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Profile Information

Name: Sam
Gender: Male
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Current location: Aix-en-Provence
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 16,870

About Me

Moved to France in September of 2018 after buying our apartment in 2017 after the debacle of the election. We're glad to be here, but we continue to be involved with what's happening in the US.

Journal Archives

Christmas Update from France - 2020 edition

Happy Holidays!

Life goes on here in Aix-en-Provence. We’re trying to ‘bloom where we’re planted’, by making friends and participating in both the ‘expat’ community and local life. We don’t consider ourselves ‘expat’s’ but rather immigrants. This is our home now. And as to that, we have now gotten four things that one has to have - French driving licenses, health cards, residence cards, and mobile phones (though we’ve had the phones for quite awhile).

The driving license exchange process took from January 2019 to November 2020. Now, we can throw all those cautious habits we had away because we were driving on foreign licenses. We can drive like the French - texting, speeding, eating while driving, shouting at other drivers, tailgating, and smoking.

Mrs Gos has been a guest writer for a blog called Aixcentric over the past year, reviewing restaurants, market traders, bakeries, and wine shops. She has a good following and hopes to continue. She’s also been recognised by the Mairie (Mayor’s office) as a volunteer for feeding, trapping, and neutering feral cats, complete with an official badge. And eating whatever I cook. And to that end she has been walking, sometimes 7km a day - far more than me.

I’ve been taking more photos, inspired by the black and white photography of Peter Turnley and others. I post regularly on Instagram, and keep trying to put together a photoblog. I do a bit of writing. I do a lot of cooking. And, if I’m bored, I can shout at random strangers on the innertubes(sic). My guitar continues to stare balefully at me from the closet.

Our French is not improving, though we continue to try. The ‘confinement’ has made it very difficult to get out and speak French. And just watching movies and TV isn’t enough. However, we will keep at it.

We’ve both gone back to learning more about wine. And it’s not all rosé in Provence, despite what everyone thinks.
We have been adopted by a cat. Dora lived upstairs and used to use the elevator. Then her ‘mom’ died and Dora moved in with us, mostly on the balcony. She’s a joy.

What an ‘Annus horribilis’ it’s been for everyone. The political situation worldwide started the year off and then there was Covid. The amount of existential dread, free floating anxiety, and generalized (or grande) ennui just kept getting larger. We all no longer had anxiety cupboards, but anxiety condominiums with double garages and additions for the extra bits.

However, there would seem to be some light at the end of the tunnel (here’s hoping it’s not an approaching train), in the recovery of sanity in the US with the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Glad to see that Biden is picking competent, experienced, actual human beings for his cabinet. So glad that the shape shifting aliens with the ill fitting human suits will be shown to the exit.

Plus, the vaccine roll-out has started! And there might be the added benefit of addressing some other diseases besides Covid-19.

Hoping that next year is better for everyone, with small joys and big delights, many meetings, and hugs.

Peace, joy, kindness, health, and love.


'Love Actually' - Fun and sweet or cringey?

We just watched 'Love Actually' for about the sixth or seventh time.

There are some absolutely brilliant performances, little 'Easter Egg' appearances by noted actors, fun music, and a very English sensibility.

I've seen some people online go after the plot and characters, and yet it made us both teary.

John le Carre, author of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, dies aged 89

A loss to the world of literature and the world.
One of my favorite authors.

“I have been neither a model husband nor a model father, and am not interested in appearing that way.”

The consistent love of his life was writing, “scribbling away like a man in hiding at a poky desk”.

“Out of the secret world I once knew I have tried to make a theatre for the larger worlds we inhabit,” he wrote. “First comes the imagining, then the search for reality. Then back to the imagining, and to the desk where I’m sitting now.”

Thriller writer most famous for stories of complex cold war intrigue began his career as a real-life spy in postwar Europe

Just in the via the Guardian - I'm posting in GD not LBN.

Match Dot Com - Satan and 2020 - directed by Ryan Reynolds.

Posted by GoneOffShore | Mon Dec 7, 2020, 05:41 AM (7 replies)

A new Christmas perfume ad to top all Christmas perfume ads. With adorable dogs!

Be sure the sound is up to hear the subtlety of the soundtrack.

Posted by GoneOffShore | Fri Dec 4, 2020, 06:54 AM (9 replies)

Beef suet for pastry? Anyone done it? Because I want to make these pies!

I can get lots of duck legs, wild boar, kidneys of various sorts. The dry aged short ribs are the only problem.

Posted by GoneOffShore | Wed Dec 2, 2020, 08:48 AM (9 replies)

Just got my driving license! And it's all in French!

We moved here in 2018 and started the driving license exchange process in Jan 2019 -Finally after much, much, much worry, our new licenses arrived today!
And they are valid until - wait for it - 2035. I doubt that I'll still be driving then, but hey, 15 years of validity is great.
And I can drive a 125cc motorcycle or scooter with no additional test. Though Mrs GoS would veto that.
So, yay!

So glad we had PA licenses - if we'd had California ones we couldn't have exchanged.

Some folks are getting very creative about going out in France

Here's a story from The Guardian about a guy who filled out his 'attestation' with his name, the time, and his reason for going out.
Unfortunately for him - going to bash some guys face in is not a good reason. And neither is needing to buy three limes for your aperitif.


Thanksgiving dinner. I'm cooking a big Schadenfreude so that I'll have cold leftovers

to eat on 20 Jan. I was going to use Tr**publican tears for the sauce, but realized that they would make it too bitter.

Just ran across the Bill Buford apple tart piece in the New Yorker.

He's given my a whole new outlook on pastry dough.

The video is a hoot - well except for the annoying son.

If you want a sweet pie, this is not for you. But a good tart tart? It's the real deal.

Kneading: Never. After gathering up the dough into a ball, you are allowed a smoosh. One. Not two.

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