Thursday, 28 October 2010

Barcelona

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)




Tapas!


Sagrada Famillia (Gaudi cathedral still under construction)













Gothic Quarter


Markets




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!!