Home Again

  I apologize for my longer-than-should-have-been hiatus, but I was on vacation in France with the fam. We actually saw the sun there - amazing, I know. It was a very good trip - relaxing most of all, which is what I think everyone really needed. I mean, come on - they all say it's "summer break", but really it's just the time that we have to get all the work done that we don't get to during the rest of the year. For example, I had a book to write, a job to get, a room to summer-clean, three years of Brio magazines to organize, and all the rest. So France was a welcome retreat right before heading back into another school year.
  We were headed to Autun, France, a small town only slightly bigger than the size of Bathgate that is situated in the middle of the Burgandy countryside. However, the children of the Jackson house did not know this - our destination was kept a secret by our lovely mother and father. The Thursday we left (August 8th) was packing day, which I spent crawling around on all fours trying to get my things together, all while feeling as sick as a pregnant woman is in the first few months. (No, I am not pregnant.) We left at 10 o'clock that night, heading south. The whole drive that night was a blur of pain, exhaustion, and brief glimpses caught of passing towns when I awoke momentarily from my fitful sleep. (I was very ill, if you haven't guessed by now.) By around 6:30am the whole van was awake and throbbing with curiosity as to where we were - this was answered by a gray, weather-worn sign we passed announcing a clichéd welcome into Dover. We soon reached the ferry port, which had the essence of being a thriving community in itself, and stopped for food as we waited to board our 8:30 ferry across the English Channel. I did not eat breakfast.
  The ferry put us at the port of Calais, France at approximately 10 o'clock, marking twelve hours since we had started our grand adventure. By 10:11 we were cruising merrily down some motorway in France. It was at this time that Dad gave us the printed-off maps for the great guessing game that was about to begin - namely, if any of us could deduce where on earth our parents were carting us off to. Eliza was the only one who got it right; and we're talking countries here.
  To cut a long story short, we arrived at our abode at 7:46 French time, after a few small mishaps and a stop at the local Intermarché for relatively necessary items, such as food. You can imagine how easily we all went to sleep that night - just three minutes after crawling under the covers of the double bed in our room, Moriah was sleeping so peacefully that I hated to wrest my half of the covers from her grip. It was slightly chilly that night.
  The week as a whole doesn't need much detail - we ate, we slept, got sunburns at the local pool and played UNO in the evenings after dinner. The front garden, enclosed by trees and complete with a swing, a trampoline, and a bench for contemplation, was my oasis of solitude and relaxation.
  I will post pictures later, but at the moment am going to put a bit more detail into our encounter with real French food at a restaurant not too far from our house. We decided we wanted to do the authentic French meal thing at least once - and hear you me, was it authentic. I will elaborate on the food I selected: pâte de foie gras (duck liver) complete with toast and a bit of jam; small red fish eggs on a salty salmon, mayonnaise and spinach concoction; three fillets of quail rolled in poppy seeds, sesame seeds and something else, served with tomato sauce, and accompanied by steamed zucchini and carrots and some kind of Portugese rice/couscous thing; and for desert, a Dame Blanc - vanilla ice cream drizzled with chocolate sauce and a nut cookie. I know many of my readers would only have touched the desert - but hey, I'm an adventurous eater. I cleaned every plate. I even tried some of my dad's escargot, but it wasn't much - thought it was a bit bland, actually. He said the frog legs were better.
  Some of the other highlights of the journey were a day trip to Dijon, where we purchased the regional mustard and pain d'épice (ginger bread), some chocolate, and basically walked a lot and took pictures. We also went to the wine county of Burgandy, which was gorgeous. Some wine-tasting was done as well.
  All in all, it was a very good vacation, and I wouldn't mind doing it again. However, over the course of interacting with the natives, I discovered just how bad my French was. Remind me again how in the world I'm doing Higher this year?

  And on a completely unrelated topic, thought I'd post a few pictures of a photo shoot I did with Joanna and Eliza some weeks back. A few, mind you. Like, three. And one of the doggy in residence.


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