Thursday, April 11, 2013

Noz, the Great and Powerful(ly low prices)

Frozen pizza cone, anyone?
One of the simple pleasures in the simple life Ken and I are living here in rural south west France is shopping at Noz. At this shabby, cavernous island of misfit products, we find nothing we need and never come away empty-handed.

When our son was with us last summer, I proposed a contest to find the grossest food item at Noz. The competition was fierce, but I think Luke's dog biscuits may have beat my slimey pink gummies in a rigged two-to-one vote.

I don't know how many Noz stores there are in France (for that factoid I would need Flash), but I can share the chain's mission from its website: "Manufacturer, wholesaler or distributor flow products they can not sell on the local market." Inspiring, si? 

Our most recent trip to the wonderful land of Noz netted two bags of items we hadn't realized we needed or wanted including a dart board, two six packs of Oranjaboom beer and three kinds of mustard. Total cost, around 18 euros. But, hold on, don't even bother trying to find these deals on your next trip to Noz. If you want something specific, you won't find it. But if you open your eyes to the possibilities and click your heels together three times, you may just find your heart's desire at Noz.

Or at least some pizza-flavored ice cream cones.

Noz always has a saucy collection of condiments.

The Marmande location of Noz is huge, with an ever-changing selection of trash and treasure
Noz is a favorite destination when we're looking to kill a few hours.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Storm and Sunshine

I learned a new word last night at my weekly French/English conversation group: Giboulée. 
Technically, this word means "sleet," but I found another translation that confirmed my French friends' definition: 

Averse sudden and violent, with wind, hail, even snow, frequent in early spring, especially in March. Giboulée wind, snow, rain, sleet March, March showers that fall in April; sleet season, a time for showers and a whip sleet (windows), falls on the ground, runoff. passed The showers, and then the bright sun reborn, and the birds sang(Rolland, J. Chr. , Revolt, 1907, p. 583). Driven by strong arms wind, sleet slapped interminably Craonnais (H. Bazin,viper, 1948, p. 73).

We have been experiencing this gibloulée nearly daily for the past month. It'll be sunny, then moments later, the rain is drumming on the roof. Ken and I suit up to go on a bike ride or make plans to play Pickle ball, and then it's suddenly too windy or wet to leave the comfort of our couches or the company of "Bonanza" on the TV.

Maybe the gibloulée accounts for my changing mood these days. Nearly simultaneously, I am happy and relived that the sale of our home back in the states went so smoothly and quickly ... with a turnaround of less than a month, it made our têtes spin (stop smirking; têtes means heads) ... and then I am sad and tense. It was a good house, with great neighbors, and suddenly it belongs to someone else. We have no plans to leave France and return "home to the States." And we are quite satisfied with that. But now, there literally is no "home" to return to.

As I mull this over, I step outside to take a picture that will capture the essence of gibloulée just as my friend Andrea runs by with her dog, Rosie. It is sunny when she passes our back yard, but the rain begins again by the time she is on the other side of the park. 

We all have to be ready for a little sunshine these days.