Saturday, 31 July 2010

A Walk In La Guerche De Bretagne

After lunch at Mike and Violaines we took Kenzo down to the park, he started off on his bike but by the time we reached the park he was asleep in his push chair.

Rather than post a lot of pictures here I've put the rest on my photoblog. Click here

Monday, 26 July 2010

Kenzo's first steps

The ponies

The other day we had to bring the ponies back to Half Acre as they had eaten all the grass on the other land we use, unfortunately we don't have much grass here so they are on the pellets. We haven't been able to get any hay yet also, but were not too concerned as they go to there new home in a few weeks.
Normally well behaved when we walk them down the lane, not bothered by the odd passing vehicle, but this time they didn't like the tractor that came past, Paul had got the one pony so wasn't able to help as Pepito shied away from the tractor pushing me into the ditch, Luckily I was able to hold on to him, and was fine after the tractor passed, I was just glad the ditch was dry.

RIP Norman

Number Cockerel Norman was badly hurt a few months back after being in a fight with a goose, he damaged a leg and a wing, after that he was being attacked by our Bantam Cockerel, I put him in isolation and hoped he would recover enough to resume his duties, unfortunately it didn't happen, I decided to have him put down. Now these are all farm animals, but some are there for food and others like Norman are pets, a pet that had a job to do, so it was upsetting that he had to go.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Rosies Chicken Korma

CHICKEN KORMA ( for 4 people)

4 boneless chicken breasts

500g natural yoghurt

Large tin of coconut milk

120g of ground almonds

3 tablespoons garamasala, 3 tablespoons curry powder

2 large onions.


Chop the onions and lightly fry in butter till soft but not brown.

In a bowl mix natural yoghurt, coconut milk, ground almonds, garamasala, curry powder.

I used four of these pots

Add onions and using a blender whiz till smooth. Or if preferred you can keep the onions firm).

Chop chicken breast into small pieces and place in mixture.

Transfer into an oven proof dish.

I usually make it early and cover dish with cling film and place in fridge enabling the chicken to marinade in the sauce.

When ready to cook, place in oven 180c about 1hr, check to see if its cooked

When serving add some flaked almonds and coriander to garnish

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

A new blog I'm reading

By Ian Mitchell, writing from the South of France.

"It's all about food" - all about drink, alcoholic or not, all about "gourmandisme" a French word in origin, often confused. Gourmand means glutton, therefore gourmandise means gluttony!
Gourmet means "selective" - indeed "knowledgeably selective" not only in food and drink, but in general!"

"Just as a start point, I'm going to give you the menu I prepared and served to my guests last weekend. The idea is to give you an insight as to the sort of table I like to try and present to my guests, for whom I (as host) am responsible, in all senses - from their arrival.
They should feel welcome, at their ease, they should have some nice odours to welcome them, and they should be aware that they can eat or drink whatever they wish - there is no MUST....!
Maybe, before continuing, I should add that my region of France, being the South, is very particular in it's dishes, and échalote and garlic are extremely important, and consumed in enormous quantities. If you're ever there, don't be scared of eating garlic, it is rarely overwhelming with these dishes, and nobody is going to look at you in horror or move away from you in the bus/train/plane!"

To read more go here

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Someone doesn't like my blog, :-(

Gateau Basics, Rosies simple Victoria sponge.


  • 225g/8oz butter, softened at room temperature

  • 225g/8oz castor sugar

  • 4 medium eggs

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 225g/8oz self raising flour, or plain flour and baking powder

  • Milk

Preparation method

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
Grease and line a cake tin with butter and flour
Cream the butter and the sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs, a little at a time, and stir in the vanilla extract.

Fold in the flour using a large metal spoon, adding a little extra milk if necessary, to create a batter with a soft dropping consistency.

Pour into baking tin, gently spread out with a spatula.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden-brown on top and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and set aside for 5 minutes, then remove from the tin. Place onto a wire rack.

Slice the gateau in half, so you have 2 round halves, then fill in any way you choose, today I'm using strawberry jam and butter icing cream.

Butter icing


  • 140g/5oz butter, softened

  • 280g/10oz icing sugar

  • 1-2 tbsp milk

  • few drops food colouring (optional)

Preparation method

  1. Beat the butter in a large bowl until soft. Add half of the icing sugar and beat until smooth.

  2. Add the remaining icing sugar and one tablespoon of the milk and beat the mixture until creamy and smooth. Beat in the milk, if necessary, to loosen the mixture.

  3. Stir in the food colouring until well combined.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Rosies Fish, chips and mushy peas

Put flour into a bowl, add a tablespoon of baking powder, slowly add beer while whisking to a smooth consistency, deep fry your chips, place frozen peas in a saucepan with water, a table spoon of baking powder and a tablespoon of sugar. boil till they go mushy. When chips are nearly cooked remove from the fryer, put some flour in a shallow dish. pat dry your fish, then put your fish into the flour, remove and shake off the excess flour, dip into the batter, then fry, when they are golden brown remove from the oil, put the chips back into the fryer, place your fish onto your plate with wedges of lemon and the mushy peas, then serve the chips.


Don't waste the beer



What I saw today

Kieth at Breton diary and I have things in common, our hatred of VSP's (Vehicle sans permit) being the main hate, the drivers don't have a licence, there driving and parking is usually atrocious, but its not always VSP drivers who can't park, I saw this in a very busy La Gacilly today while looking for somewhere to park.


This pair of ducks, one of them semi wild were bought as a mothers day present, kept as pets and as a breeding pair, but they look so tasty now I need to buy more, I can't wait till next year to eat free range duck.

Lunch, Rosies mussels and chips.

So easy, put a small amount of wine or water, about 1cm in the pan, throw in your mussels and put on a tight fitting lid, steam the mussels till they are open and plump, serve.
Today is a fish and chip day I think, we rarely eat fried foods so I don't see a problem having chips twice, so tonight is deep fried fish in beer batter, photographs later.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Registering a foriegn car in France

So many Expats from all over Europe drive vehicles illegally in France, many believing that the authority's won't bother with them, probably right unless they are involved in an accident, then they can face heavy fines, deportation or even prison, its not complicated.
Using a Foreign Car in France

It is not obligatory to register a foreign vehicle in France unless the owner is resident in France. A resident is someone who is domiciled in France for more than six months (183 days) per year, or who is employed in France.

EU legislation

Under EU law, a private vehicle may be temporarily imported and used on French roads for up to six months in any 12 months. The vehicle must be re-registered in France if it is owned and used by a resident of France.

It is against the law for the resident of an EU country, while in that country, to drive any vehicle registered in another EU country. So a person who is a resident of France may only drive a French-registered car while they are in France (with the exception of cross-border workers).

An EU-registered vehicle must satisfy the legal road worthiness requirements of its country of registration to be legal to drive elsewhere in the EU.

Vehicles from the European Union

No duty is payable on a used vehicle imported for personal use, provided that VAT has been paid in the EU country where it was bought and it has belonged to the registered owner for over six months and driven 6,000 Km prior to entry into France.

For a new vehicle bought in another EU member state, the TVA must be paid in France unless the French Fiscal Services are provided with the original receipt stating that VAT has been paid and, and you have proof of a valid foreign registration of the vehicle.

  1. Take the vehicle's original registration documents and receipt of sale to the Centre des Impots. You will be issued with a fiscal certificate or tax clearance form. In some instances, there are customs and Tax charges payable, depending on the age/mileage of the car.
  2. Request an attestation de conformité (certificate of conformity) from the vehicle manufacturer or a certified representative. This identifies that the vehicle is of a recognised type in France or in the European Union.
    Note: If the vehicle has a recently-issued registration document which states the type approval number, a certificate of conformity may not be required
  3. If the car is more than four years old it will need to go through a côntrole technique, the French roadworthiness test; this must have occurred less than six months previously (two months if a contre-visite or re-test is required). Roadworthiness certificates from other countries are not acceptable as an alternative - the car must go through a French côntrole technique.
  4. Apply to the motor registration department at the Préfecture or Sous-Préfecture for the form: Demande de certificat d'immatriculation d'un véhicule. This initiates the process of registration. A dossier will be opened.
    • The form (Cerfa form n°13750) to register a used car can be downloaded: Click here (PDF in French)

Supply them with:

  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of residence/address (property title deeds, rental contract, utility bill, insurance certificate)
  • A copy of the foreign registration certificate
  • Copy of the attestation de conformité (issued by the manufacturer or their agent)
  • A copy of the certificate of purchase and customs clearance certificate (issued by the Centre des Impots)
  • Côntrole technique certificate if required

There is a fee due based on the CV engine power of the vehicle.

Documents should be sent to the Service des Mines or Drire which verifies that the vehicle: make, year and chassis number correspond to French homologation standards, La fiche d'homologation. This process can take two or three weeks.

If all goes well, you will be notified when you should return to the Préfecture or Sous-Préfecture, where your registration document, the Carte Grise and new registration number will be issued. All that remains is to have new number plates (plaques d'immatriculation) made and fitted.

  • See the website of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs for more: Click here (in French)
  • More information from the French government: Click here (in French)

A drawing of me

Ian, on my FaceBook posted this, I don't know if he drew it, but he says its me, I like it and am flattered.

The things you find on the Intern Looks like a school project, but amused me.
The photographs are copyright of Mandy Burrow, if she wants them removed all she has to do is ask.

How to eat with a knife and fork in England

The fork is held in the left hand and the knife in the right.

If you have a knife in one hand, it is wrong to have a fork in the other with the prongs (tines) pointed up.

Hold your knife with the handle in your palm and your folk in the other hand with the prongs pointing downwards.

How to hold a knife

How to hold a fork

When eating in formal situations, rest the fork and knife on the plate between mouthfuls, or for a break for conversation.

If you put your knife down, you can turn your fork over. It's correct to change hands when you do this, too, so if you are right handed you would switch and eat with the fork in your right hand.

If it is your sole eating instrument, the fork should be held with the handle between the index finger and the thumb and resting on the side of your middle finger.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Helpfull French Info

Service Telephone
Medical help/SAMU 15
Police/Police Nationale 17
Fire & accident/Sapeurs Pompiers 18
SOS - all services (calling from a mobile) 112

Service Telephone/Contact
Find a duty pharmacy (in French)
Enter or validate your area postcode when prompted; then chosen the time a pharmacy is required when prompted. The details of available pharmacies is given
Tel: 32 37
Find a hospital (use the map, enter department number and treatment required) Website
SOS Médecins France: After hours medical advice and help from qualified doctors Tel: 36 24
Poison treatment: Centre anti-poison Tel: 02 99 59 22 22
SOS Helpline: Crisis calls in English. Daily 15:00-23:00 Tel: 01 46 21 46 46
Red Cross hotline: Croix Rouge Écoute, general confidential counselling service in French. Open daily 08:00-20:00 Tel: 0800 858 858
Child Abuse hotline Tel: 119
SOS Missing Children: SOS Enfants Disparus Tel: 116 000
Battered Women: Femmes Info Service Tel: 01 40 33 80 60
Alcohol hotline: Écoute Alcool, confidential advice and help in French. Open daily 14:00-02:00 Tel: 0811 91 30 30
Cannabis hotline: Écoute Cannabis, confidential advice and help in French Tel: 0811 91 20 20
Drug abuse helpline: Drogues Info Service, confidential advice and help in French. Open daily 08:00-02:00 Tel: 0800 23 13 13
Tel: 01 70 23 13 13
HIV/AIDS information: SIDA Info HIV and AIDS advice in French

Information and documents on vehicles (owning, buying, selling), French Government web sit, in French.

Tel: 0800 840 8 00

What I am reading

Hidden France is a special book by Nathalie van Koot and David Scherpenhuizen about esoteric and occult locations in France.
Translated from Dutch to English here on Facebook.

The part I am reading is The Fall of the nights Templar.
Part 1
In 1307, all members of the powerful Knights Templar in France were rounded up by forces of the French king. They were thrown into chains, accused of base beresy and subjected to long years of brutality and cruelty. What brought the once proud military order to this sorry state of affairs? Read part 1.

Gotterdammerung at Acre

The fall of Acre
A century after Jerusalem fell to Saladin and the “Cutting of the Elm” at Gisors, the Christian forces in the Holy Land seemed further away from their goal of conquering the Outremer (the Middle East) than ever before.

In 1289, Sultan Qalawun of Egypt captured Tripoli. This reduced the Christian held territories to a mere handful. The most important possession was the major trading city of Acre. Besides that there was also the Templar fortress of Athlit to the South and the northern town of Tortosa. The Sultan offered a ten years truce but the Christians mistrusted him and they petitioned Pope Nicolas IV for reinforcements.

In August 1290, a motley crew of peasants from Lombardy and Tuscany arrived in Acre, where they promptly and piously raped and murdered every Muslim in sight. Sultan Qalawun demanded that the culprits be handed over to him. The Grand Master of the Templars, William de Beaujeu, had close relations with the Egyptian sultan and he urged the town’s councillors to accept Qalawun’s demand but they jeered at the Grand Master’s “cowardice and treachery” and refused. Another demand for a ransom was also rejected. Qalawun broke out in a rage at such insolence and swore to destroy the city stone by stone. He died within a year, however, unable to make good on his vow. Nevertheless, this didn’t let Acre off the hook because the sultan’s heir, Ashraf Khali, vowed to fulfil his father’s vow of vengeance. He quickly gathered a large army and laid siege to Acre in April 1291.

A month later, King Henry II of Lusignan and Cyprus arrived in the beleaguered city and took command of its defenders. He made an unsuccessful attempt to make peace with Khali. By May 8 the Christian resistance was almost completely broken. All that remained in Christian hands was the headquarters of the Templars, the Temple. The Muslim forces surrounded the tower like birds of prey and prepared for the kill.
Three days later, the Templars sued for peace and Khali magnanimously agreed to spare their lives. However, when the Muslim envoys entered the temple and started to arrogantly sexually molest the attendant women and children, the knights flew into a rage. They slew the Muslims and threw their bodies from the tower, followed by the blood-stained white flag under which they had entered. Several days later, Khali surprisingly seemed prepared to make amends for his subordinates’ misbehaviour. He invited a Templar envoy, led by Peter de Sevrey, to his camp to negotiate a safe passage. The unsuspecting envoy, however, was seized and bound. They were then dragged to within sight of the Temple, where they were beheaded in full view of the remaining Crusaders. There was no turning back. No quarter would be expected or given. Khali ordered his sappers to mine the walls of the Temple.

On May 18, the besiegers attempted to force their way into the temple. William de Beaujeu, was killed during the fierce fighting and King Henry II was forced to flee back to Cyprus. The sappers had been so thorough in undermining the building that the whole structure collapsed, crushing Christian and Muslim alike. When the dust finally settled it was all over; Acre had fallen into Saracen hands and the Christians’ days in the Holy Land were well and truly numbered.

The men who would be Pope
In 1294, a train of events started which would lead to the eventual fall of the Knights Templars. A dispute broke out between Rome’s two leading families, the Colonnas and the Orsinis, about the successor to Pope Nicholas IV. Both sides put forward candidates but neither would concede. As a time-gaining measure the Colonnas nominated Pietro of Morrone, who was a religious zealot and a strict ascetic. However, as he was already in his eighties he wasn’t expected to live very long, which suited the Colonnas’ schemes. Unfortunately they weren’t the only schemers in the game and they soon found themselves outmanoeuvred by wily King Charles of Naples, who quickly had the papal designate moved under his wing in Naples.

In August, Pietro of Morrone was crowned Celestine V. He promptly announced the papacy would relocate to Naples, much to the dismay of the main conspirators surrounding the pope; the Colonnas and Orsinis and King Philippe IV of France. There was also wild card in the deck. His name was Benedetto Gaetani, a close advisor of the pontiff who secretly coveted the papacy for himself. He conspired to force Celestine V to abdicate by drilling a hole in the wooden wall of his bedroom and whispering to the senile monk. He pretended to be an angel of the Lord and urged him to step down. He scheme bore fruit and Celestine V resigned in December. Four days later Benedetto Gaetani became Pope Boniface VIII and moved the papacy back to Rome within a month.
Throughout the next year veneration grew for the disposed pope, Celestine V, and a dispute broke out about the legitimacy of Boniface’s claim to the papacy.
In May 1296 the gods seemed to intervene in Boniface‘s favour when Celestine was found dead in his cell. It was, however, quickly rumoured that the aged former pope was suffocated at the orders of Boniface and the furore surrounding his position increased. At this time the ambitious Colonnas stepped back into the limelight, claiming Celestine was the true pope and demanding that Boniface resign. The outraged pope responded by stripping the Colonna cardinals of their revenues and privileges. They lashed back by accusing him of a long list of crimes, including an unlawful claim to the papacy and the misuse of Church funds. ‘T was all too true, Boniface, was indeed bleeding the papal treasury dry.

God's representative on earth was nothing but a puppet on a string

Later that year, the Colonnas gained an unexpected ally in the form of Philippe IV of France. The king had come into conflict with Pope Boniface when he imposed a ten percent tax on all Church holdings and revenues in France. This was another of the king’s never ending attempts to solve his financial problems brought about by his ceaseless warfare against England. The pope deemed the tax ungodly (not to mention inconvenient) and instructed the French clergy to ignore it. Philippe reacted by banning the export of all gold and silver so that the church could not send its revenues to Rome. The avaricious pope was forced to compromise and swallow the tax for the time being but he was not amused.

The Colonnas accursed
In the same year, Philippe’s financial woes increased when he was forced to pay an enormous wedding dowry for his daughter, Isabella. Philippe and his arch foe, Edward I of England, had finally concluded a peace and as a gesture of goodwill they agree that Isabella would marry Edward’s son, Prince Edward of Wales. Philippe had to borrow heavily from the Knights Templars to pay for the dowry.
In 1297 the dispute between the pope and the Colonnas reached a head after the headstrong Stephan Colonna ambushed a mule train carrying treasure “appropriated” by the pontiff. Boniface demanded that the loot be returned and that the culprit be delivered to him for punishment. The Colonnas refused and were subsequently excommunicated. The Colonnas struck back by publicly accusing Boniface of murdering his predecessor. This meant war, literally, and the pope declared a “holy” crusade against the Colonnas, who were accused of heresy (what else?).

For the next year, the Colonnas were hunted like rats by hordes of enthusiastic Crusaders, hoping to enhance their fortunes and gain remission for their sins in the bargain. The Crusaders led by the Orsinis pillaged Colonna holdings and territories throughout Italy with the blessings of the pope. The Colonnas were eventually forced to pull back to the city of Palestrina, where they prepared to fight to the end. The Colonna troops were led by Giovanni Colonna, also known by his colourful nom-de-guerre of “Sciarra” (the Quarreler).

In October 1298, the two-faced Boniface pledged to spare the Colonnas if they surrendered and recognised his authority. They threw themselves at the pope’s dubious mercy and he betrayed their gullibility by slaughtering all the people of Palestrina and destroying the city. The Colonnas went into exile. Sciarra was captured by Mediterranean pirates. To his surprise his ransom was paid by Philippe IV and he settled in Paris.

To be continued in part 2....