15 November 2008


The news this morning is that the Air France pilots have reached a tentative agreement with management over their retirment age. The issue was that the airline wanted them to retire at 65 instead of 60. The pilots say that after the age of 60 their physical and mental acumen is no longer sufficient acute for them to be flying an airliner.

Lots of reds in the yards and vineyard right now

I can understand that... since I'll be 60 in a few months.

Out along the road, in the neighbors' hedge

I took the car to the mechanic yesterday. He's over in Noyers-sur-Cher, near Intermarché. I carried the under-engine shield into his office and showed it to him. He said he could get it re-attached for me next Wednesday morning. And he said it was fine to drive without it for a while.

Blackberry leaves

Taking pictures these days is difficult. When I take Callie out at 8:00 a.m. there just isn't enough light. And when I take her out at 5:00, there isn't enough light either. So the pictures are blurry. Sorry about that.

Shrink-wrapped duck legs for making confit de canard

It might be turkey season in the U.S., but here in Saint-Aigan it's duck season. This is the time of year when the supermarkets, especially Intermarché, have an oversupply of ducks and duck parts to sell. So they put them on sale. I think there's an oversupply because this is when the ducks are processed to produce foie gras de canard for the end-of-year holidays.

Despite the price printed on the package, I paid 2.99€/kg
for these duck legs — about 7.30€ for the package of six.

When I went over to Intermarché yesterday, I bought 6 duck leg-thigh sections (cuisses de canard) that I will put up for the winter as confit de canard. That's a way of preserving them by cooking them in duck fat and packing them completely covered in the fat in a crock or jar so that they are protected from the air. They will keep fine in the downstairs pantry, which is not heated. More about that over the next couple of days.


  1. i'll be 60 in a few months too.....guess we better fly our planes while we still can!

  2. I hope this means that your friends will have an uninterrupted vacation :)


  3. I just made confit de canard for the first time last week, and we had some for dinner last night. Delicious!

    If only those duck legs were so inexpensive here. I paid about $6 per package of two frozen, so $18 for six.

    I'm looking forward to reading about how you do it and seeing your photos!

  4. Ken
    I would like also to know how you make the confit de canard. I buy the legs fresh here in September/ October ( when the price is low otherwise it is 4 to 5 times more) and I froze some of them for over the winter ( usually to cook a la Jacques Pepin with parsnips or marinade them for frying to be eaten with a green salad).

    Thank you

  5. They actually didn't even want to up the age limit to 65, they only wanted to change the law so that pilots and stewards/esses *could* retire at 65 if they wanted to work a few extra years. Which is why everyone has been so angry with them, they pretty much went on a four-day strike for nothing. My co-worker was also affected by it - we flew from Tunis to Paris Friday and he was supposed to go on to Madrid, but his flight was canceled and had to be rescheduled for Saturday.

  6. Well, Sam, I'm sure the unions see that "option" to work longer that the established retirement age of 60 as the thin end of the wedge that will force a lot of people to work longer. After all, Sarkozy's push is to get people to travailler plus. The rest... well, that's just a promise. Fact is, it's all a power struggle and a jockeying for position. It's kind of like the "I want the right to work on Sundays" thing. How long will it be before not wanting to work on Sundays will turn into a negative for employers. Do you think employees really have a choice in such matters, without union rules or national legislation?


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