petite anglaise

July 25, 2004

defying gravity

Filed under: misc — petiteanglaiseparis @ 10:35 pm

What are you supposed to say when you see someone’s new baby for the first time, and he looks like a chubby, ruddy-faced, thirty-something car salesman?

I was at a loss for words and the best I could do without any advance warning was “what lovely chubby cheeks!” I do hope I managed to conceal my horror.

In the light of this new evidence, I’m tempted to believe in reincarnation (à la Britney Spears ‘Everytime’). Click here to purchase me a red string bracelet…

I have finally caved in to pressure and reluctantly abandoned the Tadpole for a week with the Frog grandparents (childminder is living the high life at my expense in Algeria for five weeks so alternative childcare solutions had to be found). Packed toddler off with a first aid kit twice her size as she seems to think the laws of nature do not apply to her, and is fond of hurling herself off furniture as an experiment to see whether she can defy gravity. At best she will come home covered in cute band aids with animals on and a few colourful French words in her repertoire. These will consist largely of expletives that the grandparents will unwittingly teach her when they see her poised to throw herself down the stairs.

In the meantime I’ll just have to cope with the long summer evenings of freedom stretching ahead of me and see if I can’t put some serious effort into getting my alcohol tolerance back up to a respectable level.

Wish me luck.

July 22, 2004

exercising restraint

Filed under: Uncategorized — petiteanglaiseparis @ 8:55 pm

The frog and I speak a language understood only by ourselves, where sentences may start in French, end in English and include some words which hover somewhere in between. I’ve adopted some of the frog’s more endearing mistakes because they amused me: faulty plurals (feets, sheeps), creative past tenses (“I’m feeling hanged over”). He also does a very convincing faux Yorkshire accent when he says “fancy a cuppa tea luv?” and slips into it automatically (as do I) when he spends time with my family.

Mother called last night and asked the frog if he had any idea what she could get him for his upcoming birthday. I would give anything to have been a fly on the wall to see her reaction when he said that he could do with a pair of handcuffs.

Strait-laced mother must have been struggling to process this unexpected/unwelcome revelation about our sex life and his request was met with a protracted embarrassed silence. I was too busy choking with mirth on a sour cream and onion Pringle to put either of them out of their misery.

He meant cuff links.

July 21, 2004

claude le clochard

Filed under: city of light — petiteanglaiseparis @ 2:06 pm

When I was at school, the textbook we used in French lessons was called Tricolore.  Two cartoon strips provided a bit of light relief at regular intervals:  one was called Claude le Clochard (about a vagrant named Claude) and the other was Fifi la Folle (a madwoman). With hindsight I think it is a little odd that the French nation was represented by these two characters.* But having said that, there are plenty of Claude’s and Fifi’s in to be seen in the streets of Paris.

The difference between the homeless people I see in England and France is this: in England Claude is typically a cheeky chappy with the gift of the gab selling The Big Issue outside Marks & Spencer. In France, Claude is more likely to be found horizontal, sleeping/comatose on the pavement adjacent to a warm air vent, or in the metro with his belongings in a plastic laundry bag by his side, and a few empty screw top wine bottles. If you are unlucky he might be conscious and verbally abusive. One whom I see regularly in the metro calls all the ladies who walk past dirty whores. Verbal abuse I can deal with, but one of my greatest fears, particularly on public transport, is of being thrown up on by a drunk. It hasn’t happened yet, but give it time.

There are also ‘career’ beggars who spend the whole day riding the metro and giving their potted history over and over again. It must be soul-destroying stuff and so I am refraining from poking fun at them. But I am quite amused by the fact that when the euro became legal tender, their spiel changed overnight from asking for “un franc ou deux” to “un euro ou deux”. Nearly seven times more.

I wish my employers had applied the same logic.

*In my German book, Deutsch Heute, the cartoon strip was about a talking pig called Fränzi.

July 20, 2004

mouton dressed as agneau

Filed under: french touch — petiteanglaiseparis @ 8:48 pm

The French language has no equivalent for the English phrase “mutton dressed as lamb”. A puzzling oversight considering the army of Parisian moutons out there with their puckered, perma-tanned hides, escort-esque attire and make up applied with a palette knife à la Paint along with Nancy.

On a typical balmy summer’s day, flocks of moutons can be found sun-worshipping by the lakes in the Bois de Vincennes/Boulogne – parks on the outskirts of Paris where South American transvestites ply their trade at night and families picnic by day – exhibiting acre upon acre of leathery skin. Topless pensioners: not my cup of tea, although I don’t doubt that there are websites that can cater for your needs if that’s what turns you on.

I look upon global warming and the destruction of the ozone layer as a blessing in disguise. At least if I’m tempted to bare it all when I reach a ripe old age and my cleavage has migrated south of my belly button, exposing skin of any age to direct sunlight will be a thing of the past.

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