Wednesday, 23 May 2007

A Mad Month

May is a mad month in France, there are 4 ‘date specific’ bank holidays, so they change their day of the week each year. So if it’s a weekend you don’t even notice it, if it’s midweek then it’s chaos as everyone does ‘le pont’ and takes the off the days bridging the BH and the weekend, even some of the schools. However the 4th one, Pentecost, was ‘abolished’ in 2003 but the public sector still takes it off whereas the private sector does not. So people find they have to work while the schools are resolutely shut. Charming.

So we have had three 4-day weeks so far and I’m totally confused as to what day it is and whether I have to take the kids to school or not (there is also no school on Wednesdays - are you still with me?!). Plus it’s birthday party season, so when we’re not at school we’re trying to get the right kid to the right venue with the right present. Pickle is very popular and has had more invites than Poppet but she has developed a cunning strategy of accompanying her brother to the door and somehow blagging an invitation. She’s gate-crashed 3 so far, are we grooming an ‘It Girl’ here?!

They’ve also each been ill, not together of course, that would be too easy. Poppet had the 24-hour-high-fever one so we spent the day on the sofa watching Barbie till we both developed annoying accents, and Pickle now has a cold with accompanying asthma so he’s spending the day at the computer and the night calling for Mummy every hour. (I now look like a zombie.)

I went into Paris on Monday night to meet up with a friend I haven’t seen for 7 years who now tours with the Pet Shop Boys. I was able to watch the gig, catch up with my mate, sell T-shirts to the fans and take a look round the tour-bus. It was great fun, although that was also the night Pickle got ill so after creeping in at 1am, I was then up all night, and not in a fun way. The PSBs moved on that same night to Amsterdam; life on the road, now that is mad!

Friday, 18 May 2007


So who are we then? Let me introduce our little clan (names have been changed to protect the innocent and guilty alike...) There's me and husband 'Nobby', who is responsible for our current location just outside of Paris, and our 2 kids 'Poppet', age 6, and 'Pickle', age 4 and 3 quarters - the 3 quarters is very important, he has a chart to count the 'sleeps' until his 5th birthday, it's a serious business.

We have been living in France for 3 years and can confirm that all the cliches in books like 'Year in the Merde' are true! Seriously though, it is actually a lovely place to live and we have really enjoyed it. The children go to French school and are almost bi-lingual while we parents are still struggling to make ourselves understood. We've learned to live with some local customs, such as the shops closing for 3 hours for lunch, dog poop in the streets and ubiquitous cigarette smoke, and we've even adopted some others including agressive driving, queue-jumping and turning up late. At least we can see a doctor within hours of getting ill and the rubbish is collected twice a week...

Nobby is a Marketing Director and is responsible for launching a new product later in the year. I am a Domestic and Offspring Director, working from home, with responsibility for procurement, catering, financial planning, chauffeuring, valeting, training and ad-hoc project management. The pay isn't great but there are a lot of fringe benefits.

So this blog is mostly for family and friends to keep abreast of what we are up to over here. I should have started it 3 years ago of course but better late than never. We will be leaving France at some point in the next 12 months, not sure where to yet but I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Here goes: 16th May 2007

I was looking for something to do, other than an early night, while Nobby is on a night flight home from the USA, and decided to start a Blog. I've been 'on my own' for 3 nights now and I'm looking forward to finding an adult male in my bed tomorrow night rather than a cheeky 6 year old or a restless 4-and-3-quarters year old. I was also looking forward to some Duty Free compensation until Nobby told me he was scuppered in his mission due to 'refurbishment' at Boston airport which has closed all the shops. So I guess that'll be some in-flight peanuts and individual bottle of Chardonnay then. Mustn't grumble.

At least we can belatedly celebrate me obtaining my blue belt at Jujitsu last night!! Hurrah! My son is very happy for me, mostly because he gets another old one to add to his collection. At this rate he'll have an escape rope quite soon (the belt has to wrap around twice, by the way, I am not fat.)

So here's to blogging and blue belts, cheers!