Friday, December 21, 2012

Where Have all the Chillies Gone......

We love Spice - the hotter the better. If Mrs SA had her way Chilli would be in the cornflakes, it tends to find its way into everything else. And yet here we are in Midi-Pyenee and their is a distinct lack of any spice whatsoever.

Having holidayed in Brittany earlier in the year, we had noticed then that there was a lack of spiced foods in the "Supermarché" - fair enough that they don't have a stock of "Patak's" Tikka Masala Sauce, but come on, we couldn't even buy Curry Powder.

When we planned this current outing we thought ahead, and stocked the car up with sauces and condiments etc, but we neglected the humble chilli. I'm sure we talked about it, but this is the South of France and we thought the influence of North Africa etc would be more prevalent here than in say, Berwick-Upon-Tweed. The local store in the village, "Super U", (size of a largish Spar), is well stocked with seasonal vegetables, most clearly local, but some from Spain, which isn't that far away, but devoid of anything resembling a chilli in either fresh, dried or powder form!

I think a phone call to the Avatar may be on the cards and an urgent Mail Order parcel despatched - assuming such a pungent order will make it through Customs, mind you the dog, did, so there's hope.

Another thing, much is made about the strength of the Euro against the Pound, Which at the moment works in our favour, roughly 1.22 euros to the pound. But we have been shocked by how expensive things are. Mrs SA didn't bring a set of scales, having been told that everything was in the house and apparently the lack of one has been something of a disaster, so off to the Supermarché we go. Suffice to say we haven't bought one - even the basic one that would be about £4 in Tesco retails here for about 22 euro! You can't walk into a store here and browse rows of electrical products at your leisure, they're just not available.

I've had a business idea as well - take a van back to the UK, fill it with tins of Quality Street that we last saw retailing in Asda at £4.99 and sell them here in France for twice that, call it 10 euros for cash - we've seen the self same tins on the market shelves here for 22 euros!

à bientôt

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bridie the Superdog!

Our constant companion, well mine really, is Bridie, our four and a half year old Black Labrador, which Mrs SA got me for my 50th Birthday. In the last few months she has taken to living in a Caravan, travelled the length and breadth of the UK. Been assaulted by a vet with the largest needle I've ever seen. Been subjected to the noise and stress of a four hour ferry crossing, followed by a two day drive through France to reach our current destination.

All of this achieved with barely a murmur, just the odd raised eyebrow and occasional big yawn and stretch. her only comment being, "wake me when we get there, wherever that may be, and if you could remember to let me out now and again, to do what a lady needs to do, that would be good".

Now that we are safely lodged in the cottage, both she and I have taken to walking the local tracks and paths, something we have both enjoyed, particularly as the rain is holding off and the sun is shining, (although it is a bit brass monkeys at the moment).

Bridie is good at scaring up animal life when we're out walking, Badgers, Deer, Pheasants, Squirrels etc, all of whom she has given a damn good talking too, but never actually managed to catch. However out here in France - nothing, not even a squirrel. I'm assuming that if all the "Caution Hunting" signs that are around, the locals have killed everything.

So plenty of adventures to come, at least we both hope so - we'll report back later.