Life in the Center of France
Life in the Center of France
Thursday, August 20, 2015
  Bright Ideas...
6600lbs of fine Loire Gravel later and we have a 3" deep rocky courtyard fit for...US!  Yes, it took us 2 weeks and a day (due to a rain delay or two) to get the job done but it looks great!  All the islands of flower areas, (formerly actual gardens) are now re-defined and though Mucca and Cara Cature are wary of the sound of gravel underfoot (theirs and ours) it sounds good too!  A bit bumpy in spots but that'll even out with time.  There wasn't enough to finish the job, true, but the next 2 sacks will lay in paths to the barn doorways and fill in the areas in front of the gate and barn doors that require digging out before covering.  We're both very pleased with the results.



We've got about another 18 days 'til we fly away to California for the winter season.  The "plan" is to go back, finish the bloody bathroom renovation project (long in the tooth!) with all it's plumbing and tiling, do some interior painting of the stairwell and landings (William perhaps?!) and whatever other creativeness creeps into the schedule.  Then return to France in early March next year, take care of loose ends here at Maison Blanc then drive the coast route down to southern Portugal (Fado!) to spend a month or six weeks in their lovely clime in a rented apartment or house.  Maybe day-trip it to Morocco for a short break while we are at it. That's the plan so far.

Today? Well we are taking a day for a Bourges visitation with all that means.  First up is the fabric store east of town towards Nancy named "Mondail Tissues".  All manner of sewing projects have come out of that store over the years of us in France. Curtains, window dressings, wall coverings for many rooms and, of course, clothing.  It's all there somewhere most of the time. 

Then to the "Junk" store, actually "Troc 18", a chain of stores that are really "brocantes" that is good quality, sometimes great, of household furniture, fixtures, odds and ends, all used or just old in reasonably good (sometimes new!) condition. 

Then to "Grande Fraise", sort of a high end "Trader Joes" grocery chain here in France that we love for it's huge variety of fresh vegetables, wide assortment of food stuffs from around the world and specialty meats cut by a real butcher on site!  Sort of a miniature, lower cost without the hoopla "Whole Foods" experience.

We'll follow that by going to "Lidl", a small market chain that is basically a "canned goods" store, low cost, some fresh vegetables, cheaper cuts of packaged meats (I'm big on the ham!), cheap booze and wines (a wonderful South African white is a real BUY at 2 bucks a bottle).  It's clean, well organized, well lighted and takes a US credit card! 

Then off we go to downtown medieval Bourges to lunch at our newest "find" a Japanese restaurant named "Cosy Délice".  We ate sushi and sashimi there on our last sojourn to Bourges and I was struck by how very good the restaurant was.  Food was 5 stars, the setting was quiet and simple bespeaking the Japanese esthetic quite well.  I wrote the Yelp entry right afterwards and you can see we were quite pleased.  Another try today!

Kelly will want to go to "H&M" to examine all things clothing back in the center of town and I'll drift into "FNAC" to check on the technical scene.  Maybe an icecream from the kiosk near the parking lot.  Then to the "Carefour" super market for cat litter and dish soap and whatever else we didn't pick up at the other stops.  It's HUGE, got everything under the sun, excellent quality and variety.  Our favorite supermarket.

The home.  It's a full day of gawking and shopping in Bourges and not the last one before we wander off France for California.
 
Monday, August 03, 2015
  Cara-Cature's Big Night Out
Meow!  Yesterday was day 4 for laying in the rox we bought for the courtyard improvement.  As part of the festivities I allowed Mucca and Cara-Cature outside to roam and explore.  Hesitant was the main feature of the exploration efforts by these two.  Cara would just barely exit thru the laundry room door then turn about and slink back inside.  Mucca was somewhat reticent in the beginning but gained confidence and soon was on his windows sill jumping down to the big square rocks below.  This went on all the while we were "at it", me wheel-barrowing 100lb loads of rocks to the courtyard, Kelly spreading them with her "boot dance" and then clipping out the raucous weeds and berry bushes that make up the inner courtyard thicket.  No fun that! 

Soon after the 5th load I had tired and was ready for a break and a ride to S&D's home to water their garden while they are away, and water we did!  They have the now required water collection system that allows roof rain water to be stored and used as a water saving measure.  It's a requirement if you live in certain towns and area of this fine country.  We should have been doing this for all the years gone by in California but...oh noooo...we just couldn't do anything as Liberal and Progressive as saving precious rain water for slimmer times.  So we didn't and haven't.  Anyway, watering done we headed home and rested our now weary bones(from the rock spreading exercizes).  Backaches anyone?

In the evening I set out the chairs, cushions and umbrella for our table and we prepped for a wine sipping evening read OUTSIDE!  The 1st time this year!  A nice light accompanied the warmish sunshine, making it nearly and ideal scene.  As the sunset advanced we finally broke camp and headed inside for dinner.  We had Swordfish marinated in Mirin and Soy Sauce with shallots, basmati rice and a watermelon/tomato salad.  Having finished we cleared the table and headed up to the office to watch some TV as is our habit.  My duck headed off to bed a bit earlier than I did.  I played 2 games of chess (won them both!) and headed off to end the day by reading my latest read "Adrift" about a man who survived 67 days on the Atlantic Ocean after his sailboat sank during a storm at sea.
A true frightening tale and an excellent read for the adventure and sailing/boating fans.






As I finished my read I realized that my bed partner (Hur Majesty Cara-Cature) had not made the scene.  She ALWAYS come by about this time to say goodnight and cuddle a bit before she wanders off to sleep at the floor of my bed or on the floor nearby as any decent service animal should.  Soooo after I turned off my Kindle and turned over to sleep I became disturbed by her absence.  After a few minutes I got up and began my hunt, the time was 10pm.  In my hunt I went into my kitchen-of-doom only to find the door wide open to the courtyard!  Shit, shit, shit! Damnit Lute, you forgot to close the f'n door!  Oh boy.  So ventured back upstairs to admit my failings to Kelly who was hunting for her too.  We both went room to room looking in/under/around and through all of her typical nesting places, no Cara was to be found!  We finally at 11pm went back to bed hoping she's come out from her hiding place or we would find her in the morning.  I had closed the kitchen door by then on my last round there.  Zzzzzzzz, zzzzzzzz, a bit later, about 1:30am Kelly yelled "Cat fight! It's probably Cara!"  So down we went, Mucca leading and thre open the back door, Kelly went to get a flashlight and here come Cara, her tail 3" in diameter all fuzzed up mewing all the way and shaking in fear!"  She had a small nose injury (other cat or berry bush?) but was alright.  Earlier I had seen thr Yello cat run from my kitchen area to the gate and disappear down the alley.  She slept on the rug against my bed until after 11am this morning.  Apparently no worse for wear.  We love our cats.  You should have seen Mucca when we had gone back to bed after the 1st hunt...his head thrust between the banister posts looking woefully down the stairs for his sister.  Sad indeed!
 
Lignieres, France; village life and times as witnessed by two adventurous Californians with a taste for food, wine, castles, ancient Roman sites and old piles of rock (houses).

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Location: Lignieres, Cher, France

I am a happy sort, an optomist forever, and love a good joke. I'm quite sociable and I LOVE Life. I'm loyal like a puppy and I'm quite happy by myself as I grew up an only child, but I like parties and formal dinners with friends. I am also a cook and would rather cook than eat.

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