A Taste of Garlic

Backyardprovence - Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

provence alpes cote dazur  Backyardprovence   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceRecently burst upon the blogging scene (and I do mean BURST! 150 posts in less than 5 months!) is backyardprovence which is written by Ashley who has this to say…

“I moved to the south of France with my husband, Michael (called dude)and daughter, Presley (Tinki). We actually have 4 children, but the older three remained in the USA, Tinki is the baby of the family, and made the big move with us. This is our journey to becoming French, I would like to think I am living the dream. Although, I have to admit there are days when it is a nightmare. I spend my days working for an international company and my weekends taking road trips to see as much of France as possible. I love history and traveling. This is my life as a tourist. I am not what you would call a “Professional Blogger” by any means. So bear with me. As in life, I am finding my way.”

provence alpes cote dazur  Backyardprovence   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceNow, I happen to be particularly attracted to backyardprovence because there is a whole post dedicated to that most wonderful of things french… The Citroën 2CV!

Now, how could I not review this blog?

So, without further ado, let’s dive in and have a good snoop round!

provence alpes cote dazur  Backyardprovence   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceThe All Important Car Parts….

Really belonging in the Only in France category is Le Bouchon de Tourves – only in France, after all, would you have a festival to celebrate a traffic jam!

If you should decide to visit it one year yourself, look out for Ashley – she’ll be easy to spot (And these, believe it or not, are her own words)…

“I will be the one wearing the clothes that say “Look at me! I’m the American tourist!” while yelling, “Dude, Dude! Come check out this cool car!” in that loud, obnoxious American voice that we tend to have while on vacation in Europe.”

All over France, Expat Men (and some expat women too; those that can drive cars that don’t have automatic transmissions, that is) were quaking when Ashley showed us photos of My New Corporate Car.

In my opinion, anything that Pink should be banned as a health hazzard (and I do stretch that qualification to pink footwear as well!)

Ashley does, of course, redeem herself by showing us a photo of A Little Bit of Sunshine.

I’ll give you three guesses as to which car that is based on but…

You’ll only need one!

provence alpes cote dazur  Backyardprovence   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceAnd, did you know? The French Army used to use those cars as portable generators!

But, being a girlie, Ashley then lets herself down again by having absolutely no idea what model this Mystery Car is!

Shame on you, Ashley – if I’m not mistaken that’s a lovely example of the AK series of Fourgonnette – they had the big engine, you know. Yes, that’s right, the powerful one! The 602cc model!

And, just in case you think that the little boy inside me is coming out (truth be told, the little boy inside me is always in control), you try parking one of these beauties in a street full of Renaults and Peugeots and watch which car all the men gather round!

provence alpes cote dazur  Backyardprovence   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceThe only thing better, in my humble opinion (and I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this?) is the rather fantastically amazing… Citroën 2CV!

At this point I ought to mention that I’ve just wet myself with excitement but, don’t worry…

Mrs A Taste of Garlic will be along shortly to wipe it up! She’s used to the effect that really sexy cars have on me!

And Dudes! Check out the spotted cowhide interior of the red one!

provence alpes cote dazur  Backyardprovence   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceThe Fashion Victim Bits…

When Ashley isn’t too busy photographing sexy cars she keeps herself occupied photographing Old Men in Swimming Trunks as can be seen in Speedo Speed Walking

And, if that hasn’t put you off your dinner, check out the model she found on the beach in Wow-No, No Gramps

Just to prove that she can be quite versatile with her camera, Ashley also turns her eye to the women every now and again (generally when her male models are having their afternoon naps!)

But when she says “Something just doesn’t seem right about this outfit” in Take it down a notch I have to ask…

To me everything seems not right with that outfit?

Although I do have to say…

“At least she’s not wearing Pink stilettos!”

In Work It Grandma Ashley photographs a woman wearing her 14 year old grand daughter’s fancy dress frock!

And then, in the funniest post I’ve seen forever…

Who said you could leave the house like that?

I have to respectfully suggest to Ashley…

“Might that family be Dutch or from Denmark, by any chance?

Or they could be German (they’re a funny lot, those Germans!) from near the Dutch or Danish borders?”

You see, you sort of know that…

If that were a French woman…

She’d be wearing $200 pink lingerie rather than sensible black knickers?

And, am I alone in thinking that the man in the picture has a bit of an Austrian look to his stride?

provence alpes cote dazur  Backyardprovence   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceThe Typically French Bits….

On the search for more Old Men Wearing Skimpy Swimming Trunks Ashley makes a Beach Day Mistake.

Yes, the beach is packed full of them!

And Ashley forgot to bring the spare memory card for her camera!

Actually I slightly made that last bit up!

If that wasn’t bad enough, Ashley then gets confused that Ascension Day = Holiday in France

Mais oui! We have rather a lot of Bank Holidays in France!

But then, France is a confusing place.

After all, Ashley might say I Went That-A-Way but, seriously, which way would you go?

The French would go any way they want to, the Brits would spend the next six months complaining about it on AngloInfo and the Aussies would probably park up, pull out a picnic hamper and have a party?

Of course, we all know that the French do this sort of stuff as part of their national defense – it’s hoped it’ll terminally confuse the next lot who try to invade them?

One of the fondest memories of my childhood was going with my father to the little shop on the campsite in Brittany, where we used to spend our holidays, and asking for a bottle of Shit!

It’s true – there’s a brand of lemonade called Pschitt!

Even now, at my advanced age I still burst out laughing (and often wet myself as well) when I see a bottle of it on the supermarket shelves!

So it gave me great pleasure to see that Ashley had noticed something similar in That’s SOME Cola!

And, you know, I’d be really tempted to buy a fishing rod and have a go if I saw a sign that said No Fishing.

Trouble is, it’d be a bit difficult to brag about the size of The One That Got Away wouldn’t it?

When Ashley was busy photographing some men wearing shorts in her local supermarket she noticed that they were all carrying something known as The Man Purse.

Now, I am proud to admit that I carry a man purse myself – so useful for keeping my penknife, my corkscrew, my spare corkscrew (in case the first one breaks) and stuff like that in!

Ashley – you really should buy your hubby one for his birthday!

In possibly the most accurate advertising that I have ever seen, La Diablerie does exactly what is says on the tin!

And when those horrors (you do realise, don’t you, that I don’t hate all children? No, I’m only talking about the 99.99% of children who aren’t going to grow up to be Danny Blanchflower or Kylie Mingoue!) finish their school – what do they play with?

Yes, you got it!

A Gross Child’s Game!

Although I do have to wonder…

Do French children really need a game in order to teach them how to pull bogies out of noses?

From what I’ve seen, most of them are born with that skill (I am, of course, excluding those French children who grow up to be David Ginola or Vanessa Paradis!)

provence alpes cote dazur  Backyardprovence   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceThe Absolutely Essential Foodie Bits…

I was rather surprised that there weren’t more foodie posts on this blog. However, I guess that if Ashley is spending most, if not all, of her waking hours trying to photograph Old Men in Skimpy Swimming Trunks then she might not have much time for baking?

Still, I guess she can always pop out for a Pizza Chez Caruso?

And there’s always My Local Boulangerie just 5 minutes walk away if she’s after a little nibble or a cake?

And talking about cakes, feast your eyes on these two birthday cakes seen in Happy Birthday Tinki and Happy Birthday Dude.

I’m not sure why Ashley doesn’t know what Brown Sauce is, though? I thought that was a staple of every modern healthy diet the whole world over?

I’m just wondering; in those countries that don’t have Brown Sauce, what do they splash on their chip butties?

Finally, let’s finish this feast with some nice fresh fruit.

Oh, the thrill of fresh fruit shows what is on display at the local outdoor fresh fruit and veggie market!

provence alpes cote dazur  Backyardprovence   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceThe Toilet Bits…

Ah, I’ve been waiting for this bit!

When Ashley isn’t busy photographing Old Men Wearing Skimpy Swimming trunks she is working hard on an Open University Degree in Toilet Studies!

She starts, from a historical perspective with the sub-genre of Medieval Bathrooms.

And ends up making the following plea to France…

“This is a plea to all villages who wish to welcome tourists to come and see the ancient ruins, chateaux, cobble stone streets and shop and eat and spend money. PLEASE, update your public bathrooms. Us girls are quite good at jungle peeing, but come on, help us out a little! This is really ridiculous. When you upgraded the town to have electricity, running water and of course, internet, you could have redone the bathrooms. I’m not saying they have to be all fancy with monogram towels, or nothing. Just a sit down towel would be nice. If possible, please add a toilet paper dispenser, too. I get a little tired of having to remember to bring my own on every trip.”

Personally, I don’t know what she is worried about? Although, I guess it would help if she could tell her Hommes from her Dames?

From reading I So Took A Wrong Turn it looks like she doesn’t get it right every time?

Perhaps she was just checking to see if the guys have Black Toilet Paper?

Or perhaps she just wanted a play with the Big Bang Toilet Seat Cleaner she discovers in Tell It Like It Is?

And did she tell you about the Cat Poop that she found on her terrace?

And she doesn’t even have a cat!

provence alpes cote dazur  Backyardprovence   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceSo, Summing Up…

backyardprovence is a wonderful roller-coaster of a blog that should be read by anyone who lives in Provence, or has ever dreamed of moving to Provence or has ever read a book by Peter Mayle.

It is a no punches pulled half funny, half serious description of real life in the South of France.

Ashley has already won Rant of the Week Award and I’m sure she’ll win many more awards so…

Why not pop over to backyardprovence and say hello.

And me? Well, I’m going to nip out and take a quick look at the Knicker Store that Ashley shows us in Excuse me, but what do you sell here?

And then I’m going to take a look at Living in Aix-en-Provence which is a website that Ashley made when she was living in France a few years ago.

Why don’t you pour yourself a glass of Rosé and come and join me?

All the best

provence alpes cote dazur  Backyardprovence   because we all love reading blogs about life in France


  • By Ashley, September 23, 2011 @ 4:57 pm

    Hi Keith,

    Wow! Thanks for such a great shout-out! Boy was I in a state of awe. In your honor, today’s post on my blog has a new picture I took of that wonderful car we both adore, the 2CV.

    I love your snippet about Pschitt! I really want to find a store that sells it just so I can ask for it. I’m not so sure I would be able to ask for it with a straight face, though.

    Thanks for telling me what my Mystery Car was. No one else has been able to and now I can sleep at night without wondering if I would ever find out or not.

    Dude is definitely getting the man purse for Christmas. He doesn’t know it, yet, but I already bought one for him!

    As for the Brown Sauce, Americans would be afraid of it. Due to that, I don’t think sales would go through the roof.

    Thanks again for your lovely post. I’m on cloud 9.


    PS- I will be sure to wear my $200 pink lingerie from now on. With people like me out there, I best be prepared!

  • By Keith Eckstein, September 23, 2011 @ 8:31 pm


    I can honestly say that there is no better feeling in the world than wandering into a village shop (wearing your man bag!) and asking for a bottle of Pschitt!

    All the best


    P.S. You really ought to try Brown Sauce – it’ll put hairs on your chest!

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