The Rolling Stones

This may appear to be a rather random post but I am still overly excited having seen the Rolling Stones last week!

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The back of my t shirt, purchased on the night

We were on a flying visit to the UK to catch up with all manner of things but also to celebrate my birthday. It was a very different celebration compared to the one last year when I spent most of the day travelling back to Toulouse. Although my husband did surprise me, when he met me at the airport, by taking me for dinner to a vegetarian, Indian restaurant!

https://fancyingfrance.wordpress.com/2017/05/29/an-indian-in-toulouse/

This year we were actually more organised and as soon as we realised that the Stones were playing an extra date, in Southampton, we bought tickets. After all, the Stones aren’t getting any younger…

As a school girl, I was always more of a Beatles fan but as a student many a Saturday night was spent rocking to the Stones in the student bar!

We decided to catch a train to Southampton and then walked to St Mary’s Stadium. There were 30,000 fans at the venue, all ages, styles, types – brilliant!

Fun facts:

The last time the Rolling Stones performed in Southampton was in 1966, over 50 years ag0!

The combined ages of the members of the Rolling Stones is 294 years. Charlie Watts is 76, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are both 74 and, the baby of the group, Ronnie Wood, is 70. Who would have thought they would still be going strong?

Their energy on stage was incredible, especially Mick! They played for two hours with an amazing set list, including some of my favourites – Brown Sugar, Tumbling Dice and Gimme Shelter! A friend asked me if I sang. Did I? And I knew all the words.

Without a doubt, one of the best (possibly, THE best live gig) I have seen over the years and there have been a lot. What is the best band you have ever seen? I’d be so interested to know.

 

 

 

 

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One Bad Apple

I wanted to share this thoughtful and beautifully written post, at this sad time…

Taste of France

IMG_5518It seems impossible to ignore the sad events that came to my beloved town.

They are uncharacteristic. As I have remarked before, this is a small, sleepy town where young children and old ladies walk around on their own with no problems. It’s not as gentrified and Disneyfied as the villages of Provence that attract droves of tourists and where real estate is now out of reach for people with modest salaries, like teachers. Carcassonne, and the region around it, remains modestly rooted in the past.IMG_5824On Friday, I was in Trèbes. Not in the supermarket, though we shop there often. But I was in the crowd on the corner, as close as the gendarmes would allow. Many of the people gathered were immigrants. The older people were livid that a young delinquent was bringing unflattering attention to their community. They had businesses. They loved France.IMG_4637Later, I…

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Les Jaffa Cakes!

Are you a fan of the Great British Bake Off? Even if you don’t live in the UK, this popular television programme has been sold all around the world. So, it’s quite possible that some of you will have seen a version of this much loved show. Do share if you have!

There was some controversy recently when the production company that make the Bake Off sold the programme to Channel 4. Previously, it had been shown on the BBC. There was a huge outcry, especially as three of the (mainly much loved) four presenters/judges were going to be replaced.

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BBC

At this point, I must confess, I was one of the doubters! How would it ever be the same, I wondered.  This didn’t stop me viewing  the first episode on Channel 4 and from then on I was hooked!

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Courtesy of Channel 4 Facebook

I first saw the French version of GBBO, a couple of years ago. I found it fascinating and wrote a post about what I had seen. A post that proved to be very popular!

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https://fancyingfrance.wordpress.com/2015/11/29/le-meilleur-ptissier-or-the-great-british-bake-off-french--bake-off-french-style/  

I was delighted to catch up with the latest season of ‘French Bake Off’ recently. I had, inadvertently, tuned in for biscuit week. I love a cup of tea, preferably accompanied by a biscuit. I never really associate biscuits with France. In my head, it’s all about their cakes.

What intrigued me this week was the ‘Technical Challenge’ . The contestants were asked to make 36 Jaffa Cakes. My first thought was: why? I’m not a fan of Jaffa cakes, although you may well tell me that you love them. Plain Chocolate Digestives are another matter…

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As you may be able to guess, the poor bakers had never seen, nor heard of, a Jaffa Cake. One might ask – should they have? Nevertheless, it made for very entertaining viewing. The whole episode lasts for two hours, so I have tried to find the section in which the Jaffa Cakes are judged. It is in French but it is very clear from the expressions of the judges what they think of the various attempts to make a Jaffa Cake!

https://www.rtl.be/tv/rtltvi/replay/06-11-2017-le-jaffa-cake-degustation

I’d love to know if any of my readers saw this episode! Are you a Jaffa Cake fan? And are they cakes or biscuits?…

 

 

Dogless in France

I love France. I love dogs. I was brought up with dogs.

Our sons were brought up with dogs.

These are our last two family dogs: Cassie, our beautiful Flatcoat Retriever and Brillo, our rescue lurcher.

However, we are currently dogless. This is for lots of reasons; we are virtually empty nesters, we spend a lot of time travelling between SW France and SE England and we are only too aware of the responsibility in taking on another dog…or two!

To fill the gap we decided to become #Trusted Housesitters. This is an organisation which ‘connects home and pet owners with trustworthy animal lovers who sit for free.’ I quote! I can thoroughly recommend Trusted Housesitters should you want to travel and look after animals. Equally, if you have pets and don’t want to put them in kennels, this could be ideal. Here’s the link to their website:

https://www.trustedhousesitters.com/how-it-works/

Our first sit was for two beautiful young Border Collies and our second! In fact we’ve stayed friends with the owners of the collies and we still meet up for walks and meals.

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Next, we looked after a gorgeous labradoodle, two budgies and a geriatric rabbit!

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We’ve also looked after my sister’s Blue Heeler puppy, a friend’s long haired, white, German Shepherd and the young cats which belong to my son and his girlfriend.

This has helped to fill the dog shaped hole in our lives…to some extent…!

However, I have discovered that there is a dog rescue centre, in Carcassone,  where I can volunteer:

http://dogrescuecarcassonne.co.uk/

I have volunteered at a rescue centre, previously.  And, yes, we did end up with a rescue dog! He lived with us until he was sixteen.

This post was originally intended to be about breeds of dogs originating from France but I appear to have sidetracked myself!

Here are two other dog related posts I wrote  earlier:

This one is about dog poo! Yes, really! Or rather the lack of picking up that is generally done in France:

https://fancyingfrance.wordpress.com/2016/05/27/i-need-to-talk-about-dog-poo/

And this one is about the naming of dogs in France:

https://fancyingfrance.wordpress.com/2016/04/23/naming-dogs-french-style/

I still like to think a dog(s) is out there for us somewhere!

Are you a dog lover? Do you travel with your dog?

This is a post I wrote some time ago and which I’m happy to be linking with the very entertaining #AnimalTales. Although I’m still dogless, I’m happy to report that I have been volunteer dog walking for the SPA Carcassone! We have also fostered one of their cats and had the pleasure of looking after a friend’s eighth month Border Collie puppy, at New Year.

 

 

 

 

 

Snack

This was the prompt word that popped up in ‘The Daily Post’ email I received from WordPress the other day. It prompted me to thinking about snacking in France.

When I’m in France, I don’t snack. Conversely, when I’m back in the UK, I find it far too easy to nibble between meals; crisps and biscuits being my usual snacks of choice. Why?

It may be a huge generalisation but, in my experience, the French don’t snack. This may, of course, be changing… Le fast-food, for example.

Such books as ‘French kids everything’ and ‘French women don’t get fat’ exemplify the not eating snacks myth. If it is a myth?
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Certainly, le goûter, which is mainly eaten by children around 4pm, is a French tradition. I remember being quite surprised the first time I came across a chunk of chocolate slapped in the middle of a baguette!

IMG_0130Photo courtesy of Pinterest: http://www.painlaboulangere.com/fr/pains/pain-gouter/gouter-petits-pains-barres-chocolat

The nearest I get to snacking when in France is when I have something to accompany an apéro …

I’ve come to the conclusion that snacking may be a cultural habit? What do you think? I know I have readers from all round the world, as well as France and the UK. So, I ‘d love to know if you’re a snacker! And, if you do snack, what is your snack of preference?

Crisps, chips and French fries…!

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I love language, in the fullest sense. I don’t, particularly, love crisps, chips or French fries! But I do eat them occasionally.
Why, I ask myself, are crisps, in France, called ’les chips’? So, in an attempt to find out, I wasted spent too much time doing some ‘research’.
The word ‘crisps’ is used in the UK and refers to thin slices of potato (or vegetables nowadays) sold as a snack. These are usually called “chips” in America. However, the word “chips” in the UK refers to what in America are called “French fries” or “fries”.

Are you with me?! In Canada, I have read, crisps are often called “croustilles” in French speaking areas. As I yet have to visit Canada, I can’t verify this! Also, in the French speaking parts of Canada and also in Europe, French fries are usually called “frites”…

Have you lost the plot yet…?!
Along the way I have discovered a mad interesting blog all about crisps:

https://ablogaboutcrisps.blogspot.fr/

Although I’m not a crisp fan, I do have a weakness for these:IMG_0112Are you a fan of crisps/chips/fries or do you have other favourites?

This post is linked to:

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/Crisp 

I never knew…

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A friend, very kindly, posted this on my Facebook page. I wonder why 😳?!

We have been friends for a long time – over twenty five years – and we used to teach in the same Languages Department in a secondary school. She has never forgotten the occasion when my eldest son was shopping with his childminder. They arrived at the wine and my son pointed and said ‘Mummy juice’. Ah, the shame … but very funny, nevertheless!