This time last year… I was actually spending most of the time trying to make my work… well, work; by sitting at the end of the 15m cable that led through the wall and to the landlords’ link to the internet. Not only that but I was sitting on a wooden chair in an unheated utility room/corridor. Combined with the internet dropping out anyway I wasn’t too successful. The extra extension lead that eventually arrived from ebay.fr meant that I could now get a direct internet connection working from the living room. Enough of that, I have already talked of the internet issues.
Our landlords were very welcoming and had invited us to their poker nights – our first experience of Texas Hold’em. Jim approached the game pretty seriously with green baize, proper poker chips and, eventually even an electric card shuffler. Each night (and there were three or four monthly ones) was loosely divided into two halves – the first being when Delia and I bumbled our way through until we lost all our chips; we’d then share the food we had all brought and the remaining players continued whilst us others chatted. The others were usually two and a half other English couples who had been in France for up to 10 years. One couple ran a bed and breakfast in a beautiful chateau that we later saw on a property program as it was for sale.
One night, Sally and Jim invited us to an entertainment night at a nearby pub. Jim was an entertainer and ran a quiz with some good music ranging from 50‘s to mid 80’s. Jim was particularly good company as he and I shared a lot of musical history in that I had listened and seen the same bands that he often knew. It’s a pity in many ways that we hadn’t found a suitable house nearer to them, we’d have had a ready-made social life we could just drop into. But then perhaps a slower building up works better in the long run?
From the country in which one finds Chateaubriand, it surprised me how hard it was to find a decent steak at the supermarket – they were all too thin usually no more than one centimetre (and the sliced ham was too thick). The answer of course if to go the butcher, or the meat counter, and ask for “entrecote deux centimetre epaisseur s’il vous plait”. Faux filet (more or less sirloin) or rumsteak works too.
However steak in a Brasserie, even though thinnish, a bavette is always just right (at most medium, its illegal to eat well-done steaks in France). Oh and “jambon, trés fine” works well for the ham “problem”.
This has been a cold week – figuring out how to thermostatically control the central heating helps a lot; I don’t have to get up in the cold to turn the heating on now. It comes on if it drops below 13.5C at night and 20C during the day. There’s been a scattering of snow and taking Sienna for a walk leaves a trail of four paw and tongue prints (where she lick the amazing white stuff). I’ve also fitted a timer for the whole boiler so when we no longer need the heating I’ll still not need to get up to turn the water on for a shower overnight