Avoir le cul bordé de nouilles

I’m carrying on the theme of the French idiom, so here is the second one. I’m not sure that we feel our asses are surrounded by noodles BUT we do consider ourselves very lucky to have ourlittlehouseinfrance.

Dimanche 30 Juillet – up early and off to a vide grenier in Pujols.
On Monday morning the paving slabs for the terrace were delivered, the lorry only just managing to squeeze through the hedging.Also purchased a small chest of drawers via LeBoncoin from Eymet. A bit insignificant and so I ended up painting it cream.

On Tuesday morning our neighbour Margaret popped around with her daughter and children. She has been a resident in the village for a long time and knows many of the other residents well. Sylvian the plumber came to give us a devis for putting in an outside tap and changing the lavabo in the bathroom. He was very efficient and came to complete these small works the next day, Wednesday. Wednesday evening we drove to Saint-Loubes near Bordeaux to purchase a pine commode via LeBoncoin, bringing it back precariously strapped to the top of the car.Thursday 3 Août – Callum’s 16th birthday. Can’t believe I have a 16 year old son. Where did those 16 years go, in the blink of an eye!!!!!  There would be a picture of him here as he’s very handsome, but he won’t let me post any pictures of him😟 so here’s a piccie of Bella between his legs. Candy fridge freezer delivered in the morning and then we went to Callum’s favourite city of Bordeaux. Had a good mooch around and Cal chose his pressie. Then on the following day we went back to Bordeaux again to the cinema to see “Spider-Man Homecoming”. Very entertaining but had to dash there from the car park as usual due to our late arrival.

Samedi – evening went to the Bastid’Art festival in Miramont de Guyenne with Michele and family. Super entertaining with a reggae band, acrobats and then a swing band.Dimanche – sad face as the boy’s return to the UK. Not before Paul and I had a snoop around the vide grenier at Sauvetat du Dropt. The boys flight was due to leave at around 3.30 but it was delayed and they didn’t get home until late.

Most of the week on my own was spent cleaning and oiling the staircase and painting the small chest of drawers purchased from LeBoncoin. I did meet up with Barbara a couple of times and had an evening with Lune and her family. Also, on the Friday I had a nice trip out with Margaret to IKEA. It was a bit of an epic trip as I hadn’t realised how long it would take to get there and walk around. In the end it meant leaving Bella for 6 hours. Luckily she coped with that. The evening I spent preparing for the girls arrival the following morning.

Saturday morning, the girls landed about 10am. It was great to see them and they both looked excited to be here. We didn’t get up to much and as they were acclimatising we just went for a walk along the Dordogne river in Ste Foy La Grande.
Dimanche 13 Août – the girls were happy to get up and go to a vide grenier in Pellegrue not far away.  It was hot, hot but we managed to mooch around and pick up a few bits. In the evening we stood, and stood for over an hour to see “Mapping” at the Château de Duras, together with a fireworks display. It was well worth the wait in the end, although my feet were aching after all the standing about.
On Monday we went in the morning to Duras market, where I also caught up briefly with Barbara and Sharon and purchased a small common perennial plant in this part of France called “Gaura Lindheimeri”. In the afternoon we headed to Meilhan-sur-Garonne where we had a lovely walk along the Canal du Midi and down by the river Garonne. In the evening we had a pizza in the village restaurant. I wouldn’t go back.  Monday night there was a tremendous thunder storm. Lightening lit up the sky and the bedroom. Wasn’t sure I’d get to sleep, but I did. On the Tuesday morning the girls and I decide to go to the Monflanquin medieval festival. We took Bella and enjoyed browsing the stalls and watching some of the festival acts.  Although Bella didn’t like the drums. Mercredi 16 – visited Les Jardins de Beauchamp which is in Marmande. Catch my next post to see how beautiful these gardens were. After the gardens we went to see an armoire I’d found on the dreaded LeBoncoin (think I’m addicted). Needless to say it wasn’t as nice in the flesh. In the evening we went to the Monsègur night market. Then back for jollies around the kitchen table.

Jeudi – I am up very early writing up this blog. The plan is to visit Eymet market this morning and then go to Duras night market this evening. It’s hot today and we all enjoyed our mooch around Eymet market. The girls are enjoying the sunshine and I’m about to post this blog before joining them.


Joli-laide ou Mignon-moche

What is pretty-ugly or cute-ugly or even oddly beautiful?

I recently came across this wonderful French expression “joli laide” or mignon-moche. Translated joli laide means pretty ugly and mignon moche means cute ugly. It appears that the French derive pleasure in what we English refer to as character.  I love it and the sentiment that you really need to look again at either a person or an object to recognise its true beauty.  Perfection is not all it’s cracked up to be and who doesn’t like things a bit rough around the edges – OK – only me then?

In the UK at the moment everything is vintage this and vintage that. The word vintage is used a lot these days to try to infuse character and charm into an object . If it isn’t vintage, it’s retro and if not retro it’s shabby chic. For me there has always been something special about odd beauty.  My love of tut as my gran would have called it (tut – meaning nonsense or rubbish) was in truth born from necessity due to lack of funds. Purchasing second-hand clothes goes back to my teens when I had no money. Second hand was cheap but it was also unusual, it was unique, it was cool. It set you apart from the mainstream. My friends and I would scour the second-hand clothes shops in Leeds.  These shops had interesting names like Skythrop and Boodlam, goodness knows where they got them from. I remember purchasing an unusual fur skin coat from a shop called The Find in Knaresborough, the idea makes me cringe now and I would never purchase real fur now.  But I wore this coat every day until someone told me what it actually was, how naive was I.  Vintage clothes and vintage jewellery didn’t really have much monetary value in those days and so it was more the emotional value of finding something really unique that no one else had that was important.  It was about a style that no one else could copy.  I mean I was the only one with a black and white stripped original Pac-a-Mac at the time and my friend was the only one wearing her dads 1940s demob suit.  Fotor061464330Pac-a-Mac was a brand from the late 1950s,image it became really popular in the 1960s and was taken up by the style icon of the day Mary Quant in bright colours and stripes as part of the style of the swinging sixties.

And Barbara, a French friend of mine has told me of a lovely expression for that oh so adorable run down dilapidated property that we all would love to own and turn into our dream house.

C’est délabré?

And this one is for sale now in the Lot et Garonne for only 19,000€


So back to these wonderful “French phrases”!!

Joli-laide ou Mignon-moche

 In an article in the Guardian online I found someone who new of a similar term to `jolie laide’.  The phrase “mignon-moche” which translated means cute ugly, they had come across during a translation for French A-levels. Apparently It means something similar to “jolie-laide”.  This person thought that at some point someone had probably heard about the pretty-ugly phrase and tried to translate it back into French, choosing the wrong words. On the other hand I found another reference where someone else said they had used it for decades, yet their French teacher said it did not exist in France.  Anyway whatever its history I love it. And, what’s more France is full of examples.

la voiture Deux Chevaux par exemple.

Seen at Monflanquin spring faire

Seen at Monflanquin spring faire

Monflanquin Spring Faire

Monflanquin Spring Faire

And then there’s the dreamy Citroen DS



Or Gérard Depardieu

I suppose if we break this phrase down the subject is required to be both jolie (pretty) and laide (ugly). I read somewhere that the laide comes from the outward appearance and that the jolie stems from what cannot be seen externally and therefore what is within.  Daphne Merkin in the NY Times 2005 suggests that as an idea it represents a triumph of personality over physiognomy.  Perhaps in some instances there is an intent to the incongruity of the jolie and the laide, perhaps the subject is shouting, “look at me!”.  “I deserve your attention!”.  Perhaps those features that are not conventionally regarded as beautiful can be used to attract attention.  It is not unsurprising that the French though have an expression that attempts to describe what is indescribable that which is intangible and unique to the beholder.

In other words:-

“beauté est dans l’œil du spectateur!”

Anyone know if the French do have an expression for the above?