(the misadventures of an expatriate corporate dropout)

Saturday, February 27, 2010


I've got some sort of bug that has me fevered and coughy and sneezy and drippy. a couple more and I could do a snow white remake.

I spent Friday in bed and think I might do the same today ... luckily, my upholstery class was cancelled due to school holidays.

I'm bummed because I was s'posed to go to Paris this week-end for a 'fiancaille' (engagement) celebration for JY's daughter. Instead ... well, see above :-(

It has been a rather mundane week. I thought it was shaping up for fun ... I had 2 lunch dates and the weather was nice.

both lunch dates fell through and I can only gaze longingly at the weather from my window ...


otoh, it is only a cold. I will survive. here's to next week hurrying here...

PS-any of my readers more savvy with French traditions like the fiancaille ... hit me up with some ideas for a cool yet traditional gift ... she's only 25 so make it hip ... xx

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

effrayante. terror in my heart.

after the garage punk concert, I made it an early night and was on my way home by 9:45 or so. Now that may seem early to you. But 9:45 p.m. on a Sunday night in the French countryside is a wasteland. pitch black, unlit country roads ... dark as dark gets when the stars are tucked in for the night under a duvet of thick rain clouds. sleek slippery roads.

I stopped after my evening 2 beer limit (thankfully) and had a Perrier as my one for the road. My ride home is really only about 20 minutes from Les Toqués, especially on a deserted Sunday evening. Being aware that because not many people are out on the road at this time/day, I was paying close attention as I'm sure any gendarmes who had ventured out would have their caps set for a quick ticket.

I was making my way on the wet dark road at about 80-85kph in a 90kph area. I rounded a bend and up ahead in the distance I could see some systematically flashing lights. they were oddly out of place and I immediately suspected one of those random DUI stops the cops set up on week-ends to snag unsuspecting victims. as I grew closer I could see it wasn't that ... but not sure what it actually was. Just as I was about on top of the scene, it dawned on me that it was an overturned car. glass and detritus littered the road. the smell of burnt rubber and metal was in the air as I slowed and lowered my window, turning down the music. it was so fucking dark. it seemed like whatever happened had just occurred. it was eerily quiet as I pulled to the side of the road and fumbled for my purse. my heart was pounding. I immediately felt on the edge of tears as I crossed the road, repeating to myself under my breath, "please no dead people, please no dead people".

I started to get down on my hands and knees, feeling the crunch of glass and debris, and peer through the broken window...I lost grasp of what language to call out in, finally just saying 'quel qu'un? est quel qu'un la?' I heard nothing and saw the same ... and then another car miraculously turned the bend ... I jumped up and started waving my hands and bag in the air and over my head ... a man emerged from the car and also shouted, but to me ... "Quel qu'un?" I replied, "oui ... je pense mais j'ai juste arrivé" and there was a woman with this newly arriving man and I screamed at her to call for help ... then we heard someone saying "oui" ... we reached down again ... it was a man grabbed a hand and he was pulled free ... he was obviously dazed ... and kept repeating "oh, ma voiture, ma voiture" in a distressed voice and kind of shuffling about ... I returned to his car and knelt down again. The man was so out of it, I just wanted to make sure there wasn't someone else inside ... it was really impossible to see much of anything in there, but I couldn't hear anything either. as the 2 men talked, I again was struck with how dark it was and how poorly placed we were. Not wanting another accident to occur, I got in my car and made a U-turn so I was facing the damaged car about 10 feet away and put on my flashers. Monsieur was still upset about his car and I told him I thought he was lucky and in fact, he was alive! he was getting a bit more coherent now and was saying how it was his fault, he was going too fast. Another man who stopped asked him if he had been drinking to which he replied "oui, un peu ... " A few more cars began to assemble and I was being asked if I had been a passenger... I think because I was visibly upset.

Ever since my husband was killed in a car accident so many years ago, I have what I think is a considerably exaggerated reaction to car accidents. I find them very traumatic and unfortunately have witnessed 2 that resulted in deaths ... where I actually saw the thing occur and dead person afterward and those marked me.

It took a lot for me stop (of course, I had no choice) and even more for me to get out of the car and go over there. all I know is I am thankful the man wasn't hurt and even more thankful the 2nd car arrived within minutes of me. Once I realized that there were about 3 cars that had stopped to assist, all French and more helpful than I, I made the decision to take my leave. I approached the man (who I discovered also lives in Brantôme) and wished him well. He thanked me.

quite the finish to my rock hard week-end.

ridiculously, afterward I realized I didn't even know the number to call if someone hadn't arrived. now I do. dix-huit. 18. pompiers. fire department.

dix-huit. dix-huit. dix-huit.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

rock hard week-end.

I had a great week-end. Sure, the weather was still shit ... maybe a few steps up, but not great... however, I managed to get my rock on.

There was music on offer all week-end. I punked out on Friday but Saturday ... different story. Had my class in the morning (surprisingly better ... more on that later) ...

Saturday night my friends Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby were playing in Chalus (about 45-50 km northeast from me) at the Lawrence d'Arabie restaurant and bar. They have played there regularly for a few years now. Sadly, the owners sold out and it will soon be just another English pub (we're littered with them round here). Sans music. So, it was their last night performing there.

Some of you might remember during my first year here, I was having one of my lonely, what's it all about Alfie periods and Amy, a fellow blogger as well, reached out and invited me to hear them perform in the same spot. It was such a treat to learn there was a fellow 'merican (well...we KIND of own up to that - ha) not too far off. Eric is a brit, but I forgive him.... *ducks,lol*

Well I'm here to report that although I have always enjoyed them, Saturday's show reflected how even more (in my unsophisticated opinion) in tune with they are with each other as performers. Maybe in tune isn't the best phrase for it, as musicians they were always in tune. But they were cohesive, relaxed and obviously having fun. Not sure how to put my finger on it ... because before they weren't disjointed, uptight and miserable. But there was a certain degree of sympatico in their playing and harmony that was a treat to observe. Does it come from lots more time playing together? I don't know, I'm not a musician and have no clue...would be for them to verify. But I recognized a certain something. I stayed for both sets and was sorry to leave immediately after (12:30 or so)...given my drive home. I got to hear their new music (bobblehead dolls) and a song Amy wrote about meeting Eric ... amongst all the other goodness. I would have loved to hang around a bit for the last hurrah. Eric and Amy are headed back out on tour in March, I'll be posting their stateside dates here as they are announced...or stay tuned here to follow for yourself.

By the way, if you haven't listened in already, do check out Wreckless Eric's radio show. How many chances to you get to be hosted by a british rock legend, anyway?

As if that wasn't enough ... Sunday I had plans to go to an "apero concert" in Perigueux at Les Toqués. That's a polite way of letting you know it will start and end early! I was having some misgivings after I checked the site and discovered it wasn't the usual blues on offer ... but was described as garage punk. Now, those who know me know I lean towards the more soulful variety of music ... but I had plans to meet Paul and Janice so decided to soldier on ... and I'm ever so happy I did! It was a BLAST!

1st off, on arriving it was a decidedly different affair...instead of the usual laid back version of blues listeners ... it was wall to wall leather, hair gel, tats and piercing! (well except for a few of us...). The age group ran the spectrum, but the attire was consistent across generations. Thank god I was at least all in black. The group wasn't up yet ... but I spotted Paul and Janice quick enough ... and then to my surprise I also saw some faces from the previous evening. Not so surprising, I guess, since rock isn't exactly wall to wall in the countryside so I imagine fans are willing to make the hike. But Eric and Amy's friend Emmanuel was there with a (or his?) ladyfriend.

The band began to assemble and I swear to you, it appeared only one of them was old enough to have a beer!!! beard free, but with the prerequisite tousled spiked and assymetrically fashioned hair, pointy leather shoes and skin tight jeans. Thee Vicars they were and they were SURPRISINGLY good...and got better with each song. I expected I don't know what, maybe something less rhythmic and more metallic. But they just broke it on down, driving each chord with enjoyment ... and the lead singer had a signature screech (yyyeeeowwwlll) sprinkled generously through each song, accenting his high pitched singing. But they were great. They were rambling about their french tour in a big van, headed on to Spain and then ... *GASP* ... the States! I chatted with the lead singer a bit ... after hearing the news they were going to California ... in looking in on their schedule, they start at LA and work their way east for a spell ... use the link above to check out their schedule, listen to some tunes, etc. Worth a look! they were adorable, each and every one ... the drummer was amazing too.

Friday, February 19, 2010

riana inspired stairway ...

well, I've been doing some micro-projects in my house that I can manage on my own. Micro mostly because they can be accomplished in stages and are within my own capabilities. When I reach a point that I am out of my league, I pause and move on to something else.

I've been working on my stairwell. It is a typically french affair with wood steps, cheesy (before) wainscoting and who-knows-when plastered walls. The ceiling is also curvy because there is an identical stairway leading to the 3rd floor attic.

Last summer, JY started on plastering the walls above the wainscoting. Then I continued with the sanding. The problem is, there is one-third of the wall that he didn't do because he was also working on updating the electricity through that wall and so there remains a section of torn out wallboard ... behind which were old bricks which remained exposed.

This is an example of "out of my league". but I was sick and tired of looking at this unfinished area. I hadn't started on the stairs because I was waiting on the wall replacement. followed by plastering. and then a solution for the cheesy wainscoting.

I decided to move forward with the wainscoting and the stairs and the hell with the plastering for now. I covered the one wall that had the hole/exposed brick, using some old velour curtains that are ochre in color. not my favorite...but better than the hole and also helps insulate a bit (the hole leads into an unused, unheated room).

I then decided replacing the wainscoting is not in any existing budget, so I used cheap white paint, then sanded to distress and finished with a varnish coat. I then sanded (using a hand-held electric sander) all of the stair surfaces, filling holes with some weird wood filler (never found the same putty-like stuff we have in the states). It is like wet sand. It sucks.

I was going to then varnish everything (I left the risers stained, no sanding). but I was perusing Riana's flickr page and was inspired by her red cement stairs. I decided to paint the risers in my stairwell a Bordeaux red. Today I applied the varnish coat and wax to the stairwell. I'm really pleased with the progress so far. Right now, it still ALL looks unfinished and shabby, but with freshly painted walls and ceiling ... I think it will come together nicely. maybe not as pretty as Riana's, given her gorgeous antique curtained entry...but still.

I intend to paint the walls above the wainscoting an olive green ... and, based on my inspired daughter's recommendation...go with a soft grey on the ceiling ... which picks up the same soft grey on the walls of my bedroom.

The painting will happen after the plastering is done.

Jean-Yves has an upcoming small job with a client that involves wallboard and plastering. I'm going to propose I 'apprentice' myself to him for a few days and then try to tackle the remaining work in my stairwell.

the adventure continues! (I'll keep you posted on this particular micro-project's progress...)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

a kilo for a fiver!

on special down at the local boucherie (butcher) ... a random cart in the middle of the lane, piled high with pig parts and veg ... and a sign proclaiming "your choice, 5€ a kilo" ... burrow around in there and you'll see piggy tails and piggy hooves as well as slabs of piggy pork ...

when it is snowing outside, a big hotpot is just the thing.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

farkle family sewing - just call me sparkle!

as mentioned, I bought a sewing machine last week in the thoughts of taking a sewing course...that didn't pan out. But I still have visions of sewing grandeur and so made my way to a fabric store and bought loads.

after staring at the pile for a number of days ... on a particularly foul snowy morning I decided to take the thing out of the box and at least see if I could operate it. given that the instructions are all in French and I couldn't find an English version online, I was a little nervous. but only a little.

until I remembered my eyes. tiny problem. I arrived here with 2 pairs of eyeglasses and quickly proceeded to lose one pair (my favorite, of course, and the newest). The 2nd pair had been soundly abused in the states, the lenses scratched ... and were supposed to serve as my 'back-up'.

I'd been holding off on eyeglasses until my Carte Vitale was all sorted out...one of the immediate horror stories one hears about is the horrible wait for an eye doctor... I of course started calling in November or so, when I got my health insurance ... and everyone was on holiday until January. because of that, appointments were indeed backing up...so mine is now the beginning of March.

In the meantime, being Kim (and a farkle by trade) I paid absolutely NO undue care to the remaining pair ... who are now in 3 pieces ( the part with the lenses and then each side bit broken off ).

Returning to the topic of threading the sewing machine ... do you have any idea at all just how SMALL that stupid little hole in the needle is? forget about that, the drawings demonstrating the 42 step obstacle course for getting the thread to that hole was also unfathomable. for my poor eyes.

I doubt the glass of red wine accompanying the process was of much use, either.

I tracked down a needle threader in one of those complimentary hotel sewing kits. I KNEW I'd been saving and hauling around those things for a reason. I have about a dozen from my jet-setting days.

But to use the needle threading device, one still must be able to see the hole to stick the damn thing through.

So there I was. In my left hand I held the scratched remnant of a pair of eyeglasses to my face. With my (now slightly trembling) right, the threader ... after several misses, I got it through and then had to repeat the process with the thread itself...

I'm not convinced I got the thread guided correctly through all of its many stops.

I only attempted one project. I made a draft stopper for the door ... not using any of my pretty NEW fabric but some recycled curtain leftovers in a 70s mustard gold velour. heh heh. I filled it with kitty litter.

As far as adjusting the tension, refilling the bobbins, or attempting one of the 16 other stitch varieties, that will just have to wait.

For either another freezing cold day with a fire and a bottle of red.

Or new eyeglasses.

Anyone wonder why our family moniker has been "The Farkles" for as long as I can remember?

Friday, February 12, 2010

up to my neck in alligators, I mean potential projects!

okay, I've just about reached the *no excuses* stage...I've assmbled materials for innumerable projects and now have to buckle down ...

I'm still in the middle of my chair project, and now bought the fabric (a grey/taupe linen, basic) that will complement the turquoise/teal I'll be painting the legs and arms.

I've purchased bits and bobs for making brooches, just need a few jewelry type items via Etsy and can get going on that.

I've purchased fabric and ordered patterns for a few things I wish to try my hand at, sewing wise (pillows, totes and maybe some drawstring lounge pants) ... if they are decent, I'll be selling them.

I've still got a bathroom project and the rest of my stairwell project.

We're still a potential *go* on a scaled down version of the café and work will commence on that shortly.

The garden continues to softly call and woo me, each day of sunshine I feel the pull.

I have several furniture pieces awaiting *relooking* and a few bids out for custom projects.

all this awaits but what I really want to do is go to the beach.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

mother nature is a tart and a tease.

well me lovelies, we have our 4th round of snow (I only count those that stick to the ground)...woke up to about an inch in the garden ... shortly after it began falling.

I bundled up and got on the bike to get a few things in town (une chocolatine, un pain de paysan boule, une sac des tomates, etc etc). I'm going to prepare something savory and mexican today. why not?!

but really, Miss Thing needs to stop toying with our emotions ... one day its all sunshine and sprouts peeping up and birds trilling ... the next it is the calm cool silence and the glare of snow crystals! the hussy.

I mean, who is going to want to come into my freezing cold boutique and look at the spring sundresses? brrrrrrrrr!

I've stoked up a big fire in the fireplace, refilled the oil heater, put on some tunes ... made my cozy nest and think I'll try my hand at some sewing.

maybe one of those things you put at the bottom of your door to block drafts. let's see, I'll need about 34. better get crackin'

heh heh.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

glacial (glah-cee-alle)

no snow but heavy frosts, ice on the roads and cold, cold air.

bad timing to run out of heating oil (sunday)...got the delivery this morning but it will take hours to reheat the house...thank goodness for my 2 little oil heaters and my hot water bottle!! I actually was almost too warm last night and turned off one of the heaters (I had placed both in my bedroom). the boiler doesn't want to restart and belches smoke as I try .... hmmm ... allowing for age and sensitivity, I give her a break and try again ... she digs deep and starts up... I dust her off and polish a bit, I need to nurture every last breath of warmth she's got as my budget won't support a new furnace.

This morning I can see my breath throughout the house! My friend Kathleen tells me el Niño is in Oregon and it is in the mid-50s everyday....we are seriously considering a visit!

my dear monsieur and I had an amazing day yesterday. it is hilarious the simple things with which we can entertain ourselves...talk about reverting to our childhoods. a delicious lunch together, dancing cheek to cheek, scheming and plotting, merriment abounded....giggling and conspiring and generally having a wonderful time enjoying each other's company. we do marvel at how 2 like spirits found each other from across the seas ... life is strange and marvelous and confusing and ... well ... life.

le sigh encore.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

frisson de printemps...

got a little spring itch yesterday...it was a sunny day...clear and crisp...

first time this year I hung out some sheets in the sunshine...

pulled on my boots and determined to do some digging in the garden. turned up 3 flower beds. repruned the roses and pulled up the dahlia tubers. gathered up all the old capucine (nasturtium) leftovers and rearranged stone borders. Cut back all the dead fern.

Jean-Yves arrived and puttered along with me. He pruned the peach and pear trees a bit. My fruit trees are old and need nursing. The trunks and branches have all sorts of stuff that need to be removed (mosses, funghi)...these have weakened the wood and rotted some branches. It of course affects the fruit yield and quality. Being JY, he thinks I should remove them. Being me, I am trying to shape them up a bit. So yesterday I also scraped moss by hand and dug around their bases a bit. Worried that it is still going to be very cold, I didn't do too much to disturb them.

While out there, I also some some lettuce appearing. How optimistic are these young sprouts? Just a week ago we had snow ... all week we've had heavy frost, and yet the radicchio soldiers on!!

When JY was here, he saw the dahlia tubers laying exposed and tut-tutted that I better put those back (he knows me and how easily distracted I am).

Well, thankfully I did separate them and replant. This morning when I arose, the garden was blanketed in a heavy white frost. those little babies would never have made it.

I also did a bit of a clean-up. All winter, we've done this and that little brico project and the remains were piled in my small courtyard. Along with bottles and empty heating oil containers and other bits and bobs. I got the heavy duty trash bags out and bagged up a dozen big ones for the dechetterie. We have a major trip to do!

I snagged the laundry back just as the light was fading ... buried my nose in that unmatchable scent of sunwarmed cotton and got a miniscule spring fix ... we've a ways to go so it will have to last.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

and another thing ...

so I've also been taking an upholstery class. It has been interesting.

First off, the instructor wasn't sure she wanted me in her class because she has an antique shop and design business that includes upholstering. When I first attempted to enroll (through a local arts group), they posed a series of questions including why I was taking the course. Upon hearing I had a boutique, I was told I had to speak directly with the instructor before I could enroll.

She grilled me re: my business and motives. Would I be setting up an upholstery service? etc. etc. I was honest and even invited her to visit my shop. She told me that upholstery was considered a 'metier' and it required a 2 year course of study to become certified, which she was.

My goal is to familiarize myself with the techniques and if I come across an old chair I want to restore for myself or for resale, I would. But I don't have the time nor inclination to become an upholsterer.

She agreed to take me.

For some reason, the stars have not been aligned throughout the process. First, when she came by to 'visit' she informed me the class was to be delayed due to pending snow. Then, when she found out I was considering travelling in February, she was put out and quick to note there would not be 'make up' sessions. Understandable, but the world closes up in February for school holidays. Ahhh, she had indeed forgotten that and so then her attitude was reigned in.

Compounding matters, I ended up missing the first class ... sigh. The 2nd class (my 1st) went okay ... but I quickly saw that she really had zero English ... and made few attempts to make her French more understandable to me (e.g., speaking a little more slowly, etc.) I didn't earn any points by needing to leave early to head off for Paris.

The 3rd class (my 2nd) was cut short due to snow. During this class, she also invited me to join her sewing course. I was interested because they are making all sorts of purses and bags, including a bread bag ... which I've had an idea for ... she told me I would need to have my own sewing machine. So, I went out and bought the machine and then emailed her to check if there were other materials I needed. Lo and behold, the sewing class space was no longer open (hmmm) and now I have a brand new sewing machine. Also, while there at my class, she showed me a range of fabrics available for my chair ... (or so I thought). I then lugged the chair home to paint ... with my selected fabric in mind.

Then at my last class ... which was extended to accommodate the forfeited snow time ... I was told that no - that fabric wasn't for THIS class but another. She then pointed out a few fabrics that were available. The only one that didn't make me puke was a kind of chartreuse green, so in my head I worked through the paint and this fabric and decided okay. Later in the class I told her I would take it ... she proceeded to tell me maybe there wasn't enough and she unrolled the fabric to confirm that indeed ... it wasn't sufficient. She then showed me a chocolate brown linen that was off to the side that I could have for 25€ per meter and I'll need 2! She will only hold it through Monday so now I've got to go search fabric as I don't really want to spend 50€ on this little side chair. harumph. and oh, by the way, she told me that the sewing class is now finished! (why did she invite me in the 1st place if there was only one more class?!)

Much of it is the language barrier for sure. And she doesn't seem inclined to try and understand me. And for whatever reason, I find her manner one of trying to intimidate.

probably all in my head. I even showed up with a cake knowing the class would be extended 2-1/2 hours for make up time.

The others in the class are nice enough (4 other women), one who lives in Brantôme and seems she might be friends with Laurence (the instructor). All have been very cordial to me. I'm thinking it is more of French style thing and I regularly seem to lose things in translation so I'm giving the benefit of the doubt.

JY says she is more likely a typical Perigourdine! ha.

But in spite of all of that, I'm acquiring knowledge on a technique and that's great. Let me tell you, I now have a better understanding of why upholsterers charge what I used to think were astronomical prices. It is not easy work, it is physical and acquires a great degree of attention to detail. It is all, of course, by hand ... and the care taken can ensure a high quality result. But the time and effort combined with the cost of materials means it isn't to be taken lightly. or cheaply.

I've spent about 8 hours in the class now and am just arriving at the stage where the seat will be stuffed! Next week-end there is no class because she can't make it. but February 20th she IS holding a class, in spite of the school holiday and then taking a break until March 6th.

If I go anywhere during spring break, it means that I'll probably receive about 50% of the instruction time I paid for.


But ... who knows what might be possible in the weeks ahead...her store is lovely and her work is divine. I'd be happy to refer clients to her if I felt the relationship improved. Guess I'll just buck up and examine what is really going on ... how much of it is in my head or elsewhere! ha... but here's a few photos and there are more on the flickr page (sidebar) so feel free to check it out.

à bientôt!

p.s. the last class involved some heavy-duty pulling and tightening of the cord that secures springs, etc. this morning I awoke to pains in funny places (muscles in the front of my underarm!!!) ha! so I'm getting the free benefit of that as well! I must factor that into my investment...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Le Bistrot Rouge, Tocane Saint-Apre

Thursday afternoon was the monthly English ladies who lunch club. It actually started snowing a bit and I debated whether or not to go, not to mention the fact I was going to be arriving quite late because of the morning's festivities! I decided to go for it and I'm very glad I did!

I got to see a bit of a new village (Tocane St. Apre) and try a new restaurant (Le Bistrot Rouge) AND meet a cool new couple, New Zealanders Paul and Janis. They have a cozy establishment to die for, a great approach to their café and warm positive attitudes which were refreshing.

They weren't decrying winter and its lack of visitors. They were celebrating the flexibility winter provided in this country ... if it is quiet ... no reservations? ... it is just fine to decide to pass on opening today. If inspired, then go for it! Their menu wasn't just the regular french fare but had some zing.

They have renovated their little spot (maybe 25 or so covers?) quite charmingly with loving attention to detail (wood floors, stone walls, interesting artsy touches like inlaid pebble flooring and niches here and there)...The format was your choice of 2 options per course (entree, plat, dessert) as well as nice wines. All fresh and tasty.

They also are hosting 2 or 3 'chambres d'hotes', sort of bed/breakfast affairs ... the rooms were phenomenal and with a 4th nearly finished.

A lovely courtyard with a small but welcoming pool.

They just opened their restaurant in July of 2009 and I predict next season will be terrific for them. Any of you who are in this region (their village is just after Lille on the way to Riberac) ... I recommend you call ahead to reserve your spot and make sure it is on your itinerary!

Le Bistrot Rouge, Place des Tilleuls, 24350 Tocane Saint-Apre

I'm adding them to my sidebar ... they definitely make the grade!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

une (not so) petite salope!

well I've been up to all sorts of stuff, high time we caught up!

there was that dreamy trip to Paris ... I'll be saving most of the highlights for my shop blogs ... mostly prattling about beautiful furniture and décor, fashion and fashionistas.

you France grumblers will be pleased to know I finally had a less than admirable experience with some French service workers, after nearly 2 years here I'd say that was still a pretty good record.

I had my ticket in hand but had also checked out subsequent departures in case I wanted to linger in Paris (which of course I did). Naive me, I planned to board on the next train ... the friend I was staying with told me I needed to arrive earlier at the station and get the ticket changed.

So I got there (not really early, just a normal arrival for a 1pm departure) and headed into the gare. Bitch woman number one informed me that it would be 30 euros. When I asked why (my original ticket was 40euros), she just glowered and got sarcastic. When I accused her of being sarcastic, she agreed that yes she WAS being sarcastic. When I asked if she spoke English, she pointed at her sign above. When I asked for someone else who spoke english, she told me I understood and basically we argued back and forth for several minutes. I wasn't minding the time, and by the time I got to someone who would explain further (no change in situation) it was too late to take the train I wanted and the next one was 3 hours later. I felt my American rising and wanted to grab the 2 of them, 3 stooges style, and knock their stupid heads together!

I had to wait in the ever-so-dull Austerlitz station. I couldn't do much more because I had 2 giant, unwieldy suitcases. I called JY who lamely tried to calm me down over the phone. I was mostly upset because it was a weekday/schoolday and he would have to come retrieve me at nearly 10pm, 45 minutes from his house.

I was so enraged I forgot I wasn't on the usual line I take (Angoulême) and instead had opted for Limoges, which passes through JY's village. So, happily, once I remembered this, I called him back and told him I would just get off there. He too was delighted and we instead shared a beer and I came home to my pups.

So for those of you who think I'm nothing but the French Pollyanna, there - SEE? - I too can get irritated when something goes wrong here. hmph!

I came home on a Wednesday and Thursday we had a meeting with a potential client for JY. He is Irish and lives up the way. I played interpreter and it isn't exactly easy! especially with 2 fellows talking building repairs. erg. The good news on that is I think now JY can deal with him directly, I hate being in the middle of their business transaction.

Next update, I'll let you in on a great new spot for dining here in my area ... tootles!