you can get a thimble full of proper coffee- although I would never have a coffee in an ordinary British restaurant).  Anyway, the French service station vending machine stuff is pretty convincing - bearing in mind that we have been using an expresso machine chez moi for the last 9 years and a filter machine since 1978.  So, do you know an instant coffee that actually tastes like coffee?  If so, please could someone tell the B & B hotels, because as much as I like them for overnight stops, their coffee is tasteless!
  22. I remember reading some Angelique books in my youth - I seem to remember it being a bit juicy!  Perhaps 20 or more years on, it might seem quite tame!
  23. [quote user="ErnieY"] It's not just a case of tilting or lowering the lights though is it Jill ? The whole profile of the beam, especially on dip, is tailored for whichever side of the road you're normally driving on and is designed to enhance your range of visibility and thus your safety, as well as to avoid dazzling oncoming drivers. Using the tilt is very much a compromise and should be used as a very temporary measure and not as a long term substitute for having the lights correctly set. I drive an Octavia also BTW (1.9TDi Estate) and an excellent car it is too [:D] [/quote] I don't understand the technicalities, to be honest, I would just have thought that if you can tilt up or down you could tilt left or right - especially from reading one of the later postings.  I think it is all just a ploy from the manufacturers to get more money from us, one way or another.  But isn't everything!  And yes, I am very happy with my Skoda Octavia 19 which is now in it's 4th year and I had a Felicia estate for 6 years before that.
  24. [quote user="Limousin Lass"]All my life I have had my main meal in the evening I find the standard 3/4 course French lunchtime menu too much and tend to seek out the places that have the lighter alternatives.  Does your friend only intend doing his set menu or does he have alternatives?[/quote]   I think I understand what you are saying here.  I have quite a lot of French friends in various regions of France and they always say that they eat their main meal in the middle of the day and a lighter meal in the evening - yet I have never experienced this in their homes, even living there for 1-3 weeks.  I have always had the impression that they eat copious meals both at midday and in the evening.  Also, whilst I seem to be able to eat any meal of any size at any time, my husband finds it very difficult to function after a full meal in the middle of the day.  Only a few weeks ago, we went to a creperie and had a galette, followed by a crepe and I had to take over the wheel because it had made him so tired that he was unfit to drive.  So, perhaps eating well (although I would still only regard a galette and a crepe as a snack) in the middle of the day may not be a healthy idea.  It is usually easier to find a menu offering a full meal during the day than it is during the evening.  Yet as far as I am concerned, the day is too valuable and I need it for other things, whereas the evening is the time to relax and enjoy a meal.  A French chef friend of mind who had his own restaurant only opened at lunchtime as he didn't wish to receive evening clientele.   But this is just an example of the difference in that the French stop in the middle of the day to eat and the British would rather get lunch out of the way quickly, get the job done and then have the evening for leisure - which to my mind actually involves enjoying a meal. At least if you eat your main meal in the evening, you can have a glass or two of wine and not worry about what you have to do afterwards.
  25. [quote user="Clair"]I think there is a difference to be made between those who want to learn, even only for emergencies, and those who live in their own little enclave and have no desire to or need to learn. I have met a couple who have been in France for nearly 3 years and are totally at ease living here with very very limited acquired language. He goes to the cafĂ© and nods enthusiastically at whatever is said, he says "oui! oui!" a lot and gets by with it...[:-))] She goes into the shops and talks loudly and points a lot and thinks the whole thing is hilarious! I have managed to avoid them for months... [:P][/quote] Perhaps there are people who live in France in the same way that you mention who will read this topic and see just what the French and those who do make the effort to speak French think about them.  Perhaps then they might make more effort to communicate.  I can't actually see the point in living in France if you live in an enclave and don't mix with the French people.  Also, those who don't mix with the French are not actually living in France.  Surely, being in France is about  being part of a French community.  Mixing with French people, speaking French and getting to know about real French life is what it is all about.  No disrespect intended to those of you who are trying to learn French.  Although I'm quite at home chatting with my French friends and others, reading books and dealing with many subjects, I'd certainly have to do some research for certain subjects - such as plumbing, for example.  It's nice to be able to go to a small butcher for example and discuss what you could do with certain cuts of meat, for example.  It just adds to the interest of being there.  
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