Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy thanksgiving to all those who celebrate with their family and friends today.

I’m thankful that, through the internet, I’ve made contact with all sorts of people from all over the world. I appreciate the opportunity to learn that we are not all the same and despite this we can all be friends.

 Let’s hope that in the future, the people that manipulate these same differences to create chaos and hate will be made silent by us, the peace loving majority.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The eggs were well and truly scrambled

I was very disappointed with N.C.I.S. yesterday evening. It is very popular in France. Friday evening we have episodes of N.C.I.S. and on Saturday evening episodes of N.C.I.S. Los Angeles.

 In episode 23 of season 11, Tony finds himself in Marseille. Why wasn’t the episode filmed in Marseille? The outside shots looked suspiciously like thinly disguised Washington sets. When Tony asked for breakfast in French the waitress arrived with scrambled eggs! In a café, breakfast is croissants or baguette and jam or both if you ask for ‘petit déjeuner complet’.

In my etiquette book the question is asked “What should one give American guests for breakfast?” and the answer is that American guests do not travel all the way to Europe to be served with their own food, so give them what you normally eat yourself. (The book dates from the 1930s)

I’m sure that CBS could have done better there.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Postcards, Beaujolias Nouveau and Hyacinths

I was going to update sooner but life seems to keep on getting in the way.

 The day after Dom’s big day, the alarm went off at 3.30 am as we had the 6 o’clock train to Bordeaux to catch. I wasn’t as tired as I thought I’d be and we managed to dodge any showers thrown our way. We hadn’t been back to Bordeaux for over a year. Auction time, and there were some postcards that we were interested in. We had an excellent day, despite discovering that our favourite restaurant had closed. The station at Bordeaux seems to have had a facelift too. A new bar has opened and some very interesting shops to explore, which was a good thing as we had to wait nearly two hours for our train home.

 Olivier came home for a few days mid-month. We didn’t really see that much of him. It’s so good to know that he’s enjoying what he’s doing now and seems to be appreciated by his co workers. He might be able to move to a bank closer to Rennes next year, which could save him a lot of money in rent and transport costs. Though I won’t be able to say; “my son who lives in a chateau” anymore.

I sorted out the Christmas decorations. They are ready for the beginning of December. I even found the Advent calenders!

We had a lot of rain at the beginning of November – very serious flooding in the south, but we were okay here – just a soggy garden. The last three days have been mild and sunny; I’m waiting for the bubble to burst. This afternoon I did some gardening and planted some hyacinth bulbs.

The Beaujolais Nouveau this year is very good

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Thursday 6th November

This was the day that Dom presented her Thesis to the jury. We arrived just in time due to fog and road works on the motorway.

 The room was full of family and friends – I suppose there were 30 of us altogether. From beginning to end Dom’s speech just flowed. Her PowerPoint presentation was clear and worked perfectly from beginning to end. She just had 22 minutes for her presentation and then the jury asked her questions about her work. She answered it all with no problems and noted their suggestions.

 During question time there was a lot of coming and going as people were popping in to see how it was going and going off to lectures etc.; all in silence. Dom had suggested we sat at the back in case we found it boring. Definitely not at all!

Her supervisor ran through all of the other work she’s been doing during her PhD which was very impressive and made Rob and I feel very proud of her.

Then we all had to go out while the jury made their decision. It didn’t take too long and we all went in to hear the result; her doctorate was awarded with the note “Très honorable avec félicitations du Jury”. That’s the highest you can get.

We had champagne and nibbles and met some of the people that we had only heard about over the past few years – as well as some old friends. I thanked her supervisor (who is also vice president of Poitiers University!) for all of the lovely things that he had said. He’s a very nice man – Dom has been very fortunate to have had such a supportive department.

Dom dedicated her Thesis to J-M , her husband and also to Holly the cat who gave her love and support despite not really being interested in human dialogue.

After that, we went out to lunch and back to Dom & J-M’s for a cup of tea. Holly gave us a really friendly greeting – I thought that she might have forgotten us. It’s the first time we’d visited since helping them to move in, so it was interesting to see how the rooms looked without piles of furniture and boxes.

It was getting dark when we set off home, fortunately the fog had cleared.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Gardening question and a busy week coming up

A question for gardening experts: At the beginning of October I bought some Anemone bulbs and planted half of them in the garden. The remainder went in half way through the month. This week I have observed that they are already growing. Is this normal or has the mild weather woken them up too early? I was so looking forward to seeing the flowers in the spring.

Next week is going to be a busy one. On Thursday Dom will be presenting her Thesis. We’ll be going to Poitiers to watch and also visit their house. We haven’t visited since we helped them to move in just over a year ago. Hopefully on Friday we’re off to an auction in Bordeaux. It’s been 18 months since we were there last time. Hopefully the weather will be kind to us on our travels.

Talking of weather; it is still very mild and sunny. The news reports are still full of people swimming in the sea and dining out of doors. We are threatened with huge drops in temperatures within the next few days.

Oh, and Olivier will be home for a few days next weekend