Friday, October 28, 2011

Look out – there’s a Chatterbox in the house!

We’ve been suspecting it for sometime, but now it’s official.  We have a chatterbox in our midst and it comes in the form of our 4 year old daughter, Frankie.  Don’t get me wrong, up until this point our house has been far from quiet.  She has 4 very boisterous older brothers and when they are home there is no peace.  But the boys noise is different (accordingly to my husband). 

My husband is not known for his chat, he’s more of the strong, silent type.  On the rare occasions we talk (usually about 10 minutes in bed in the morning with a  cup of coffee in between interruptions from the kids), we mainly talk about the business (have you ordered this or that, did you remember to phone so and so, don’t forget to do that estimate at 4,30 etc etc).  If it’s not the business we’ll maybe discuss something concerning us about the kids or occasionally we’ll have a heavy discussion about how the world is doomed!  He comes from a fairly quiet family, none of them could really be described as chatty people.

I’m happy being quiet and don’t feel the need to talk all the time.  However I think the chatty gene (if there is such a thing), definitely comes from my family.  My Mum is a chatterbox.  She is always talking.  She often wakes my Dad up in the night to talk.  My Dad is not known for being talkative and I think I probably take more after him, although.I can chat with the best of them when I choose!  My Mum’s family are serious chatters.  They really could chat for England.  My Mum had one uncle in particular who used to come and stay with us in the holidays when I was young.  He was always talking.  Not so much to you, but at you.  He would follow us around the house talking and talking and if he thought you weren’t listening (which we often weren’t), he would keep tapping you on the arm to get your attention.  Now that is really irritating!  Once he even followed my Mum to the loo and carried on chatting outside the door while she went in!

Anyway, we’ve noticed more and more how Frankie seems to have inherited this family trait.  She talks a lot and most of the time it has absolutely no point.  And she won’t stop.  She just goes on and on and on.  I don’t like to interrupt her and we always try and let everyone have there turn to speak, but there are limits!  She’s even started the tapping on the arm thing -  oh no!! 

It wouldn’t be so bad, but I think it might be contagious.  My husband was actually telling me something yesterday morning that had absolutely no point whatsoever.  He was mortified, that’s never happened before!  Is it his age perhaps or is our daughters chattiness rubbing off on him?   Whatever it is he needs a remedy quick, or heaven forbid, he might turn into a chatty man!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Loto in France

We’ve just had the daily stack of advertising papers through the post box and I usually just add them to the pile of papers to light the fire.  Today, however, I decided to sit down and browse through them while waiting for the kettle to boil.  I came across one advertisement “LOTO GEANT” that caught my attention.  It was advertising a Loto coming up in a local town – you can win a car, so it wasn’t an ordinary one!  As I flicked over the advert, I had to smile.  It’s in the local village hall and one of the main advertising features was that it is 'Très bien chauffée', which means its very well heated.  I can just imagine all the old dears noting this very important fact.  A rather telling indication of the people they are expecting to attract.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Love what you Hate

I know it sounds simplistic, but did you realise that if you really hate doing something, just tell yourself you love it and it won’t seem half as bad.  You might even find yourself enjoying it!  

I discovered this about a year ago.  We had a big party for New Year’s Eve, as we always do.  It was 4.30am when the last guests left, I turned round and just groaned.  We’d had entertained 30 people for a 5 course dinner followed by champagne, party poppers , drinking and dancing into the early hours, so you can imagine the site I saw.  “Never mind Nicks, I’ll clear it up in the morning” said my husband.   New Year’s Eve is my birthday and I always spend the entire day preparing and the evening serving and entertaining.  It was a good night, but I always hate the after bit.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mummy, do they say hello or bonjour?

This week I'm linking up again with Windmill Fields Expat Blog Hop
This weeks subject is Parenting: bringing up a multilingual- mulitcultural family.   

We are an English family living in France.  Our children are being brought up bi-lingual.  They speak French exclusively at school and speak English exclusively at home.  Is it difficult – not really.  It’s amazing how adaptable children are and how quickly they learn to cope with switching from one language to the other.  We’ve never made a big deal about it and neither have they. James found his own way of asking whether he should be speaking French or English when he used to ask "Mummy, do they say hello or bonjour?".

When we first moved here 7 years ago we did consider whether it might be better to try to speak French at home to help the children adapt at school, but to be honest, our French really wasn’t good enough and I think it would have been more of a hindrance than a help.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

7 Things I love about Living in France

We recently passed our 7th anniversary of living in France and it’s got me thinking about our lives here and how much they’ve changed – mostly for the better.  However, looking back though the posts I’ve made over the last few months, I noticed that many of them could be interpreted as negative.  No peeing outside please, The problem with English Teachers in France, Certficiat Medical Sportif, Why? for example.  ‘Family life in France’ is positive, but apart from that, an outsider looking in may get the impression I’m dissatisfied, which is not the case at all. 

There are always things that bug you wherever you live and there’s something very cathartic about sharing these gripes and finding others out there experiencing similar feelings.  For those of you who enjoy a good moan, I’ve got a list of things that annoy me to entertain you in future posts.  But, despite my complaining (I am British after all), I’m far happier here than I’ve ever been in my life.  So, I thought it might be good to share with you some of the many things I love about France and 7 seemed an appropriate number:

Friday, October 7, 2011

Certificat Medical Sportif - Why?

I’ve just signed my kids up for their new after school activities for the year.  James and Luc are doing Judo.  Not sure this is such a great idea and hope they don’t practice on each other, but we’ll give it a go.  Frankie's signed up for dancing - she’s just turned 4 and has been looking forward to starting for a year.

In France, enrollment for activities is usually in September and you pay up front for the whole year.  Its an expensive time, especially when you have 3 little ones.  There are lots of papers to fill in of course, this is France.  Luc and James even have to apply for a licence to do judo.  A licence?  Why?  You just fill in a form, pay 34 euros and they give you a piece of paper which says Licence on it.  What is the point?  Just more paperwork and another way of making money!  I can understand perhaps for adults, but for children???

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Best Fig Chutney in the World......ever!

When we first moved to France 7 years ago we didn’t miss much, but we did crave for Branston Pickle.  However, since discovering this delicious recipe, Branston no longer makes it onto our wish lists of goodies to ask for when we have visitors from the UK.  In fact I struggle to think of anything now when I get the inevitable question “What would you like us to bring you from England?”  “I don’t mind what you bring, as long as you don’t bring the weather,” is all I can think of these days.

I haven’t blogged about food before, mainly because so many people out there are doing such a fine job of it. BUT, it’s that time again, when the fig trees are laden with fruit, you’ve eaten your fill, you’ve made some jam and are wondering what else to do with the basketful of figs sitting on your table.  Sound familiar?  No?  It must be just me then!

Anyway, for those of you who are lucky enough to have a fig tree in your garden, or (like me) have a generous French neighbour who delivers a basket of figs to your table, then here is one of my favourite recipes: