Friday, 3 December 2010

Snow 2010

In an attempt to not let this blog die off completely, here's a pic of some of the snow we had this week...

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Monday, 1 November 2010

To the french trick-or-treaters

who rang our buzzer at 10pm last night....

Firstly, I'm sorry my husband sounded like a grumpy old bear and told you not to ring our buzzer because the children were asleep. You see, when you stand in the corridor, giggling and wearing a face mask, we just think you're being obnoxious teens.

A good way to avoid this in future, might be to actually say something, like, oh I don't know, "Trick or Treat" or whatever the french equivalent is. This way, those of us who don't actually give a shit about Halloween (which includes us and most of your compatriots) might realize what day it is and what you are doing. And we might actually have shared our late-night stash of hazelnut chocolate with you. But now you'll never know!

Thursday, 28 October 2010


I took a little three day break last week in Barcelona (as you do). I met up with an old friend and her mum for a quick look at the sights and a lot of reminiscing. Definitely a place to return to for a longer stay

On the bus tour of noteable sites (Gaudi and others)


Sagrada Famillia (Gaudi cathedral still under construction)

Gothic Quarter


Fantastic flamenco show

More Gaudi

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Pascal Croci

I'll be settling down a bit later with a bande déssinée by Pascal Croci, who has fast become my favourite BD author/illustrator. Well known for his work "Auschwitz", I first read his books about Dracula and was captured by his unique illustrations and gothic atmosphere. Tonight, I've borrowed Gloriande de Thémines, the story of a Countess who lived in the castle at Sévérac le Chateau...the village where Croci lives with his partner and collaborator Françoise-Sylvie Pauly. It should be a good read, especially on a cool autumn night...

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Retour des Alpages 2010

Well, what's to say that I haven't said in previous years? This is always my favourite day in Annecy (except perhaps for the first day it snows!). The Retour des Alpages is so much fun and has become the official start of the cold weather food menus chez Giorgi (this means we can officially start eating melted cheese, although I do wait til at least November to have a fondue!)

We take a tour around rue St Claire in the morning to look at the animals and the displays. Then, we come home and eat our first raclette of the season at lunch and then pop back out to watch the parade. This year's parade was notable for some last minute bumrushers (I mean, really, who stands right in front of two little kids?) and some very close encounters with the cows (but fortunately not their horns!). But it was a lot of fun.

Raclette (my two favourite types of raclette cheese are fumée - smoked and lait cru - raw milk)

The mayor himself (again!)

The geese (still my favourites)

Those crazy cows (well, actually these weren't the ones who nearly squashed us in narrow rue Filaterie, but their horns were just as pointy)

You never know who you might meet...

Seen recently at Gatwick International Space Station...err Airport...

Friday, 1 October 2010

French classes

Time to update this blog with more than just trips back to 80s aussie music...

I've just finished 4 weeks of my french classes and I am loving them. I go every school morning (that is Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday) between 930 and 1100am. This gives me just enough time to drop the kids off at school, have coffee, prepare lunch, go to class, come home from class, finish lunch preparations and go back and get the kids from school for lunch. Two afternoons a week, I have been roped into english conversation lessons with two local women which I am enjoying giving. Add to this, the occasional extra child at lunchtime, swimming lessons, music and double-bass lessons for Lily and life is very very busy.

The french classes are great and I am so glad to have found them. Although the students are not obliged to come every day, there is a core group of about six of us (all women) who are there most, if not all, days. We come from all over - Asia, Eastern Europe, Western Europe and the UK (well, they're part of Europe but anyway...). Although some us speak english, our common language is french. We are part of group 3 (out of 3 groups) and all have a pretty good level of french...enough to permit us to joke around and really get involved in our classes. It can be hard to get a word in sometimes! Our teachers are mostly retired teachers and we have the same teacher for each day of the week... a Monday teacher, a Tuesday teacher and so on. This allows some continuity of teaching even though there is no set curriculum as such.

As for my progress, I don't know if it shows in my speech, but I do feel like I am making some. If not, at least I am having a lot of fun and making new friends. And I think I finally understand the rule about when to accord the past participle with the Complément d'Objet Direct, which I have never been able to understand, so that *must* mean I am making progress!!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Missed it by that much...

Would you believe the Hoodoo Gurus played in Montpelier on Monday night and are playing Paris tomorrow night? I would have gone! Instead, I am at home listening to Tojo and remembering the UQ refec back in 1985...

Sunday, 26 September 2010

When the cat's away...

the mouse stays up late playing with youtube...

Why did they keep messing with this song? It never got better than this...

Monday, 6 September 2010

A good rentrée all round

The kids did great with the rentrée this year. Both are in mixed grade classes, have excellent teachers and were lucky enough to score their best friend in their class. I had my rentrée today when I tried out the first of my four morning a week french classes. I was very impressed with the Monday teacher, who quickly adapted her teaching to my level and that of my other classmate (there were only two of us in our group). I'm really keen to see what the rest of the week's teachers are like. But for now, at least, I know I'll definitely be going Mondays.

All smiles this year!

New slippers for a new year

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

La rentrée 2010

Yes, well, we are back obviously. It was an amazing holiday and we've spent the last two weeks enjoying summer, but that's all over now, its the rentrée tomorrow. I love the rentrée. Not only because the kids are close to killing each other and need some time apart, but because its like the start of a whole new year and autumn is just around the corner.

On which note, I will announce my two new year's resolutions and let's see if I follow through with them. The first is to find a good french class that wont break the bank (meaning I cannot afford to go to IFALPES or CILFA for intensive classes, much as I might like to). The second is to find a volunteer position that fits in well around school, the kids, after-school activities and my french classes.

So first things first. I just got off the phone from an amazingly friendly french woman who told me all about their FREE french classes, four mornings a week from 930 - 1100. Did I mention they are FREE! And to top it off they are literally around the corner from home. They are run by volunteer retired french teachers. A different teacher does each day each week and you work on different things - there is no curriculum as such. There are 3 levels, so you are with people of a similar level. And there is no requirement to come all four days (thereby leaving at least one morning a week free for marché/café with friends!). So I will be trying them out next week and will go to each session to see how they are. She also invited me to her home for a soirée she runs for foreigners (I did mention she was friendly!)

If I don't like those classes, there is a french class at the MJC Annecy-le-Vieux, that I can enrol in on 9 September, as I don't live in the area. And I am waiting for a call from the teacher that does the french class at our local MJC. So I have lots of avenues to pursue and really no one to blame if I don't get a class organized this year, given both kids will be at school mornings and afternoons.

As for the volunteer position, once I get the class sorted I will go and see the volunteer association who helps coordinate all the positions and see what I can do.

So on that note, bonne rentrée à tous!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

So behind

We are now about 5 weeks into our 6 week trip to Oz and I have finally got around to blogging. After a hectic trip including a little broken arm at Heathrow, we've been on the go ever since. First stop after a few days in Brisbane to get over the jetlag was the grandparent's farm at Rosebank...

collecting the eggs

in Gran's veggie garden

Wallabies on the front lawn

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Bravo Jasper!

Jasper learns to ride without training wheels...a little more practice still needed, but he's off to a good start

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

End of year update

There's not much time for blogging now what with birthdays, end of school activities and organizing to be done for our first trip back to Oz in three years. So here is the short photo version of the last couple of weeks....

Lily's 7 year old birthday cake

Pin the tail on the donkey at the Maternelle fête

Father's day

Jasper learning to ride without training wheels (a little more practice required)

Our new parasol

As usual all the kids in the Maternelle sang a selection of songs for the parents that they have been rehearsing all year. In the interests of privacy I wont post the videos but here is one of my favourite tunes that they did...

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Summer gardens

The town gardeners have been very busy removing all the spring bulbs and planting the summer flowers. This photo was taken in the Square de l'Eveché, a favourite park. Obviously, its got some growing to do but I think its nice.

But look closer...what is that strange feature shrub in the middle...could it be?

Yes, it is! Lantana! A favourite bush when I was a kid, due to its strong smelling flowers that come apart easily and can be chucked all over your friends. But oh, the hours I spent in my garden in Ashgrove digging out this bloody bush only to have it grow back time after time...

Friday, 4 June 2010


I woke from my drug induced sleep this morning at 7am to the sound of a circular saw. At first I thought it was the work starting on our roof. Our building is covered in scaffolding and they are due to start the roof next week. But it wasn't. It was much worse.

When I went downstairs I saw that the building across the canal from us had been gutted by fire overnight...the restaurant, at least two apartments, one of which I had watched them restore over the last few months. Luckily, it appears no one was seriously injured, although 13 people were taken to hospital for smoke inhalation and 40 were evacuated. My neighbours tell me the flames were horrifying. Apparently the firemen were on our balcony but I didn't hear a thing. I am almost glad I slept through it and only have to see the aftermath. But my heart goes out to those poor people who've lost their homes and jobs this morning. I know this is one of the risks of living in the old town but seeing this poor burnt building really brings it home...

Thursday, 3 June 2010

First party

Little man got his first birthday party invite from a schoolfriend last week. He's growing up! Here he is ready to go to the party with the obligatory present from Jouet Club...

I feel better already

Just looking at this big pile of medicine prescribed by my doctor made my two day atrocious headache start to ease*. I love you France...a true hypochondriac's paradise...

*It could also have been my doctor reassuring me after a thorough neurological exam (close your eyes and touch your right knee with your left ankle and so on) that I only had a sinusite and probably not a brain tumour!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

First randonnée

We put off doing any bushwalks with the kids last summer as Jasper basically didn't like walking, anywhere! Now that he is a bit bigger, we thought we'd give it a go. Its a nice walk up to the forest here, as you pass the Basilique and then not far along there are a few different trails to choose. We walked for quite a while through the forest, collecting sticks and rocks and seedpods, and then took a trail down to Sevrier where we decided to check out a restaurant called "Le Poisson Rouge" which had been recommended ages ago by a friend. We had a fantastic seafood lunch (well, Jasper ate steak haché although Lily turned her nose up at her's and I don't blame her - it was bluer than blue! Jasper gobbled it down.) Then we walked back home along the bikepath and the lakefront where possible. All up, the kids did wonderfully, considering that we walked 10.5kms!