The Powers That Be.
I wish they had someone else to pick on for awhile…..
The details of settling in…..
For a reason known only to the mysterious Powers That Be, our telephone, which worked perfectly fine in the Vendée, with the internet and ADSL line, causes the internet and ADSL line, here in the Lot et Garonne, to become 'il n'est pas synchronisé'.
In other words: All f***ed up!
I have to buy a new, Livebox Approved phone…. From the telephone company…
For a reason known only to the mysterious Powers That Be, our Titre de Sejour (residence permit) and Carte Vitale (health insurance), both of which are perfectly fine all over France, cannot simply be transferred from the Vendée to the Lot et Garonne, they must be reapplied for, with the masses of paperwork that any application for anything entails.
Apparently the Départements in France are not speaking.
On the other hand, for a reason known only to the mysterious Powers That Be, our Facteur (postal carrier) showed up right on schedule with the 'free' calendar and a gracious smile when, in exchange for the 'free' calendar I 'donated' 10 euros to the postal Christmas fund.
I expect the Firemen will not be long behind with their calendar.
Funny how things work.
We went to our local, big town, yesterday to buy the new phone and get the list of required paperwork from the authorities.
We ran into a bit of a 'bouchon' (lit: cork, but meaning traffic jam).
At all of the intersections and roundabouts the Gendarmes were busily directing traffic.
We hadn't a clue as to what was going on as we slowly crawled into the center of town.
As we got nearer we saw a trail of corn going in a circle around the roundabout.
Ah, we thought, some poor farmer is having a problem with is grain…. leaky trailer or some such.
Alas, we were, once again, wrong.
The farmers were protesting.
There was a very large tractor pulling an even larger wagon that was very slowly drizzling corn down the center of all the streets in town.
This was being followed by a very large wagon carrying big, round bales of hay.
Periodically, a forklift would grab a bale and toss it to the ground. It would then be set upon and torn apart by a group of (I assume) farmers with pitchforks, and set on fire.
All of this action was carefully watched, and guarded, by the Gendarmes.
Not cleaned up….
Wouldn't want to upset the protesting farmers, now would we?
Well, they did have big tractors and pitchforks….
What were they protesting?
Not a clue.
I protested the amount of time it took us to get through the mess.
No one listened.
Bet they'd listen to this:
Slow-cooking lamb in wine is typical all over France. This uses red wine, similar to the version made in Avignon. The original is slowly baked for 5 hours in a 350F (180C) oven; I opted for a slow braise on the cook top. After 2 hours the flavors have blended perfectly and the lamb melts in your mouth.
Braised Lamb in Red Wine
14oz (400gr) lamb, shoulder or leg pieces are fine, a bit more if there is bone – but the bone adds flavor
4 cloves garlic
3oz (90gr) bacon
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup red wine, something hearty – Cote du Rhone, Cabernet Sauvignon
2 tsp beef paste, granules or 1 stock cube
2 tsp dried rosemary or fresh
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried parsley
4 bay (laurel) leaves
Roughly chop bacon. Cut onion into quarters, then slice. Slice shallots. Mince garlic. Cut lamb into 1 1/2" (4cm) pieces and trim excess fat. Heat oil in a heavy pot or Dutch oven with tight-fitting lid. Add bacon and sauté until starting to get crisp. Add onion, shallots, garlic and sauté until tender. Add lamb and lightly brown. Add all remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to low and braise for 90 minutes. Serve lamb with onions/shallots and pan juices.
Maybe I'll offer this up to the mysterious Powers.
Right now my internet connection is blinking off and on….
I won't go there….