Saturday, June 29, 2013

NEIGHBORHOOD GET TOGETHER



A couple of weeks ago our doorbell rang and a very nice lady, after telling me that she too lived in our house many years ago (I am telling you it's a clan that lived here, not a family), invited us to a neighborhood fete that she organizes every year. 
Since the location for it is the Union Cafe, our alley neighbor, we signed up. A good idea.

The weather continued it's sub par performance of the year and instead of a nice evening on the patio we were seated inside after some drinks outside. 
Victoria came down with a cold, so it was Isabella and myself going to meet some people that we have seen around, but no idea who they are. Faces I remember, names not so much. 
I shoved Isabella from group to group, making her shake hands with everybody, much to her dismay she told me. It was worse than her Opa's funeral in January she thinks, since there it was just handshakes, but here all the people wanted to talk to her. In french en plus. Oh la la. Quelle horreur. 

We met some of the immediate neighbors who live in the town centre, we met some of the merchants we already knew by face and we met some people from North Carolina and Australia who also live here in Jarnac, some seasonally, some permanently. A great evening.
The set meal was a cold cuts and salad platter with a pile of french fries. And the owner of the Union Bar sang and played guitar. Surprisingly well actually. 

We should do that more often.






NOT THE BEST SUMMER SO FAR

LOCALS AT THE BAR


DOGS ARE WELCOME

L'UNION BAR & RESTAURANT

JOSTLING FOR SEATS

THE MC FOR THE EVENING

THE NEIGHBORS

HE SINGS! OWNER OF THE RESTAURANT

L'ASSIETTE ANGLAISE

Friday, June 28, 2013

VILLAGE LIFE IN FRANCE



Town or country. The perpetual question where one would move to, when living in a foreign country. While 98% of future expats do dream about that small house in the french country side and look them up weekly on Immobilier sites, my opinion after having lived here in Jarnac for a solid time is firm. 
PICK A VILLAGE. 

Mind you though, Jarnac with barely 5000 souls is by all standards still in the bush as well. Some of the stores here do remind me of movie sets about times past. Yet, I am very very glad that Victoria did not let me buy that very first property we looked at. The one with a great yard, but seriously 20 minutes to any action what so ever. 
I mean we could have gardened, kept some chickens, a dog, a cat, a rabbit or two and many other things we are not able to do here in downtown Jarnac,  but would I have enjoyed gardening? Maybe it's just an imaginary projection, not an actual, realistic desire. 

While there are plenty of Blogs extolling the virtues of french country life, it does get lonely after a while. On many of my antique buying excursions in the country side, many of the sellers want me to just hang around even if I did not buy anything, so they can tell me another story.....So, unless you are 100% certain you can enjoy solitude like Theodore Kaczynski did in Montana, PICK A VILLAGE.

Besides being able to park the car for sometimes five days in a row, in a village you have choices of cafes, bars, butchers, grocers and other daily need things.  Tourists in the summer make for great people watching in the pedestrian zone, festivals, markets and much more happening in town. 

Here is some summer readings about France for you to look at:







THE ALLEY LUNCH DOWNTOWN JARNAC

THE VIEW FROM OUR LIVING ROOM WINDOW

MY TECHIE

LE TABAC. ALWAYS OPEN


ART SHOP

OUR NEIGHBORHOOD BAR AND THE CAMERA SHOP NEXT DOOR

LE MAGASIN BIO

GLOBAL FOOD.....WELL, NOT REALLY

KID'S CLOTHING STORE

ONE OF MANY HAIR SALONS

FLOWERS

YEP. FASHION 

L'EPICERIE

MY FAVORITE

A THROWBACK TO TIMES BEFORE STAPLES....

COOP

Monday, June 24, 2013

MORE OF JARNAC



We had some decent weather on Sunday, perfect for a longer walk than just to my favorite bakery. Along the outskirts of Jarnac towards the river. The walk was about 3 km, maybe a bit more?  Since the posts about town had more clicks than food, I took more pictures of houses, nice, big, old mansions.
And fences. Some properties you could not see as the walls were too high.

Cognac has produced some decent wealth over the centuries. What struck me as odd though, is how many of these places had all the shutters closed on a nice day as it was. It is well known that the people of the Charente like their privacy, but let some fresh air in your places......

Enjoy the images.



A BED & BREAKFAST




LOTS OF NICE GATES & FENCES


A MANSION IN THE MAKING



ANOTHER B&B






MANY OF THESE PROPERTIES HAVE WATER ACCESS



ANOTHER NICE PLACE







Sunday, June 23, 2013

GLUTEN FREE SANDWICH OF THE YEAR




So. 
This Blog you are reading never won an award in 5 years. By now there are as many online awards as there are Blogs out there and every one wins sooner or later. Best Family blog, best food blog,  best travel blog, best whiny piss ant blog, best soap box artist blog, there is an award for everything. 
Well, if I think about it, this Blog really doesn't have anything worth awarding. No theme,  no great images, no recipes, sporadic postings and lousy english writing. Understandably it does not deserve one of those stickers that I could attach to the blog. Unless there is a "Blog of nothing that's important" award. I might have a chance then. 
But I eat well, Gluten free by choice.  See? I am not even a Celiac, so there goes the gluten free blog award. 

And today I made a sandwich that deserves recognition, even if only I myself think so. I started with gluten free Italian flatbread (Victoria baked some fresh loaves for visitors), added plenty of mayo, Dijon mustard and some greens (to show my healthy habits to Victoria). 
I bought some fresh persillade sausages from the butcher, roasted them along with a mountain of red peppers (more food for the visitors) piled that mix onto the bread, cut it all in half, poured a nice glass of red wine and ate the best gluten free sandwich of the year. 





START WITH THE BEST GLUTEN FREE BREAD

ADD SOME HOME MADE MAYO

AND GOOD DIJON MUSTARD

PRO FORMA GREENS TO APPEASE YOUR SPOUSE......

ORIGINALLY THERE WERE THREE, BUT I ATE ONE STRAIGHT FROM THE OVEN


PILE IT ALL ON

FRESH ROASTED RED PEPPERS? YES!

MESSY, BUT TASTY AND GLUTEN FREE