A Taste of Garlic

The Wanderer’s Return…

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Well, I suppose that the time for mourning has come to an end.

I really didn’t think that my father’s death would have affected me so much; me being born, as I was, without anything remotely resembling a heart and totally lacking in all the finer emotions that distinguish us from the beasts.

But it did affect me so….

I guess I might be slightly human after all?

It still hurts to see my father’s chair in front of the house; knowing that I’ll never see him sitting there, book on his lap – reading with his eyes closed!

But now it only hurts every minute of every day.

And that, after all, is better than before.

And if I ever hear his voice, whilst I’m all alone (as I am these days), in a charcuteire asking me “Shall we buy those eels/squids/pig’s trotters?” I do sort of understand that I’m almost hallucinating.

It does kind of worry me that I like those hallucinations – that worries me a lot!

Anyway, life goes on and I get the feeling that it’s time I got back to work on Garlic and try to catch up on the various recent deeds and misdeeds committed by some of the wilder elements of the Life in France bloggers whilst I’ve been otherwise engaged.

And whilst I’m not willing to give you any clues whose antics immediately come to mind, I can say one thing to you…

They’re a funny lot, that lot down in Montpellier!




So, from next Monday (Monday 15th August), Garlic will be re-born.

• I believe that there’s an Aussie Baby, down in the South of France, who needs a proper garlic welcome to this strange old world!

• There is a wonderful book to be given away in a new competition!

• And the wonderful author of that wonderful book has kindly agreed to be interviewed by me (mad fool that she is!)

• Johnny Depp is still not answering my phonecalls but I have complete faith that, before long, I’ll be able to get him to agree to an interview here and perhaps…

Donate a prize for a special competition?

Perhaps a pair of his boxer shorts?

Preferably not too soiled?

• I’ve got a long long list of sites to review – any of you who’ve sent me emails asking me to take a look at your site, sorry if I haven’t yet; I probably have sneaked a peek, I just haven’t got round to waffling about it!

• Obviously I shall be relying on my network of super spies to keep me updated with the latest gossip so that I can scribble about the Rosé Drinking Roustabouts in Provence and remark on the lives of the Pavement Poop Counting Princes & Princesses in Paris.

And certainly, no doubt I shall be also be remarking on the Wine Loving Louches in the Loire (you guys know who you are) and may even be reporting on local events in my little part of France; Rural (and very slightly backward) Brittany – where most of the local gossip revolves around the amount of rain in the last 24 hours, the amount of Ricard consumed whilst watching the rain, who has been abducted by aliens this week (alien abductions are, it has to be said, a regular and largely undocumented feature of our lives in the undiscovered part of Brittany!) and, finally, who has been getting slightly over friendly with Jean-Phillipe’s sheep (especially that really pretty, sexy ewe in the field down by the stream!)

Simple, boring stuff, in other words….

Stuff that wouldn’t interest anyone in their right mind….

Unless, of course, they were an expat living in France….

Or thinking of becoming one, in which case all I can say is that perhaps a large (or extra large) glass of Ricard is in order and a quick review of Garlic might help put things into perspective.

After all, whatever situation you might find yourself in as an expat in France, you can always console yourself that someone else has already not only been there but has blogged about it – and, of course, it’s probably re-blogged for posterity here at A Taste Of Garlic.

•  I’ve got some ideas for some competitions – watch this space!

•  Mrs A Taste of Garlic and I have been thinking about doing a mini Tour de France so that we can meet many of you in person

We are, of course held back by the knowledge that….

a). We’ve only got enough petrol to get us to Rennes (and then it’ll be a gamble if we’ve got enough to get us home again!)

b). Most of the time when me and Mrs A Taste of Garlic turn up unexpected on someone’s doorstep, they tend to pretend that they’ve left town, died during the night (or are just about to do so) or are suffering from the plague – and are thus, indisposed to make us a nice cup of tea!

c). Mrs A Taste of Garlic has got an enormous (and I’m talk mega-gallons here) problem with her waterworks and, as a consequence, doesn’t dare stray anywhere more than 30 metres from a Fosse Septique!

Still (and please, for your sanity’s sake, be very worried about this) we are discovering the joys of Skype (which has only very recently been invented in Brittany) – we may be able to tie up by video-conference.

•  In other words….

Mrs A Taste of Garlic and I are going to make sure that Garlic carries on doing its normal job of spreading malicious rumours about you English Speaking Expats in France.

We may even ask some of you for your help in helping us spread those rumours!

Even if I’ve been a bit stuck up my own arse recently and feeling sorry for myself, I do apologise – it’s not every day that your best friend in the whole world (who just happens to be your dad) decides to bugger off the heaven to give God a quick lesson in linguistics and the joys of Esperanto!

I do promise that, unless I’m abducted by aliens from outer space again (always a hazard…) I’ll try to keep on track, reviewing the best and worst Life in France blogs because….

After all…

What could possibly be more important than Reading About Blogs about Life in France?

All the best

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52 Comments

  • By candy froggie, August 6, 2011 @ 11:40 pm

    welcome back! We’ve, well ” I ” have missed you! I know it’s been hard times… but there you are, as full of energy as ever! That’s so promising! oh and your mini Tour de France… what a wonderful idea!!! : )))

  • By Sara Louise, August 7, 2011 @ 7:57 am

    Welcome back Keith. It’s not to see you back on form :-)

  • By jean, August 7, 2011 @ 8:27 am

    It’s nice to have you back, Keith – we have missed you!

  • By k_sam, August 7, 2011 @ 8:50 am

    Welcome back Keith, we’ve missed you!

  • By Anji, August 7, 2011 @ 8:57 am

    I didn’t especially get on with my dad but I’m pleased when I catch a glimpse of someone who reminds me of him. Your father reminded me of him and he would have gone for the pigs trotters too.

    I’m glad you’re back again.

    Read and be read ExposeYourBlog!

  • By MJ, August 7, 2011 @ 9:46 am

    Hi Keith, good to have you back. We missed you making fun of all of us. I’m sorry for the loss of your father, sounds like he was a pretty great man.
    Welcome back.

  • By Nicole, August 7, 2011 @ 10:08 am

    Welcome back Keith, it’s good to hear from you again.

    Good luck in your hunt for petrol money – a Tour de France sounds like an awesome idea. If you find yourself in Paris, give me a shout!

  • By Keith Eckstein, August 7, 2011 @ 10:36 am

    Thanks Candy Froggie

    Good to be back and I’ve a feeling your two little rascals may be up for an award sometime soon – once I find out where Mrs A Taste of Garlic has put the feline awards (she’s always tidying up!)

    All the best

    Keith

  • By Kirsty, August 7, 2011 @ 10:38 am

    I’m so very sorry to hear about your dad and how hard it has been on you.
    Needless to say, it’s great to see you back and full of evil ideas.
    And what a funny coincidence – Johnny Depp hasn’t been returning any of my calls either.

  • By Keith Eckstein, August 7, 2011 @ 10:41 am

    Cheers Sara Louise

    It’s nice to be back – a bit like coming home after an unhappy business trip!

    I’ve really missed taking the mickey out of all your mischievous meanderings in downtown Provence.

    I do hope you’re not leading that Aidan astray? She seemed such a nice person when she started blogging and now just look at her – a few Rosé filled evenings with you and she’s feeding her children dogfood!

    Or is that just a Texan thing?

    All the best

    Keith

  • By Keith Eckstein, August 7, 2011 @ 11:06 am

    Hi Jean

    I’ve missed all of you, as well. I’ve been taking the occasional peek at what’s been going on but not like before.

    I can hardly wait to catch up on the gossip and start spreading some naughty rumours!

    All the best

    Keith

  • By Keith Eckstein, August 7, 2011 @ 11:11 am

    Oh, Sam

    I’ve missed you as well.

    And I so, so, so sure that you’ll have plenty of opportunities to win Rant of the Week Award in the run up to your happy occasion!

    In fact, I even asked Mrs A Taste of Garlic if I could buy an Award for the best Wedding Dilemma of the Week but she said we couldn’t afford it and anyway, I shouldn’t be encouraging you!

    I’m not sure what she meant by that but I’ll try to sneak in a special award for you; should you merit one, of course!

    All the best

    Keith

  • By Keith Eckstein, August 7, 2011 @ 11:23 am

    Anji

    You know, I didn’t really get on with my Dad for a long, long time (perhaps most of the first 35 years of my life.)

    But then I realised that I was becoming him and that that wasn’t such a bad thing and so we sort of became good friends.

    My initial feeling, when I was informed of his death, was one of being let down.

    He was due to come over for the summer and I just couldn’t understand why he couldn’t have waited until after we’d eaten all the more interesting parts of pig internals (and emptied Vannes market of anything remotely resembling cheese!)

    I guess he just decided that, this way, there’d be more of the aforementioned delicacies for me?

    All the best

    Keith

  • By Keith Eckstein, August 7, 2011 @ 11:30 am

    Oh, MJ

    I have sooooooo missed making fun of all of you!

    That Blue Lobster you had the other day looked delicious – did you save some for me?

    All the best

    Keith

  • By Keith Eckstein, August 7, 2011 @ 11:33 am

    Nichole

    Be very afraid – if we ever get to Paris, I’ll certainly hunt you down!

    I didn’t realise that you’d moved back to France – oh, shame on me!!!!

    All the best

    Keith

  • By Jacqui, August 7, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

    HELLO KEITH! Hope you can hear me from down in sunny (but not as sunny as it should be) Poitou-Charentes, it’s good to have you back, we have missed you. Looking forward to chuckling along to the Garlic posts.

  • By aidan, August 7, 2011 @ 12:25 pm

    Keith,
    I never doubted your heart. Nor did anyone else who’s ever read your reviews and posts. I am so happy to have you back. I looked forward to hearing what you had to say so much.
    The next blogapalooza is tentatively planned for October. Do you think you and Mrs. might be able to make it down to the sauvage land of southerners?
    And. I can’t wait to see who these mad Montpudians are…I could use some weirdness in my little life.
    gros bisous,
    aidan

  • By Richard Brown, August 7, 2011 @ 12:40 pm

    Welcome back Keith, things just haven`t been the same!!

  • By Keith Eckstein, August 7, 2011 @ 12:56 pm

    Jacqui

    Hearing you loud and clear!

    The sun’s just come out here in Brittany – which is rather strange occurrence!

    All the best

    Keith

  • By Keith Eckstein, August 7, 2011 @ 1:00 pm

    Aidan

    It’s true…

    What little humanity/compassion/sympathy that I might have been born with was systematically removed during my youth….

    My mum used to feed me dog food, you see!

    All the best

    Keith

    P.S. You know, I’m almost tempted to try it myself – just in case I’m missing out on something!

  • By Keith Eckstein, August 7, 2011 @ 1:02 pm

    Hi Richard

    Thanks for the welcome!

    All the best

    Keith

  • By Steve aka Mr TK, August 7, 2011 @ 4:22 pm

    Nice to see you posting again Keith. We have all missed our weekly fixes of A Taste of Garlic.

  • By Keith Eckstein, August 7, 2011 @ 4:33 pm

    Why, thank you , Mr Tomato King

    You are, I hope, fully aware that I intend to blow every penny of my modest inheritance on a race tuned VeloSolex with which I shall defeat each and every pretender to the throne of VeloSolex King of Brittany (and the other, less important parts of France and Europe.)

    All the best

    Keith

  • By Sarah Hague, August 8, 2011 @ 10:00 am

    I can’t think who you mean down here in Montpellier… but WELCOME BACK! Glad you’re feeling well enough to come up for air. We’ve missed you.

  • By Tanya, August 8, 2011 @ 11:14 pm

    Welcome back! Oh how we’ve missed you!!!

  • By Steve aka Mr TK, August 9, 2011 @ 7:39 am

    Ah so that was you Keith I spotted in the race covered by Andy
    here
    http://pruningsfromthevines.blogspot.com/2011/08/velosolex-racing-in-jarnac.html

  • By Keith Eckstein, August 9, 2011 @ 10:03 am

    Misses you too Tanya!

    Just hunting round for some salacious gossip about you so that I can tell the whole world about it on Tuesday!

    All the best

    Keith

  • By Keith Eckstein, August 9, 2011 @ 10:06 am

    Hi Steve

    Yes, I noticed that posting by Andy – a not so subtle attempt by him to win Blog of the Week Award, me thinks?

    I f you think you spotted me, it was probably my race double (all the best Velosolex racers have one of those, you know!)

    I’ll be easy to recognise once I start my Velosolex racing career….

    I’ll be the one in wearing the Nun’s habit and…

    Lingerie!

    All the best

    Keith

  • By Steve aka Mr TK, August 10, 2011 @ 9:51 am

    Well my racing costume is a secret, but it will be red with a green helmet!

  • By Samantha Vérant, August 10, 2011 @ 10:10 am

    Welcome back, Keith! You were really were missed. And I was actually getting a little worried! And, bah! You were born with one of the biggest hearts!Hmmm. Montpellier? Could it be our Sarah?

  • By Keith Eckstein, August 10, 2011 @ 11:23 am

    Oh, go on Steve….

    Send me a sneaky photo – I promise not to publish it!

    All the best

    Keith

    P.S. I’ve just consulted my technical team and they’ve said that if you’re going to dress yourself up like a tomato, you really need to think of the aerodynamics? The only thing they’ve warned me about it getting my garters snagged on the Supercharger!

  • By Keith Eckstein, August 10, 2011 @ 11:45 am

    Hi Samantha

    I’m not sure why you suggest Sarah when I say… “They’re a funny lot, that lot in Montpellier”?

    What is it that you know about her that I don’t?

    And do you want to whisper it in my ear – I won’t tell anyone (well, I might mention it to a few people next Tuesday?)

    She’s busy clearing her garage (well, it’s one way to spend a summer, I suppose?) so she’ll never know!

    Anyway, I think they’re all a bit funny down that way (apart from Ed Ward at City on a Hill, he seems quite normal. Oh, and Mary at l’antipodeuse – she’s also quite normal, as far as I can tell, ….. for a Kiwi!)

    But, as for the rest of them…

    Mad as hatters, the lot of them!

    Especially the one’s who feed dog food to their children!

    Remind me again; just how far from Montpellier do you live?

    All the best

    Keith

  • By Delana, August 11, 2011 @ 11:35 am

    Keith….Geez, we’ve missed you. Yes, you’re weird. In my family that was always a good thing! After my dad died, I used to see glimpses of him on the street and I dreamed about him all the time. At first it was little frightening…then I decided it was really him trying to let me lose him slowly. I thought it was rather nice of him! Now he just visits me in my memories and it seems to be alright with both of us. So now, let’s get back to weirdness…I have a funny feeling your dad would approve! All my best.

  • By Keith Eckstein, August 11, 2011 @ 12:07 pm

    Hi Delana

    Sure is good being weird (I think – after all, I know no other way of life?)

    Nice to know I’m not alone in seeing my father…

    I was driving into the village the other day and slowed down because there were some mushrooms by the side of the lane and my Dad asked… “Edible?” to which I replied “No, not really” before realising that Dad wasn’t actually sat next to me (I did have to look twice and even checked the back seat and the boot!)

    I bet he’s having a good laugh about that!

    All the best

    Keith

    P.S. What is that “awesome new project” that you’re working on? You can tell me; I won’t tell anyone – I promise!

  • By Gigi, August 11, 2011 @ 4:25 pm

    (((((hugs))))) Keith…

    I find it hard to conceive that my Dad’s gone – he’s still there, in my head, telling his cringeworthy jokes, hunting for his reading glasses, falling asleep every five minutes…

    He was an electrician by trade and always doing jobs around the house and the day after he died, my mum phoned to say that the hairdryer had suddenly stopped working, and the extractor fan, and the porch light…it was as if Dad was playing one of his practical jokes on her. It did make her smile which must have been what he wanted :-)

    Happy, happy memories. Just cherish them, Keith…

    Lovely to have you back :-)

  • By Eric, August 11, 2011 @ 7:17 pm

    Good to see you back Keith….I lost my brother about a month ago so I know how a family loss can effect just about everything.
    The sadness lingers but slowly we just have to get on with our lives on planet earth

  • By mrlemarquis, August 12, 2011 @ 8:56 am

    Wotcher Cocker – I knew you’d get back from N. London sometime or other….!

  • By Leesa, August 12, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

    Hi Keith…

    I’m happy to see you back here and I know that it really does take time to process the passing of a parent.. You are DEFINITELY human and you DEFINITELY have a feeling heart, I can be sure of that! I am glad you took the time you needed for yourself.. it takes time, believe me..
    I’m keeping you in my thoughts..

    Welcome back to the blogosphere!! You’ve been missed!
    Hugs,
    Leese

  • By Keith Eckstein, August 13, 2011 @ 1:38 pm

    Leesa

    Thanks very much – keep your eyes peeled for next Tuesday’s biggest, bestest, baddest That was the week… since, well……
    A long, long time!

    All the best

    Keith

  • By Keith Eckstein, August 13, 2011 @ 1:39 pm

    Mr Le Marquis

    Wotcher

    No footie for me today (due to the riots) – lucky escape for Spurs, if you ask me!

    All the best

    Keith

  • By Keith Eckstein, August 13, 2011 @ 1:39 pm

    Eric

    Thanks for your kind words.

    All the best

    Keith

  • By Keith Eckstein, August 13, 2011 @ 1:41 pm

    Gigi

    I know what you mean – they don’t go, do they? They’re just not there any more.

    All the best

    Keith

  • By Marilyn Z. Tomlins, August 13, 2011 @ 8:34 pm

    Hi Keith
    I regularly came to look in to see whether the lights were back on, then I went away myself for a short while. Anyway, keep on smiling …
    Marilyn

  • By PigletinFrance, August 15, 2011 @ 9:32 am

    Welcome back Keith! I have been wondering about you and missing your “good mornings” on facebook. I hope that things get easier for you soon but I’m glad you’re back and will look forward to having your reviews for a good giggle.
    If you’re ever in the wilderness of Nord-Isere do let me know.

  • By Keith Eckstein, August 15, 2011 @ 9:39 am

    Hi Marilyn

    Well, I’m back for good now!

    Where did you go – anywhere nice?

    All the best

    Keith

  • By Keith Eckstein, August 15, 2011 @ 9:43 am

    Hello Piglet

    Yes, I’ll certainly pop in if we get down that way.

    I’m off Facebook for good now (instrument of the devil that it is) but am busy working on Garlic – I don’t think you’re down for any kind of award this week but, you never know!

    All the best

    Keith

  • By Vanessa, August 15, 2011 @ 4:20 pm

    A belated welcome back, Keith. I hope things are easier for you now. My Dad died when I was 12; I wish I had known him a bit longer, but I suspect we were too alike to get along well. I still have dreams about him, even after more than 40 years – oops, that dates me a bit. You never quite get over losing a parent, it just gets a bit less painful with time.

  • By tammy, August 16, 2011 @ 1:56 am

    Oh, what a pleasure it gave me to see your writing again–I was checking in, checking in some more…Welcome back, dear Keith, I’m looking forward to seeing what you have up your sleeve!

  • By Keith Eckstein, August 16, 2011 @ 6:12 am

    Hi Tammy

    You want to know what I’ve got up my sleeve?

    You brazzen hussey!

    Actually, if you look closely you’ll see that I have a fearless expose of your future plans!

    All the best

    Keith

  • By Keith Eckstein, August 16, 2011 @ 6:19 am

    Hi Vanessa

    Nope, you spend your late teens and early twenties trying to get away from them (at least, I did) and then, the moment they’re gone, you start missing them?

    All the best

    Keith

  • By Meredith, August 17, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

    Welcome back, Keith! You have a unique voice and it’s good to bring it back to the market square!

    Hope it doesn’t sound too much of a platitude to say mourn the loss and don’t let anyone stop you–but ultimately keep in good heart and honor his memory by being yourself and doing what you enjoy. He’d surely want that!

  • By Keith Eckstein, August 17, 2011 @ 6:32 pm

    Meredith

    Thanks – thankfully Father didn’t really understand the internet (although someone did set up a desktop link for him that launched a web-browser and went straight to my blog) but…

    I do think that he would have rather enjoyed doing Garlic, himself!

    All the best

    Keith

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