A Happy Ending in La Ciotat + Donner du fil à retordre
Brugnon...or nectarine? (A two word hint: sticky pits) + bee or wasp?

Another way to get French strangers to talk to you + Canne à pêche

Mediterranean sar fish poisson saar from the coast of La Ciotat France green plate yellow kitchen tiles
Our retro yellow kitchen here in lively La Ciotat makes a catching backdrop for JM's catch: a Mediterranean sar ("saar" in English. Not that that's any help for most of us trying to figure out just what kind of poisson this is!). They do, however serve sar in many seaside restaurants here along the south coast.

la canne à pêche

    fishing pole, fishing rod

Listen to the following example sentence in French: download Canne à pêche

Une canne à pêche sert à attraper des poissons. 
A fishing pole is used to catch fish.


    by Kristi Espinasse

Non, after ending his career as a paysan, Jean-Marc is not retiring! It only looks as though he is! Especially in the photo near the end of this missive. My husband will continue his work in wine. Instead of farming, he'll stick to the wine business (and blending...), discovering good local wines and connecting French wine growers with US importers. Jean-Marc would also like to source grapes and continue making wine, a passion that has not left him....

Meantime the new ciotadin (resident of La Ciotat) is discovering other pleasures--like la pêche! Yesterday our bungalow, our patio, and a part of our yard was tangled in meters upon meters of fishing line as Jean-Marc tried to assemble his new canne à pêche.

Ah, this'll be a good activity for him, I thought, teaching him patience. (But when he called me over to help, I got sucked into the @#&!! test of patience, too!)

Golden retriever Smokey outside yellow kitchen
Our 8-year-old golden retriever, Smokey. His hanging tongue is a séquelle, or consequence from the past...

Smokey and I were careful not to add to the frustration by getting tangled into the growing line (it now reached our newly-planted fig tree at the edge of our lot). Finally, the would-be fisherman reeled in the unknotted line and set out on foot to the nearest digue--his wine-harvest bucket (serving a new purpose) swinging from his arm.

Strangely, no other fishermen were present. Perhaps the day after a storm is not the time to fish? I'd heard of troubled waters.... Jean-Marc assured me people were fishing--he could see them farther down the coast. Donc tout était bon--and he had digue, or seawall, all to himself!

But where were all the fish? When the store-bought appâts (vers américans, or American worms) did not attract any fish, he remembered the humble, trusty, arapède. There were dozens of the little creatures (or "Chinese hats", for they resemble just that). Plucking up a few limpets, Jean-Marc then removed the snails from the shell and voilà--he immediately caught a fish!

Arapede limpet snail bait appat
Finally he could answer a pertinent question posed by the occasional passant, who slowed each time to inquire, Ça mord? Anything biting?

Oui! ça mord! Yes, they're biting!

And, dear reader, I think we can say as well that Jean-Marc has been bitten by the joy of fishin'.

Setting up his fishing pole canne a peche in the digue sea wall france la ciotat
Learn the expression coller comme une arapède, in this early blog story from 2005, taking place in the seaside town of Sète... 

French Vocabulary & related terms

la canne à pêche = fishing pole

le poisson = fish

la pêche = fishing

la digue = sea wall

donc tout était bon = so all was well

l'appât (m) = bait, lure

un hameçon = fishing hook

l'arapède = limpet

Ça mord ? = any bites?

sar = a Mediterranean fish, the nam 'sar' designates many kinds of edible fish.

passant(e) = passer-by


Who could not be happy in a sunshine yellow kitchen (from the 50s or 70s, we do not know)? It's not the most comfortable kitchen, but it has a nice look, doesn't it? A few readers had a solution for the low counter top: Sit down when you chop! So I did, and discovered that by opening one of the cupboards, I have a place to put my legs :-)



Thanks to Nick and Jill Cook for sending this picture of The Connexion interview. Thank you, Jessica Knipe for the interview. You can read part of it here (if I get a copy of the paper, I will share it).

Ice cream
The nice thing about fishing at this digue its proximity to the ice cream truck. Jean-Marc ordered caramel sale and I got the menthe chocolat.

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