petite anglaise

August 16, 2004

killing me softly

Filed under: french touch — bipolarinparis @ 2:35 pm

No sooner back from Paris and I have to hop on a TGV this afternoon with Frog and Tadpole to travel to Besançon, home of the evil in-laws. The prospect of forecast rain and thunderstorms, coupled with no computer/internet access/cable tv is less than enchanting. Remind me never to commit to spending any part of my precious summer holidays doing this ever again.

If you can bear with me until Friday, I’m sure they will give me plenty to rant and rave write about…

August 15, 2004

tubes tied

Filed under: french touch — bipolarinparis @ 9:32 pm

I am still seething.

Left the family home at approx 11.30 am with toddler, pushchair and several items of baggage to fly to Charles de Gaulle airport (where this happened).

6pm. Baggage taking an eternity to arrive on the conveyer belt. Toddler on the other end of a strap attached to wrist in vain attempt to prevent her from leaving the premises. Toddler finds it amusing to run around in anti-clockwise circles, mummifying me with the strap, so have to spin around in an anti-clockwise direction to free myself. Am feeling rather dizzy. And tired. And hot. Feel I am showing remarkable patience and good humour, all things considered.

Toddler’s hand strays for a nanosecond onto the conveyor belt before I yank sharply on the strap.

French woman behind me, to her husband: “These people, no control over their children, fancy letting the child play on the conveyor belt. I can see how these terrible accidents you read about happen now. What can she be thinking of….”

These were the same people who had watched me struggle to carry toddler and two bags off the plane, without offering assistance, then watched me bend to pick up the folded pushchair and add it to my load and haul it all onto the bus, still without offering assistance. People who, as a matter of fact, had pushed past me to get onto the bus first, thereby taking up the last available seats.

Of course they didn’t expect yours truly to understand/speak French.

Alternative endings:

  1. *petite anglaise smiles sweetly* “I know, I’m a menace to society. Don’t worry, I have an appointment booked to have my tubes tied next week so there’s no danger that I’ll be bringing any more children into the world.”

  2. *talking to toddler, loudly* “These people. Badmouthing a complete stranger when she is 30 cm away. No manners whatsoever. And very bad dress sense.”

  3. *snaps* “I’ve got everything under control, no thanks to you, you supercilious bitch.”

Of course, this being a blog, you can’t be sure that I used any of the above. I may have just seethed to myself while going rather red in the face. But you’ll never know, will you?

August 12, 2004

busy, busy, busy scissors

Filed under: misc — bipolarinparis @ 6:24 pm

I’m not sure what possessed me (maybe it was seeing ‘Cutting It’ on BBC Prime), but I decided to brave an English hairdressing salon for a change. Whenever I have found a decent hairdresser in Paris in the past, he/she emigrated shortly afterwards, so I found myself constantly testing new hairdressers with often distressing results. This despite having revised my French hairdressing vocabulary – although I suspect that my dictionary is guilty of misinformation. It led me to believe that ‘dégradé’ meant ‘layered’. In my opinion a better translation would be ‘something suitably degrading’. The haircut inflicted on me prior to the birth of my daughter was so vile (think raccoon with mange) that I have edited myself out of her photo album/the first six months of her life.

The salon that my sister recommended in York seemed professional enough, but the prices quoted over the phone were worryingly inexpensive. I looked up their website, which featured lots of pictures of asymmetric fringes and spoke of branches in Thirsk, Scunthorpe, Ilkley, Brussels and Shanghai. Oddly this was not a source of comfort.

Thankfully the ordeal is now over and I don’t have any regrets. Yet. But I must say that a lot of things have changed since my last visit to a hairdressers in the UK.

First of all, I got one of those lovely head massages I have grown to expect in France and it made me groan out loud (hastily followed by a fake fit of coughing to cover up my embarrassment). Secondly, I accepted the offer of coffee, expecting a little espresso to revive me from my head massage torpor. When it arrived, it was a frothy latte in a tall glass with cinnamon sprinkles on top. If only the hairdresser had stopped snipping for just a second so I could drink it before it got cold. It was like having a haircut in Starbucks.

On a less positive note, the salon apparently opens seven days a week. Is this a good thing? A hairdresser complete with raging hangover on a Sunday morning is surely not the most cheerful/skillful of creatures? I don’t think I’d push my luck that far.

August 10, 2004

lost in translation

Filed under: Uncategorized — bipolarinparis @ 4:35 pm

Browsing on amazon.fr for a present for the Frog (shhh!), I was struck by the rather random titling policy which applies when English language films are released in France.

For some films, inexplicably, translation of the title is not considered necessary: e.g. Seven, Pretty Woman, Kill Bill. Of course the pronunciation leaves something to be desired. ‘Speeeederman 2’ is showing at the moment.

Others are translated, but end up sounding unspeakably naff in French. Case in point: “Eh mec, elle est où ma caisse?” for “Dude, where’s my car?”

The French don’t seem to tolerate films named after their protagonist, so they add a by-line to give a flavour of who the character is, or what they are up to. Erin Brokovich was ‘seule contre tous‘ (alone against the world); ‘Alfie’ became ‘Alfie: le dragueur‘ (the chat-up artist). Place names receive a similar treatment, as in ‘Coup de foudre à Notting Hill‘ (Love at first sight in Notting Hill). You must admit that the French title does capture the inherent cheesiness of the film rather nicely, n’est ce pas?

Then of course there are names which are changed beyond all recognition, for no apparent reason: Die Hard = ‘The Crystal Trap’. Die Hard 2 = ‘58 minutes to live’. I couldn’t understand why the Frog had never heard of ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ and accused him of being a philistine, until one day I realised that this film is known as ‘Diamants sur canapé’. So there are mitigating circumstances (although I suspect he may still be none the wiser).

My favourite French translation of a flilm title was a by-line spotted on the poster for ‘Finding Nemo’, which included a clin d’oeil to Jaws – ‘Les Dents de la Mer’ (Teeth of the Sea).

‘Némo: Les Dents de Lait de la Mer’, the milk teeth of the sea. Aww.

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