la vie en rose

papier cul
dunny paper, loo paper, bog roll, papier toilette, PQ… in PINK

Dunny paperloo paper, bog roll,toilet paper, toilet tissue, papier toilette, PQ (this one is good – it’s French and so tres elegant – it’s pronounced ‘pai-cue’, short for papier cul,’arse paper’)…  So many glorious ways to label a roll of perforated paper that wipes your bits.  But whatever the name, there is a fashion here in France that never goes out of fashion – your PQ in pretty old pink.

Forget baguettes, 2CVs, the Eiffel Tower… Yes, when I think of a recurring image over here, I think of pink PQ.  In almost every home you visit, you help yourself to, pink.  In any cafe, bar or restaurant toilet, pink.  Have a stroll down any supermarket toilet tissue aisle and you goggle over mountains of… pink.  Good luck if you’re searching for non-bleached, non-patterned or basic white.  They’ll be the few small piles hidden amidst the enormous volumes of joli rose – or once in a while spotted in a public loo!

mountains of lush pink dunny paper
mountains of lush, pink dunny paper

Why?  In fifteen years of frequent pondering (nearly always whilst sitting on someone else’s loo, reaching over for their dainty pink squares) – and asking most French people I know – I still don’t have an answer for it.  I’m by no means the first person to be asking either – I have friends!  Loads of them.  There are millions of internet search engine results concerning this very discussion in both French and English.  Some bloody funny theories too.  But still no answers!

It doesn’t explain the pink, but here’s a bit of trivia – correct me if I’m wrong! – about the French and their PQ, found in my search for THE answer:  it is said toilet paper was introduced in this country at the beginning of the 20th Century, but as it was long considered a luxury item, it was only from the 1960s its use became widespread.

And in shades of pink at that.

Chic.

wrapped in France #2

“1.  a bundle or parcel.  2.  that in which anything is packed, as a case, crate, etc.  5.  to put into wrappings or a container.”  – ‘Package, packaging’ from the Macquarie Dictionary, 2nd Edition, 1981

Do you remember when I let it slip that I have a thing for packaging?  Mmn, yep, still have it and lately I feel like I’m being bombarded with even more wonderful examples of it, everywhere.  At home, at the markets, at the vide-greniers (the village garage sales – something I must absolutely tell you about soon), at friends’ houses,  in the guise of gifts from friends…  everywhere.

Colours, texts, fonts, old, new, shabby or shiny…  I can’t get enough of it – and if there’s a text or a word here or there in French, even better!  It’s amazing how much you can improve your vocabulary just reading the fine print!  (and probably a lot more educational than my dippings into, shock, horror – Voici).

At the moment I’m getting a buzz out of OLD packaging and the eg’s here are from either home (my mother-in-law is a great help here) – or from stands in the markets and vide-greniers.  I understand why people start up businesses selling this stuff – there are crazy people out there, like me, who love it!  But a lot of it can be quite expensive so I’m happy to admire it and ask permission to take a photo or two.  Yes, I think I am mad!

So here’s a second instalment of boxes, tins, bottles I’ve seen here in France lately.  I should add however, that not all these products are French.  Some come from next door in Spain (thanks to Vincent who is aware of my condition) or further afar.  But they seemed too lovely to leave out.

I hope you enjoy them!

tins of pois chiches
Tins of ‘pois chiches’ (chick peas) at the supermarket yesterday. I thought you Miss Nick might like these!
Pineau de Francois Premier
I love this bottle of Pineau from the Charentes – “Pineau Francois 1er” Not only is the label just fabulous, but the sweet, fortified wine, a speciality of the Charentes region (near Cognac, not far from Bordeaux) wine inside, is DELICIOUS! It is a family-run winery, established in the 1930s by Gaston Riviere, with the wine now made by his grandson (who greets you at his cellar in leather pants).  He said it was Gaston himself who designed and drew the label and there is a great quote on it – by him?… the ranslation:
“Women often change, Mad are those who trust them. Only this Pineau remains faithful to his King.”
Olympic Thermor iron
Don’t need one, but loved this box for an iron at the vide-grenier
Ortiz El Velero tuna
Ortiz ‘El Velero’ tuna.
Merci Vinnie.
bonbons!
a few old ‘bonbons’ tins (sweets, lollies or candy to us)
deux pigeons
‘Les Deux Pigeons’ (the two pigeons) allumettes – an old matchbox found amongst other treasures at my mum-in-law’s. Merci Christine!
Chromex hair dryer
…don’t need this either. But just love the bangs and make-up.
Ippodo tea
Adore this tin.
But it went back home with V.
carving knife
I almost wanted to buy the old knife just so I could have the sleeve it slid into!
Lipikar
My body moisturiser.  Mamy  put me onto this.   The ‘pharmaceuticals’ look is big here, but I love it for its smell
apple box
Spied this at Emmaus. Tres simple, no text but I LOVE red apples
Sanchez Romate sherry vinegar
Another item from Vinnie in Spain and oh so delicious, “Sanchez Romate Vinaigre de Jerez” – sherry vinegar
old packets
old packets for bonbons, dried beans, cream cheese…
LEO dried peas
no, it’s not a French product but it made me laugh when I saw this at the supermarket… the first time I read the box I thought it said ‘with sleeping tablet’
You try it!
Kusmi teas
a favourite at home – the whole range is great together
Offenbach
Saw this Offenbach record, “Gaiete Parisienne”, in Emmaus and loved the image
Caille and Yoghurt
The ‘Caille’ desserts are delicious. Seems like this style tub has been used for much longer than I realised.
vw car collage
Once a VW owner, always a fan.
Certainly didn’t need this, but I fell in love with the radio-controlled VW at the vide-grenier.  It is the sedan version of my very first car, a Type 3 station wagon that I called ‘Fritz’. The price was extremely high. But the man was kind enough to let me take the photo.

still rockin’

check out those heels!

So what happened there?

France-Australia-France.  A few days stretched into a few months… and whammo I completely lost touch with blogging.  It wasn’t at all planned – and I didn’t realise how much I’d miss all of this.

Now I’m staying put right here and am so extremely keen to give you a glimpse of everything that keeps me ‘offline’!

It’s been a lot of fun, catching up with everyone back ‘home’ (my one of two) – long-overdue quality time with family and friends, Christmas, tasting Aussie wines, sampling Adelaide beaches, eating out Asian, English spoken all around me, dodging the sun, dodging the mozzies, listening to the magpies and cockies. And then the angst, the dreadful countdown and finally the tears at the airport.  But I am so lucky to have made it there.

…And I am very lucky to be happy here too.  Back into Winter, some snow!, back to the stove, back in my apron, hot foods to enjoy, snails to devour, red wine instead of all thse whites, vines being pruned,  back to the cleaning, back into walking the village with Mat, back to school, back to French!…  Now the flowers are out, Spring has sprung, the vines are budding, we’re nearing the end of the scary time for frost risk, Hollande is IN and Benji’s Picpoul is tasting mighty good in the sun!

Yep, the VW’s wife is back and I hope you are well!

The spring has come running back into my step – and I feel like the dancin’ lady clicking her pointy heels.  Phew.

december to may!

so typically French!

chez le coiffeur
the barber shop in Carcassonne

Do you ever find yourself smiling at some of the things you pass by during your day?

I love those moments and have started to record them with my camera.  I can’t help it.  Everything in France seems so exotic to me, being a ‘non-Frenchie’!

Here’s some pics to share with you, but be warned!  There’s a few of them, so I hope you don’t get bored!!

baker at the market
Pierre the baker having a ‘tranquil’ pause at the morning market
Citroen 2CV
A lovely orange 2CV, shining like a beacon in the morning light
citroen 2CV
…those 2CVs are EVERYWHERE!
chien chic
‘Chic Dog’ (you know how they put their words backwards!) – every pooch needs a parlour

pooches

Hotel de Ville de Narbonne
Hotel de Ville in Narbonne flying the Bleu Blanc Rouge
Frenchy frilly bits
Frenchy frilly bits…
hanging out to dry
…and not so frilly bits
les chaussures roses
…les messieurs like a bit of pink too
Mamy Jeanne's recipe book
It’s the real thing! – one of Mamy Jeanne’s much-loved recipe books

…a Mamy Jeanne dish

(& check out the brilliant photo of her!)

our village library
And while we’re on the topic of books, I just love this. It’s the bookshelf in our local village library… gives you a small taste of what the public are reading up on! Recipes, winemaking, a history of Europe, a history of France and, bien sur, a little bit of psychotherapy.  Tres francais.
colon poster
Yes, it’s the GIANT COLON!! Be curious!! Roll up for a visit to the centre of the giant colon!… (thanks for the poster Mat, you know me too well!)
the cheese trolley
Colon health, giant ‘chariots de fromage’ (cheese trolley). Ever heard of the French paradox?
brocante
At the local ‘brocante’. This poor guy got caught, but we still hear his friends in our garden at night
french doorhandle
the doorhandle to one of my favourite brocantes
Cine
a cinema in Limoux (where Blanquette is made)
baguette in a basket
take-away baguette
a trip to the patisserie
Really love this one too. The scene, the clothing (so now!) and the little guy at the back just happens to be some Vigneron I know…
lady of minerve
a regular vision in these villages
les hommes de Toulouse
les messieurs sur les bancs

Still there?  Hope you made it!

Bastille Day

flags at the local mairie

We’ve just come home from watching the Bastille Day fireworks over the local lake and it was beautful.  There’s something about fireworks, as I looked around at all the people sitting near us, everyone had a smile on their face.

But the other highlight had to be when Benji flicked on the tele this morning to watch the ‘defile’ – the annual Bastille Day parade of French forces along the Champs-Elysees before the French president.

Those boys of the Brigade de Sapeurs-Pompiers de Paris (the Parisian fire service) put on quite a show…