Tag Archives: grenoble

Eating like a Frenchie

Himself brought home figs from the market yesterday and declared “they’re bloody in season so I says bloody heck I’m gonna buy some”.

The French have this thing they call “manger de saison“.  It means only eating fruit and veg that is in season.  It’s not very revolutionary and up until globalisation everybody had to do it.  But what is interesting is that the French, stubborn and headstrong as they are the wee devils, insist on continuing the tradition.  And it’s not even a hipster thing.

So why the culinary grit?  Apart from their adorable stubborn streak they reckon it tastes better, is more aligned with your nutritional needs, is less processed, costs less, has less carbon footprint and so on.  And after much navel gazing and not much scientific proof I reckon they’re right.

Having said that I can’t keep track of it because there are so many fruit and vegetables and I am admittedly a bit monomaniac when it comes to spuds.  But French kids learn it as they grow up and it becomes a part of their DNA.  Pardon the pun.

As an Irish girlie growing up in the eighties my main memory of figs growing up were fig rolls.  I used to love discovering them in my lunchbox at school.  Imagine my surprise when I saw what a real fig looks like.  Sorry Mum maybe you gave me real figs and I don’t remember.  Although I suspect you don’t give a fig.  Giggle.


So here’s the deal if you want to eat fruit like a Frenchie!

I think I am going to print this in an effort to learn it




Little Lady and the Rude Dude

We live in an old glove factory below la Bastille in Grenoble.  It is as nice as it sounds and I thank my lucky stars every day that we ended up here.  Our landlord owns the building and is the descendant of the guy who invented the iron hand, Xavier Jouvin.  I am not sure how many greats there are before the grandson.

The building has an eclectic bunch of people living and working in it.  There are lots of offices full of architects, museum management, and a couple of young companies and associations.  Also a really lovely couple who I go all wibbly over every time i meet because they are so cool.

Anyhoozle the other evening we went to a little get together organised in the garden of the building.  It is organized once a year and last year we missed it.  We like our neighbours and our landlord and we thought that sharing a few beers and wine together in the balmy September sun would be spiffing.  Also, every morning we cross paths with the people who have offices here so we thought it would be nice to meet them properly.

Last but not least we had the kids and we knew they would love going down to the garden and drinking sirop until their eyes popped out of their heads.

So on Tuesday evening after a long day’s work I went and did the 14 km round trip on my magic bike to collect my son from school, then we both went into town and picked up the necessary to do some baked goodies.  Himself was off duty on Tuesday night as per usual so me and the three kiddie winkles set to filling the kitchen with baking smells and we had great crack inventing goodies to bring to the party.

Kids love that crack and they anticipate everybody enjoying their baked wares as much as any self respecting housewife or husband.  Speaking of which…

The next evening we dusted ourselves off at the appointed hour and headed down to the garden.   It is a walled affair and the words “the secret garden” pop into my head every time I look down at it.  A little piece of heaven in the centre of town.


As with most soirees, it was a wee bit awkward at the beginning because we had to introduce ourselves and, well, talk to people.  But we sucked it up and did quite well all things considered.

We met loads of lovely people.  And I mean lovely.  Good crack they were and brought good food they did.  Also they were swilling away nervously just as much as we were.

However, at one point a tall older gentleman bore down upon us and introduced himself to Vincent and asked him loads of questions about where he worked and what did he do.  Then he proceeded to tell Vincent all about what he did, i.e. director of this museum and that one and very important with his puffing cheeks and belly he was.

I was standing between them and as they are both tall individuals their words literally sailed over my head.  As the minutes passed Vincent grinned at me a few times awkwardly as he knows what I am like, that is to say the devil incarnate when it comes to equality.  Puff daddy on the other hand blissfully ignored me completely, not even any eye contact.  I thought perhaps he would get around to addressing a few polite phrases at me at the end of his conversation with Vincent.  I was ready for it, and I was even prepping myself to answer politely and not rock the boat with our new friends.  Tolerance and all that.

Turns out he wasn’t having any truck with that.  So at the end of their little manno a manno and during the post dialogue lull where everyone is very happy with themselves but nobody knows what to say next I said, yes, well I work at the same place as Vincent.  And yon buffoon actually blustered backed at me “Oh, you mean, you aren’t at home with the children?”.

His reasoning was that we hadn’t crossed paths every morning or something equally vague.  So I informed him politely that we crossed paths very regularly in fact. I also felt like covering my daughter’s ears over just in case he uttered any other inane phrases.

But okay I guess he is more interested in handsome men or whatever. I can’t blame him, Vincent is gorgeous in my opinion.  Probably also in the opinion of the young lady who sidled over to introduce herself to him (and only him) with a winning smile.  At one point, I kid you not,  we were caught in the middle of the pair of them both making eyes at Vincent.  I was the invisible woman.  And I was wearing this dress…


It didn’t matter to me whether he thought I was working at home or not. It was the fact that somehow that gave him the right to talk over my head and ignore me that really pissed me off.

Then, the fact that he made wild assumptions about me was just another step in the wrong direction.  Also he seemed mildly surprised that I even piped up.  He did that roll-back-on-your-heels-puff-your-big-belly-out-raise-your-puffy-grey-eyebrows-up thing that only certain bigger bellied older men can pull off.

Luckily I have never ever been treated like that in work.  Fifteen years working with roughly ninety percent male engineering community and never so much as a tweet.  My colleagues would never be so rude.  Ironic that a dude who is supposed to be teaching the community about history and general culture should be so narrow-minded.

Conclusion?  Puff Daddy shall hereby be referred to as such. And respect to the geeks!!





Syd and Larry

The story of Syd the snake and Larry the lion.

I can’t help imagining this type of conversation everytime I walk past these guys – see below for the real history bit.

Larry:   I swear to god Syd, I told you the last time that the next time you eat one of my organic pizzas from the fridge which are CLEARLY labeled “for Larry the Lion”, I was gonna get serious on your ass

Syd:   man, sorry Larry dude, but I was so hungry and I forgot to go to the shop yesterday.  please don’t eat me Larry.

Larry:   Syd, I am tempted to eat you right here right now


Syd:   Larry, what can i do to make it up to you?  you and me are like bffs dude, I wouldn’t do anything to hurt you.

Larry:   Syd, seriously I have had enough, we’re stuck together like this and you can’t even respect a few rules.  you even stole my special-for-blonds shampoo last week, and you don’t even have any hair man!

Syd:   Larry, goddamit you know I’m sensitive about my hair man.

Larry:   jesus sorry Syd I shouldn’t have brought that up

Syd:    just eat me Larry, life’s not worth living anyway

Larry:   aw, Syd don’t get all passive agressive on me, take it like a man.  or a snake. or whatever.

the history bit

There are 150 floods recorded as having happened to the town of Grenoble, 80 of which happened between the years of 1600 and 1860.   Having two rivers (Drac and Isere) joining in the town, the town fell victim frequently to the ravages of flooding.

The people of Grenoble (Grenoblois) had to rebuild their bridges many times.  Victor Sappey created this fountain in 1843 to celebrate the fact that they created dams (digues) to protect the town and finally beaten the serpent/dragon.

According to wikipedia, previously the rivers were called the snake and the dragon.  The Isere was the snake, as it’s meanders look like a snake.  The Drac was a dragon, due to it’s savage force.

In this fountain, the lion represents the town and the snake represents the naughty river(s).

Floods remain one of the main natural risks to Grenoble to this day.

some links with more detail: all in french!



Grumpy Cherub

I’ve been sitting here for the past 192 years and I am feeling grumpy.

I look like I am five years old but if you look closely you see that I am incredibly hung-over. The boys and I were out last night – the other three good looking specimens holding up this goddamn fountain are even worse than me for the shots.

Every night, I say “lads, can’t we just go for a wee fly around town, shoot a few love arrows and come home early for a cup of tea and some toast?”.

Nobody ever listens to me though…especially not this bloody dolpin.  Flipper here has a mind of his own and all he cares about is where his next Chartreuse is coming from.

DSC02235And does anybody read the notice?  oh no….every feckin’ student that comes to Grenoble comes for a swim in this fountain.

The next two eejits that land in here are getting a love arrow in the ass.  None of your Meetic / eHarmony messing for me, back to basics I say.

now, where did I put my night cream?  my dark circles would scare away the seraphim…