petite anglaise

December 10, 2004

a post a day…

Filed under: navel gazing — petiteanglaiseparis @ 7:56 pm

I was mulling over in the metro this morning (metro time is ME-time, if I have a seat I read, if I am standing I daydream) how blogging has changed my life.

It’s amazing what difference writing a few paragraphs a day for a modest but faithful audience of like-minded people with too much time on their hands can make. But it undeniably has.

Now, when I have a discussion with my colleagues over lunch, I no longer even know myself whether I’m picking their brains for material for a future post or just having a normal friendly conversation. Unwittingly they have become guinea pigs, even though they know nothing about petite anglaise.

What next? Will I move on to provoking arguments with colleagues/shopkeepers/members of my family so that I can reproduce them verbatim here in one of my rants? Will I put myself into dramatic situations simply for their blogging potential?

Mr Frog is aware that his actions have become ‘subject matter’ too. So if I were to come home and find him, say, wearing my clothes, then his exploits are likely to be published on the interweb sooner or later. Likewise should he make an amusing mistake when speaking my mother tongue.

Sadly he doesn’t have time to read this blog very often, and I teased him the other day that I could be having a torrid extra-non-marital affair and writing about it in the public domain, and he would still be the last to know. He did receive a number of emails back in September telling him that it was high time he made an ‘honest woman’ of me after my post about marriage, and went on to read all the comments that post elicited. I half wondered at the time whether he would try to make blogging history by proposing to me in the comments box.

I have made references in the past to how I feel about his parents, and slipped in a few hints (about suitable Christmas presents for example. Ahem!) just in case he were to pass this way. So it would seem I am also trying (and failing) to use this weblog as a way of communicating with my partner.

Yesterday in conversation with an uninitiated person, I accidentally referred to our daughter as ‘Tadpole’. Twice. Eyebrows were raised at this rather odd choice of pet name. I suspect the day I find myself signing a work email or a cheque as ‘petite anglaise’ is not far off. What started out as a mere nom de souris is becoming a person in her own right. Have I unleashed a monster?

On a positive note, I have re-discovered how enjoyable it is to create something all by myself and indulge in a small amount of writing every day. It fills the void left by settling for a string of jobs which didn’t really stimulate my whole brain after I finished university. I have found, to my amazement, that I actually like fiddling about with geeky things like css, and am in the process of creating a site for my dad’s business as a way of learning more. For fun. Who would have thought it?

Writing every day makes me think about words and language more. The spellcheck reveals to me how frenchified my English spelling is in danger of becoming if I don’t make more of an effort. Thinking about my subjects before I write often helps me to find clarity and sort out my muddled head. A form of free therapy.

Seeing that a post has attracted lots of interesting (and sometimes very lengthy) comments gives me a warm feeling inside. Praise in my comments box makes me blush. Amusing comments sometimes cause me to laugh out loud at my desk. My confidence has had a considerable boost and I think I walk taller as a result. And whatever happens in my often stressful life as a working mum, I have this jardin secret which keeps me sane and causes a little half-smile to play across my lips every time I think of it.

What a difference a blog can make.


  1. Great post p a. Only you could tackle the great no-no of ‘blogging about blogging’ and make it so very readable.

    I inadvertently called my lad Snicket yesterday. I was able to bluff around this fortunately as I tend to call him a lot of things. At least Snicket isn’t swearing.

    Comment by backroads — December 10, 2004 @ 2:16 pm

  2. Oh, how I agree with you !
    The creative aspect, the technical one, the possibility of exchanging views, even “meeting” new people.

    “Jardin secret” is the word ! And it does help in so many ways…

    I loved your post.

    Comment by Jenny — December 10, 2004 @ 2:17 pm

  3. Hi Petite

    It has taken me a long time to write but I have been reading your blog for a while and just loving it. It goes without saying that you write beautifully and I am continually amazed by your endless imagination – does it know no bounds?!

    I can’t tell you how many times I have thought ‘she’s reading my mind’ but putting it into witty articulate prose.

    (FYI – I am a 34 (since yesterday) year old northern English girl, living in Paris for nigh on 10 years, came over to be a secretary (thank-you Sheila Burgess) after doing languages at uni, did various other things, live in unmarried bliss (hum!) with a Frog and have an 18-month old little girl!! Sound familiar?!

    If I was Father Christmas, I’d give you a book/newspaper column/film deal tout de suite.

    Keep up the great blogs and Happy Christmas!

    Comment by kjr — December 10, 2004 @ 2:26 pm

  4. I never imagined when opening my own blog that it would lead to meet new friends and get to know so many wonderful people.

    Comment by Chninkel — December 10, 2004 @ 2:35 pm

  5. kjr – send me an email ( if you like and maybe we can meet up sometime with our Tadpoles.

    chninkel – I didn’t mention my blogging friends. And my virtual blogging flirtations. I should have done.

    Comment by petite — December 10, 2004 @ 2:38 pm

  6. I was having lunch the other day with a fellow blogger and it was very strange, because we were discussing people like “Petite Anglaise” as if they were some of our personal friends. “Well, it’s like Petite Anglaise said the other day…” When one of the non-bloggers at the table realized we were talking about our “Internet” friends, they just rolled their eyes.

    Thanks for sharing. I truly enjoy coming here five times a week to read what you have written.

    Comment by Jason Stone — December 10, 2004 @ 2:38 pm

  7. LOL! Your poor daughter!
    I have to say- in honesty, not just blush-inducing support- I love your blog. I hope this isn’t taking over your life- please don’t stop making us laugh, cry, reminisce, etc.

    As a ‘petite anglaise’ myself- lived in Paris for a while, married to a Frenchman (though, in name only- he’s lived in UK since he was 3), I can empathise with so many of the things you talk about.

    His mother lived in Paris for 20 years and was still known a’L’anglaise’ – apart from anything her christian name was cringe-makingly old fashioned to the French! One hilarious result of her living there so long is that in conversation, she’ll seamlessly use the french word for something, and wonder why people look quizzically at her- very amusing to us- even though we know what she said. She told me that when she first moved back to UK, she would have completely forgotten the english words for certain things, and at work she would often talk at length in French, before someone would stop her!

    Well- keep up with the posts- and have a lovely festive season.

    Comment by Joy — December 10, 2004 @ 2:38 pm

  8. I’m sure you blush every day and rightly so.

    Comment by David — December 10, 2004 @ 3:01 pm

  9. Would just like to join the others in making you blush, Petite! I have only recently started reading your blog but it is becoming an integral part of my day. Just in the past week you have given us engaging, thought-provoking writing on a range of subjects that would confound most bloggers- from your family history, through lighter day-to-day matters, to your reflections on blogging itself. As someone else said up there, the fact you can manage this last one without descending into lengthy navel-gazing is a testament to your talent!

    Comment by jonathan — December 10, 2004 @ 3:07 pm

  10. OK, beware, I’m about to go into full-on gush mode:

    Yours was the first blog I found that detailed the life of an ex-pat in France. Through your sidebar, I found a host of other ex-pats in various stages of expatriot life, not to mention other bloggers who are among my favorites in my blogroll.

    Thanks to you, I know I’m not alone in this adventure – there are many that have come before me, and many more to come – but no matter how many “blogging friends” I make, your blog will always be special to me.

    Comment by ViVi — December 10, 2004 @ 3:23 pm

  11. I too love coming to sit every day in your jardin pas si secret que ça. Not only it has enriched your life, but it has also enriched mine and quite a few other people’s, and for that I’d like to say a big thank you.

    Comment by céline — December 10, 2004 @ 3:32 pm

  12. Oh my. Stop it!

    I strongly resemble an aubergine and people are giving me even funnier looks than usual.

    Comment by petite — December 10, 2004 @ 3:38 pm

  13. I must totally agree with you, ever since I started my own blog, I have discovered many new things in my life, some bad, mostly good. I LOVE your blog! :shock::smile:

    Comment by Faye — December 10, 2004 @ 3:52 pm

  14. I’m afraid you got all of us a bit addicted, Petite!

    Comment by Chninkel — December 10, 2004 @ 3:56 pm

  15. Hi Petite,

    I came across your blogs when reading an english magazine called B, with an article about blogging! (a totally new phrase to my vocabulary)! i am now officially hooked! with out sounding like a stalker i cant wait to come into work and read about how perfectly normal your life is! I love that fact that i can escape the boredom of my everyday job and read about you life wich is actually very funny! tadpole sounds absolutley fab and the frog well…. you may not laugh at the same films but you sound like a match made in heaven!!

    all in all,petite, my working life would be unbearable without my daily dose of your blogs!!

    I salute you!!

    Comment by Kirsty — December 10, 2004 @ 4:58 pm

  16. I mainly just read food blogs, so when I stumbled across yours it was such a breath of fresh air to me. Its one oof the few non-food blogs I read. And I can empathize in some ways. Although I have no tadpoles, I have un “homme grenouille” and we too live in sin (especially since he is still legally married to someone else, so my chance of a proposal is REALLY remote!), and I am English living in a foreign country, missing the food and the trash TV and politics and other stuff from Old Blighty sometimes.
    (and, PS, my readership is even more modest than yours!)
    please keep on entertaining us with your lovely writing

    Comment by Sam — December 10, 2004 @ 11:47 pm

  17. I love your blog too. It is astonishingly well written and beautifully pitched.
    I have nothing in common with you whatsoever, unless you count cheese, but I am always curious to see what you have posted and never regret the time taken to read your material.
    Anyway, aubergine is a lovely colour.

    Comment by laurence — December 11, 2004 @ 9:22 am

  18. This must be the 17th shade of red you’re going to go. Yes I love your blog. Being madly in love with a froggette myself.

    Comment by Mike Da Hat — December 11, 2004 @ 10:27 am

  19. :shock:

    Comment by petite — December 11, 2004 @ 11:19 am

  20. Well, this is the second day that i have thoroughly enjoyed my walk through your garden. I will come here only one time more; and if, after that, i am still enchanted then i will have to declare myself just as much an addict as the ones who came before me.

    But oh how we love to fall…

    Comment by anan — December 11, 2004 @ 11:24 am

  21. *dancing around the bedroom in her pyjamas with Tadpole to Gwen Stefani*

    oh shit, Tadpole is ‘reading’ the Electric Kool Aid Acid Test… better go

    Comment by petite — December 11, 2004 @ 11:49 am

  22. It is an incredible gift that weblogs like yours exist. I’ve lately thought about reassuring it is to have a ring of expatriate blogs I can read to know I’m not alone in my experiences.

    My only regret is that I wasn’t aware of this world from day one.

    Yours is a gem. I stalk you unabashedly. (And yes, I talk about you with family and friends as if I know you).

    Comment by Coquette — December 11, 2004 @ 2:06 pm

  23. I can only say that i agree with everyone else :) I especially love to read about a place that I know (paris) and miss… and see it from a different perspective! i also love your style, you write very well. I may be saying this because i love to read in english and if you start making french-related mistakes it will only make it easier for me to read ;)

    i’ll be in paris in a few days… maybe we could meet?

    Comment by miss lulu — December 11, 2004 @ 3:41 pm

  24. :grin:
    I join the applause.

    I have to say I had a serious case of blogger burnout the last couple of weeks… but, well, you just keep right on going. Ditch your day job because it’s obvious where your talent and passion are: writing.

    Comment by nardac — December 11, 2004 @ 4:27 pm

  25. btw… if Tadpole ever manages to finish that book, you might let her know that the Mac Meda Destruction company is a historical fact; i came across their stickers in Hussongs, Baja California.

    Comment by anan — December 12, 2004 @ 12:51 pm

  26. This is the first blog I’ve ever read – I only found out what a blog was recently. a friend of mine told me about la petite anglaise, because he thought it would strike a few chords with me (I’m from the north of England, living in Paris, thirty-something, married to a frog, mother of two tadpoles,), so yes, I’ve been hooked for the past week.
    But amongst a host of subjects which I can really relate to, (such as motherhood, french mother in laws, pervs on the metro, marks and spencer…), this one actually prompted me to comment, because I feel exactly the same as you about the “settling for a string of jobs which didn’t stimulate me after leaving university”. Yup. I know all about that. Is it harder for women do you think ? It is so easy to get pigeon-holed into the “assistante de direction bilingue” profile. You’re never allowed out of there, and as for reaching the dizzying heights of cadre-status, well, it never happened to me. I am glad to have found someone who has had the same kind of professional experiences (or lack of).:lol:
    Mancunian lass

    Comment by Mancunian lass — December 12, 2004 @ 10:37 pm

  27. I’m touched by the way you don’t actually deny having a torrid extra-non-marital affair. That’s a deft touch. :grin:

    Comment by Tim — December 12, 2004 @ 11:54 pm

  28. Your writing with us is, as ever, appreciated.
    Long may it continue. :smile:

    Comment by Adrian — December 13, 2004 @ 10:05 am

  29. I’ve done the odd thing because I thought – ‘that might be interesting to write about’. But I think that’s probably when you have to start making some difficult decisions about virtuality/reality.

    One day I will use the expression ‘LOL’ in real life. Then hopefully somebody will beat me senseless.

    Comment by JonnyB — December 13, 2004 @ 12:38 pm

  30. Is there an echo in here? A friend told me about your blog several weeks ago, and I’m hooked too. It’s a bright spot in often tedious days spent in an office. Your writing is beautifully crafted, and so well balanced between the personal and the philosophical. Just to give the compliment added weight, I was a professor of English literature for a number of years–so I hope I recognize excellent writing.
    All the best, and please keep on writing so that we may all keep on reading with such pleasure.

    Comment by Lisa — December 13, 2004 @ 2:39 pm

  31. :oops:
    After all that ‘blog a day’ business I am snowed under at work and unable to write today’s post.

    Comment by petite — December 13, 2004 @ 3:13 pm

  32. *sips tea and puts up feet to wait patiently*

    Comment by anan — December 13, 2004 @ 4:44 pm

  33. Just stumbled upon yre blogg via Jenny – who placed a link to you in her web site … and so it goes!

    Beautiful post, and like you, I also enjoy the everyday ‘fix’ of a daily blog, it helps in so many ways … (carry on, matron …)

    I will certainly visit again!

    Comment by Peter — December 13, 2004 @ 6:17 pm

  34. all I can say, petite, is abso-bloomin’-lutely… blogging is a life changing thing… it has utterly changed my life (my poor mother has really become “vitsma”). It’s like having an extra child in the house to raise.

    Luckily the cream in the blogging milk churn rises to the top fairly swiftly… you are up there in the stuff ready for clotting. and your stats are FAR from modest! we LOVE your blog!

    Comment by vit — December 13, 2004 @ 7:53 pm

  35. Just another stranger stumbling through the dark who happened upon a ray of sunshine, your blog as it happens. What a great read.

    By the way I’m a 40 year-old English woman now living in Quebec City.

    Comment by Rocketdog — December 13, 2004 @ 7:56 pm

  36. Vit – Now I’ve got clotted cream on the brain. I’m worried that even thinking about it will make the circumference of my thighs expand. Help!

    Comment by petite — December 14, 2004 @ 9:29 am

  37. well, tomorrow, I’m going to buy a tub of clotted cream, eat it all with homemade mince pies, chrissy pud, scones and jam etc etc…..and you can put the weight on by proxy!

    and I have insisted that we have fish and chips for supper tonight… from a really really great f’n’c shop (since 90% are pretty grim this is a real find)
    I promise I shall tell about it greasy mouthful by greasy mouthful…. YUM! WITH mushies of course!

    Comment by vit — December 14, 2004 @ 6:35 pm

  38. update on the f ‘n’ cs. First three mouthfuls deeeeelish… after that a bit of a struggle. lots of mushy peas though. mmmmmm. sniff that hot vinegar!!

    Comment by vit — December 15, 2004 @ 6:29 pm

  39. *anguished howl*

    Comment by petite — December 15, 2004 @ 8:31 pm

  40. ahem

    while we are all spreading a little love…

    vote here

    or even here

    Comment by petite — December 15, 2004 @ 10:55 pm

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