petite anglaise

March 14, 2005


Filed under: good time girl, Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaiseparis @ 7:00 am
ours were less classy, with added glowsticks, but seriously effective

I had such surreal, cocktail-induced dreams on Friday night, that by Saturday morning I was no longer sure which conversations had actually taken place at the blogmeet and which were the warped inventions of my pickled brain.

Sadly I think I really did quiz La Coquette about the virtues of Colgate whitening strips for about ten minutes (my apologies). And for your information, we two were the last standing – but, to be fair, this had more to do with many people having to dash off to catch the last train home to the ‘burbs, and should not be construed as a reflection of their staying power in general.

I arrived at the bar – Klein Holland in the Marais – a little after the appointed hour and was afflicted with a severe case of rabbit in the headlights syndrome as I walked hesitantly over to the large table around which (what I supposed was) our group had congregated. “You’re petite right?” someone guessed, (I wonder why?). I nodded affirmatively. Introductions followed but I remained in a state of shellshock for several minutes and I don’t think I managed to form a grammatically viable sentence until I’d had a few sips of my first cocktail. There’s something very surreal about meeting people in the flesh who are privy to your innermost thoughts, yet have no idea what you look like, or sound like in person (awfully British apparently).

Inevitably, because of the fantastic turnout, I didn’t manage to have a proper chat with everyone present, and for this reason alone we will have to do it again. Iain deserves a special mention for daring to join us at all – although thankfully a couple of bloggers did bring their other halves, so he wasn’t the only male for long. One thing I did notice is that I found it easier to continue calling people by their blog pseudoynms, as the labels seem to have well and truly stuck.

As for me, I felt absurdly comfortable being ‘petite’ and, after referring to Mr Frog and Tadpole by their real names a couple of times, I soon reverted back to using their blognames as well. I think blogging takes place in a sort of Donnie Darko-esque parallel universe, and the blogmeet definitely took place in that other place.

Saturday morning can best be summed up using the term ‘tired and emotional’. Or as the French sometimes say, “j’avais mal au cheveux” (my hair hurt). Mr Frog phoned from the TGV to say that his train would be delayed. I decided to press on to Gare de Lyon regardless and settled myself in a café opposite the station to people watch and eat the closest thing to an English breakfast on the menu: a croque madame. (It doesn’t really come close, but I found it helpful all the same.)

I was impatient to see my daughter again after our longest separation, but it wasn’t until a girl only a little older than Tadpole, with similar curly blond hair, stopped in front of the café window and stared in my direction that the desire to see her started to feel like a physical craving. I waved and smiled at the little girl, and then headed into the station to stake out the platform and start my waiting vigil. When the train finally pulled in, I ran (people who know me well will realise how out of character this is) to voiture 13 and immediately caught sight of Mr Frog. I leapt up the steps and a little warm bundle hurled itself into my arms. Suddenly the floodgates opened.

Granny p (see Friday’s comments) was right. Motherhood and schizophrenia have a lot in common. Some people had commented the previous night that they couldn’t quite imagine me as a mum. And I had been secretly feeling rather guilty that I hadn’t spent the whole week pining. Was it normal to feel gleeful that I could get up a little later, and run errands after work? Was I totally selfish and un-maternal? But as soon as I laid eyes on her, the shockwave hit and it was like being punched in the ribcage.

Last night, vegetating on the sofa in front of a DVD (Paycheck: I like Philip Dick’s novels but I hate plastic ‘Ken’ Affleck so verdict is not good I’m afraid), I felt such a sense of relief and comfort to know that my little girl was sleeping right there in the next room. I could go and peek any time I wanted to, and listen to her gently snoring.

That has to be my current definition of happiness.


  1. No worries… I subjected Iain to my horrible fake british accent (which always consists of me saying “mate” or “chap” and talking about crumpets, because somehow to my american mind there is nothing more british than crumpets), which must be far more painful than chatter about whitestrips.

    Maybe next time we need some sort of musical chairs-esque game plan (or like, those 7-minute dating things they always show on french tv reports, except without the dating part).

    Anyway, I found it to be quite fun, and got quite a lot of laughs (especially when the husband complimented Clotilde on her french, that fool!), and I’m looking forward to whenever the next time will be!

    Comment by kim — March 14, 2005 @ 8:12 am

  2. Had a lovely evening on Friday thx again for organising – Kim I like your idea on musical chairs next time!

    The Plastic Affleck syndrome? – Paycheck is one of the few films I fell asleep in recently.

    Comment by l'oiseau — March 14, 2005 @ 9:26 am

  3. Petite – if you feel inspired to write about crumpets one day, I’m sure Kim will be delighted, as I failed miserably to describe exactly what they are ;-)

    It was an evening of accents, wasn’t it? Real Brit, fake Brit, Aussie, American, even Essex wide-boy (thanks to l’oiseau’s boyfriend)… A veritable melting-pot of bloggers!

    A good time was had by all, and I look forward to the next one (there are lots of people I didn’t manage to bore to death with my “Comparative Study Of The Rules Of Baseball And Cricket”…)

    Comment by Iain — March 14, 2005 @ 12:28 pm

  4. crumpets? already been there mate

    Comment by petite — March 14, 2005 @ 1:05 pm

  5. ‘Twas off da hook. I did enjoy meeting everyone so much, even if I was so, so nervous when I walked in.

    I have no idea what I said those first few minutes either.

    I remember our Whitestrips conversation perfectly though. Is it strange that I did not find that conversation strange?

    Comment by Coquette — March 14, 2005 @ 1:07 pm

  6. //crumpets? already been there mate//

    So you have, and I should have remembered that! Au temps pour moi

    Comment by Iain — March 14, 2005 @ 2:04 pm

  7. Petite, is that picture in the post you linked to a crumpet? Because that looks an awful lot like what we call “english muffins,” and if I have known what a crumpet is all this time but just not realized what it was, what a disappointment!

    Comment by kim — March 14, 2005 @ 2:05 pm

  8. PS, Iain, my husband would be so impressed that you realized it is “au temps” and not “autant” (big error a lot of french people make in not realizing this phrase is related to military service, and the misuse of said phrase is one of his pet peeves).

    Comment by kim — March 14, 2005 @ 2:06 pm

  9. Thanks again for organizing the event. Next time I hope to have a proper babysitter so I can stay longer.

    Comment by Auntie M — March 14, 2005 @ 2:14 pm

  10. kim – it is indeed a crumpet and I can almost taste the butter oozing out of all those little holes when I look at it…. and see the buttery patch on the plate underneath it.


    Comment by petite — March 14, 2005 @ 2:27 pm

  11. Glad your expat meet went well, and that you have your little Tadpole back in the pond! It’s perfectly normal to enjoy some time away from your child to recharge a bit.

    Comment by Bluegrass Mama — March 14, 2005 @ 2:35 pm

  12. Hey Petite, you never showed me your bum! Others saw it and admired it…. Glad you got Tadpole back safe and sound: this morning at 6 am I
    put Kevin on a bus with 40 other kids, off to Brittany for a week on his first
    school camp ever! They were all so happy to be waving us goodbye,
    and I thought I was happy to see them go, but had to swallow a big lump
    in my throat!

    Let’s blogmeet again soon: how about a spring picnic in a park somewhere?

    Comment by Antipo Déesse — March 14, 2005 @ 3:00 pm

  13. I’m thinking less about crumpets at the moment than hot cross buns. Easter in less than 2 weeks and not a hot cross bun in sight. *That’s* when I start swooning over melted butter.

    If I don’t source some soon I may have to attempt to make them.

    Comment by l'oiseau — March 14, 2005 @ 3:09 pm

  14. //I’m thinking less about crumpets at the moment than hot cross buns.//


    Comment by Iain — March 14, 2005 @ 3:31 pm

  15. Hot Cross Buns are something I only know about thanks to a certain children’s song.

    (Or maybe I know them already, as I apparently did with crumpets. How silly.)

    Comment by kim — March 14, 2005 @ 3:33 pm

  16. Kim – Hot Cross Buns. There’s also a recipe there if you feel brave, l’oiseau ;-)

    Comment by Iain — March 14, 2005 @ 4:01 pm

  17. Ok, I so should not have read the comments here. Now I might just burst into tears because I am hankering for crumpets and hot cross buns. :( Looks like I might have to make a trip across the channel. For food. heh.

    Petite, I’m glad you found your little girl safe and sound. Your description of your wait at the train station was so touching.

    (Kim, crumpets are nothing like muffins. It’s something that needs to be eaten to be understood)

    Comment by Katia — March 14, 2005 @ 7:16 pm

  18. Amazing how your heart can hurt in a good way isn’t it? You describe motherhood very well…I applaud you!:wink:

    Comment by J&J's Mom — March 14, 2005 @ 7:43 pm

  19. Hm, let me see if I can help with the English/American translations…

    crumpet = English muffin
    hot cross buns = looks like a biscuit to my southern eyes
    biscuit = cookies (a bit of anticipation there)

    But I have had scones and they are lovely! :P

    Thanks again for Friday night, it really was fantastic! A spring picnic sounds like an excellent idea… ;)

    Comment by ViVi — March 14, 2005 @ 8:30 pm

  20. Thanks very much again petite for organizing a great evening. Look forward to the next one!

    Comment by Pat — March 14, 2005 @ 9:29 pm

  21. I have a recipe for orange zest and chocolate hot cross buns on my office wall with a yummy picture .. I will actually be in hot-cross-bun land for Easter, not that I want to make you all jealous or anything…
    Thanks a million Petite for organising a great evening.

    Comment by lauren — March 14, 2005 @ 10:30 pm

  22. When my son and first daughter were small I was in the Army. I had to go away for 30 days at a time and I hated it. I’d get home and my son wouldn’t even look at me for the first day…almost like he was mad and getting me back.

    As we all got older, it became a little easier to be away from them. My wife, on the other hand, is a wreck. LOL I told we just need to get away more so she gets used to it.

    Sounds like a fun time was had by all at the meet! If ever I travel to Paris I’m totally letting everyone know. I think I may pass on the cocktails and go for the wine, but ya never know.

    Comment by Bob — March 14, 2005 @ 11:22 pm

  23. Were you suprised at how similar people were in person to the sense of them you got from their blogs?

    Comment by BHR — March 15, 2005 @ 1:47 am

  24. oh petite you made me cry and want tadpoles too….
    i think meanwhilehereinfrance is a bit of a mouthful so perhaps its time to invent something new like grandecellogodess…don’t you all fancy a spring get together in provence??? lots of nice little gites near us…..

    Comment by ruth — March 15, 2005 @ 9:04 am

  25. I’ve been suffering through the descriptions of the doughy edibles, so let me have a go in sorting it out:
    Proper English muffins – not sweet, for a start, slightly sourdoughy taste, need to be torn in half and well-toasted, with lots of butter, to be digestible. Need to be made fresh, by a decent baker, to be appreciated.
    American muffins – sweet, cakey things with blueberries etc.
    Crumpets – usually bought in a pack, with a weird rubbery texture,ready to toast. Lovely when slowly toasted. For some reason, marketed in Oz as English muffins(they are NOT, see above).
    American biscuits – no Brit equivalent, not sweet, a bit like drop scones,but crisper and eaten with a meal of savory food, like breakfast.
    American cookies – Brit biscuits.
    Scones – plain or with raisins, shouldn’t be too sweet.Can be toasted, but don’t have to be.
    Hot cross buns – a sweet, slightly spicy bun, with raisins and a whitish cross baked into the top.
    – phew! Are we all clear now?
    – At ease, people.

    Comment by Ruth — March 15, 2005 @ 9:29 am

  26. I’m pretty sure that crumpets are called, well, crumpets here in Oz as well (as opposed to English muffins, which are another beast entirely – as Ruth has described). The rubbery description sounds right, along with the overabundance of odd little holes that seem to exist solely for the purpose of absorbing truckloads of butter.

    Comment by BHR — March 15, 2005 @ 10:47 am

  27. Here in NZ, crumpets are closer to pancakes than English Muffins (E M are flat, have a more “breadish” consistence and taste and have to be sliced in 2 and toasted)… Am I making any sense?

    Comment by Maurine au bout du monde — March 16, 2005 @ 2:56 am

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