Wednesday, November 26, 2014

It's beginning to look alot like ....

Astna Square - Clonakilty

The Flower Basket Clonakilty

Options Boutique Clonakilty

Kevin O'Regan's Clonakilty

Keep it local in Clonakilty this year and support the fantastic local businesses that keep our town alive!

Friday, November 07, 2014

Apartment for sale in France - SOLD!

My sister is selling this bijou apartment in the centre of Perpignan. Situated conveniently close to the train station, the apartment is a couple of minutes walk from the centre of Perpignan with all amenities, shops and restaurants on your doorstep.
This one bedroomed apartment is situated on the 2nd floor of a small residence with just 5 apartments. Charges are low as there is no management company. The apartment is very bright - ideal for a small investment or your pied a terre in France.
A steal at 39,000euros
See link here for more details or email for more information

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

One Year Down

Well, we survived it!
We've been back over a year in Ireland now after moving back from France where we lived for over 11 years. We left our lovely home near Perpignan with our fabulous Mediterranean lifestyle, wonderful friends and cheap wine to come and live in a little town on the South West coast of damp little ol' Ireland.
And we are loving it.
Friend and foe eagerly await to hear how we are getting on .. what do we miss about France.. when are we going back .. do we need our heads examined..???
The thing is Mr Getrealfrance and I were ready to desert, after sitting on the fence for a number of years, and both of us being Irish and on the same page did help matters immensely. We've finally come home.
 I do miss my lovely friends and family who are still there and of course, the divine wines - the weather has been pretty good since we moved back which has helped enormously and we are embracing all the things we missed about Ireland.
It's all the little things that make life so much nicer here - we feel like we have won the lotto here in Clonakilty, so nice and friendly are the locals.
However , I never intended this blog to be a French bashing forum, and France has been very good to me. What is with all the French bashing in the media these days..what is it with this love/hate fascination with France and her politics and lifestyle that the Western world love to negatively wax lyrical about?
'France would be great, if it wasn't for the French' is a line that has been thrown at me more than a few times..quite the generalisation!
It seems every time I open a newspaper, there is an article bashing the French. Everyone in Ireland has an opinion on French politics, on Hollande or Sarkozy - yet hardly anyone can tell me the name of the Spanish or Italian presidents .. both countries of similar size in nearby Europe. People who have never set foot in France love to mock their ways and snigger at their politics.
In fairness, France is relatively resigned in her back lash - Imagine the furore if the French media started to relentlessly bash Ireland or the UK? Imagine a bunch of French expats in Ireland moaning and groaning about all things Irish and the way they do things here ( Look at any expat forum in France). Imagine the indignation and the outcry!
Laissez La France tranquille!

Friday, September 12, 2014

French for little francophones


CONTACT : KAREN O'REILLY : 087 - 9722498

(L'atelier de francais-FLAM est une association a but non lucrative dont le mission est de proposer des cours de francais aux enfants francophones)


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Canned air for sale

Who says there is no such word in French for entrepreneur? Who says the French are stuck in the past and not open to new ideas?
Well, one enterprising young man from Montcuq is certainly bucking the trend and has come up with a product that is flying off the shelves in France .. L'air de Montcuq (sounds like mon cul, or in other words, air from my ass) is collected in Montcuq, a small commune in the Lot department in the South of France.

Air from my backside
Sold in tin cans , according to his website, L'air de montcuq is 100% organic, must be consumed immediately and tins must be kept closed to conserve freshness.
What started off as a bit of a joke, young Antoine Deblay from Montcuq, launched his idea on kisskissbank and before too long had crowd funded enough euros to sell his tins of fart. Now, one can order his original product online on his website for the perfect gift for that special someone for Christmas. They are available for delivery only in France and cost only 5euros (€5.50 with postage) .. I think it is going to be énorme!!!!!!
Now, what didn't I think of that?
See his website here

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Falling in Love again

One thing I miss about France is, that in Ireland, I am completely invisible. In France, men openly appraise you - they look you up and down and comment on what they see 'beh, t'as maigri Kar-Hen!' they exclaim 'J'adore ton look aujourd'hui ma cherie' - very gay I know, but then it is hard in France to tell who is gay with the straight guys wearing white suits, tight capri style pants, pink scarves and more hair product than Jedward on a down day.
In France, a man will meet you for the first time with a flirtatious 'Enchanté' ( Enchanted to meet you - don't you love it?) while their eyes sweep over you, hovering openly on any assets you may have on display. In Ireland, you may get a handshake but the Irish dude will barely look you in the eye. Once you have broken eye contact and are not looking at him, he may, if he is feeling cheeky, chance a sneaky glance at your bum.
Flirting in France is a national pastime and for the most part, harmless, adding a bit of excitement and frisson to one's day. Flirting in Ireland, as far as I can see, only happens after 15 pints when the lads get brave and the lassies get brazen...
In the meantime, I'm busy falling in love again ... with Ireland, the only one seducing me these days! Vive L'Irlande!
Road to Eyeries from Allihies

Colourful Skibbereen

Broad Strand

Simon's Cove
My son's dream house 10 metres from the sea


Thursday, October 24, 2013

French Kiss or Irish Hug?

Image from
The rhythm of life is so different here in Ireland than in France and our body clocks are just about getting used to the new timetables as we potter along in our new life in Clonakilty.
For one thing, we all miss "La Cantine" , that wonderful French luxury of a 4 course delicious 2 hour lunch at school. These days, Irish kids are given 20 minutes to wolf down their sambos and get out into the yard to play. The lunch box used to be a fairly simple affair in my day, now, the list of forbidden foods is the length of your arm :

  • Crisps
  • Chocolate or anything containing chocolate
  • Fizzy drinks or fruit drinks
  • Cereal bars
  • Biscuits
  • Nuts and anything containing nuts
  • Sweets or anything sweet etc etc

While I agree totally with the healthy eating concept, lunch box filling has become rather a challenge ( ideas welcome)
The kids finish school at 2pm and 3pm ( how handy is that - NOT!) For my two who are used to finishing at 5pm in France and then launching into homework, as far as they are concerned, they have a half day every day! Whoopeee! That 's a lot of hours to entertain them though! After school activities take place every evening, not just on Wednesdays ( their day off school en France)
For us adults living in a small town, social activities don't usually start until about 9pm or later! Dancing classes, toastmasters, music sessions, they all start after 9pm. In France, in sleepy suburbia, the shutters would be coming down and people bunkering down for the night. If you are going to the pub, you might start thinking about going out around 10pm or later. Huh? but that's way past our bedtime! I recently joined a running club and we start training at 8pm. As we finish at 9pm, there are others just starting!!
Setting a fire and drying clothes in front of it and watching the weather like a hawk for signs of rain when the clothes are out .. these are things I haven't done in over 18 years!
I still go to kiss people on each cheek when I meet them, resulting in usually head butting the recipient - It feels funny not to physically greet people you haven't seen in a few days ; a "howzitgoan?" will do. In place of the sterile French air kissing though, what you do have is the Irish hug. At a family gathering recently, it was a veritable hugathon as I got lost in Aunties' perfumed bosoms and long lost cousins' embraces.
French kissing 'aint all it's cracked up to be anyway ;-)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Buying shoes in Ireland

When you move to a new country or indeed back to your home country after being a period of 16 years away as we did, you have certain expectations.
In our case, we thought that the people in Ireland, our Mother land, would be friendlier, that bureaucracy would be easier, that socially,we would feel more at home and that we would live a more naturally rounded life with all that is going on in Clonakilty, our adopted new town.
For the most part , that has been true and we are lapping up all Ireland has to offer and every time we leave the house, we are blown away by the friendliness and helpfulness of everybody.
We do realise that nowhere is perfect ( Mr GetrealFrance's van was recently broken into while parked in Dublin with many of his tools swiped ), but for now , for us, it is ticking all our boxes.
I could give you hundreds of examples since I've been home of the generosity of the Irish spirit, that, quite frankly, I have never encountered anywhere else...
Take last week when I went shopping with my son for shoes in Clonakilty. We popped into the local shoe shop and tried on a few pairs that were not satisfactory ( Not fast enough Mummy!) for our little tearaway. With all the time in the world, the shop owner patiently played with Dylan, chatted to me and finally found the perfect pair of shoes for my budding Usain Bolt.
As the shoes had just arrived in that day, the guy had no invoice for them and therefore was unable to give us a price
"Sure just take the shoes away there girleen and drop in any day to pay me" says he
Flabbergasted, I offered to pay him a deposit, leave some kind of a down payment but he was having none of it. My word was good.
"I trust you. Take the shoes and call in any day next week and I'll have a price for you"
Now, that's what I call retail therapy!
Kevin O'Regans Shoes
8 Pearce Street,
(no affiliation!)
Which reminds me, I must go in and pay for them!!!!!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

School's cool!

Uniforms! Halleluiah!
Well, we've been back in Ireland for over 6 weeks now after living in France for 11 years. How are you settling in, people keep asking us and what do you miss about France?
We're settling in as if we never left the place, except for now, we have an appreciation for Ireland that we never would have had before, warts and all, we are loving all that this fair isle has to offer.
While I am very aware that we are in the honeymoon period and everything is still new and shiny (yet all so familiar and comfortable ... like finding an old pair of comfy faded jeans at the back of your wardrobe that still fit after 11 years), It feels real and it feels like home.
The welcome we have received in the town we have chosen has been extraordinary and the schools are second to none. Our main concern moving here was that the children would fit in ok in their new schools considering all their education had been in French up to this point. Aged 6 and 8, we felt the French education system was too rigid and strict with no room for personal development, art or expressing oneself.
The amount of stuff on in their new schools here would make you dizzy ; there is an orchestra, orienteering, surfing, kayaking, drama, swimming, chess, dancing, singing, gardening, every kind of a sport you can imagine as well as gentlemanly awards and deportment classes.
The mission statement of the school states, among other things that :
"Every pupil is encouraged to achieve his full potential – socially, personally and intellectually – in a happy, secure learning environment.
The discipline in our school encourages and fosters respect and self-esteem among the pupils.
We endeavour to develop supportive and open communication among pupils, teachers, parents, Board of Management and the community." 
Music to our ears - the children seem to be extremely happy and skip into school every day. Long may it continue.......10/10 for the schools in Ireland so far...W

You may also like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...