Monday, July 31, 2006

England Tour

So my summer tour around beautiful blighty has begun. I have started in the North, where my roots and parents are. Yesterday, due to extended caravanning plans on the part of my parents, I stayed with my sister and her husband who live half an hour or so away. We spent an extremely fun afternoon at Go Ape! (exclamation mark essential) in Sherwood Forest, where we swung from zip slides, climbed across rope ladders and swung out like tarzan. As you can imagine there were more than a few references to the oooooo ah ah ah sound of the legendary ape-man. This physical fun was rewarded with a delicious roast pork dinner prepared by my sister H. So, it's day 2 and I'm already being utterly spoilt, especially if you count the bacon and egg sandwich I wolfed down earlier.

It's nice to be at home, more so now I'm with my parents in the house where I grew up. I've just spent a very bittersweet couple of hours going through my old wardrobes and finding old lipsticks (was peach frost really a lip option in the early nineties?), glitter spray and some earrings in a variety of animal forms - yes I have dolphins, cats and even giraffes. It pains me to throw any of this old tat out, though I know I should.

Next step on the tour is picking up G from East Midlands Airport tomorrow morning. He enjoys coming to England for the curry, fish and chips and English practice, and he gets on well with my family so there's no problem there. After that we're going to stay with my grandma in the Nottingham area and to catch up with my cousin and her family. Later in the week we're heading further south, more on that later.

So if you'll excuse me I have to get back to Countdown, I think Carol Vorderman is going to be stumped by this numbers game.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Things That Go Bump In The Night

It's scorching hot and I'm currently fantasising about purchasing one of the above rather splendid swatters. In my anti-mosquito arsenal I now boast :

5/5 repellent spray against mosquitos, ticks, bees, wasps and other stinging insects (1 bottle)
5/5 plug-in repellant liquid (1 plug)
long-sleeved, long-legged cotton pyjamas (1 pair)

I fully appreciate that I'm lacking a safari-size mosquito net to hook above my bed (think Joanna Lumley in Girl Friday) but I haven't had time to go looking for one. After all, this is Paris not the Amazon Basin. Despite this very irrelevent information, I am forced to admit that my part of the Ile de France is somewhat more popular with biting insects than other areas.

You can't say I'm wasting my time though; I have spent some of this evening doing a translation for a friend and the other three hours looking very determined with a cunningly folded TIME magazine in my hand, a frown of single-minded concentration on my face and desire to murder itch-giving, ear-buzzing beasties cursing through what's left of my clearly delicious tasting blood. My legs are a ransacked banqueting hall of mosquito enjoyment and my arms are puffed up in strange places which makes me look either like I have well-defined biceps or like I'm smuggling grapes under my skin.

At least the temperature has dropped a little this evening and I'll no longer be allowed to complain about both the heat AND the mosquitos. During the writing of this post I have killed three mosquitos alone. Does anyone know where I can find a particularly hungry spider?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Dooced à l'anglaise

It has been only a matter of several months that I have been blogging on here, and while I have to say it is really a pleasure to click on the Site Meter (US spelling notwithstanding) and see that people have taken time out of their lives to read my rantings, increasing my readership is not my first intention. I'm happy with being able to share what's going on in my beloved city with the people who want to know.

I'm certain this was the case for Petite Anglaise (you can find her real name if you look hard enough) when she first started blogging two years ago. Her hilarious and true-to-life anecdotes on bi-cultural living from the point of view of a young English mum living in Paris were born of her desire to write and share her life with whoever was interested, as she says on her blog. I wonder if she ever imagined the impact her online diary would have on the internet community.

Yesterday, Petite Anglaise announced that her boss had fired her because of comments she had made on her blog and for the fact that she occasionally used company time to work on it. You can find the full story here and some of Petite's own responses here. Petite was dooced because her managers took offense at her (very brief and anonymous) anecdotes which never even mentioned the name of her employer (Dixon and Wilson - ironically now they are being named). It seems strange how these people now think they have a case against her when all she had done was post some old photos on her site, which, now having seen up to date pictures of her, look nothing like her.

All the managers have done is draw attention to themselves and to Petite, probably losing business for them and creating it for her. I have never mentioned my own company on here and don't plan to, especially now I've seen what can happen. Of course Petite's blog was being read by over three thousand people a day, obviously reaching many more people than my own. Now, thanks to her ex-employers, she has quadrupled her readership at least and has offers of publication and interviews streaming in.

Did I tell you about the time my boss.....?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

80s Music Extravaganza

I have just discovered a fantastic web site which plays videos of hits from the 80s. I have spent the last twenty minutes admiring ABBA's multi-coloured knitwear, Dolly Parton's towering locks and Yazz's shiny cycling shorts. I'm not even going to go into details about the industrial setting from Fairground Attraction's video for Perfect which beggars belief, Beats International's gold-effect costume jewellery, which seems to have been around well before the term bling was ever coined, or the very scary people who can't seem to do anything but Walk Like an Egyptian.

So, excuse me for the brevity of the post, but I have to get back to Olivia Newton John, I think she's about to Get Physical.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Roo need to control yourself!

He can now wash, iron and put away his white and red strip for another few months. Or at least Colleen can. Poor Wayne Rooney, he's just a kid, but boy can he run and kick and, unfortunately, shove other players and get sent off. England's bash at a place in the semi-finals was badly dented by his post-foul absence on the pitch; the mean, pink-faced bulldog didn't get a chance to show his stuff and while the 10 remaining players did a great job against the fiery Portuguese, holding off into extra time and penalties, it was clear that penalty practice had been an elective activity for the team.

While I was watching the England - Portugal match with G, I was screaming, shouting and crying for England to just put one away, get it out, send it up etc. and to no avail. The air waves stubbornly didn't carry my good vibes all the way to Gelsenkirchen. This evening, yet again, we have a whole posse of friends coming to our apartment to enjoy France - Brazil. At this juncture I should pause to say that none of the said gang care remotely about football during the other three years between world cups, and the commentaries flying about the room are often hilarious. Roughly translated here are some of the gems we've been treated to over the last few weeks :

Friend A : "No! He was off-side wasn't he?"
Friend B : "No way, he aimed at the ball!"
Friend A : "What?"
Friend B : "What? What is off-side anyway? Isn't when the player kicks another instead of the ball?"
Friend C : "No, that's a free kick"
Friend A and B : "What?!"

A sexist would say they sounded like clueless girls, but no, they're just Frenchmen with jobs who don't care about football until it looks like their country might win; and suddenly interest is sparked, beer is drunk instead of wine and discussions at work around the coffee machine involve words like coup franc, tirer, and Zidane.

8.50pm Let's hope that on Wednesday we can still be rooting for France and that the biting pain of England's defeat is somewhat quelled. Bon courage!

1.30am There is tainted joy in my delight at France getting through to the semi finals, I would have preferred if England had raised St George's cross in victory too, but still, that is the way of sport. Not everyone can win!

Here, just outside the city limits of Paris there are drivers beeping their horns, people whooping from windows and getting together in public squares; finally France has rediscovered a national pride which is healthy and wholesome. Not a Le Penian racism or a nationalistic arrogance, but France is happy to have won, and there's nothing wrong with that.