Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Pierre Gemayel, the Lebanese Industry Minister was shot yesterday in broad daylight, at 34 years old. Alexander Litvinenko, the former KGB colonel and defector was poisoned in early November, he has been in a critical condition since Sunday and doctors at one of London's top hospitals still don't know for sure what poison was used on him. Robert Altman is dead.

On a personal note, my very best friend L is moving to Hong Kong in a few weeks. We've lived in the same city since we were 18 (give or take a year) and I'm going to miss her enormously. She is one of those people who you end up laughing with, even if you're the foulest of moods to start with. She's been wildly successful in her career, which is now taking her to Asia, and of course I wish her the best of luck, but I can't help feeling a bit sorry for myself that she's leaving Paris and me behind.
Now, I'm not one to paint a gloomy picture of the world, but doesn't that make rather a lot of bad news for one week? Plus it has been raining everyday. I'm sure I'd be forgiven for not being as chipper as I manage to be most of the time.

Then this evening on my way home I saw a man cycling in the pouring rain with a bunch of roses in his backpack. I have to say it warmed my soul a little.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Boondoggle in the boondocks

The reason for my prolonged absence from here is not, I'm afraid to say, due to the glittering party-life of a Parisian, visiting Lacroix or eating at George V. I've been working very hard and translating very hard.

The piece I'm working on at the moment was written by someone who clearly hates translators. I'm not going to write the whole thing, but suffice to say it includes the words 'boondoggle' and 'boondocks'. Sounds like some kind of Australian slang to me. In fact boondoggle is a word to describe doing useless work for the sake of it, and boondocks is a name for a little village. No idea what I'm going to do with that information, but at least my English vocabulary has been expanded.

I went to Bercy last night to see the Eric Bompard ice-skating competition. It was the first time I'd seen a competition up close and the tension was truly icy. Every time someone fell (and they did frequently), I cringed and really felt for them. It was really quite magical to see the sparkling costumes and glamour of the skaters, let alone their talent throwing themselves and each other around on the ice. They're constructing the ice rink outside the Hôtel de Ville at the moment, maybe I'll pull on some leg warmers and a mini-skirt and have a go.

Well I'd better get back to my boondocks. It is pretty ridiculous to translate such a difficult text, but I keep thinking that when it's done I'll be able to tackle anything. In the mean time I'm gearing myself up for a 6/30 grade and dreaming of triple twists in glittery tights.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Dans le Noir

On Saturday, as now seems usual, I did another wine tasting. This time it was more fun than pedagogical and also in aid of raising awareness for the blind. If you think really hard. Yes, I did drink the best part of 5 glasses of delicious wine (noting the aromas, tastes... of course) but I also learned something. I learned that being blind would be extremely difficult indeed.

The experience G and I did on Saturday was called wine tasting Dans le Noir. The idea is to take away all the preconceived ideas about seeing wine and thinking how it should taste, to just concentrate on how it does taste. Plus, you start to understand how incredibly difficult it is to be blind.

After that we went over to Gare de Lyon and ate at the Européen, which was nice enough. They had some great oysters and a delicious dessert of pears with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

I'm still battling on with my translation course, this week is one into English about José Bové, and one into French about half-crowns, the old English coin. Rivetting.