03 July 2022
Our house guests, Peter and Jill, have been here since Wednesday afternoon. They are the first friends to sleep here since 2019. We haven't really been out touring, unless you include walks with Natasha out in the vineyard. Instead, we've gone shopping a few times and we've spent the days cooking, eating, and catching up, with a lot of reminiscing. On Thursday I made a big batch of couscous with a lot of vegetables, some guinea hen leg-and-thigh sections, and braised chunks of leg of lamb meat, along with merguez sausages (made with lamb, beef, and spices). We ate more of it on Saturday.
On Friday, we bought blood sausages (boudins noirs), rillettes (potted pork), and rillons (braised cubes of pork belly), a pan gratin dauphinois (scalloped potatoes with cream and cheese), some céleri rémoulade (grated celery root in a mayonnaise/mustard/cream dressing), some salade de betteraves (cooked cubes of red beet and chopped shallot dressed in vinaigrette). All that came from a local charcuterie/boucherie (a delicatessen). Today will be P and J's last full day here, and the feast will continue.
02 July 2022
01 July 2022
30 June 2022
29 June 2022
28 June 2022
27 June 2022
26 June 2022
On another subject, we're having a lot of trouble with our internet connection right now. It started yesterday morning. When I turned on my computer, it wasn't connected to the internet. I restarted the router and it connected, but then the television froze. I think that's because it too was connected to the internet and it froze when the connnection was interrupted. I had to restart the decoder box by doing a hard reset. This morning it did the same thing. Yesterday afternoon the connection was dropped too. This morning, including right at this moment, the DSL is again dsconnected.
25 June 2022
There are two reasons for so much new development. One is the presence of the Zooparc de Beaval just a few minutes farther south. Annually, hundreds of thousands (maybe a million) visit the zoo to see its white tigers, manatees, exotic birds, and, especially, its giant pandas from China. All those people — whole families, including countless children of course — need places to buy groceries and eat breakfast and lunch. And they need parking, since I'm sure nearly 100% of them arrive by car. There are at least three new hotels nearby, and another one under construction. More and more houses and apartments around the town are being turned into vacation rentals (gîtes ruraux, Air Bnbs, etc.) You should see the miles-long traffic backups across the area on fine weekend days in summer and during school holidays year-round.
I certainly don't like the traffic, but it's not heavy 365 days a year the way it was in the San Francisco Bay Area. But I do like the bread and pastries from Cassy's (made and baked on site, they say) and, especially, the fresh produce at Terre Y Fruits. It seems to be very well managed, with reasonable prices and beautiful fruits and vegetables that seem to be carefully carefully maintained so you seldom see anything in the store that looks like it's past its prime. Above is a photo of some of the priduce I bought there yesterday morning — apricots, plums, cherries, etc. I also got delicious tomatoes and two of the most perfect avocados I've ever seen, along with a big head of local lettuce of a type (salade multifeuilles) I'd never seen before.
Meanwhile, we're having a rainy weekend with high temperatures in the upper 60s in ºF (between 15 and 20 in ºC). It definitely feels chilly. That brief idea about getting some kind of air-conditioning in the house seems like a distant dream. Or nightmare.
24 June 2022
As for the Citroën [see-tro-'ehn], I was planning to take it in for service about now. The last time it was serviced was a year ago. At the time, its odometer read 100,400 kilometers. Right now, the odometer shows 102,400. That means we've driven it two thousand kilometers (1,200 miles) in 12 months — an average of 100 miles a month. In fact, I've only put 12,000 miles (20,000 kilometres) since I bought it seven years ago. At the end of my career in the SF Bay area, I was driving 100 miles a day just to get to work and back from our house in San Francisco to my job in Silicon Valley.
Above is a picture of my Peugeot 206 that I took this morning. To me it still looks and drives like a new car. I think it's the best car I've ever owned, and certainly the one I've owned the longest (19 years). It has nearly 200,0000 kilometers (120,000 miles) on it. It's almost 22 years old. I put as many kilometers on the Peugeot annually as I put on the Citroën. With fuel prices what they are right now, it's just as well.
Over the course of my life I've owned four new cars: a 1984 Subaru, a 1990 VW Jetta, and two VW Passats (1993 and 1996 models). I've also owned a used 1966 Ford Fairlane and a used 1973 Renault 4L. Only the 1990 Jetta (and possibly the 1973 Renault) was more fun to drive than the Peugeot, which still looks like a new car. Just above is a photo of the other French car I've owned, a Renault 4 that looks like the one I had in Paris in 1981-82. The much larger and more comfortable 2007 Citroën C4 is almost 15 years old already, but you'd never know it. I bought the Peugeot and Citroën, both used, here in Saint-Aignan.