Friday, January 09, 2009

Snowbell la Vie

It's been quite a start to the year.

A week of galettes des rois at work, snow, freezing temperatures and the beginning of the sales. I'm hoping it calms down a bit now because too much excitement will have us all a bundle of nerves by February.

I'm not a great fan of frangipan - the filling used for classic galettes. If it's made industrially, it has heavy overtones of almond essence, which I hate, and a sickly, greasy texture. The one we had yesterday had homemade filling, no almond essence, and a much nuttier taste. The pastry was crisp and light too. That's what I call a galette des rois.

On Wednesday, I took my eldest to the sales to buy clothes and shoes. It happened to be the afternoon that it started snowing too. We decided to make it a military operation - in and out in as little time as possible. He made a list of what he wanted - jeans, Converse-type shoes, jacket - and said that the 2 Halles (clothes and shoes) would do fine.

Surprisingly, it was not very crowded in either shop. He found shoes in 2 minutes, tried them on, liked them, and we were third in the queue to pay. No beating our way through heavy bodies blocking aisles, tripping over small children on the floor, crashing into bigger boys running about the shop, or fighting off competition for the right size shoe. Chrono - ten minutes, thirty euros.

Next door in the clothes shop all the jeans in the sale were conveniently placed on one rack with their 50% off labels flapping enticingly. Three pairs were deemed wearable, on trying them, one was discarded; a sweat jacket and belt were picked out and we joined a queue.

I'm not sure the average IQ level in the queue reached much over 2.3 because there were in fact, three queues. One had a long line of people, one had two, and the last had about 5. What's more, the first queue had a woman at the head who was buying armfuls of stuff, and then found she couldn't pay for it all, so it was taking forever. We joined the shortest queue and were finished while the other woman was still trying to decide what she wanted to buy out of the pile of stuff she'd collected. Chrono - fifteen minutes, fifty euros.

It was now snowing pretty hard and my eldest was making hopeful noises about it blocking roads so he wouldn't have to go to school the next day. Unfortunately for him, it didn't last, and had nearly all gone by the next morning. Unlike Marseille where they were under 20cm and the whole city was brought to a standstill. Strangely, there wasn't a flake to be seen in 'Poubelle la Vie', my favourite French tele series and must-see nightly viewing. Just goes to show it isn't quite as reactive to events as 'The Archers'...

But we forgive all because Roland hasn't been gunned down in cold blood by the reluctant mafiosi, Bruno, and so maybe Mélanie will go to the ball (her wedding) after all. Fingers across the length and breadth of the country are crossed, defying all social strata and level of neurone activity.

We are blue, not with cold, but with bated breath!


  1. ho ho ho - no he's not gunned down after all Roland - you've missed a bit of it!!! He is hidden by reluctant mafioso Bruno, Melanie is calling the wedding off, and the body they found is probably stolen from the medical school!!!!!! etc, etc..BE CAREFUL it now starts at 20.10hrs....hehehe

    Glad about the sales, should have waited with my Xmas buying leaflets, but went all pale at the thought of the maddening crowds..........and rushed off to buy before the sales in peace and quiet...and not much proper organisation either - want to my head to have money to spend, hélas!

  2. I know, I haven't missed a THING, ng!!

  3. I've checked out the soldes twice now, and have been surprised both times by how empty the stores were. There were no more people than a normal shopping day.

    And re: the queue - I experienced the exact same thing. I was standing in a line with maybe 10 people in it when I noticed there were three registers open at the other side of the counter with no one waiting. I asked one of the cashiers on my side if it was for returns, and she said "Nope, they're regular registers", so I said "What are we all waiting in line over here for then?" and headed over. Nobody else budged though and they all just stared at me like I was an alien. But hey, I was out of there in two minutes and they all still had a good 15min wait to go! The French really are sheep when it comes to shopping.

  4. Maybe the French shoppers should mix with the French skiers... where queue barging seems to be the real pastime.

  5. It does seem strange how placid shoppers turn into rabid ski queue jumpers, or perhaps they are not the same people.

    I wonder if internet sales are doing better.


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