Monday, March 24, 2014

THERE'S A NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN


There were mayoral elections all over France yesterday. Paris will have the first Madame Maire after a run off between the two leading candidates in two weeks.  The Front National had a strong showing across the country, but really not that significant on a national level yet. If they continue their strong grassroots efforts however, they will end up being the deciding party at the next presidential elections in 2017. And may be part of a coalition.

Chez nous in the Charente one of the seemingly bigger upsets happened right here in Jarnac. Jerome Royer who has been in office since 2001 suffered a narrow first round defeat (no run off), handed to him by Francois Raby. Interesting to say the least. Just as I said a while ago,  votes for the right wing party may just produce a surprise as they take important margins away from the more established parties. 
I don't expect big changes in town, just some new faces on council. All in all, from my limited time here I can say that it is a well run place.

If you want to see though what a difference a truly great mayor can make if elected, look at Bordeaux, France's 9th largest city, 75 minutes south of here.
Alain Juppé a member of the UMP, has been mayor in that city on and off since 1995. He had to resign for a couple of years in 2004 for an investigation of mishandling public funds. He was convicted, but got reelected ever since 2006. 
He completely revamped this once backwater of a city into a seriously gorgeous place with all the public transportation, redesigns of the waterfront, public spaces and much much more.
Bordeaux, when I first visited in the mid 1980's was a very grimey and not appealing  place at all. 
When we first went back about  2 years ago, I told Victoria that I do not recognize the place I went to when I first traveled the area. 





RABY OVERTHROWS ROYER

SURPRISE

THE NEW MAYOR OF JARNAC

Sunday, March 23, 2014

GUANGZHOU



This was only my second visit to that city in the south of China. I am a Shanghai fan and prefer to find smaller suppliers in the north of China. But me starts to think I have been unfair in my assumed dislike of Guangzhou after my first visit. It was during the world's largest commodities fair a few years ago and of course everything was a whirl. Plus too many people visit that city for the exhibition which makes Las Vegas weekend room rates seem a bargain......I just did not have a good time back then.

This trip was a bit more focused on a single product group, which gave me some time to see the city as well, not just the hotel room and a trade fair. Being not familiar with Guangzhou, I focused my search for a room online not just on price but also on location, preferably close to a METRO Station. This would allow me to zip around China's third largest city and avoid the traffic. Which always tests my patience......

Definitely not in the central business district, more in a real living neighborhood I found a place on top of a station and the hotel elevator went direct from the 41st floor (my room) all the way down to the Metro.  Cool stuff. Time saved big time.

And every morning when I looked out the window I had this view of a neighborhood in the neighborhood. While the buildings around the hotel and the square were all high rise and of recent age, the block behind main street seemed old and even more residential. 
So one afternoon I made the trek across 8 lanes of traffic to see it up close. And it was not disappointing. Imagine a village. Where everything is available to enjoy daily life without leaving the village. Just set inside a 12 Million people city. I took some images, but could have taken many more. I have an iPad now, Victoria left me hers and while I enjoy it, I still feel that my pictures are not as good as they could be. Isabella needs to travel with me.

Enjoy the pictures


THE VIEW FROM MY ROOM

CLOSE UP

I NEED ISABELLA TO TAG ALONG FOR BETTER PICTURES

 RISKY STREET FOOD. BUT VERY VERY GOOD CALAMARI

SHOE REPAIR

THE ORIGINAL FOOD TRUCK

DENTIST OFFICE

HAIR DRESSER NEXT TO DENTIST

NAP TIME

SCHOOL'S OUT


7/11 - 24/7

PEACE, HE YELLED

TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE

SNAKE OIL

APPLIANCE REPAIR SHOP

AFTER SCHOOL CARE

THEY COOK IN THAT BIG POT

WATCH REPAIR (I THINK)

TAKING A BREAK

TAILOR




JEWELLERY MAKER

Monday, March 10, 2014

CLASSIC CARS




I am not sure how long this has been going on, but last month for the first time I have seen a car meet happening here in Jarnac. Every second Sunday of the month. i think it's new. I walked every Sunday morning with the dog and never saw any classic cars until last month.

Anyway. Good for Jarnac. The two Cafes along the Place du Chateau were open and doing brisk business. The weather of course helped, we hit 20 degrees around 3pm today. Decidedly chillier in the morning though.
The car mix was eclectic to be honest, a few very recent American muscle cars made it on display very much like a very Old Citroen from the early days of Automobiling. The crowd seemed eager to mingle and talk shop. I did not see any "For Sale" signs, not a big deal, but I see meetings like that as an opportunity more so than a hobby. But then, I don't even own a classic car. What do I know.

Enjoy the pictures



THE PRESS BOARD

THE VERY BUSY ALAMBIC CAFE

CAPPUCINO BIKERS










Sunday, March 09, 2014

ON THE ROOFTOP



After every heating season you are supposed to check the chimney and sweep it or have it swept. 
With weather reaching 19 to 20 Celsius, I wanted to get on the roof and check the chimney and maybe get it cleaned soon.
When we installed a cast iron oven in the dining room, a professional climbed up on the roof and inserted a stainless steel tube all the way two floors down to connect to the stove. 
I have no idea how he did it. The roof pitch is steep and fairly short, but he walked around like I would on the flat ground.
I could not do it. I stuck my head out the skylight window, got all woozy looking down, snapped some pictures and will send an email to the installer. Too high for me. Let the pro do it.

But yes, the views are grand. I could see all the way to Isabella's school and the river. Chateau Courvoisier is visible and so is the Mairie. 



IT'S A TALL HOUSE 

THE VIEW DOWN FROM THE SECOND FLOOR

THE INSTALLED FIREPLACE

RIGHT ABOVE THE OTHER ONE, ALSO WORKING WELL

SPIDERS. AND THEIR WEBS

WHAT A VIEW


CHATEAU COURVOISIER

TOWARDS THE MAIRIE

Thursday, March 06, 2014

GLUTEN FREE LUNCH



So I did buy more Bufala Mozzarella and one can only eat that many times the same salad with Tomatoes. 
Very fresh Mozzarella is not really suitable for Pizza, too watery, but sort of a perfect topping for a warm flat bread. Which in my case today was made of the second last gluten free Pizza shell in the freezer. (when are they coming back....)

All you do is preheat the oven as high as it lets you, preferably with a stone, brush the Pizza shell with Olive oil and let it brown. Since there are no toppings, that happens fairly quickly. While that crust bakes away cut up the Bufala in small pieces, I made fresh Pesto as well and when you pull out the browned crust, add the toppings right away. Lunch in less than 25 minutes. A good lunch. Gluten free. 

The second last image shows you how good Victoria's crust is made, even with half a ton of Mozzarella, that slice did not bend from soggyness or softness at all. Available at her licensees.




 MUST TRY THIS

500 F

ONLY USED HALF THAT BALL OF BUFALA

BRUSH IT

BAKE IT

TOP IT

EAT IT

 STABLE 

WWW.GFPATISSERIE.COM