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Monday, 3 February 2014

Ramblings from Deauville | Part 1

We have now been French for two weeks, life has been very Gallic and friends are coming and going.

I had vowed to leave the computer alone for a while ...but it has not worked too well.

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My wife has only embarrassed me twice, so far. On the first day at the supermarket, some nice charity ladies were handing out white carrier bags and asking shoppers to buy some food for the less fortunate. I took the bag, added some tins and put it in the trolley. Just as we were about to leave the checkout I spotted the bag still in the trolley, apparently my wife was under the impression I had already paid for them?! Fortunately, we did not start our first day arrested for shop lifting! The second embarrassment was even better and follows later.

You will not be surprised to hear that our fridge is stocked with a full range of local Normandy cheese, wine & cider bottles abound everywhere and a baguette a day is keeping the doctor away.

Anyone who knows me, or the more prevalent group of people who pretend they don't know me, will be amazed to hear I have been trying my hand at cooking (rather than just eating). When our close friends, Viv & Nikki arrived, their first evening meal was a menu lovingly prepared by my own fair hands and two bunches of sausage shaped fingers. This featured the French classic of Tartiflette, which proved to be a triumphant cheesefest, and this was followed by a Lemon Mousse. As a result, my wife liked me for almost 42 minutes!

Our special breakfast at the rather grand Normandy Barriere Hotel was quite possibly the best selection I have ever experienced. Spectacular dining room, hams, cold meats, piles of local cheeses, sausage, bacon, eggs, croissants, breads, toast, fruit (not sure who would have that), yoghurt, hot crepes, pastries and an array of cakes, name it, they had it. The decadent hot chocolate could take a spoon standing up and was served in a jug with an accompanying china cup. Nikki hadn't realised this, and was in her element slurping from the jug. Her grin showed that her taste buds were tickled in chocolate delight. As they say, you can take the girl out of Lowestoft, but you can't take Lowestoft out of the girl! Normandy Barriere Hotel - click here.

The girls then spent one of the evenings in the kitchen, creating another delicious French meal of glorious French Onion Soup with cheese croutons, Normandy Sole Meunière (with freshly caught fish from Trouville Halle aux Poissons) & Sautee Potatoes, followed by a Brioche Bread & Butter Jam Pudding with Pear, made by me yet again for extra brownie points.

Sadly, Viv was only with us for the weekend. She had already eaten a fortnight's banquet of cheese, and on her last night she got a taste for the Brouilly and St Emillion, - a few bottles later she lost control of some elements of her speech and slept particularly well that night.

I won't bore you with details of our trips to the D-Day Beaches, The Mulberry Harbour, Omaha American Cemetery, Pegasus Bridge, Horse Ball Tournament, Deauville Casino, Cheese Factory Tour, Honfleur, Calvados tastings, Razor clam hunting, Market visits, Watching the race horses training on the beach from our window and balcony, or my favourite pastime of licking the local patisserie windows - suffice to say, their is plenty to do here. French food of course is even more fun and impossible not to indulge in.

On one trip around the town, Nikki was delighted to discover that Deauville has two beaches, one on either side of the road. For a while she was even under the impression that we were on an island. Well, that was until my wife revealed to Nikki's immense surprise, that we had simply turned the car around.

My wife excelled herself with her second embarrassment in a rather nice restaurant in Trouville. Nikki had already experienced her first ever dish of Snails, and we were all impressed to see the waiter pop across to the fish market to select a lobster for main course. The snappy devil was presented at our table before heading to the kitchen.

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When the prepared lobster and eating tool kit arrived, Nikki tucked in with aplomb until it became to time extract the meat from the claw. Struggling with the lobster cracker my wife stepped into assist. Like a professional she held the claw and started cracking. That was until the claw shot from her hand like an exocet missile and it just missed taking the blokes eye out on the table of four next to us!

As a hushed half filled restaurant stared at the table of 'Les Anglais Imbeciles', the man's face had taken the shape of a death stare. (But, nowhere near as frightening as the one my wife normally does). As he stared, we apologised in a number of languages, until, thankfully the ladies on his table started laughing. My wife and Nikki had been stifling a fit of giggles which then rose to the surface and I was pleased and surprised to later discover that neither of them had actually wet themselves - ...much.

On Thursday, Nikki decided she would try her hand at French cooking and delivered an amazing three course meal to the table. We had Roasted Tomato Soup with Double Baked Goats Cheese & Chive Potatoes to start, a main course of Normandy Pot Roast Chicken with Calvados & Apples, and after a well needed break to rest our food babies, we had a Calvados and caramel laced traditional Tart Tatin.

My wife is proving very helpful with the continental driving. For some reason after many years of driving 30,000+ miles a year with an unblemished record I was under the false impression that I knew how to drive. It is only now I realise that I need her constant help. Like reminding me which side of the road we are on, turning indicators off before we are round corners and checking that I have managed to get the car in the white lines of parking bays. To ensure she has the opportunity to correct me, it is also fun to go a couple of feet over the line so she can joyfully point out my error with an affectionately hard slap to the side of my head. 

Last night we watched a film called 'Identity Thief', in which a driver has a technique where he vigorously flicked the steering wheel to make the passenger hit their head on the car side window. I know, that she knows, that each time I go out driving alone I am practising the technique. Once perfected, I will attempt to see if I can catch her unaware, - in spite of the extreme danger from the level of retaliation this may bring upon me! 


*If you would like to read a ridiculously long account of our last emigration to France, you can click on the links below. It is not something for the faint-hearted or for people with anything better to with their time!

Deauville Diary - Week One (Oct 2011): click here
Deauville Diary - Week Two (Oct 2011): click here
Deauville Diary - Week Three (Oct 2011): click here
Deauville Diary - Week Four (Oct 2011): click here


  1. Après avoir été en Australie un mois, je pense que je pourrais comprendre votre mieux le français si vous pouvez ajouter un peu de twang et une inflexion ascendante à la fin de chaque phrase .... OK? PS The pies are good here!!