Sunday, 31 August 2014

Almost Back to Normal

Hello dear readers! I'm back from our short sojourn away from home, and you can read about it over here on the View from the Teapot. I'm trying to remember to do links between my two blogs, so that followers here can find out about other things I write about over at the Teapot.

As I wrote, I was slightly disappointed by the Tables d'Hotes that we had: it was perfectly adequate, but I was expecting something a little more "special" for the price that we paid. It was 22€ (£17.50/ $29) per person, which gets you a very good meal in several of the restaurants around here. Instead we had something that I could have cooked (and fairly regularly do cook!)(apart from the pudding) - mushroom soup, spaghetti bolognaise and crème brulée. No cheese course, and we had to buy our own wine! 

Anyway, I have started back meal planning, and after rather too much food while I was away I am also back to fasting twice a week - although when I start working on Monday and Thursday I will reduce that to what I call a "semi-fast" in that I have an egg for breakfast as well as a soup-y lunch. It probably goes over the prescribed 500 calories but it's still less than I normally eat!

SUNDAY (today): As I forgot to take anthing from the freezer, I'm going with what I've got in the fridge, so we're having cheeseburgers, HM potato wedges, coleslaw and salad.

MONDAY: (fasting): Vegetable curry and 25g dry rice. No recipe: just lots of veggies in a bit of bought curry-paste.

TUESDAY: Lemon pork pittas except we're having them in tortilla wraps, as I bought 8 for 35p (yellow label) when I was in the UK.

 Source:goodhousekeeping.co.uk
These will probably also be served with coleslaw if I make enough tonight to last through till Tuesday.

WEDNESDAY: It's Mr FD's birthday so we're going out to a restaurant where we know we'll get fed good food cooked by an ex-Michelin starred chef, for about the  same price as the mushroom soup- spag bol combo! Example menu being: 
Terrine de foie gras maison
Rable de lapin aux morilles, légumes et gnocchi
Fromage,
Assiette gourmande

Source: le-relais-durfe.fr
 
THURSDAY: (Fasting) Beef with aubergines This is a recipe from one of my charity shop purchases: The Dukan Diet recipe book. 
 
 Source: amazon.co.uk
 
It doesn't say how many calories are in it, and I can't be arsed working it out, but as it's mostly veggies + some meat I'm guessing it's not that many! I imagine it's hovering round the 400 mark, which is fine, thank you!
source: realfoods.co.uk
 
FRIDAY: "Something from the Freezer" says my menu plan. So something from the freezer it shall be! I don't know what though.
 
SATURDAY: Cheesy chops and chips I haven't made this in donkey's years, but we used to enjoy it, so I hope we still will! We'll be having this with a side of green beans.

***
Some of my lessons start next week, but I'm having a gentle start, as my full-on timetable doesn't start until the week after. I've already done quite a lot of my planning, so tomorrow I have decided I'm going to clear, clean, rearrange and change the kitchen cupboards...I'm not sure that they are being used to the best advantage, so I'm going to try to remedy that. I suspect it may take most of the day!
 
I have lost some of my pupils, as groups have finished their hours, or individuals have decided to stop, but I've picked up a couple more telephone lessons and one day a week of group work. That's down near Clermont - an hour's drive away - but for 6 hours work (with travel expenses paid!) that's okay.  So, from the week after next I'll be working 6 hours on Monday, 3 hours face-to-face and 1.5hrs telephone on Tuesday, 6.5 hrs face-to-face on Wednesday, 4.5hrs face-to-face on Thursday, and 2 .5hours telephone and 45 minutes face-to-face on Friday. Goodness me! That's practically full time!

source: teachinguru.com


***
Thank you, as always, for your comments - I love hearing from you!
To Marigold Jam, Vicki and Kezzie - yes, it is frustrating to have the fair right outside - the thumping music has started now (3.00 on Sunday afternoon) and we expect it to continue until late tonight (but hopefully not too late!). I don't know, but I guess there may be a restriction on how late it can continue on a Sunday night, wheras on Saturday, it's a free-for-all! Still, we discovered on Friday that our ear plugs are quite efficacious in blocking out the noise.

Claire: If you can get to Crosby beach "Another Place" can be easily viewed from the promenade...I imagine your mobility issues can cause you some frustration at times. Does it limit you severely, or can you find ways around it? It seems to me that the UK is more aware of disability than France is. The so-called toilets facilities for the disabled are often laughable! (Though, if one was disabled, I hardly think one would be laughing at them - rather screaming in annoyance and frustration!)

PomPom: Thank you for your lovely comment. I missed blogging too, so it's good to be back. I'm going to try to blog a little more often, but that just depends on how busy I am with my work.
 

 

Friday, 29 August 2014

Another post on another blog...


Just to let you know, I've written about some of my favourite books, with some recommendations for those who love to find new authors to read, over at the View from the Teapot

Books...one of my addictions!


What about you?

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

All (or none!) of the Fun of the Fair!

This weekend is the St Just Fete Patronale - an annual event of fun and festivities for all the village. But Mr FD hates it, mostly because of the travelling fair that sets up in the square outside our house - and that is right outside our house...We have a lorry parked so that there is no light through our windows, and the funfair goes on until midnight or beyond, with flashing lights, tinny music and the crash-bang of dodgems. We have also, in the past, had altercations with the people from the travelling fair, which almost resulted in violence.

If we lived anywhere else in the village, this would be a fun event to visit, but it just gets Mr FD wound up, as we can't escape it. Except we can...

We are going away on Saturday. Hopefully the weather will be good, and we can go for a walk, or even take the train up the Puy de Dome. Mr Fd is talking about taking his bike, but I'm kind of hoping for a bit of together-time!


We are going to stay one night in a B&B, La Maison du Chevalier, not too far from here, in the Auvergne, which looks very nice:


It is run by a Dutch couple and the review in Le Figaro says:
Maison-chalet années 70, la «Home Sweet Home», de Wim, de Patricia et de Jeff n'attire pas le regard. Son attrait est intérieur. Dans l'amour de cette famille pour ce «pays» d'eau, de montagnes et de tablées. Le temps d'un sauna ou d'une séance de relaxation, dans les chambres joliment aménagées ou lors d'un dîner terroir, leur «pays» inspire la détente. 

So maybe we can have a sauna too!
We haven't had a holiday this year, and as I am taking on more work, we mightn't get one until October half term, so this is a little treat to keep us going.

We are going to have to batten down the hatches before we leave - there will be fireworks on Saturday night in St Just, and while the Pookies* don't seem too bothered by them, we think it will be best to close all the shutters to keep the noise out as much as possible.

I'll let you know all about it next week.


*our friends' name for a group of dearly beloved cats.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Remember me?!

Yes, I'm back...I spent 7 weeks in the UK, mostly working, but some relaxing, and then 5 days back in France with my Godson staying. Today is reallythe first day I've had to myself  since I don't know when!

My working time was great - I was working with the Kids Department (6 - 9 year olds) and I had a very enjoyable time. We went out to lots of different places - the Science Museum, the Hawk Conservancy Trust, various wildlife and farm parks, and some theme parks too - as well as doing some "cooking" (peppermint creams, chocolate crispy cakes, chocolate truffles - nothing that actually needed a cooker!), a nature walk and lots of craft. Plus learning some English along the way! I was very glad that I went back this year, as I had had some doubts about going, because I had a fantastic time.

Every Thursday the Kids Dept teachers would sneak off to the pub...partly to make sure that David, our Head of Dept got a break. But partly to enjoy some socialising together as well. On our last Thursday we decided to have a meal as well, so here we are enjoying venison burgers at the delightful pub, The Pot Kiln.



It was good to have the chance to catch up with my mum as well. After my 5 weeks working I travelled up to Liverpool to see her. We went out for a couple of meals - once to the Salt House Tapas bar in Liverpool One








We enjoyed the food, especially the goats' cheese served with honey, but decided it wasn't as good as another Tapas bar in Liverpool, called Lunya.

I visited friends in Milton Keynes, and then went to my God daughter's wedding in Guildford. It was a lovely occasion, even more so because I hadn't expected to enjoy it very much. This was because I didn't expect to know many people there. However, I met up with Ros and Paul, two friends of Jane (mum of my Goddaughter, friend since primary school) who Mr FD and I  had met and got on with very well about 23 years ago. We started chatting and it was really lovely to find out what they had been getting up to and so on. My God daughter looked beautiful, and it was a truly joyous day.

Then, I arrived back in France on Monday and Mr FD travelled by train halfway up France to meet me so I didn't need to drive the whole way. Bless him. How kind was that?!

My Godson arrived on Tuesday to spend some time with us - we visited some pretty villages

and did some touristy things

We went to Lyon and went on a guided tour of the traboules - we went on the French tour and though the woman wasn't a very good guide, I am happy that I actually understood the majority of what she was saying. Unfortunately, she used a microphone that conveyed her voice to us through a headset, but she obviously hadn't been trained in the use of it. Hence, at times her voice was very loud, at other times it just faded away into a mumble, and she tended to bark with laughter at odd times - all very disconcerting through a headset!

It was a real delight to spend time with Joe, only marred by the fact that his grandfather died while he was away, so he knew he would be returning to the funeral and all the grief and mourning associated with a death of a close relative.

And now I am back at my desk, starting to prepare for my teaching to start on Friday. It has been a really good holiday/working time though so I can't complain. I hope I haven't lost too many readers since I have been absent for so long! I will have to find time to catch up on your blogs too! Forgive me if I have not been commenting, but I hope to start doing so now I'm back, even if it's just a few words.



 

Sunday, 22 June 2014

I've been a bad girl!

...and I haven't posted for two weeks. Last weekend I spent Saturday cleaning (because, after all, if I notice it needs cleaning then it really needs cleaning! And I noticed!) and Sunday preparing for a lesson. I have a new student, 3 hours a week, high level, who is a "Yellow Belt" trainer for Six Sigma change management. Well, this meant nothing to me so I had to do some research and plan quite meticulously. I was really worried, but Pascale was delightful and the lesson was fine  - despite my being 20 minutes late as I hadn't factored in enough time to allow for traffic caused by the closure of the motorway for roadworks.

This weekend I had to write reports on a course that's ending tomorrow, and bake flapjack for my students (typical British biscuit) I also made a cake to take to the Church barbecue which I have just got back from. It was a delicious cake - here is the recipe - although I made it with peaches and raspberries in place of strawberries. Happily (for Mr FD, who, on sampling a piece, announced it was too good for church (!) ) everyone pigged out on meat and salad and crisps, so puddings weren't very popular. I brought most of the cake back home and have stowed it in the freezer to keep Mr FD happy while I'm in the UK

Yes, even after two years where I ended up in tears because I struggled to control the brats dear little children I'm going back for more. I'm working with Lines Summer School in Newbury. This year I know I'm working with the Kids programme (6 - 9 year olds) so I'm feeling more confident about that!
I'm leaving next Tuesday (1st July) but I don't know how long my contract will be for - it depends on how many children there will be...no problem. I know that I'm returning back to France on 18th August after my Goddaughter's wedding, so I just have to fill the time up between my teaching time and the wedding...it might be three, two or one week!
I hope that this year will be the year when everything goes swimmingly, I don't end up weeping and I'm glad that I went (and not just because of the dosh!) Last year the first two weeks were awful (older children, couldn't control them) and the last two weeks were great (Kids department. No tears. Felt I did a good job. Loved the guy who is the Head of Department.) This year I'm starting with the Kids so fingers crossed...

Here are some pictures from last year:

Robin, one of the other teachers, trying to interest the children in...not sure what! Note how fascinated they all are (not)
Can't remember his name, but he was a delight to teach. The child was nice too...!  :-)
Hawa, senior teacher, sitting on a giant tortoise at Marwell Zoo. Because that's what you do.
Me, looking windswept on a walk. Somewhere. No idea where.

Anyway. here are my menu plans for this week (after which, I won't have to plan food at all, as it's all provided. I just have to be careful not to eat too much!)

MONDAY:
Veggie bean burgers - mix in the freezer already - with salad and wedges.

TUESDAY: (Sort of fasting)
Manchego & Chorizo Quesadillas + salad

WEDNESDAY:

Steak, chicory & orange salad, new potatoes



THURSDAY: (Sort-of fasting)

SpicySaag aloo + chicken thighs 

FRIDAY:
Out. At a restaurant.


We did this the Thursday before last - I get home late on Thursday so we decided to go out. It was great as Mr FD and I sat and chatted, without the distraction of the TV. We had good food and supported the local economy too. We are probably going to continue this next September...However, as Mr FD wants a good excuse to miss a Committee Meeting, we're going on Friday: it's a kind of "Goodbye Fat Dormouse" too, before I head off.

So, dear readers, don't be disheartened if there are no posts for a couple of months...I may find time to pop in and comment during my time away, but I may not. However, I do appreciate you all, and your comments, so please, don't forget me  and come back to find me in September.