05 February 2010

Saint-Aignan close-up

It's raining again today, and it looks like a rainy weekend. We are waiting for the sun to come up to decide if we are going up to Blois this morning.

That's always something of an expedition — it takes the better part of an hour to drive up there, and another hour to drive back, on narrow roads through numerous villages. That takes a chunk out of your day, and you have to be careful and pay close attention along the way. It's not like cruising on a big wide expressway or freeway.

A detail shot of the château in Saint-Aignan

Living the life in Saint-Aignan: when we got here in 2003, we bought a Panasonic vacuum cleaner. It was one of a dozen appliances we bought as soon as we arrived here. We've had good luck with most of them, but it has never been easy to find bags for the Panasonic aspirateur. (Did you know that Panasonic makes vacuum cleaners? That Samsung makes refrigerators?)

Our local SuperU has never carried replacement bags we need for the Panasonic, even though they have bags for countless other brands and models. The SuperU in Contres, half way to Blois, used to keep the Panasonic-compatible bags in stock, but now they've vanished. I've been up there twice since Christmas looking for them.

Looking out over the rooftops of Saint-Aignan

So we have to go up to the store in Blois where we bought the vacuum cleaner, Darty, to see if they have them in stock. If not, we may well come home with a new vacuum cleaner. A bagless one. Those bags get expensive. I have my eye on a Samsung model. With a dog in the house, it's important to have a working vacuum cleaner.

So this is life "day by day in the Loire Valley." Sometimes it's a pain to live so far from the main centers, where all the shopping is.


  1. Ken,
    I've often wondered if living a "sea change", not quite what its called in the country, would be something that would appeal. I think it would eventually.
    I said to a friend that if I lived in the country, there would need to be a very large CD shop nearby.
    He said, "surely you could order by internet or just download."
    Are your vacuum bags available on Ebay?
    Then again, a day is fun.

  2. Do you not get a vacuum cleaner attachment and bag man at the St Aignan marché? Maybe he would be able to get them for you

    Also as Leon says, ebay is good for that sort of thing

  3. We've had a bagless Dyson for years. We're very happy with it, although we've had to replace some parts -- which we've found and ordered over the internet.

  4. Hi Ellen, Walt read that the early bagless vacs had problems but the technologies have been perfected now.

    Thanks Siman and Leon, I had found some companies selling the bags for our Panasonic vac, but I hadn't looked at ebay. We decided to drive over to Romorantin this morning rather than up to Blois -- it's an easier drive. And I found the bags I needed chez Leclerc. All the Leclerc stores (Amboise, Blois, Loches, and Romo) are at least 40 km from us, so we don't go often. Now we are set for a while.

    I complain about the disadvantages of living in a rural area, but I also love the advantages.

  5. Sounds like living on my small island. I use a bag less one by dirt devil, however if it not bags it is the filters. I order my filter in bulk now. Try http://ezvacuum.com/since they are bags they can be easily sent in the post.

  6. Panasonic used to make bread machines and they were very good. I had one or two, so I'm not surprised.

    Is it the Bernardines' roof we can see in the top middle of the second photo, before the building was arsoned?

    I'll stick to arsoned even though Blogger doesn't like it, even with two 'n'. I thought in English you could make words out of nothing! LOL

  7. This was a fun slice-of-life post today, Ken :) At least you can make the time to take the trip to Romorantin or Blois when you really need to, instead of having to fit it in between mind-numbing long commutes and super long days at work :))

    Every time you mention Romorantin, I remember that the first time I ever heard of it was in your blog, when you did a series on visiting the town.

    Happy Super Bowl weekend. I'm rooting for the New Orleans Saints, simply because they have a Fleur de Lys on their helmets *MDR*.


  8. I'm sure the Saints appreciate your support, Judy. I attended the first regular season Saints game ever played. They returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. All downhill for the rest of that game, and most of the next 43 years. But I remain hopeful.

    The Saints making it to a SuperBowl has to be a sign of the Apocalypse. If they win, I suggest everyone get their affairs in order a.s.a.p.

  9. Lovely photos, especially the rooftop view.

    I can confirm that Ebay is a good source of things like aspirateur bags. It was also the only place I could get a new cover for my ironing board without travelling a huge distance.

  10. And I complain when I have to go to Sears to get my vacuum bags (4 miles away). I buy 3 boxes at a time (4 bags per $20 box). My next "aspirateur" will be a bagless one.

  11. Nadège, what I am sure will happen is that I will pay a small fortune for a big batch of bags and then the vacuum cleaner's motor will suddenly burn out. What a waste that would be. By the way, does anybody need any Epson inkjet cartridges? I have a good supply that worked with printers that have long since gone to the dump. Like new. Just give me a model no. and I'll send them.

  12. Oh, John, Go (or is that Geaux?) Saints! I think...

    We won't see the game until sometime Monday, so I don't want anybody to tell us who won.

    Has your Toyota been recalled?

  13. No Ken, my 2005 Corolla has not been recalled (yet). But if I let go of the steering wheel it turns toward the nearest Toyota dealer.

  14. Hello CHM, yes, that big building, the steep rooftop, in the second photo is Les Bernardines, which was a Cistercian convent. It was severely damaged in a fire exactly one year ago. The walls are still standing, but the wooden beams of the roof structure were destroyed. I'm not sure whether it was offically called a case of arson.
    Here is a web page with a lot of pictures.

  15. It is so true, you stock up on cartriges, vacuum cleaner bags, then the machine dies and you are stuck with all the extras you bought... and the vicious cycle continues...
    I got "flashed" yesterday in Beverly on my way to work at 4.45 am. I didn't go at a red light but stopped passed the line to make a right turn. That will be a $475 ticket. They installed the camera recently, unbeknown to me and bingo, they got me!
    In LA, they have been installing those cameras at traffic signals in lots of locations. California is broke so they have to make the money where they can. (m...e alors!)

  16. I knew about the Samsung refrigerators (they're at all the stores in Paris) but didn't know about the Panasonic vacuum, and because of the very problem you're having, I most likely would not have bought one.

  17. I was going to warn against bagless vacs, but Ellen's post may be for a newer model than the one I tried. I'll reconsider them now.

    Samsung makes very nice refrigerators. I have one, and if one can be said to have a favorite appliance, that's it.

  18. Hi Emm, I didn't know Samsung sold refigerators in the U.S. We bought ours in 2003 for one main reason: both the fridge and the freezer are frost-free. Most of the other models on sale chez Darty required periodic defrosting, which was something I hadn't had to do in many years in California. I really like our Samsung fridge too, though it is fairly noisy.

    Starman, when you arrive in a new country, you often don't find the brands and models you are used to in the U.S. Darty had a wide selection of Panasonic vacs.

  19. So sorry, Nadège. I got "flashed" like that near Versailles one day a few years ago, but the fine was only 45 euros.

  20. Nadege! $475!!??!? Holy cow! Ours here in Missouri are usually $100. How on earth can they justify $475!!!??

  21. Ken,

    My Samsung came from Lowe's home fixit store last summer. It is a bit noisy, now that you mention it, but only noticeable in the kitchen.

    I wanted a drawer-below freezer, and this has a double-drawer one. Very useful.

    Plus, it's black. I felt quite daring, buying an appliance that wasn't standard white.

  22. Emm, my Samsung fridge is white and the freezer is on top. I wanted the freezer on the bottom too, but no luck finding that.

    Sometimes the fridges here in France are very narrow and very tall. Too tall to be practical. The Samsung is of more practical dimensions. So we got this one, frost-free throughout. Nice. It's been giving excellent service for nearly 7 years now.


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