Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Harvest time!

We picked our first few tomatoes yesterday. The kids had been waiting for days for three little cherry tomatoes to ripen. Finally, Lily brought out a bunch of shop bought tomatoes to compare the colour and declared ours ripe enough to eat. They were gone before I even had time to run for the camera! Our two tomato bushes are doing ok and are now nicely staked with some reeds David picked from the lake. They still have about 20 tomatoes in various stages of growth.

The rest of the vegie garden hasn't done so well. We ate a lot of our little lettuce leaves then Puddy decided to use that trough as a litter tray so that was the end of that. The carrot seedlings (of which there were over 100 - thanks kids) never really recovered from my enthusiastic thinning out and Puddy quickly discovered that trough too. Both of these are currently covered in aluminium foil to keep her out while I decide what to do next. We also have two little strawberry plants which might produce one strawberry if we are lucky. I managed to kill a miniature rose bush in the space of two weeks - not bad! I don't exactly have le main vert as the french say!

Still, my geraniums add a lovely splash of colour to our balcony and have been flowering consistently well. They did take a bit of a beating in a storm we got the other afternoon but seem to be holding up ok. Oh, and my parsley is back on track after a bit of rough patch so all up its pretty good.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

I've still got it!

Its been a while since I've made a really big faux pas when speaking (or at least one I was aware of). But I realized last night that I made a beauty yesterday. It didn't click at the time, I only realized when I was going off to sleep last night.

I've been helping a new buddy who is looking for an apartment here. We had a look at one yesterday and I was asking the current tenant some questions. I noticed she had a really nice chandelier, and knowing that in France as a tenant, you are lucky if you get two bits of wire sticking out of the ceiling, let alone a nice light fitting, I thought I'd check it didn't come with the apartment.

So what I said was, "Cette à vous, cette jolie louche?". She must have worked out quickly what I meant as she didn't even blink, when what I asked her was "Is this yours, this pretty ladle?" Yes, instead of saying lustre which means chandelier I'd called her rather glam light fitting a ladle. To make matters worse, when I recounted my embarrassing tale to David, he pointed out that louche can also be used as an adjective that means "shady" or "seedy" - great!

You cant say I don't know how to make a good impression on people!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

La Marquise et le Roi Arthur

We are very much into castles, princesses and knights here. It always amazes me that Jasper's favourite outing is to walk up the steep hill to the castle (despite the fact that he insists that I carry him most other times.) So I was waiting for the sales to start today to get them some costumes. The costumes from Eveil et Jeux are gorgeous but rather expensive normally. I was one of their first customers today and picked some lovely costumes up at a good discount.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Worth the wait

In the two years that we've been here I hadn't dared try any of the asian restaurants. It wasn't just the thought of spicy flavours dumbed down for the french palette but also the fact that all the restaurants here seem to be a mix of many asian cuisines. In Australia, we are so spoiled for choice with asian foods that apart from combining chinese and vietnamese cuisine, most asian restaurants specialize in one cuisine. I just couldn't quite fathom a restaurant that served chinese, vietnamese AND thai cuisine.

But I overcame all that tonight when we tried the local asian place and were amazingly pleasantly surprised. David's roast duck with egg noodle soup was just about indistinguishable from that served at "The Vietnamese" in Brunswick St Brisbane! To think we've been missing out on this for the last two years (not to mention the restaurant is practically outside our front door!). Next up, we'll try going there for lunch and order all the dishes a la vapeur so I can pretend I'm having yum cha. Now if I could just get them to bring them around on a trolley...

a la vapeur - steamed

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Happy Birthday Lily

Lily celebrated her sixth birthday yesterday with six little girlfriends from school. Ah, girls are so easy! It was a much more relaxing day than last year's birthday. We played at home (dolls, beading, chasse aux trésors) and then went out to the park to play some games. I even taught them how to do three-legged races. I was happy with the cake, even though I lost creative control at the end when David took over! All up, it was a really nice relaxing party.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Lost in translation!

Here's an interesting article from the BBC about faux-amis and other misunderstandings. My favourite part is as follows:

"The other day I was reading an article in a French newspaper about how we regularly mishear words, particularly in foreign languages, and how that completely changes our comprehension of the conversation.

The writer spoke of a British acquaintance of his who was struck when he arrived in France by how much the French seemed to talk about Johnny Marr, the Smiths' guitarist.

Until the writer realised what his friend was actually hearing was "J'en ai marre (I'm sick of it)".

Hee, hee!

Sunday, 7 June 2009


I had a great 36 hour trip to Milan, catching up with Kate and Jessica. I wasn't organized enough to book a ticket to see the Last Supper but did have a good look at the Duomo and went up on the terrace for an amazing walk around. I ate some delicious pasta, great gelati and drank lots of espresso and brought home some grana, some Segafredo coffee and some yummy Bucaneve biscuits (not to mention a pack of Tim Tams - thanks Kate!)

Castello Sforzesco


Gelati with Kate

On the terrace of the Duomo

Gelati with Jessica

Milano Centrale FS (train station)