"Not very long." they answered in unison.
"Why didn't you stay out longer and catch more?"
"We sleep late, fish a little, play with our children, and take siestas with our wives. In the evenings, we go into the village to see our friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs. We have a full life."
You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat."
"And after that?"
and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man,
you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant.
You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles , or even New York City ! From there you can direct your huge new enterprise."
"Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years." replied the tourist.
"And after that?"
"Afterwards? Well my friend, that's when it gets really interesting, " answered the tourist, laughing. "When your business gets really big, you can start buying and selling stocks and make millions!"
"After that you'll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your friends." And the moral of this story is:
So it is up to us to make improvements and do what we can to make our lives in this wonderful home as pleasant for us as possible.
That is why we use all-natural cleaning products, with ingredients straight out of the kitchen cupboard. To give your home a pleasant scent at the same time simply add lavender or teatree essential oil.
windows: Previously we had tried using vinegar and water only but that always left the windows a bit dull and streaky. I then read about the reason: it is the waxy residue from commercial (aka blue colored) window cleaners! So the first cleaning cycle should include liquid soap, to get rid of that waxy residue: 2 parts water, 1/4 part vinegar, up to 1/2 part liquid soap.
For the second and following cleaning cycles, simply omit the liquid soap or use this recipe: 1 part vinegar, 1 part lemon juice and 1/2 part water. Simply use a spray bottle for this and afterwards use newspaper to wipe windows and mirrors dry. Voilá, it works!
bath tub: We inherited an acrylic bathtub in 'English rose' color with a bit of soapy residue and limescale, courtesy of the previous owner. What works really well is baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) : mix baking soda and water until you get a frosting-like substance, then scour the bathtub with it.
fixtures: Put rubbing alcohol on a cloth and leave to evaporate, do not rinse!
tiles: Use 1 part vinegar to 4 parts warm water and wipe onto tiles. For the grout use vinegar straight up and scrub with an old tooth brush or put in a spray bottle and wipe tiles after 2 minutes.
toilet: Pour vinegar into the toilet bowl. Leave for 30 minutes then take a toilet brush, dip into the toilet to wet and some baking soda onto the brush. Scour the inside of the toilet with the brush repeating the sprinkle procedure until the baking soda is gone…..voila, clean toilet!
WWOOFing on a goats farm
The second week of August - a very hot time of year in the Var - we set off to the Drome Provencal, somewhere one hour's drive from the nearest exit of the autoroute (Loriol), in search for cooler temperatures and an interesting experience of helping out at a farm. Through WWOOF (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) we had come across a small biological farm which produces its own vegetables and goats cheese! La Ferme du Pescher is nestled in the middle of a long valley, a 5 km drive on a forest road.
We were welcomed by Florence, who along with her husband Olivier (Olaf), are the founders of this assocation, which includes Florence as the cheese maker, Olaf the goat farmer, Olivier and Dany, the vegetable farmers and Nicolas, the future chicken farmer.
So we spent a week helping the different agriculteurs with their daily chores: gathering tomatoes, courgettes, green peppers, cantaloupes (yummy!), carrots and whatever was in season, to be sold at markets or at a small co-op store near Montelimar.
Jim helped out at the fromagerie and after 3 days was given the full responsibility, to make the cheeses in the morning and turn in the evening, so that they would be ready the following day.
Claudia worked every morning with one of the two vegetable farmers in gathering food for the various outlets, like farmer's market or shop.
The way it works is that we got free lodging in a big caravan, away from the other guests who pay to stay in yurtes, tipis or chalets; we also got free food which meant that we would go off with our little basket and search the fields for ingredients for delicious meals, fresh from the garden! What a delight, to be able to make ratatouille the way it was intended to be. A green salad with tomatoes, garlic and onions, straight from Mother Earth. To eat goats cheese fresh from the fromagerie.
It was a wonderful experience, to be able to help on such a small farm, to be included in the daily life and find out about people's motivation to live such a life style: away from the stress of most people's everyday lifes, to live by the moon calendar as much as possible and treat the world kindly, to learn from the experiences of others and to meet people who are willing to share them with you.
Claudia & Jim
* Bon appétit *
Tour de Vieux Chaillol
Parc des Ecrins
The first place we stayed at, one night before we started our journey, Auberge Les Primeveres in 05260 Saint-Jean-Saint-Nicoals, made for all their guests this delicious local variation of lasagna: oreilles d'âne. This is a true vegetarian dish, and on the side they served local cured ham, for those needing meat. But I never felt ostrasized or singled out as the non-meat eater!
Our first night of the Tour, in Le Casset, we stayed at the Gite d'Etape where we ate delicious sorrel soup (oseille in French), made from fresh leaves from the area! What an epicurean delight! The salad came after the main course (omelette for me...) which was simply lettuce from the garden! Lettuce aids digestion so it is actually recommended to eat it after the meal.
At the Refuge de Vallonpierre care is taken in reducing one's carbon footprint, eating what is in season and grows around us and taking everything we packed out back into the valley.
The following night we managed to score a proper bed in a double bedroom at the Auberge des Ecrins a funky modern hotel/restaurant in a small village. Superb local food: fromage chevre from the neighboring village, home-made tourtons (little ravioli), a side dish of carrots soufflé, with freshly grated carrots - ahh!
At our last night, at Gite Les Paris, I actually received a specially made vegetarian dish, all to myself: a leeks gratin! Very delicious and very rewarding after 5 days of steady and strong hiking in this beautiful part of the Alps!
Claudia & Jim
and that's their house wine!
About 2 weeks ago we finally managed to eat at the newly opened, very funky restaurant in Carces (yes, it is the only cool one in Carces), and what a surprise! Their table wine 'vin de pays' is from Correns, and hence, as Correns is the first bio village in France, it is a bio wine!
Only €4.50 for 1/2 liter of the rosé which was very nice, indeed.
"L'oie qui boit"
33 av Georges Clémenceau (main street)
Their food, although only partially bio, is also very good, the owner is also the chef and used to cook at a fancy restaurant close to the coast.
We will definitely be back for that rosé. Or maybe we will try the white next time...
Claudia & Jim
July 19 - 25, 2009
formée a Londres et Paris, en activité depuis des nombreuses années, le Qi Gong sera practiqué a Villeneuve, dans le Luberon.
Le soin Ayurveda / reflexologie seront assurées par Armelle Jacquin, formée par David Frawley.
Restauration BIO possible.
Enseignement Qi Gong
La semaine: 280 €, le cours de 2h: 24 €
Le soin Ayurveda (1h30): 50 €
Reflexologie (35 min): 30 €
Qi Gong: Pamela 01 42 55 72 65 / 06 70 04 59 71 / firstname.lastname@example.org
soins: Armelle 04 92 75 40 34 / email@example.com
English / French speaking teacher, in the old Luberon village of Villeneuve.
Daily classes, or separate sessions, organic food and beautiful surroundings will revive your "Qi", the vital energy.
Holiday visitors are welcome!
sunny greetings from the Provence,
Claudia & Jim
It is the end of April, and everybody is waiting for summer to arrive. Nature decided to skip spring altogether, it seems: rain, rain, rain! This has caused all kinds of green plants to grow in Jim's garden so that we needed to get busy and clear the area of some unwanted ones. Yes, there is no such thing as 'mauvaise herbe', the famous weeds. But nevertheless we decided to rid the garden of some which didn't need to be there.
In searching for gardening gloves I came across the usual ones, full calf leather, with all kinds of qualities any gardener could want: long-lasting, washable, stretchable. But what about finding some that don't use leather?
Inspired by my internet search for something natural, I even came across hemp gloves. But where to find them?
In my quick search in Aix-en-Provence I discovered a very pretty pair of slim gloves, ideal for weeding, at Bricorama! Made from an elastic material, they are ideal for the small plants and didn't involve the slaughtering of any animals!
So if you are going to do some gardening this spring, please consider the animals!
As you can see there is no need for chemicals when gentle human hands can have the same effect!
All the best from the
(sometimes) sunny Provence,
For more information please check this
If you want to sign up, please contact Elise at firstname.lastname@example.org before May 15, although an earlier date is recommended as to ensure enough rooms at the lodge.
And if you want to practice yoga in Aix with Elise or Maryvonne click here http://www.aixyoga.com/
Claudia & Jim
Friends from Aix-en-Provence and around the Var came to celebrate Jim's birthday on this beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon. Various nationalities were present (Dutch, German, French, English, Scottish), enjoying the delicious vegetarian dishes. Amongst the guests were 9 children who happily played in the garden and were kept content with home-popped popcorn.
The dishes we made were (recipes below):
- spinach-artichoke dip
- Moussaka (potato and feta cheese gratin)
- carrot & date bread
- Hungarian mushroom soup
- banana nut bread
links to recipes we used for this meal
Spinach artichoke dip
Banana nut bread
potato feta cheese gratin
Hungarian mushroom soup
Official opening of the outdoor season
Saturday, March 14, 2009
83670 Entrecasteaux (Var)
@ Jim's place
It's the time of year again: we are gearing up for the outdoor season in the Provence! To celebrate in style we are arranging a party for everyone who wants to join us. It is also Jim's birthday on the 13th, the day before, so he will be wearing his party hat. Come and bring your friends, we will be there all afternoon!
As it is also meat-free day (Journee Sans Viande) we will have lots of delicious meals and snack, all accompanied by the local rosé, le cave de L'Amiral. And if you would like to contribute to the cause feel free to drop a contribution into 'the hat'; we will forward it to the meat-free organization.
Claudia & Jim
We had a mezze platter with
- very delicious hummus (humuz), mashed chick peas with sesame oil, herbs and olive oil
- Cacik, a yogurt dip with cucumber, dill and garlic - very refreshing
- eggplant with tomato and yogurt (Patlican tava)
Then a mixed salad as main course for me, which was nicely arranged, no dressing and very fresh! Jim had xxxxxxxx
Accompanied by a very delicious white Bordeaux ( a true find for us, as we are only familiar with red Bordeaux) - this was the house wine!
Very easy to find, on the main road leading from the Centraal station, opposite the Crowne Plaza hotel.
Nieuwezijds voorburgwal 16, Amsterdam
tel: +31 (0) 20 - 6236110
As for vegetarians we feel that Turkish cuisine, and especially at this restaurant, is a true delight!
with vegetarian menus
* La Boca Loca, Rue de la Couronne
* Le Petit Resto, Place des Tanneurs
* The Provence Shop, 22 Rue Victor Leydet
La Boca Loca Mexican take-out
Vegetarian burritos in Aix-en-Provence!
This little take-out place near La Rotonde has fantastic burritos, tacos, quesadillas, etc., with vegetarian ones on the menu! Everything is made fresh and in front of you so it's easy to ask for changes.
On Rue de la Couronne, at the corner of Rue des Bernardines, La Boca Loca offers delicious Mexican food. Quiero un burrito, por favor!
Le Petit Resto, Place des Tanneurs Formerly "La Cantine Végétarienne" this small lunch place serves delicious vegetarian and some vegan buffet fare or meals
The Provence Shop, 22 Rue Victor Leydet
A charming modern bistro/restaurant owned and run by a very international husband-and-wife team. Try their vegetarian chickpea burger an real hand-cut fries.
Happy eating at these restaurants. If you are going to try it we would appreciate a comment on this blog.
Claudia and Jim, happy in Provence
What we are aiming to do and accomplish with The Honest Restaurant Guide (THRG)
In our personal search for organic and vegetarian food in the Provence we will source restaurants, shops, etc. which offer such things. Here are our guidelines for restaurants:
1) Vegetarian and meat/fish (for couples like us where one eats meat)
2) Bio/organic sourced locally. (stores - ferme produce – producers)
Ways to act:
1) look for restaurant beforehand, ie. make list
2) at restaurant: check for vegetarian options
3) take photo, of restaurant and of the meals
4) ask for origin of produce
5) look at presentation, preparation, cleanliness of dishes etc and establishment
6) blog: format
7) write letter to restaurant mentioning blog
8, give restaurant to comment via email or letter
9, add feedback to blog
In our research for restaurants (without weighing any judgment) we came up with the following list:
St Julien le Montaignier
La machoto (sur reservation), cater for vegetarians
La Fontaine d’ampus
La Roche Aiguille
Le Bacchus Gourmand
Le pont d’or
Des trios Fontaines
La Guinguette du Lac
La Cabro d’or
L’oie qui boit - please refer to our June 3 entry: bio 'vin de pays'
La table de la Fontaine
Le Clos des Vignes
Les tyrois Marches
Chez Jean Paul
La vieille bastide
La Fleur de Thym
La salle a manger (Dutch owner)
Auberge du vieux Fox
We will keep you posted on our visits to these and other establishments.
Sunny greetings from the Provence,
Claudia & Jim
The intention of this blog is non-commercial, non-profitable and 100% enjoyment. Completely biased by our own tastes, of course.
Our first recommendation is going to be a restaurant in Cotignac which we visited during a power outage in Entrecasteaux (8km away). We remember it being rather creative with its vegetarian and non-vegetarian choices so we will be back there soon to give you all an update and the low-down on the dishes.
Claudia & Jim