petite anglaise

March 24, 2005

ahem

Filed under: misc — bipolarinparis @ 4:47 pm

Just so no-one can accuse me of slacking off today… I did write something, but it’s here instead.

But feel free to comment here, as there are no comments enabled as yet chez expatica.

March 23, 2005

gluttony vs willpower

Filed under: miam — bipolarinparis @ 3:40 pm

I bought three hens at lunchtime. Three milk chocolate hens, perched atop three chocolate wicker baskets, presumably filled with lots of little Easter goodies. I haven’t rattled them – in fact I barely dare approach the bag for fear of being overcome by a whiff of chocolate escaping from under the cellophane wrapping and succumbing to temptation. Which is why I am telling you there are THREE chickens. So that I can’t eat any of them between now and Easter Sunday. And if I mumble sheepishly upon arrival that one of said hens got smashed into smithereens when my hand luggage was scanned at the airport, DO NOT BELIEVE ME. Look for telltale signs of chocolate consumption around my and Tadpole’s mouths.

This is, after all, the same mummy who bought gingerbread pumpkins for her daughter and daughter’s playmates at Halloween and then ate all three in one sitting with a nice cup of tea. (In my defence, I thought the ginger flavour might be a bit too potent for 16 month old toddlers.) The same mummy who has bought a Lindt easter bunny, complete with red neck ribbon and dinging bell, with the last two Saturday’s groceries. At Tadpole’s insistence. And polished off each one, after allowing Tadpole to bite off the tips of their ears.

Sadly, the chocolatier I found within striking distance of my office only stocked traditional fare: eggs, chickens, bells, fish and rabbits. I was hoping to find at the very least a frog for him indoors, and some other more original gifts. A little forward planning probably wouldn’t have gone amiss, but somehow Easter has slunk up and pounced on me: the visit which seemed to be permanently several weeks away is now happening tomorrow. I winced at the price tags (yes, they do look home-made and artisanal, prettily wrapped in patterned cellphane with their yellow ribbons, but they also cost rather more than your average Dairy Milk egg.)

I have a vivid memory of a visit to a chocolatier in the rue de Courcelles (17th arrondissement) where I once shopped for Easter fare. I marvelled at the divine smell which permeated the tiny shop, wondering if it was possible to get a seratonin high from just breathing it in, and subsequently got chatting to the shopkeeper about how superior French easter chocolates were to the pre-packaged, supermarket-bought eggs I had known in the UK. The flattery paid off – it never hurts to pander a little to a French person’s innate superiority complex, I find – and the lady offered to show me behind the scenes, around the laboratoire du chocolat where her husband and son worked their cocoa magic. Oh the heavenly aroma which the vat of melted chocolate gave off as it waited to be poured into a multitude of different moulds.

Would Mademoiselle like to taste one of the little fishes?

Mademoiselle most certainly would. Mademoiselle would also like to know if it would be possible to ask for their son’s hand in marriage.

british pastimes

Filed under: missing blighty — bipolarinparis @ 12:48 pm

Good gracious, I hope the French don’t think we all do that.

Personally, I wouldn’t be seen dead in trainers and white socks.

March 21, 2005

the counting game

Filed under: Tadpole rearing — bipolarinparis @ 1:09 pm

I put on my powder blue mac, because spring has well and truly sprung. I find it hard to believe that not two weeks ago there was snow on the ground and the park was closed altogether. Now the trees are covered in delicate white blossom, the birds are singing in a cheerful chorus and I am woken up every morning by sunlight filtering through the shutters.

I stop the pushchair to reach up and pick a blossom for Tadpole to study. She sniffs it cautiously and then sneezes. (Atishoo – an English sneeze. France: nul points, Angleterre: dix points.)

“Knees and toes!” she pleads. Meaning that I’m supposed to sing ‘Heads, shoulders, knees and toes’, her new favourite song. I sing, a little out of breath from pushing uphill. I don’t really care who can hear me, because this exchange takes place inside the little bubble where only Tadpole and I exist, and I see no further than the sparkle in her grey-blue eyes. But I doubt any of the passers by understood the words in any case. Except maybe when I stopped the pushchair and did the actions.

“Encore un! Encore un!” (Tadpole’s way of saying “do it again!”)

I sing it one more time, and then cast around for some other means of entertainment. Deflecting her attention seems to be the only way to get around her stubborn streak and love of repetition. It’s the only solution I’ve found anyhow. I stopped reading books about child rearing the day Tadpole was born and my brand of parenting can best be described as the “instinctive hit and miss technique”. Whatever works, goes.

“I know, let’s do some counting, [Tadpole].” This is something we’ve been working on for the last few days. We count apples in the fruitbowl, toys in the bath, fingers and toes. Most of the time she just smiles while I count. Then, out of the blue, when I’m only listening with half an ear, she will suddenly count all the way to ten on her own. The only sticking point tends to be the number four, which she always says twice for good measure.

“One,” I begin, pointing at a parked car, as we have now exited the park and are on the pavement approaching the town hall.

“Toe, free, four….” continues Tadpole, pointing downwards, I’m not entirely sure at what.

“Four,” she repeats, “five, six, sefen…” She pauses, as though she’s run out of things to count.

There is no shortage of parked cars, so I decide that maybe she’s got stuck, and I prompt: “Eight..”

“Et, nine, ten!” she finishes, triumphantly. I stop the pushchair so I can clap my hands and show my appreciation of her counting prowess. Her finger is still pointing downwards, at something on the floor.

It dawns on me that it was not the cars that she was counting, but the dog poos I was swerving to miss along the way.

The joys of city living.

postscript: Jim from Rennes, who seems like a nice sort of chap, asked me to plug the new single by his chums ‘I am Kloot’ today, Over My Shoulder. Jim, I am flattered that you think I have the power to influence people and make them buy records. Personally I haven’t bought a record since I got cable broadband access in 2000 (apologies to struggling artists!) But I don’t see any harm in recommending that you follow the link above and give it a listen… Oh my goodness! Spot the cute little Tadpole clone in the video!

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