17 April 2010

Three things

Our Vélux windows are here! They arrived yesterday. Last week, when Coco ordered them, he said it would take three weeks for delivery. It took one week. So good. There is a possibility that the windows will be installed on Monday.

That's the case even though we don't yet have official permission to put them in. Our neighbor-mayor said that getting such permission is a foregone conclusion, so we'll go ahead and have them put in.

Top-hinged Vélux windows for the attic room

Speaking of permits and permissions, all the paperwork we did turned out to be fairly simple except the measure of the house and all the floors, including the terrace, garage, and utility room. Now we finally know how big the house is.

Here's a photo from yesterday — the attic work is progressing.

And we know the size of the new attic room. It's about 65 sq. m./700 sq. ft. — though because of the slope of the roof, the part that is considered taxable living space is just about 550 sq. ft. Our annual taxe d'habitation will go up, but not by much. This is a tax paid by both owners and renters in France.

* * *

Carrots. The carottes des sables were very good in the veal stew. What I made was not a classic blanquette de veau, which is veal with onions and mushrooms in a cream sauce made with white wine. I added other vegetables: carrots, of course, but also rutabaga and turnips.

A veal stew with early spring vegetables, in a white sauce

I think this is a very good way to do a white veal stew. You could also use turkey or chicken. I was surprised to find good veal for stew in a Food Lion supermarket in North Carolina. And it was inexpensive — if I remember, it was only about $2.50/lb. I made a blanquette de veau while I was there, and it seemed to be a hit. Here's the recipe I use for blanquette.

* * *

The cat's name seems to be sticking. I think we are going to continue calling him Bertie. I need to ask Jan, who left the cat with us, if Bertie is a nickname, and if so, what it stands for. Not that it matters, but I'm curious. Another English friend here in Saint-Aignan says Bertie is often a nickname for Albert.

This is Bertie's "ramp" and open window.

Bertie himself seems to have settled in. We have a lot of our furniture and furnishing stored in the garage for the duration of the construction work, including a couple of mattresses and comforters. Bertie has found a comfortable place to sleep on a folded-up comforter, on top of a mattress.

Callie out by the garden shed — notice the blown-down
plum trees, and a cherry tree that is in full bloom as well.

The cat's window is open during the day, so he can roam the neighborhood as he pleases. He still spends a lot of time in the garage. He was there a few minutes ago when I went downstairs. Everything is fine when he's outside unless Callie sees him and chases him up a tree. This weekend, we are going to try to get the cat and dog together on peaceful terms.


  1. I think Queen Victoria's pet name
    for Prince Albert was Bertie. I do
    think he is one of the most
    beautiful cats I've ever seen, tose
    Aren't you glad you aren't sitting
    back in NC waiting for the skies to
    clear over Europe?

  2. i dont think he'll need the ramp...he can prob just jump up or down....i'm glad ur sticking with Bertie....he's had enuf of a change already...it reminds me of bertie wooster too.....we are hoping our daughter & hubby can make the move to paris on wed but from the looks of the ash situation, we might have them here a while longer

  3. Sheila, you are so right. My trip to America came and ended at the right time.

    Melinda, they keep moving out the day and time when flights will start up again. Now it's Monday morning in France. But the cloud overhead is just getting worse, apparently. Our skies seem hazier than usual today.

  4. Albert sounds good in French to me- plus Bertie and Callie go together. Good luck with the pet bonding there.

    I feel for the people who are affected by the volcano dust. Lewis just told me that the last eruption of this volcano in Iceland went on for two years. Yikes!

    Maybe I can find some veal here to make some stew. Thanks for including the recipe. And enjoy your lighted attic and new view of the vineyards from there.

  5. Your new space looks...so spacious. And it will be full of light.

    I saw a captioned cat photo yesterday where the cat is saying to the camera: "Jeeves is not my butler? I thought you BOTH were." Okay, so your Bertie has two butlers the way Callie has two personal trainers.

  6. Regarding getting Callie and Bertie together, how about something along these lines:


  7. Does one necessarily go up on the roof to clean those windows?

  8. Starman, no, the window pane rotates around 180 degrees so that you can wash the outside surface from inside the room. Very practical.


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