Sunday, January 29, 2006
I was all for a gentle Van Morrison shuffle and spent some time trying to convince Frog that this would be a good, relaxing dance. After all, 'Van the Man' is one of his favourite singers and certainly more wedding friendly than his true 'Music God', Bruce and "Born to Run".
Frog however had other ideas. He wanted a proper dance, like a waltz. I have memories of cringing at Frog Brother at his wedding looking incredibly awkward as he and wife waltzed in an ugly village hall in the south of the region. Call me a snob (that I know that I am) but it looked like small town pretentiousness.
In fact Frog has been pushing for dance classes since we first met to which I'd so far resisted .* And I have written about the French Rock 'n Roll phenomenon before. So, finally, I caved in. Frog was told in the New Year that if he finds a dance class that is flexible enough to my erratic travelling schedule, then he's on. On the condition we don't waltz.
That is why, for the last few weeks we have been rushing through sub-zero weather to a dance school across town. Me, tripping across the cobbles in my little heels that I'm determined to practice in, since that's what I'll be wearing on the big day.
The classes are an hour and there is always a 30 min Rock 'n Roll session preceeded by a different dance every week, that are revisited once a month. So the first week we learnt the basics to the Pase Doble, then onto the Waltz and last week the Cha Cha Cha.
It's fantastic! I am a convert. The dance school is run by two couples who - from the photos decorating the rooms - have spent their lives on cruise boats, dancing on variety shows and meeting the 'greatest' of France's entertainers. Since the weather is so beastly at the moment we're often the only ones or one of a few in the beginners group who have ventured out. So we've made a lot of progress. Progress that has little to do with our talent but more to do with the personal time and attention we've received from the teachers.
It's probably stupid to put an extra pressure on ourselves for the day and I fully expect to look like amateurville. Our main difficulty now is to decide which dance for the wedding. And for my part, which dance I expect to manage in a full wedding dress!
*Mainly as a reaction to the fact that I know Frog met his loopy ex at Rock'n Roll classes in Paris.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Vines in Prouilly, Champagne
Originally uploaded by oiseau.
These were the vines last year when it snowed. A few flakes are beginning to fall now and I wonder if we'll see the same stunning scapes.
Frog informed me last night that a burnt out car had been found in the vines by the village. Apparently it has been driven into the Frog Family vines and an attempt was made to set it alight. That first attempt failed so the firestarters moved it to a neighbouring plot (belonging to someone else in the village) where the car took light.
It made the local paper, and Frog Father is finding out if the insurance will cough up for the roots that need replacing.
Hithertoo the village has been unscathed by crime. I hope this isn't the beginning of a new period
I'm not sure exactly what period Frog is living in, but his choice of language was poetic and made me chuckle.
Friday, January 13, 2006
Time to take a pause from the blog. Not for long, probably several days, a week. Just enough time to take the vitamin supplements, sleep and keep on top of things for a while!
Saturday, January 07, 2006
This is the result of a couple of money gifts from Christmas (thanks Mum!) and a little of my own cash thrown in.
I spent an hour looking at different machines last weekend. I ummed and I ahhed and there was only so much time that Frog was happy to stay in the Television Department watching Robbie Williams demonstrated in wide, flat screen. So finally I was dragged away, still pondering.
And then I discovered La Redoute with a 25% off sale on their Magimixes. I had dismissed them earlier in the selection process, I love their design and simplicity but they're top of the range pricewise. Meaning I would be able to buy either a mini Magimix or an all singing all dancing Phillips. And my heart wasn't in Phillips. I'm finding the Dutch quite irritating at the moment (no, I'm not dismissing a whole nation, just a few individuals).
But thanks to online shopping and comparative search engines my dream came true!
It sits perfectly compact in the corner of the kitchen, smiling at me. Chopped veggies, homemade pastry and fruit and veggie juices all round!
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
However, the one thing I have learnt about French Weddings* is that there is no playing with the traditional menu! (The exception to this was a fantastic garden wedding I went to in the South of France where lovely couscous was served followed by a huge clafoutis made by the couple in the village baker's ovens.)
We have agreed a per head fee for food and wines (although obviously not the champagne) and now we just need to agree on the menu.
The meal is served between 8pm & midnight, with intervals between courses for people to dance and enjoy the music.
This is the current draft in English & French with my notes.
Salade d’asperges aux languoustines
Asparagus & Langoustine Salad
Gratinées de Saint-Jacques
Cheese Baked Scallops served in the shell
We ummed and ahhed about having two seafood starters, in case people didn't like the stuff. But in the end our preference, a couple of friends who don't like meats (and my Mum's strong lobbying for langoustine) won out!
Made with Marc de Champagne liqueur
Magrets de Canards au poivre vert
Duck with a green pepper sauce
Is this sauce too heavy. Would a honey sauce be better?
I guess finding out how many guests are vegetarians (guaranteed not to be the French!) should be next on my 'to do' list.
Garniture de Legumes (Pommes de Terre Dauphinoise; Haricots Verts)
Vegetable Side Dishes (Dauphinoise Potatoes; Green Beans)
Salade de Fruits
Traditionally this is a buffet of different pastries and desserts but I always find that too much and we think fruit would be better.
The traditional French pyramid of choux buns with caramel topping and a small traditional English wedding cake - supplied by good old M&S
I don't really like English fruit cake but it's more a point of principle of trying to assert my Englishness in an otherwise very French day...
What do you think?
* Actually there are three things. However, the second is related to guest lists which I still can't talk about without my blood pressure exploding. The third relates to French bureaucracy, and that update is being saved for another post.
Sunday, January 01, 2006
Frog and I had enjoyed a lovely evening of champagne, and a meal created out of leftovers from the feast we created the night before for Family Frog (chestnut soup, smoked salmon, potato pancakes & salad). The living room was filled with candles and we watched the first part of a Christmas gift, Lost: Season One, tales of survivors on a mysterious island filled with monsters and secrets. Finally, rather bleary eyed at 2:30am we called it a night and pootled to bed.
My dream filled night involved me dressing for the wedding, my sister, mum and I in a large English house complete with a very muddy garden and all three of us in a complete and total panic. The dress was ready, the guests were arriving. Frog was at his parents and supposedly also getting ready. Suddenly I realised, as the dress went over my head, that the florist hadn't been given the final details so there were no bouquets prepared. The priest was booked but we hadn't prepared the order of service, an organist or hymns. My hair was scraped back into an unwashed twist and my sister was freaking that she had no bridesmaid dress to wear.
I believe it was at that moment I woke up.
Welcome 2006 and the next five months of lists, planning and preparation. We will be ready for May 20th. But I don't think that was the last of the dreams!
Wishing everybody a happy, healthy and successful 2006, wherever you are and whatever your plans might be.