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Things I saw in England....


Dog

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In Northampton East Europians camping by the dual carriageway - while a petrol station had all its Marmite stolen.

For the first time ever in UK I bought Indian Fighter Kites in an Indian shop!!!

Polish, Turkish and Indian Bazaars closed - luckily the remaining Indian shops now sell Polish, Turkish and Chinese foods alongside their own.

Wind farms proposed in just about every small village - they even want to put them near the finest seventh century church in England.

London was a shock - the tube trains were expensive but clean and graphitti free, lots of empty buildings but no buskers or beggars - I guess there is no money about.

Just about everyone has a personalised registration number on over-powerful cars on badly maintained choc-a-block roads. It gave me the idea that people should only be allowed a car with the bhp to match their IQ.

It's good to be back in civilization (or lack of it) and there is an explosion of mushrooms, cauliflowers, brussel sprouts and my neighbour just gave me another 10 kilos of pomegranites.... Now I just have to get rid of the cold I picked up in England.

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[quote user="Richard"]Dog, i thought crossed my mind that you are in fact my neighbour as he went back to the UK and spent time at Northampton too.

But he eats meat. Are you in disguise on here?
[/quote]

I stayed with my brother between N'pton and Mkt Harboro', he, his family and mine are all veggies. No disguise.

Did find that a mate of mine is a mate of someone who posts here - the world is small....

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I am south of you, Dog, and in my garden is a grenadier - which I believe is pomegranate. All this does, however, is to produce loads of waxy red flowers supposedly shaped like exploding grenades. At the base of the flowers are little hard balls - but they never develop into fruit.

They seem to be popular as decorative bushes, but I thought fruiting pomegranate were found in warmer climates.

.....................................................................................

I have just got back from a week in France, where even the prices in Gifi seemed extortionate and I acquired a nasty dose of gout!

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down here, Lot-et-Garonne, pomegranates grow easily and there are several trees along the road from which I pick the fruit.

Re. returning to England, I've just returned from a fortnight (Suffolk, London, South Coast, Exeter amongst others) and my first impression, after eighteen months away, was how crowded it was! England is truly beautiful in some areas but you can't see it for the cars and kebab shops and shop signs which obscure some marvellous architecture above eye-level. Admittedly the weather was wet, wild and windy which didn't help matters but generally England just looks like it's crumbling and being patched up. Actually, some of that is due to lack of good pavements - after the cable-TV fiasco of about 20 years ago when all the pavements were dug up and cheaply repairs with blobs of tarmac, then that makes roads look untidy - how much I preferred those lovely pavement slabs!

But, on the other hand, shopping in the UK is a million times better. Lots of choice in the shops, generally cheaper all round, much more to choose from, plenty of 2-for-1 offers. I'd seen a handheld blender in Auchan for about 20 euros and got one in Tesco for £4 ! Just cheaper all round!

But on my return to France, what a relief to find quiet roads, proper home cooking in restaurants rather than the boil-in-the-bag stuff you'd find in most Harvesters, villages that start and end with countryside in between rather than the urban sprawl that is southern England ... and of course good weather!

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[quote user="nectarine"] But on my return to France, what a relief to find quiet roads, proper home cooking in restaurants rather than the boil-in-the-bag stuff you'd find in most Harvesters,

villages that start and end with countryside in between rather than the urban sprawl that is southern England ... and of course good weather![/quote]

My French house is in Lot-et-Garonne. I have not noticed pomegranates, only decorative grenadier.

You must have been desperate to eat in a Harvester - I know loads of pubs doing home cooking and producing excellent food for less than in a French pizzeria.

Urban sprawl - you get it around large cities, whichever country you are in. One thing I have noticed when flying between England and France is the comparative tidiness of the English countryside from above. Buildings are clustered together in recognisable settlements in England (Town & Country Planning Act?) with empty space between them, but in France, buildings are everywhere in the countryside. Perhaps this is a consequence of the inheritance laws, estates having been divided up and subdivided again to give children their shares of the land - and on each share they built their home.

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[quote user="nectarine"]But on my return to France, what a relief to find quiet roads, proper home cooking in restaurants rather than the boil-in-the-bag stuff you'd find in most Harvesters, villages that start and end with countryside in between rather than the urban sprawl that is southern England ... and of course good weather![/quote]

Our local pub (here in England) has a full time chef and the food is fabulous.  You can eat really well for less than a tenner.  Where we are in France it's mainly confit, green beans and sauté potatoes - every menu is the same...  The cheapest menu is 16E so over £14 for what is, basically, tinned meat.  To get a half decent meal you have to spend over £20.  It's very rare that we eat out now in France.

The urban sprawl and scruffiness is the same (if not worse) in France - except that most on here would call the scruffy French buildings 'quaint'.

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[quote user="Scooby"][quote user="nectarine"]But on my return to France, what a relief to find quiet roads, proper home cooking in restaurants rather than the boil-in-the-bag stuff you'd find in most Harvesters, villages that start and end with countryside in between rather than the urban sprawl that is southern England ... and of course good weather![/quote]

Our local pub (here in England) has a full time chef and the food is fabulous.  You can eat really well for less than a tenner.  Where we are in France it's mainly confit, green beans and sauté potatoes - every menu is the same...  The cheapest menu is 16E so over £14 for what is, basically, tinned meat.  To get a half decent meal you have to spend over £20.  It's very rare that we eat out now in France.

The urban sprawl and scruffiness is the same (if not worse) in France - except that most on here would call the scruffy French buildings 'quaint'.
[/quote]

Sorry but I can think of at least two places straight away where I live where you can eat for 12.50 very well. The first includes an apro, three courses, wine and coffee. The second you don't get wine but its a buffet and you can eat as much as you want and there must be about 30 different selections split between the three courses. On rugby days when we eat out we pay between 10 and 12 Euros per head including wine. Perhaps its because the people I go with are mainly French and they know the cheap places and I have not had a bad meal yet.

As to proper home cooking in France well you only have to visit Metro to see what people are buying for their restaurants and who is buying it. I know of one place that charges around 50 Euros a head (on average) and I don't think they have made a sauce for years coz the guy was in Metro's buying all the sauces in big cans.

Eating out in France is no better or worse than eating out in the UK (or anywhere else for that matter) its just the menu is written in a different language (although its still difficult to get a decent steak here but we have 'done' that one before). Mind you if you want to complain about prices try Dublin. Went there last year for a 6N match and my Carte Blue is still hurting and Mrs Q won't let me go there again (so its Rome this year [:-))]).

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[quote user="Quillan"]

Mind you if you want to complain about prices try Dublin. Went there last year for a 6N match and my Carte Blue is still hurting and Mrs Q won't let me go there again (so its Rome this year [:-))]).

[/quote]

We were in Dublin a couple of days ago and ate for a fiver a head - Guinness 3E50.  It depends where you eat.  We were with locals and avoided the tourist places.  Iceland was the most expensive place I ate - £25 for a cheese and tomato pizza and a glass of coke - but that was pre the crunch. 

The 12E menus near where we are in France have long disappeared - we tend to go veggie and cook in rather than eat out now.

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We have a restaraent/bar in the village where set 3 course lunch is 11euros inc 1/4 caraffe wine.A;so another in the next village.

The one here is does well with the workers etc every lunchtime which is when food is served.We have eaten there before we moved in.The meal was very good for the price.
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Quillan - next time you go to Dublin, head for The Celt on Talbot Street (right off O'Connell (via Earl Street) http://www.dublinpubscene.com/thepubs/thecelt.html).  Great pub with really good atmosphere and music and decently priced Guinness.  It's not the 3E50 a pint place I referred to earlier but 4E40 which, given the fabulous live music, is a decent price.  Give Temple Bar a very wide berth - complete rip off and for tourists only - no self respecting Dubliner would be seen dead in a TB pub!  For the very best live music head to Doolin in Co Clare.

There are lots of places in Dublin to eat for under a tenner - pm me if you want details.

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Scooby, how can you refer to confit de canard (or pork) as tinned meat? Tinned meat is Spam or corned beef. Confit de canard (fait maison) is love in a jar! I make futures of CdeC and pâté for when my family visit and it's not cheap.

Having said that, I have been known to pig out on spam fritters....
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Sorry Gemonimo - it's meat and it's in a tin.  You can get it for 6-7 euros a tin (that will feed 4-5) - well that was the price the last time we bought it (6 tins 3 weeks ago)   See we do like to buy it to bring home [:)].  But it is a cheap option for restaurateurs.   I agree, Gemonimo, I do like it - and it's a world away from spam but if only all the restaurants didn't serve it to the exclusion of everything else.  If you are a tourist and new to the area then great - but if you are in the area for any length of time it would be nice to have a little more variety...

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[quote user="Scooby"]Quillan - next time you go to Dublin, head for The Celt on Talbot Street (right off O'Connell (via Earl Street) http://www.dublinpubscene.com/thepubs/thecelt.html).  Great pub with really good atmosphere and music and decently priced Guinness.  It's not the 3E50 a pint place I referred to earlier but 4E40 which, given the fabulous live music, is a decent price.  Give Temple Bar a very wide berth - complete rip off and for tourists only - no self respecting Dubliner would be seen dead in a TB pub!  For the very best live music head to Doolin in Co Clare.

There are lots of places in Dublin to eat for under a tenner - pm me if you want details.
[/quote]

We were staying in Jones Road at the Croke Park Hotel, not so far to crawl after the match. I don't think we were interested in any music at the time. We did have one drink at the Temple Bar and as you say its for the tourists. They must be very rich as we paid over 6 Euros a pint. We were drinking before and after the match and paying just over 5 Euros a pint, I can't remember how much exactly in each pub but we did about 5 or 6. Went to the 'Old Stand' pub which is great for rugby fans. I don't think I got much change out of 2k Euros for the weekend (all in) and to top it all the match was rubbish but it was a blinding weekend, well what I remember anyway.

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The most disgusting vegetables I have ever come across were at Flunch in Chatellerault where we had a quick meal combined with shopping at Auchan.  On the recommendation of a neighbour.  Never again!    Stewed and  seriously overcooked broccoli - horrible !

Tegwini

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