Sunday, July 29, 2012

WALKING JARNAC


Parts of it. There are plenty of walks around town. Since I am usually the first to get up, it`s me taking out the dog for her morning walk. An urban walk that is. Not too much green space, unless I choose to go along the river over to the park. 

Urban walks in an old town are very different from suburban walks in North America. In Vegas for example our neighborhood though nice, was very uniform, cookie cutter looking. Not really visually stimulating at all. Threw the dog out the back yard (all 30m2 of it), be done.
In small town Europe it`s different. I don`t get tired of looking at all the different styles of houses and monuments, there is always something going on. 
Vendors setting up at the market, delivery men rolling in cart loads of boxes, stop at the Cafe down at Place du Chateau for an Espresso and much more.

Jarnac is far from a bustling town, so I can let the dog walk off leash without worrying too much of her being run over. Plenty other dogs around, so it`s almost like a walk inthe park for the dog I guess.




PLACE VIEILLE MARCHÉ

GRAND RUE TOWARDS THE CHATEAU

A NEW LISTING

WOULD MAKE A GREAT LOFT

DOWN RIVER

PLACE DU CHATEAU

SOME SHOPS ARE OPEN SUNDAY MORNINGS

RUE PORTILLON

FRANCOIS M. BORN IN JARNAC

UP FOR AUCTION AUGUST 3. GREAT LOCATION

A BIT OF HISTORY ON THESE PLAQUES


TOWN CHURCH

GRAND RUE FROM THE OTHER SIDE

LOTS OF RENOVATIONS GOING ON

Friday, July 27, 2012

AMATEUR ICED TEA



I never made iced tea before. I am also not a big tea drinker (yet), Victoria on the other hand drinks liters of it. On my last trip to China I brought  back a large bag of Jasmine tea for her and the vendor gave me a dozen green tea samples to try and hopefully I buy some from him on my next trip he said. We'll see.

With the fantastic heat this week, we bought a few cans of Lipton's Iced Tea, which disappeared a bit too fast. So instead of buying more, I decided to make some. 
Tea takes time. Relax and enjoy....ah, but I like instant gratification and the only fruits we had were Plums. Usually we drink Peach or Mango flavored tea. Could have gone to the market and got some Peaches, considering it's only 200 meters from the house. 
But when I have an idea, it has to happen that second.

For a first try, with a secondary choice of fruit for flavoring, not bad at all. I used some cane sugar for sweetening, a couple of tea spoons of the green tea and three plums with a couple slices of lemon.

Not that my new home made creations will make a big dent into Lipton's billion dollar sales of iced tea, but I think I am on to something. Know your ingredients is Victoria's daily mantra for me. 



PLUM FLAVORED ICED TEA

ONE OF MANY GREEN TEA SAMPLES

PLUMS LEMON & HONEY

CHANGED MY MIND TO CANE SUGAR

FILL UP WITH HOT WATER

LOADS OF ICE

Thursday, July 26, 2012

THE COOKBOOK


One of my final finds before leaving Calgary was a 1961 first American edition of  this french cook book, many call it the gastronomic bible, Larousse Gastronomique. It`s big, 1000 pages, but I brought it along on the container so no sweat. After all we like to cook and maybe it`s time to expand beyond Risotto and Crepes a bit.

The book is still in circulation, many times updated and much glossier these days, this one however has a good feel to it. No Celebrity chef attached, no long how to instructions, just plain simple facts and instructions for about anything french cooking. Whoever wrote it, did expect the reader to have some basic cooking skills, as some recipes are dangerously short in description....we`ll wing it if necessary.

My favorite section is the offal segments, it explains pretty much every organ and what to do with it. So get ready for some off the wall blog posts. 
As the ideas for Blogging seem to dry up these days, maybe I make that a regular one. Lundi Larousse or Offal Thursdays.





WE INTEND TO USE IT



A LARGE CHEESE SECTION

WE GOT SOME ALREADY

COTE DE VEAU EN PAPILLOTE

MY FAVORITE SECTION


 WON`T FIND THAT ON ANY FOOD BLOGS OUT THERE....


THE CLASSICS
 

MAYBE OUTDATED, BUT SOUNDSTASTY

ALL THE BOTTLES FOR WINE

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

LA PISCINE


Since we bought a town house versus a country home, there is absolutely no yard or space for a pool and we have to make do with the public swimming pool of Jarnac.

Located just across the river from the Chateau, it's a leisurely 7 minute walk to get there. As with many other things in France, even the pool closes for lunch! But the good news is that three times a week, when it is open before lunch, you get in free in the summer. Afternoons are 2.65 for adults and 1.50 for kids. 
Though the summer heat has set in, it's 34 Celsius this afternoon, the pool was not crowded at all. Maybe the kids being down below in their own section made for a better experience in the big pool.
I am sure it gets full in the afternoons and on the weekends. Yes, I miss a pool in the backyard but this is a good alternative. 



NICE SIZE POOL

KID'S POOLS

RIGHT NEXT TO THE CHARENTE RIVER

FREE IN THE MORNINGS, THREE DAYS/WEEK

I GOT MY SPEEDOS

5 MINUTE WALK PAST COURVOISIER

WE CAME HOME TO THIS

Monday, July 23, 2012

MOVING OVERSEAS


It's adventure all the way. That's for sure. A new country, new home, new everything really. But what about all your belongings? How do you get them from one place in the world to another? It's all logistics really. 

I'd say 95% of people who do move overseas for a lengthy period of time, use a moving company. Either it's a corporate move, or they take the safe route. After all those moving companies do it all, pack, load, paperwork, ship, deliver and unpack. 
Though we sold a lot of our electronics and furniture, we did end up with a 40' container of goods that needed to be moved. 
And the best quote from a professional moving company came in so high, it was not even an option. When we asked for a breakdown of charges, to just see where we could cut a corner or two, they were not so forthcoming with line itemized billing. They are in business to make money, nothing wrong with it.

With a little bit of experience in the import business, I set out to do it ourselves and hopefully save a bundle.
It turns out, though challenging, it's possible. And you can save over half of what you would pay with a pro.
Here is what you need:

-Buy your own boxes (used even) on KIJIJI or wholesale
- Freight forwarder
-Customs broker at destination
-Some friends to help you load and unload (or go straight to cash corner)

First you pack up your household, then call the freight forwarder and get the ocean container delivered to your door. With your friends and a case of beer, load the container as tight as you can. KIJIJI is a great source for anything you need to move. If the can is not full, get some 8ft long 2 X 4 and use them as load locks.
Call the freight forwarder for a pick up and ship dates. This, depending on the destination, takes a few weeks, ours arrived 3 weeks after loading in Calgary.
In the meantime check local yellow pages/Google for a local customs broker.
This broker will give you a list of documents needed to ensure smooth sailing through customs. In our case, that was a long list. But well worth it to have a diligent broker, as customs world wide can be a royal pain in the rear.
Pay your fees and arrange for a local delivery at your new address. Make new friends, offer beer and promise them it's only boxes and some furniture.....

You will be saving thousands of dollars, I guarantee it.



GETTING THE GOODS OUT OF STORAGE IN CALGARY

LOAD ONTO OCEAN CONTAINER

WITH THE HELP OF GOOD FRIEND BRUNO & KIDS

ALMOST FULL

SEAL IT UP

A FEW WEEKS LATER ON THE OTHER END...

SMALL STREETS IN FRANCE, YOU NEED A SMALLER TRUCK

FIND MORE FRIENDS

WITH MUSCLE AND BRAINS

LOADS OF BOXES

SOME OF THEM WERE NOT UNPACKED SINCE VEGAS IN 2006...

UNPACK

HANG SOME FONET


START LIVING