Man-Trap!

Originally posted 2013-12-30 21:09:44.

an-trap
Pic: Rod Fleming

Ever seen a real man-trap?

My neighbour was given this with a load of other bits and bobs. She thought it was a toy, but closer examination made me disagree. For a start, it was quite clearly a gun of some order, but it didn’t have any kind of handle. There wasn’t a conventional trigger either.

It might have been a toy cannon, but it didn’t have a carriage. Yet opening it up revealed that it was chambered to take a real twelve-bore shotgun cartridge. Plus it’s made of very heavy cast iron. It’s just not like a child’s toy at all.

Continue reading “Man-Trap!”

Pork, Secularism, and Anarchy

Originally posted 2013-07-12 16:34:09.

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The growng French anti-hahlal movement has seized on a blatant attempt to destroy French culture

Pork. It’s such a mainstay of French cuisine, that it’s frankly impossible to conceive of French food culture without it. Every thing from saucisson to saucisses, fried, grilled, cured, dried, you name it, the French have a way of eating pork like that.

It goes back to the time of the Gauls, you know, Asterix and his lads, roasting wild boar on spits. Continue reading “Pork, Secularism, and Anarchy”

Summer at Last

Originally posted 2013-07-26 17:19:10.

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Torrential rainstorms are a feature of life in France Pic: Rod Fleming

Well, summer did finally arrive here in P’tit Moulin and the warm balmy days are back. I must say they are very welcome, and could have been here sooner. The girls are all out in their skimpiest dresses, to show off their golden-tanned skin and the boys…well, who cares about the boys anyway?

Of course, here in central France the climate is interesting, to say the least. Continue reading “Summer at Last”

Napoleon was a Big Guy Really

Originally posted 2013-07-10 16:26:52.

Napoleon Was a Big Guy Really-photo
Napoleon Was a Big Guy Really

Napoleon was actually a tall guy. Did you know that? It’s true. The legend that the great conqueror of Europe was severely vertically challenged is just that—a legend. Maybe not quite an urban myth—I don’t think they had those back then—but nevertheless, a myth.

It illustrates, however, the mismatch between the French and Anglo-Saxon worlds. Continue reading “Napoleon was a Big Guy Really”

Gendarmes, Police and Faulty Speedos

Originally posted 2013-07-08 20:55:47.

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The kind of road the Gendarmes like to catch speeders on. Pic: Rod Fleming

 My friend Antoine the potter had a little incident with the Gendarmes from Bligny not long ago. Now before I begin this tale, I feel I should put to rest a belief that has become, apparently (according to my children,) current in the UK in the last few years.

This is that the Gendarmes in France are not real police. Well, they are, and this is a classic bit of Anglo-Saxon, er, confusion. I believe it has even been aired on that odious arch-slimeball Stephen Fry’s television show; not that that would make it any more the truth.

 So let me explain. Continue reading “Gendarmes, Police and Faulty Speedos”

Slugs and Snails and Tomato Plants?

Originally posted 2013-07-01 00:40:18.

 

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My surviving tomato plant

Tomato Plants on the agenda again

Tomato plants? Well, spring in France this year was the worst I can remember, and so far summer has not been much better. By this time I should be on first-name terms with the community of lizards that live in my courtyard, but this year, hardly a hello. They’re all still hiding.

 

Mind you, it’s not been so bad for all the critters in the yard. My pet hate, les limaces, our delightful Burgundian slugs, are positively thriving. I mean, these ones are not shy, they don’t even try to hide, and they’re bright orange anyway. Maybe it’s a warning that they taste disgusting. I’ll let someone else find out. What I do know is they like my tomato plants. Continue reading “Slugs and Snails and Tomato Plants?”

Why French Men Watch the News

Originally posted 2013-06-27 23:51:25.

Ever wonder why French men watch the news? I did a piece a while ago about ‘Why Americans Go To Church’ which was stimulated by some or another piece of typical septic-tank arrogance but was really meant to be tongue-in-cheek. Kinda.

 

Anyway this is also meant to be a bit of fun.  Did you ever wonder why it is that so many French men seem so very well versed in current affairs, news, and general what’s the buzz? It has nothing to do with the Bac de Philo or anything like that.

 

This is the REAL reason:

I give you

Mélissa Theuriau

And she’s just one in a long long line of stunning French newscasters. Makes the eight o’clock news worth waiting for.

Continue reading “Why French Men Watch the News”

Finding and buying a House in France

There can be no question that actually finding a property is one of the most exciting phases of the whole process of acquiring a house in France.

The doorstep that is two inches too low to prevent the quagmire outside seeping into the house, the drainage system made of two-inch pipe that turns the courtyard into a lake when it blocks, which of course it will do several times every winter, the dripping and split gutters, the multitude of little leaks in the roof, the rising damp and the access road that has turned into a single-lane swamp. All of these delights will provide you and your partner – if you have one – with hours of after-dinner chat.

There are some serious questions to ask, though.

 

Continue reading “Finding and buying a House in France”

Bastille Day in Molinot 2002

Originally posted 2017-09-06 22:54:12.

Bastille Day is a huge celebration in Molinot, the village where I live in France. While the festivities are less impressive than they used to be, it’s still an important day. But in the early years of the century it was a huge affair, and the children from the village school all took part and put on a mime show. As always, willing adults were drafted in to help.

In 2002 the theme was The Wild West — with a very French flavour.

You can read about these in my hilarious French Onion Soup! series of books. The second, Croutons and Cheese! will be launched in September 2017. Meantime why not score a copy of the first, to get all the background detail?

french onion soup ROd Fleming