Sunday, June 27, 2010

More Monet

Here are a few more photos from Giverny.

Where did your kindergarten class go for a field trip?

Near one of the bridges that Monet had built was this little cluster of row boats. Standing across the stream from them I instantly understood Monet's obsession with light.

If you don't know his story, his life, his work, his family and the search of the elusive light that he strived to capture in his paintings, go now and reward yourself with his story.

Next is a photo of the lovely woven branch edging on both side of the meandering stream and the larger ponds. I'll have to look close at the paintings to see if these are visable.

Here is my *most interesting man in the world*, looking very french, doncha think?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Heating Montegut

Photos of the original fireplace. I can almost stand up in the opening, it was used for cooking and to heat the house, in the beginning. We even found the original long handled pan used for making omelette's. There is no damper, affording a clear and wide view of the sky. Nice view, but bad for keeping a fire lit in the rain. The heavy cast iron plate at the back of the fireplace helped deflect heat into the room.

It is currently used in the winter for heat (no other heat source!). Although, the chimney is damaged so the draw is weak, it is still in use everyday in the winter months. There are now 4 fireplaces in the house but only one is used. There are 2 chimneys, one on either end of the house, the tops of both have been damaged over the years and are now below the roof top which causes a weak draw. When the large section of roof tiles over the hayloft is replaced the chimneys will be built back up another 20 inches or so, and a cap will be added to prevent rain from entering and will improve the draw.

Because it is REALLY cold in the winter.

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And, if you have, thanks for reading.

And, if you have, thanks for reading.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Odds and Ends

We saw 17 Deux Chevaux cars (Citroen 2CV) on this trip, an all time record! Considered the Car of France, the last production year was around 1987. They are adorable. Little buggy eyed headlights, canvas roll-back sunroof and very small. They are like the runt of the litter, can't help but want one. Remember the Pink Panther movies?

French women are beginning to wear Brown, it may be the end of an era. I said 'beginning', Black was still predominate.

One-third of our English words are from French words, it is all about the pronunciation (say: Pro Nun C A Shon) see, you already know a lot of French. Voila!

Euros are minted in each EU country, one side is consistent through-out the union, the other side is different in each country. Interesting to see where they come from.

Also, there are no paper 1 Euro bills, only 5,10, 20 and 50's. The coins come in 1cent, 2 cent, 5 cent, 20 and 50 cent equilvilents, plus the 1 and 2 Euro coins. The edges on each coin is different, as are the sizes.

There are National toll roads, nice surfaces and with many rest stops, fuel stations and resturants along the way. The french can't go very far without a good cuppa or a meal. Those highway resturants are better than any you will find in California fast-food stops.

The country really does close for lunch, from 12 to 2:30 don't expect any shops, banks or markets to be open. And don't wait past 1:30 to find a place to eat or you'll loose out.

Small resturants might have one bathroom... you might have to share. It is a good idea to carry a small pack of tissue, just in case.

Opening a bank account is a long and arduous experience.

All lettuce is called Salad.

Their Used Furniture are Antiques to us. Think about that....

Frenchmen do not wear white socks, but are not afraid of color. They can get away with it, fuschia, turquoise or bright yellow. And they have the confidence to work it.

The average French person is pretty dissatisfied with their politicians, too.

Farmers pay for their own health insurance. And you thought is was socialized medicine? Well it is, but if you are self employed you do not receive this benefit. It is payed if you are on company/business payroll, as a tax.

You cannot buy Aspirin over the counter in a Pharmacie (french spelling).

Diesel fuel is called Gazole, and about 80%-85% of autos are diesel powered. That same percentage of cars have Manual Transmissions. Fuel is sold in liters and would average about $6.50 a GALLON!

Country roads are very narrow have no center lines and it is a bit harrowing to pass another car and if a tractor comes along, yikes!

On any road the french driver follows WAY to close, at highway speed they are less than a car length, so close you can't see their headlights. Some call this the "French Intimacy"

They are bracing for an even weaker economy this summer. The price of milk is lower than it has been in many, many years for example. The Greece debacle outraged everyone and now they are waiting for Portugal and Spain to follow. (I am only repeating what I heard)

Levi 501's cost about 100 Euros. Surf/Skate t-shirts are popular, most of these shirts are literally translated and barely make sense!

Desperate Housewives is a very popular TV program. Too bad, they don't also watch Discovery or PBS.

Every French person we have met has been patient and delighted that we try to speak their language. If you have a different experience, well, it is said that "Paris is not France"

And, if you have, thanks for reading.