Monday, 26 November 2007

I'm wrecked

We had an unusually social weekend and I'm exhausted. In an effort to improve my french I've decided to hire a DVD every Friday night and watch it in french. This week we watched Pirates of the Carribean with the french subtitles on. I dont think I'd use the subtitles again. I relied on them too much instead of listening - good movie though!

Saturday we went to the fête foraine. It was fun but all the rides were too adventurous for our little petal ;-). After a quick trip home via the Courier (our local shopping centre) to see the animated Christmas mice, we headed out for our first invitation for an apératif in the vielle ville (thanks to David's chatting up all the mums at the birthday party, which was a huge success, by the way).

Sunday saw us invited out for morning and afternoon tea, also at lovely homes in the vielle ville. Our home seems rather lacking in charm after seeing all these beautiful homes in 17th century buildings. Oh, well, we do have an excellent view!

So much socializing, combined with having a cold, meant I completely forgot until last night that it was Lily's turn to supply the collation for her class today. Luckily, the fruit shop was open early this morning.

So while I go and put my feet up here are a few new photos of the kids

Jasper on the balcony before the snow melted

All ready for the party

At the fête foraine ( I knitted the orange hat)

The Christmas mice

Playing tea parties, 5 minutes ago

fête foraine. - the fair - a bit like Sideshow Alley at the Ekka

collation - the communal morning tea each student provides once a term

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Une coupe de cheveux

I managed to survive my first hair cut in France without too much trouble. Armed with some handy phrases like séparé a la côté (Thanks Gen!) dégradé and pas trop court, I managed to explain what I wanted (or thought I did!) and was able to chat a bit with my coiffeur about Australia (he hadnt forgotten). Things were going pretty well until we got to the blow dry. He kindly offered me the choice of two types - something completely unintelligible or something else that sounded like naturellement. So, I chose the latter - bad move! After about 15 minutes with the diffuser, I walked out looking like I just got out of bed (and not in a good, sexy, just got out of bed way either - that's quite beyond me!).

So I flattened it down while I walked home and then, having a good look in the mirror, I realized he had committed the same mistake that most hairdressers do with my hair. For some reason they insist on layering it through the centre when I wear it parted on the side. The upshot of this is I end up with one side much more layered than the other. So after walking around the house cursing all hairdressers australian and french (with the exception of the wonderful Jo at Brisbane City Stefan - yes, Stefan the last bastion of old ladies, I know, but she's a great cutter), I then locked myself in the bathroom armed with the scissors and layered the other side myself.

And two days on, having washed it, I must say I'm pretty happy...

séparé a la côté parted on the side
dégradé layered
pas trop court not too short

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Comfort Food

Its cold and rainy here. The sort of weather that makes me want to cook soup or yummy puddings. David still laughs about the fact that when we first met I would eat self saucing puddings a couple of times a week, smothered in cream of course. You know the sort I mean? A hot cakey pudding on the top with lots of yummy thick sauce underneath. But they were the packet kind. Lately I have started making a home made one with my mum's recipe. In fact, I think I'm going to try and make a special pudding once a week as a treat for the kids as we usually only have fruit and cheese for dessert here. So I'll go off and search for some traditional steamed puddings and leave you with my mum's recipe - its really good!

Ann's Chocolate Self-saucing Pudding

60 gms soft butter
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 large or 2 small eggs
1 cup self raising flour and 1 tablespoon cocoa sifted together
1/2 to 3/4 cup milk
dash of vanilla
Plus another 1/2 cup sugar and 2 dessertspoons of cocoa mixed together for topping

Cream butter and sugar, (do this with a wooden spoon, you won't need a beater), whisk in unbeaten egg and vanilla (optional) until creamy. Fold in flour and cocoa alternately with milk.
Pour into a greased ovenproof dish and sprinkle with sugar and cocoa topping. Finally pour over 1 &1/4 cups of hot water and bake in a moderate oven for 30 - 40 minutes. Serve with lashings of whipped cream and/or ice cream.

Make sure you cook in it a dish that is big enough!!

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Good one, Penny!

I finally got up the nerve to go into the little hairdresser's that I pass every day to make an appointment. I was encouraged by the fact that the man in there has started to recognize me, no doubt because I walk past there 8 times a day often with screaming kids in tow, while I look longingly inside anticipating the day I will get a cut and an hour off. So I went in today and the conversation went a bit like this (in french of course)

Me: I'd like to make an appointment for a hair cut please.
Him: When would you like to come?
Me: Australia! (I wasnt really listening and thought he'd asked where do I come from, having been still trying to work out if I'd said a hair cut or a horse cut - cheveux/chevaux gets me every time!)
Him: (laughs politely) Really?
Me: I come from Australia. I'd like to come on Friday please.

And so I have an appointment for Friday (which I double checked as I have just as much trouble with mercredi/vendredi as I do with cheveux/chevaux).

Still at least I've already broken the ice!

Monday, 19 November 2007


You'll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you'll be in a Slump

And when you're in a Slump
you're not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done

Oh, The Places You'll Go!
Dr Seuss

I am doing a lot better. It might be the fact that I'm getting over the gastro bug that both kids and I have had (fortunately at different times). Or that today was a milder 10 degrees which after our 2 degree weekend felt positively balmy. It could have been the two cups of strong bosnian coffee that my friend served up this morning. Or the fact that I have finally found a pair of boots I like in spoilt-for-choice-too-many-shoe-stores-Annecy (although they wont have my size until early December). Whatever it is, I'm definitely on the upswing again. Lists have been written, plans and playdates made. Yep, I'm on the way to un-slumping!

Friday, 16 November 2007

Six months!

I had a half smart post all written out about the things we've done in the last six months and how we're settling in. But I deleted it to say instead that today Lily received her first birthday party invitation from one of her school friends! One of us, at least, is settling in very well...

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

The Enchanted Forest

Last week, Lily and I finished reading my favourite childrens's book, The Enchanted Forest illustrated by Ida Rentoul Outhwaite and written by her husband Grenby Outhwaite. Its a gorgeous book published in 1921, all about fairies but set in the Australian bush with gum trees and teddy bears that are really koalas. I'd long anticipated the time when Lily would be old enough to appreciate it. She really enjoyed the story of little Anne who tumbles into the Enchanted Forest looking for her lost pet rabbit and finds she has turned into a fairy herself. Ida Rentoul Outhwaite was apparently the first Australian children's book illustrator to find fame overseas and her illustrations are just magical.

I was given the book by my grandmother, who was given it on her first birthday. Or at least that's what I remember. It wasn't until I was an adult that I discovered that my cousin Jo also had fond memories of reading this wonderful book at the family beach cottage. So I hope I didnt just pop it in my suitcase at the end of a long summer holiday at the beach. My apologies, Jo, if I did!

Here are a couple of the lovely illustrations

Sunday, 11 November 2007


As we sat down to lunch yesterday Lily said "There's white stuff falling from the sky." Our pork chops with Emily's mustard and creme fraiche sauce were hastily abandoned as we all ran out on the balcony with no coats on to have a look. It was over in about 10 minutes but it was fun while it lasted.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

The Honeymoon Is Over

Maybe its just been the stress of the last week but I feel like I've left the honeymoon phase. Remember the four stages of culture shock. There's the honeymoon phase where everything is wonderful and exciting and the people seem sooo friendly! This is followed by the rejection phase where all the little things about the new country start to annoy you. Apparently this can lead in to the regression phase, where your home country seems wonderful and you wonder why you left. If you make it through this one without packing your bags, you eventually hit the recovery phase, where you finally start to feel comfortable in your new country.

I'm not sure where I am, somewhere between the rejection and regression phase, I think. All I know is that yesterday, while enjoying what should have been a moment's peace with a wonderful chocolat chaud and a tarte aux pommes in one my of favourite cafés, I just felt lonely. And then I started to think about the things I used to do in Australia and the family and friends I used to do them with. I suddenly had an urge to run out and watch The English Patient (which I really didn't like that much) or some other Merchant Ivory production, weird hey?

And then I hit you tube to find the Cruel Sea singing this song and I found myself searching for INXS and Hunters and Collectors. Oh boy, I think I've got it bad! Sing it Tex...

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Autumn colours in Annecy

And I wonder if this little symbol for tomorrow's weather on the weather site actually means what I think it means..."What's a flurry?", David and I said to each other...I think we might be about to find out!

Wednesday, 7 November 2007


I'm back. What a week. I could write for ages about what has gone on but it would only depress me and bore everyone else, I suspect. So here, in as few and concise bullet points as I can manage, is what I've done this week...

- nightweaned a very reluctant Jasper due to possible dental issues. Let's just say he did not give up without a fight (especially the first night).
- restrained Jasper at a doctor's appointment while he was weighed and measured, all the time screaming and looking at me through teary eyes as if to say "why are you letting them do this to me Mummy?"
- restrained Jasper again at the hospital laboratory for a blood test ordered by the doctor who thought he looked pale. Anemic? Surely not? I thought...
- listened as another doctor explained he has pronounced anemia, has had it for a while and it has slowed his growth
- realized three guilt filled hours later that the doctor also said that once his iron levels are ok again he will start to catch up (its so hard not being fluent in french, when it comes to important health issues)
- restrained Jasper yet again while he took his first dose of iron
- brushed his teeth at least 35 times in an attempt to stop a dodgy little grey spot becoming something worse

Actually in point form it doesn't sound so bad. And I realize that these issues are not life threatening and that we have at least discovered the anemia before it became even worse. But then there is the guilt. I am the mum...I should have known, I should have realized...

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Going to be scarce

Its been a crappy week here and I've just made the decision to nightwean Jasper. Its going to be hard and loud and sad and I wont be blogging much until we're through the worst of it. He'll still be sleeping with us and I'll be with him every step of the way (no control crying here) but I'm not looking forward to it and I cant think of much else for now. I'll be back in a few days...