How do you say: 'between the whatchamacallit and the thingamajig; next to the doohickey' in French?
I keep telling mon mari that if I don't know what I'm talking about in English, chances are good that I won't be able to explain it in French.
But, to the amusement (I hope) of the locals, I keep trying.
Mon mari got to play in the mud yesterday.
That's him, on the cute little backhoe.
And, no, he wouldn't let me play.
That black tube is going to bring water from the city supply to our house.
Today, he has a use for me. There was a leak on the water meter. The leek was 'before' the counter, so, while we wouldn't be charged for the leaking water, we still preferred to have it repaired before we hooked it up.
First I had to call the water people and tell them.
I may have mentioned in the past that any difficulty in communicating in a foreign language is magnified a hundredfold when trying to do so on the telephone. They can't see my hands moving in wonderfully descriptive gestures and I can't scribble pictures to explain my words.
The final conversation was very much a 'Me Tarzan, You Jane' exchange:
After 10 minutes of trying to answer questions I didn't understand in any language I said (in French):
There's a leak. The problem is yours, not ours.
She said, as only the French can do, using about a million unnecessary words, that she'd send someone out this afternoon.
Of course, I have to be present during the repairs, in case he speaks and mon mari doesn't understand.
After standing around a bit (me, not the repair guy), watching the RG (repair guy) and MM (mon mari) happily gesturing and pointing at various things together, the RG went back to his truck and got some weird contraption that made occasional beeping sounds.
He said something totally unintelligible to me.
I looked at MM and shrugged my shoulders, feeling totally useless.
MM said, oh, that's a metal detector; he's looking for the shut-off valve.
I walked off, feeling totally useless…. As well as cold, muddy, wet and a bit pissed off.
Whatever… It's fixed.
We now have cold running water in our house. Or we could, if we had faucets anywhere.
Can hot water be far behind?
With hot water comes cooking….
This week, Presto Pasta Nights, founded by Ruth, of Once Upon a Feast is being hosted by Ivy, of Kopiaste…. to Greek Hospitality.
So… Pasta with a hint of Greece…
Pasta with Shrimp, Feta and Greek Olives
12oz (350gr) shrimp
3 medium shallots
3 garlic cloves
1 tbs olive oil
15oz (450gr) whole tomatoes
1/2 cup black dry-cured (Greek) olives
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
3oz (100gr) feta
4 oz spaghetti
Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain.
Chop shallots and mince garlic. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add shallots and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes longer. Open tomatoes, drain, reserving juices. Roughly chop tomatoes. Add herbs and tomatoes with all juices to skillet. Simmer, over medium heat, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add shrimp and cook until shrimp curl and turn opaque.
Pit olives if needed, and cut in half. Cube feta. Add olives to skillet and heat through.
To finish: Put drained pasta in a large bowl. Spoon some of the sauce over the pasta and toss to coat. Spoon the rest of the sauce and shrimp on top of the pasta, sprinkle with feta cubes and serve.
Be sure to visit Kopiaste on Friday for all of the wonderful pasta dishes.