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Photo from October 2018

Screen Shot 2019-12-14 at 09.20.13.pngIt has been raining almost non-stop for the last 48 hours. I have received a couple of warning emails and messages from the mayor’s office as well as from the Region headquarters. The situation this morning looks better and water is going down although there are roads blocked not too far from here. Searching for news I came across this site called Vigiecrue where updates and status of the rivers and possible or indeed actual floods are maintained. It is a State owned and maintained web page via the “MINISTERE DE LA TRANSITION ECOLOGIQUE ET SOLIDAIRE”.

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It is available for every areas / regions of France.

Quite a nice and usefull tool to keep in your bookmarks.

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Project on the go (V bis)

Connected equipment

I had a strong feeling I had omitted some equipment on my list from yesterday. The night obviously brings advice and I woke up with 2 additional pieces bringing the list to 22 bits of equipment. Missing were:

Raspberry PI 3

Apple TV

I bet you this is not the end.

Keep computing

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Project on the go (V)

Penultimate step

I hope

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Now that the new router is installed and working, I of course have to ensure all my equipment bits are set up with the new WIFI. I had no idea we had some many connected objects.

In fact I count 20 so far and I am sure I have forgotten something. Not to be forgotten and not on the list so far is the new Raspberry PI3 which I hope will be my VPN router. In fact the whole project is revolving around that.

I had some problems re-setting my Bose Sound Touch but it now works and is updated with the last firmware available.


Keep computing


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New comic strips

Received last evening an email from Margaux from Bulles & Cie saying that my last order has arrived. This morning after the market I stopped by the shop to pick up the books.

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24 Heures du Mans

Les années Matra with a nice preface from Henri Pescarolo.

This volume completes my collection


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XIII – Tome 2





TEAM Rafale

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It was my last order for this year

Keep reading

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Expat in France

Screen Shot 2019-12-12 at 09.48.56.pngAlthough I am French and grew up in the Paris area, I left France when I was 18. Apart from a brief 1 year return to accomplish my military services, I lived the rest of my working life abroad till I decided to retire in the south of France almost 3 years ago and some 40 years later.

My heart is French but on my return I was a foreigner in my own country. I simply did not know how things worked. I had previously never done an income tax return in France, I had never heard of a carte Vitale (an absolute must for medical care), I had not used nor needed chèques in more than 3 decades, etc etc.

I felt sometimes somewhat strange having to ask in a perfect French, albeit not with the local accent, how to do this or that with the inevitable excuse “I left France 40 years ago”.

I have to say that a smile and a little joke go a long way and I am very impressed by the way I have been treated. I would tend to argue it was / is efficient but not necessarily speedy and most of the time friendly.

I also realized that a well written letter straight to the point is an excellent way to get things done. I think a letter is still preferable to an email, at least to get the discussion going.

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Of course, unlike a “real” foreigner, I had a valid social security number which accompanies me since I was a teenager. I also had my French ID card and a few other administrative documents which are needed and sometimes requested. All of this negating the issues real expats might encounter.

Settling in the South of France has been a pleasure. I quickly got involved in a couple of associations and was immediately very active. This allowed me to meet a great number of people in a very short time. It also allowed me to be involved with the local administration and the mayor’s office for a couple of projects I was part of. So I met another load of people. Some useful ones at that.

Finally we stumbled across this existing expat community where I now have most of my friends.

I have helped some on a few occasions by writing a proper French letter to the right department or by enquiring in their behalf and generally learning how things are done. Important is to be able to translate back the information which is not only a question of language but also mentality. Having lived in a few countries UK, Germany, USA, China, Ecuador and having traveled to many others for business and pleasure, I can as a rule understand how people think and therefore give comprehensible advice.

Although I am retired (early I might add) and taking it easy, moving to France was the right “project” and ensured that I did not fall into the deadly trap of finding myself with nothing to do after a busy working life. Syndrom which affects so many retirees negatively.

I have a couple of additional projects for next year which I am starting to enquire about.

If you have questions on moving to France, do not hesitate to contact me starting by writing a comment on this post.


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Pots and Pans

Walking in town for some errands I just spotted this brand unusual house decoration.


Rue de la République, Carcassonne

As far as I know it is a private dwelling although I have seen many workmen coming in and out of the place in recent months.

Just a renovation job ? or maybe something else being planned in the gastronomie department. Time will tell but in the meantime I like it.


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Screenshot 2019-12-11 at 14.28.31.pngLiterally translated from German meaning Straw Widow it is a widely used expression to describe a person whose partner has gone away for a few days. Looking at origins, there was a similar expression used in England as early as 1824 and namely “Grass Widower”. Straw widow appears to be associated with early mattresses which were made of straw.

Somehow it makes sense to me.

Anyway, I am a “Strohwitwer” for the next few days




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