A palaver in Ploërmel.

This weekend, I spent some time in the lovely village of Ploërmel, in Brittany. Because we live so far away from everything, and because my mum has to work, I had no way to get home. So I spent a full day there.

The distance also means services are quite a while away, so when my phone was out of action, we had to drive out to the nearest phone repair shop. Once I had actually found the phone shop (as the town looks a lot different on street level) I had to wait for them to do a ‘diagnostic’. Which was absolutely pointless as I knew exactly what was wrong with my phone. Anyway, while waiting for them to finish, I had a look round the town. Being so small, there aren’t any big high-street names to be found, but there was a town market on that day with plenty to browse. There also wasn’t a massive shopping complex to be seen, however there is an industrial park with an E.Leclerc, a Technologie et Maison (technology and home) building, a few clothes shops and a garden centre. Nearby, there’s a cinema and a bowling alley, neither of which I’ve checked out, although I do know Les Indestructables 2 is currently showing.

For some reason, I do enjoy looking around supermarkets in different countries, just to see brand differences and what people buy every day. At this stage, it can be quite useful to see what I can and can’t buy to plan ahead food-wise. For example, in France you won’t easily find Heinz baked beans, OXO cubes, bacon rashers or cheddar cheese. However, a good substitute for cheddar is mimolette. It comes as a rounded slice (see below), and has a similar texture and taste.

Image result for mimoletteSource: https://bit.ly/2JMP0kD

Another thing I enjoy doing is looking in the books, DVDs and music sections in shops. In France, E.Leclerc have their own ‘Espace Culturel’, Super U stores will have a section for this. Not only can I buy French versions of English-language books, such as the Harry Potter series, but I get to see what music is popular by the CDs (or even vinyls) for sale. And because I’m such a languages geek, I love to see what the French call English-language films. For example, The Hangover is called Very Bad Trip, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is simply called Les Animaux Fantastiques.

Image result for a very bad tripImage result for les animaux fantastiques

Poster sources: Les Animaux Fantastiques: https://bit.ly/2f7GUoB | Very Bad Trip: https://bit.ly/2OcVbSb

After my good look around the shops (and trying my hardest to not buy every plant in the garden centre), I decided to pop into the Orange shop for a browse, determined to do just that. The Orange employees, however, did their job too well and I ended up walking out 25 minutes later with a new phone, plus screen protector and case. I was feeling knd of guilty for spending that much money, but this was soon overwhelmed with a sense of pride. I had just done all of that in French, with only minimal help. With my bags in hand, I went back to the phone repair shop to get my old device back, only to be told they had found the problem (cue eye-roll). Despite me insisting I just wanted to take it back, they told me to come back another day because it wasn’t in a ‘suitable state’ to return it. Cue another eye-roll. So I went back again today, having forgotten that the French are a bit weird with their opening hours (or their horaire d’ouverture).

Some places have slightly different hours on a Monday, or are closed altogether. According to about-france.com, small provincial towns tend to close their doors on Monday mornings, sometimes all day. Another day of closures is Sundays. You won’t find many places open on Sundays, if at all. To read more about public holidays and other days of the week in France, visit this site.

I’ll leave this post here for now, and get back to blogging next week. I hope you all have a great week, and enjoy your day!

Main image source: https://bit.ly/2ObIN4R