Tuesday, August 30, 2005


My mother wonders why I keep things like 30 year old hand held eggbeaters in storage. Here's why... I've been trying to hunt down an eggbeater for days now - to make a chocolate mousse. Which is, as an aside, one of the first things I learned to make, and was certainly the stuff of legend back in high school if I do modestly say so myself.
So, back to the batteur…After a 3 day succession of shops being closed, shops not stocking the eggbeater attachment for my hand mixer - and requiring a week delay and several forms to order said attachment,shops not stocking old fashioned hand powered ones either, frustrated stomping round the streets of the banlieu...one of those ‘my god this simple task is turning into a Homerian epic’ reached its climax of utter stupidity yesterday.

Finally I found one in a large supermarket, after walking for over 3km checking every plausible shop on the way, picked up a made in China piece of junk practically weeping with relief, and made my way to the checkout. Where it was rung up for a grand total of 28 euros. And herein began the long process of finding someone sensible to do something about it. To cut a long and tediously boring story short, the matter was resolved without the need for me to resort to physical violence, but what really struck me about this little humdrum misadventure was, that of the 7 (SEVEN!) or so people that I had to speak with to get what was clearly a simple pricing error sorted out, half of them tried to convince me that this WAS the actual price. 28 euros. For a junk quality hand powered eggbeater. When electric eggbeaters sold for 23 euros. Because thinking outside the square to ‘there has been a mistake’ was such a great mental leap.

This story in itself is as tedious and urbane as hell, I appreciate that. But sometimes it can be interesting to dissect even the most inconsequential events of daily life, it can tell you a lot about the ingrained attitudes and behaviours of ordinary folk.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Bad blogger!!

lion fish
Originally uploaded by Nyx.
I've been overly neglectful of my 'let's talk about me some more' site for the last few weeks, mostly having come down with a severe case of can't-be-arsedness. Which is funny, considering I have actually had things more interesting than my local bakers shop changing ownership to talk about. What's with that?
So the down south holidays round the beginning of august were good. Got a tan, saw some great scenery, fulfilled a few smallish life goals, all that sort of thing. The story of what I did and where I went is pretty self evident from my Flickr photo site - I might get more descriptive if I have some procrastinating to get done sometime this week, we'll see...
This past weekend we decided to leave summer behind and head up north again to visit a great aqaurium in Boulogne sur Mer called Nausicaa. Despite the fantastic November all-year-round weather they can get up there, I have a little fondness for the north. Though good sense tells me to head south and look for some sun, I really don't mind Flander-y France.
Nausicaa is a marine aquarium exhibit with a heavy focus on ocean ecology and sustainable use of the world ocean resources. The English language (sometimes a little dodgy) translations on everything were also a treat, though the excessive number of children had me making up involuntary shark food:small annoying children feeding ratios in my head. Yes, I'm brimming with maternal instincts, really.
My dearest other half seems to be going through one of lifes' spring cleaning periods, with a dedicated interest in taking up further study (in something essentially unrelated enough to raise at least one of my eyebrows) and a backburner approach to the idea of buying a property - at least not in the ile-de-France region anymore. The english instructor job is hopefully still in the works, though my repeated phonecalls to get any kind of schedule confirmation haven't met with any success yet...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Carousel racecourse

Carousel in the Tuileries. Paris, France

Boating in the Tuileries

A popular summer pasttime for kids. Tuilerie gardens, Paris - France

Monday, August 15, 2005

Daily Bread

Some new change that's been gnawing away at my daily routine and equilibrium. My favourite baker has shut up shop and her bakery has been taken over by new management.
Bakeries are probably the only establishment to outnumber pharmacies in a country where bread in plastic bags that is designed to last longer than 24 hours is relegated to some obscure back aisle of the supermarket. And choosing the right one is a tricky process. Bakery A does great pain au chocolat, but the croissants are too salty. Bakery B has superb buttery croissants but the chausson pommes is too gluey. Bakery C has lovely crusty baguettes, but their brioche isn't sweet enough. And even when they get it all fairly right, they also have to be NICE. You visit them every other day, so someone a bit more amiable than just tolerable is always welcome. Our last local baker at Saint Ouen was fairly sour, and her pain au chocolats were pathetic (cheap chocolate), so I was chuffed, upon moving, to find a lovely bakery very close to us, with great produce, not too expensive, and a charming funny lady running the place. It was with great dismay that I saw the 'closed - change of ownership' sign up in place a couple of weeks ago. It has recently reopened, and I have popped in once. But everything is more expensive now, the resident cat and kitten have departed, and strangely enough - I feel like a bit of a traitor...

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Roman arena

Arles, France

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Course camarguaise

A popular sport in the Camargues region. The aim of this sport is to remove a tassle tied between the bulls horns using a 'crochet' in a time limit of fifteen minutes per bull (normally a match involves several bulls). It's a fun sport to watch, lots of action and not at all bloodthirsty like the Spanish equivalent. Arles, France

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


The wild Camargue horse is found only on the watery plains and salt marshes of southeastern France.

Sunday, August 07, 2005


A church in the hills around Moustiers St Marie. Provence, France

Moustiers St Marie

A popular tourist spot in Provence that specialise in Faience pottery.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Lavender field in Provence

Such a cliché image, I couldn't resist. This was actually a field by the roadside and during the few days I was in this region I drove past it several times a day. There was always quite a few cars stopping to take a picture of the field. Maybe the most photographed lavender field in France?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Hill top church

Sanctuary in the most unexpected places. Gorges du Verdon, France


Trekking through the Verdon, Provence - France

Trekking through provence

Cadière de brandis, Provence - France

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Aperitif hour

There's something about the lighting in this photo which I really like. Provence, France


Detail on a wall in the town of Groeux les Bains, Provence - France

Chateau at night

In the town of Groeux les Bains, they have converted this old chateau into an open air cinema. Provence, France