For the past 3 mornings there has been heavy frost on the car windshield. Daniel kindly loaned me this car so I started poking around looking for an ice scraper. I could not find one so I just warmed up the car so that I could see and drove off. The snow-brush and scraper tool is useful if not standard item in almost every Canadian car. Later, I asked Daniel if in fact they have these here in France. Qui – but not in that car! With a little hand gesture and using the universal phrase “credit card” I got the idea that in a pinch a credit card does an admirable job.
American Express - don’t leave home without it

So the next morning I drag out my “don’t leave home without it” American Express card and yes it “can be used for other things”! Those guys at American Express are really smart!

Now the fire part.

Daniel had warned me about packing charcoal before it has had at least 12 hours of standing in the open absorbing moisture and just generally settling down after a night in the oven. I was a little eager and packed up the charcoal in boxes and completely sealed them. The next morning I came in early and I smelled something funny in the shop. I couldn’t figure it out. A slightly hot almost electrical smell. I looked down at the 2 boxes of Nitram that were stacked on top of each other. The adhesive tape on the outside looked a little “soft”. I touched the top of the box and the word “merde” or some such word(s) escaped my lips! I grabbed the 2 boxes and ran with them outside. I turned the top box over and this is what I saw.

Spontaneous Combustion

SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION before my very eyes! More “Merdes”! I know what Daniel told me, but I guess I never took it seriously enough. Apparently Nitram H is the worst offender. I will seriously take heed of letting the charcoal rest after a long hot bout of cooking. By the way that was probably $20,000.00 worth of Nitram that went up in smoldering “merde”!

Back to my favorite topic – the consumption of tasty little treats to keep the energy levels up. Afterall fighting fires is emotionally tiring work. Today at Le Petit Auberge in Champlost it all started with a little fromage tart with an endive salad.

Fromage Tart with an Endive Salad
I used a baguette to prevent any of the salad dressing going back to the kitchen. Natalie and Daniel tried to tell me what was the next course. It was bigger than a poulet but smaller than a “gobble - gobble” Hmmm…. What could that be? Natalie went to her trusty “Google translate” and returned with a piece of paper and in her neat handwriting I saw the word "guinea". A guinea hen? “Avec blanc et noir” feathers? Qui, Qui, Qui!
Guinea Hen
Tasty little guy was served with a broccoli fromage quiche. It all worked out very well and knowing what you are eating is a bonus.
Raspberry Tart

It ended with a raspberry tart and of course Natalie remembers to bring my espresso to ward off the “evil drowsies” from the vin rouge.

Until the next meal – “bon courage”! That’s what the visiting locals and friends of Daniel's tell me when they are leaving me to do my work at the shop. I keep thinking do they know something I don’t…

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