Sunday, April 05, 2009

Three-part post

We went to a boat flea market (nautical puce in French) today so that Mr FF could buy some rowlocks (which he tells me are pronounced to rhyme with the slang word for testicles, but being a land lubber this is news to me). There were none to be found but it was still very nice to wander around the marina and look at all the boats we couldn't afford even if they had been for sale.

I'd set my heart on having moules frites (mussels and chips) for lunch, to try and break myself in gently and eat them at a restaurant before trying my hand at Dumdad's recent recipe, but unfortunately they did not seem to be on the menu anywhere around boat land. There were lots of places with huitres (oysters) but, just as I have never tried mussels, I have also never tried oysters. It's the look of those slimy little creatures that puts me off.

We came across two little shops each with a trompe l'oeil (literally trick of the eye) painting on them.

In this one below you would never know that the man was actually a painted figure.

Even though there are various places in the house I could park myself when I study or mess about on here - including a basement office with my work pc - I always end up in here, the dining room. It looks out to our lovely view and, having never really liked a traditional room with lots of brown wood, this is in fact what the dining room contains and I love it. In the corner is my dear old dad's art deco bureau and cabinet and it's not easy to see but there are stained glass tulips in the panels above - yes, your eyes probably didn't stir higher than the bottles of drink. Despite the array they are hardly ever opened - My tipple of choice is the local cheap champagne (I have a wine allergy) and Mr FF prefers a good bordeaux.

I couldn't have a miscellaneous post without a shot of the bichons and this is one in which they look like two-headed dog, albeit Poppy with her bucket on could never really pass as half of a pushmepullyou.

Finally, two lovely bloggers recently gave me an award - the first is from the afore-mentioned Dumdad

and the second is from marc in Canada

I can't recall if there if there is something you have to do to get these awards but, in any case, I don't tag people anymore so, if you would like to take either image then I am sure you deserve it.


Steve said...

So if I give someone a good telling off I'm effectively giving them a rowlocking? ;-)

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

Wonderful pictures. I love drooling over boats too! Good for you for trying out the new foods. I always admire people who set themselves little challenges like that, it's so easy not to bother.

Larry M. Brow said...

Interesting that you mention "deserve it." Here in the States I've been noticing ad campaigns featuring the idea of things being as good as we "deserve." Given our many self-evident faults and global poor citizenship I shudder to think of what an impartial judge might decide we "deserve." I DO think many civil rights should apply equally to everyone, but even then it's not about being good first so that we deserve the civil rights as a reward.

Anyway, sometime I should tell you stories of my wife and oysters. She's a devoted oyster-phile. I am content to sit by, enjoying her gusto.

So, Mr. FF, does he have a rowboat that needs new rowlocks, or is hoping to someday have the whole boat brought together from individually purchased parts?

Big smile. L

Larry M. Brow said...

Must pause to proofread before publishing. Oops.

The Accidental Fan said...

Larry, that paragraph about Mr FF made me ROAR with laughter.

Lola said...

Moules frites...yummmmm! This reminds me I have to start posting about shellfish and the sensual consequences thereafter.
Lovely marine post and the photos are super. Perfect intro for Spring, brava!

Jennysmith said...

Oooh! I love muscles and chips! Had them in Calais once. Orgasmic!

I always think oysters are incredibly over-rated but a lot of people love them!

What beautiful items you have, FF. You're right to treasure them.

willow said...

The boat flea market photos are just marvelous! Thanks for sharing with us.

Elizabeth said...

Well, well, we now enter DOGWORLD!
Didn't know you had super ones.
Yes, a curious photo - rather fun.The great elongated dog.

Moules YES. Used to love them before shellfish allergy set in.

Yes definitely pronounced 'rollocks' - though I haven't thought of the world for many years.
What a lovely dining room - do you play the violins?

Veggie Carrie said...

The marina in your top photo looks very familiar, I think I might have been there last August (although probably marinas look similar to one another!).

Owen Phillips said...

Funny, was about to make the same comment as Veggie Carrie just made, that marina looks pretty familiar, am thinking I was there last August also... would the place name be something like St.B. ? Took a very similar photo there myself... Moules Frites sounds great ! But hold the rowlocks, don't need any more vomit on the pavement...

lakeviewer said...

If you haven't had mussels, be careful; try them when somebody else orders then. Personally, I can harvest them, scrub and prepare them in an hour where I live. I serve them with a good Pinot Gris, and crusty bread. Lovely.

Rob-bear said...

Well, if you cannot afford one of the boats at the marina, perhaps a kayak would do. The don't even need rollocks (or whatever).

I admit that I'm with Larry about what we "deserve." I have some HUGE problems with what advertisers claim we deserve. I tend to think more in terms of Maslow's very simple pyramid of basic human needs.

Ayak said...

I can't believe you've lived in France all this time and not tried mussels! I absolutely love them. In some parts of Turkey you can buy stuffed mussels from street vendors...delicious! Agree with you about oysters though...I just can't bring myself to try them..eeew.

Dumdad said...

You still haven't had mussels or oysters?!

I love these shellfish rascals but I have to admit I hadn't eaten them before I met The Frog Queen. She enticed me to partake (I was putty in her hands)and I was very wary of oysters to start with. They look like translucent snot. But I gritted my teeth as the oyster had gritted its pearl and I ate one or two and then became hooked. That was many years ago. My children, being anglo-frogs, took oysters et al in their stride from the age of about three.

Blu said...

I tried Moule and Frites for the first time 2 years ago..I think that getting the right vino makes a big difference. For example I prefer to use Muscadet when making rissotto, so you may find different results with different white wines!

Tell Mr one time I could row with only one rowlock in the back of the boat, it is known as sculling!

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Ah, FF, I eschew my veggie instincts only to succumb to Moules Frites when in France!

Your little bichons are adorable - and that is such a funny picture of them, thank you for letting us see a little more of where you live and work. Your dining room is very charming, and I'll bet that the glass in the art deco cabinet is stunning...

French Fancy said...

Steve - now why didn't I think of that? Der!

Reasons - I'm not really a boatie. I fell in Regents Park lake years ago, can't swim and it's quite deep in the middle. Since then - and another minor scare in a longboat trying to negotiate a lock on the Manchester canal - I'm quite boat-phobic (but hoping to get over it on next month's trip to Venice).

Larry - your post made us roar with laugher - it was so funny (not the oysters story which sounds like it might not have been so good for your wife).

Yes - he has a boat :)

TAf - you and me both

Lola - so, is it true what they say about oysters? You sound as if you might know :p

jen - aw thanks duckie. I really must try some moules

willow - thanks willowy one. I do love marina.

Elizabeth - yes, we are very dogified here. One rescue (who I have blogged about) and one stunning pedigree.

the violins, trumpet and mandolins (on the other walls) were left to Mr FF by his musician uncle. Neither of us play them, although Mr FF is good on the classical guitar and piano and I can also play the piano - but never do.

VeggieC - hello there you - it's by Saint Brieuc in the Cotes d'Armor.

Owen - it could be the place you've been to then. I'd never been to that part of it before and was knocked out how charming it was.

lakeviewer - Dumdad will verify the fact that I've been talking about going to eat moules for absolutely ages. What has put me off is that I once worked with someone who had to be hospitalised due to eating dodgy mussels. Now I was near her when she was first taken ill and it was a spectacularly awful incident and imprinted on my mind.

But since her illness happened in a restaurant in Soho and we will be eating them very fresh somewhere on the French coast (eventually we will I am sure) I am quite confident I will not be ill.

Rob - the idea of Mr FF buying bits and pieces of a boat is so funny, but he actually has a racing catamaran- minus some rowlocks.

Re needs - people don't need much although I do need a huge range of footwear.

ayak - I've had the odd mussel secreted in a starter dish, but I've never had the huge steaming bowl in the middle of the table experience.

Hopefully, any day now...

Dumdad - I've chickened out twice now of doing them at home and have decided I'll try them first out - hence my quest for a dish sometime in the next week or so.

Maybe I'll even be uber-bold and order some huitres as well - watch this space

Blu - maybe if I have enough cheap champagne first I will just knock anything back - including me probably, on the floor.

I'll tell him but I do get all the terms muddled up. He loves sailing and I'm the opposite. :)

French Fancy said...

AWONI - we cross-posted then. So you are a fishiterian? I really must try some mussels - everyone is spurring me on to indulge. Yes, the bureau and cabinet are lovely but I never used to think so - age brings wisdom and all that

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Mussels are quite good. We bought some at a local market when I was home for spring break and made bouillabaisse. Can't say I've found an oyster I could stomach, though.

Lulu LaBonne said...

I never knew such a thing as a boat flea market existed - sounds great.

French Fancy said...

Contem - the number of mussel devotees is inspiring me to go out right this minute and get some - although the fish counters here are closed on a Monday - no fresh catches over the weekend

Lulu - my role in browsing round the boat flea market was to hold the two bichons and try and keep them away from the crowds of people who wanted to pet them/ photo them/ coo over them. (she said proudly)

LadyFi said...

Tell me more about the musical instruments on the wall in the dining room! And I'd love to see a picture of the stained glass tulips.

Love the trompe l'oeils!

A Super Dilettante said...

My dear, loving your pictures!! The boats at the harbour remind me of a lovely painting by Paul Signac called "Blessing at the Tuna Fleet at Groix", 1923 ( It's Oh-so-romantic! Just imagine you playing "Moon River" on a guitar while you sit on Mr FF's boat. Now, I love your quirky interior decors!! 'S wonderful! 'S marvellous! (a bit of Gershwin there for you :) You have beautiful Tulip flowers and such a good choice of flowers for spring. OMG! Bichons! They are beautiful. They are my favourites! I'm so fallen in love with them!! They are very similar to French Royal dog, Coton de Tuléar which you see so often in 17th & 18th century portrait paintings. The novelist, Barbara Bradford Taylor has got them too.

Lane said...

Lovely photos. The trompe l'oeil are wonderful.

Moules and huitres? I just can't.

Love Poppy's uber relaxed pose:-)

Jelica said...

Great marine pictures! Lucky you for being so close to the sea...

FireLight said...

Oh my gawd! Now I have got to get to the Gulf Coast for some seafood! I love the photos of the store fronts! So unique and colorful!

FireLight said...

Uh, the store fronts are on the last post...I think! There is so much here....I am happily lost!

Yoli said...

Oh what a lovely blog!

skywind said...

I like the quiet harbor.
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Owen Phillips said...

Hi FF & Mr FF... just in case you'd like to see another perspective of that same marina canal view, just found the photo from last summer and posted it last night... along with a couple of other odds and ends from St Brieuc... now I gotta run, there's a big plate of steaming moules waiting on the table !

French Fancy said...

LadyFi - just for you I've put a photo of the tulips on the post following this one. The instruments consist of three mandolins, two violins and a trumpet.

ADS - sweetie, I hate to disillusion you (I really do because you are special to me) but I would never sit on Mr FF's boat whilst he serenaded me. He does play the guitar to me though and it sounds beautiful. As for his boat - it is a racing catamaran and, not only am I scared on proper boats where you can actually sit down, on a catamaran there is nowhere proper to sit (disputed by Mr FF in the background) and I get scared, I really do.

As for bichons, I think there are some in a couple of Goya paintings as well,

Lane - hurrah, I'm not the only mussels virgin.

Jelica - I think it is classed as an estuary but in my non-nautical book that is like the sea.

Firelight - hello there, my goodness the Gulf Coast sounds so exotic. I knew what you meant re the store fronts though :)

Yoli - hello and thank you very much

and hello to you Skywind

Owen - oh matey thanks for that - off now to have a look. Hope the moules were good

Brother Tobias said...

He's right about the rowlocks ('rollocks'). It was always drummed into me to unship an oar and the port rowlock as one came alongside a boat, and always to unship the rowlocks when leaving a dinghy - wrapping their securing lanyards round the oars. Captain Watts would have them, if he can't find them anywhere else.

French Fancy said...

BroTob - I've just read out your reply and all the baffling phrases made sense to him - he was nodding sagely and is now on Captain Watts site - thanks me old salt.

bindu said...

Your dog is such a doll! Love the musical instruments on your wall. Do they have family history too?

French Fancy said...

bindu - hi there, they belonged to Mr FF's musical unce and were left to FF.

French Fancy said...

bindu - p,s, - there are two dogs actually - the other is lying flat on her back (comme d'hab)

Mama said...

Sounds like a lot of rowlocks to me (sorry could not resist) I bet it has already been said anyway, I'm late I know, but I had to go cold turkey for a bit or Vanni would have moved out on account of the mess around here.
The boats look lovely and I am exactly the same with mussels and oysters (although I have eaten the latter deep fried in New Orleans). Vanni had the most wonderful (according to him) mussels n chips in Belgium one time and he is still looking for a repeat experience lol, love the trompe l'oeil and the stained glass tulips in your beautiful cabinet and I forgot to say I am excited for your trip to Venice (oh how I wish I was going back there this year)I think if I had to pick a very favourite place it would have to be Venice. Congrats on your lovely awards, hugs, Kathy.

Stone said...

Photo no 2 is really great (the one with the bridge and the boats)...I'm a sucker for good photos!

Seems we were in the same area...Lille - Brussels/Brugge :)
I even got as far as Valenciennes (got lost on the highway around Brussels...I just HATE the Ring...greee...).

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