petite anglaise

September 23, 2005


Filed under: miam, parting ways, Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaiseparis @ 2:51 pm

“GOT TO FIND SOME CAKE!” shouts Tadpole, at the top of her lungs, to no-one in particular. She has got into the habit of repeating everything I say, turning the words over in her mouth so see how they sound.

As a result, I have to exercise extreme caution when we are out and about. No more thinking aloud along the lines of “I must remember to pack some seriously negligent pants for the weekend”.

I am feeling rather desperate. Mr Frog is due to appear to whisk off Tadpole for the evening in just under half an hour, and I promised Tadpole we would have surprise cake and candles for his birthday. Forgetting a key piece of information when I did so: our local bakery is closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

I peer half-heartedly through the window of the Chinese takeaway, with its unappetising looking boules de coco and almond tarts. Not really Mr Frog’s thing, and definitely not Tadpole’s. How about a brownie from the kosher sushi and bagel emporium across the road? No go. The metal shutters are pulled firmly closed. With a sigh, I retrace my steps towards the garage, which harbours a huit à huit minimarket. Cake out of a packet will have to do. Sacrilegious in a country where the pâtisserie fare is so unbelievable, and the packaged cakes so dire, but it can’t be helped.

Intentions: good. Execution: room for improvement.

The minimarket has a predictably poor selection. Some tired looking madeleines, a cake anglais (which generally refers to a rather pale and wan fruit cake containing glacé cherries, the likes of which I have yet to actually eat in England), and a bag of individually wrapped fondants au chocolat. I settle for the chocolate cakes, and dash home.

Mr Frog appears, shortly after the appointed hour, and I ask him to stay for a beer, to give me an excuse to repair to the kitchen. I have arranged three cakes on a plate, a striped blue candle lolling at a drunken angle in the centre of each. Tadpole, the soul of discretion, says “happy birthday cake mummy” in a stage whisper as I am leaving the room, but I don’t think Mr Frog notices.

As I bring my masterpiece through to the living room, Tadpole starts singing “happy birthday” right on cue. Mr Frog looks up, startled, and I can see he is genuinely touched.

For a fleeting moment, I catch myself wishing that we were still living together as a little family, sharing moments like this every day.


  1. ooh, it’s gone all quiet. I think I’ll put my feet up and have a cup of tea…

    Comment by petite — September 23, 2005 @ 4:16 pm

  2. Your writing is too good to be true ! People are walking away from you :)

    Comment by drou — September 23, 2005 @ 4:27 pm

  3. Dear Petite,
    I have been reading your blog and the comments it inspires for only two weeks now and as an Ex-Pat Brit in Paris, who had become rather tired and despondent, I must say that you have sparked the beginnings of a fresh enthusiasm for this city within my English bones. There is something about what you write and the way you write it which reminds me of all that I had, through laziness, let myself forget. This blog was a beautiful discovery and I look forward to each post, personal or otherwise, witty or reflective.

    And to the author of the comment who accused you of navel gazing: is that not what Petite herself categorises it under? Does that not, therefore, re-categorise it so as to no longer actually be navel-gazing, but simply sharing an experience with those who wish to read?

    Good for you Petite. I look forward to the next post.

    Comment by Kate — September 23, 2005 @ 4:34 pm

  4. I think everyone is exhausted after the last post.

    Comment by pww — September 23, 2005 @ 4:37 pm

  5. zzzzz

    Comment by petite — September 23, 2005 @ 4:38 pm

  6. Write on Petite……..write on…….

    As an aside, I saw a band tonight and one of their songs was called “I don’t want to bake (cakes)” – first the singer listed ingredients of cakes and tied it all together at the end with a listing of all types of cakes – “Cheesecake, chocolate fudge, orange poppyseed, lemon sponge” etc etc……

    It was gobsmacking!

    So if they can write a song about cakes – you can surely write about whatever you damn well please.

    And I’m going to find the perfect cheesecake to enjoy with a coffee tomorrow………

    :) Enjoy your weekend!

    Comment by Kasey — September 23, 2005 @ 4:40 pm

  7. I think we’re all exhausted from yesterday’s commenting!

    Did you get Mr Frog the candles that you can’t blow out? I don’t know if they are available in France – I know they are not available here in Jamaica so I frequently bring some back from England with me to confuse friends.

    Comment by mary — September 23, 2005 @ 4:41 pm

  8. Well I have to say I had a good talking to on yesterday’s thread. My tail is now firmly between my legs, my claws have been withdrawn, and I have taken my literary critic hat off and put it in the bin where it apparently belongs.

    Today’s post was lovely. Thanks Petite for being a light in so many of our lives.

    Comment by cheria — September 23, 2005 @ 5:50 pm

  9. I’ve been reading your blog for about 8 months and just wanted to say that it is always the first one I check when I turn my computer on. Your writing is wonderful, I wich I could express myself so well! Enjoy what you have now! The future can wait.

    Comment by Emma — September 23, 2005 @ 6:03 pm

  10. Parisien patissiers credo : make the best cakes in the world ? Fine. Stay open to sell them? Not a chance.

    But give yourself a good for ‘execution’ anyway – beer more than compensates for poor cake…

    Comment by rich — September 23, 2005 @ 6:06 pm

  11. Us chaps in the army rely on the 7 P’s:

    Planning and

    And you might have got a decent cake ;)

    Comment by Universal Soldier — September 23, 2005 @ 7:18 pm

  12. Universal Soldier: I didn’t know that one!
    Signed, the recovering Army Brat of a CSM/67th Signal

    Comment by Francaise de Coeur — September 23, 2005 @ 8:37 pm

  13. closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays – how village like.

    petite – everytime I leave a comment via my pc it gets eaten – on the mac it’s fine?

    Comment by andre — September 23, 2005 @ 9:50 pm

  14. andre – comments have some hidden javascript and require cookies. If both are enabled on your ‘puter, it should be okay. But sorry if it’s a pain.

    If your comment gets eaten, feel free to email it for me and I’ll post it.

    Comment by petite — September 23, 2005 @ 10:05 pm

  15. I really like how you still have moments like this with Mr Frog. I really like how you’re handling this whole seperation thing. And of course, it’s always the thought that counts.

    Comment by juliana — September 23, 2005 @ 10:47 pm

  16. No offense meant, but if your cakes are anything like my ‘rock’ buns (which bounce!), I would purchase a cake also!

    On the other matter, I guess you are yearning for the ‘cosy’ feeling, rather than Mr. Frog himself. But there will be a day, I am sure, when you will have that ‘cosy’ feeling with the Lover.

    The best thing though is that Tadpole enjoyed herself! ;-)

    Comment by Lorna — September 23, 2005 @ 10:52 pm

  17. i can understand the desire to be able to have more moments like that. once you’re removed it’s easy to remember those and forget the ones that aren’t quite so touching.

    Comment by mainja — September 24, 2005 @ 7:22 am

  18. Brilliant post petite – love your blog and will be back for more!

    Comment by hobbes — September 24, 2005 @ 1:55 pm

  19. Oddly enough our cornershop has started doing cakes and the tag line they’re using is ‘For when you forget’.

    Comment by Greavsie — September 24, 2005 @ 4:48 pm

  20. I liked the hotel story better. ;)

    Comment by schuey — September 24, 2005 @ 7:55 pm

  21. You should have got him a so-called “pudding”

    I don’t know about your experience, but when I lived in France, French people delighted in presenting me with a huge slab of this abomination, convinced that it was an English speciality which we all ate on a regular basis.

    They simply didn’t believe me when I told them in all honesty that I had never seen, let alone tasted, such an item in my previous 20-odd years in England.

    Comment by anxious — September 24, 2005 @ 9:03 pm

  22. I think you are very kind to Mr. Frog. It is really in the best interest of everyone to get along, too.

    How is Mr. Frog taking this separation? Does he see it as permanent or is he hoping you will come around to your senses and be a happy family again?


    Comment by Elle — September 25, 2005 @ 12:13 am

  23. It must be hard. There are so many complex variables in these situations. For me, the hardest decision I ever made was to leave the father of my child, a decision that would have been infinitely easier if it had been just me and him.

    Comment by Alda — September 25, 2005 @ 2:24 pm

  24. I made the mistake of going for the madeleines the other day. Oh what a mistake that was…..

    Comment by Anne — September 25, 2005 @ 2:44 pm

  25. Happy Birthday Mr. Frog!!

    You’re lucky to be on great terms with him. I can’t help but admit he’s taking it really well

    Comment by nardac — September 25, 2005 @ 4:25 pm

  26. It sounds like Mr Frog is holding up OK which surprises me for a frenchman (I’ve known them to be explosive during breakups)… unless you’re leaving out some juicy details…

    Comment by la.dauphine — September 25, 2005 @ 4:35 pm

  27. Wow, I missed heaps! … and I was only gone for two days :) … love the birthday cake story BTW, v cute :)

    Poor Tess and Cheria … a bit confronting coming across all judgemental, thinking that you’re the voice of reason, and having your head handed to you! Had to laugh.

    Petite, you write what you write, I’ll read it … agree if I want, won’t agree if I don’t want to …. may comment, may not …. adult conversations if you will :)

    Comment by Miss Lisa — September 26, 2005 @ 3:16 am

  28. I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday’s debate (even though 12 hours later). I don’t think I would have stayed as polite as you though!
    Please keep on bringing us a touch of pleasure, emotions and reflection everyday…

    Comment by Maurine au bout du monde — September 26, 2005 @ 3:56 am

  29. Didn’t you mentioned in a previous post that you started baking cakes ? Or did I miss an episode ?

    Comment by Miss Pink — September 26, 2005 @ 7:17 am

  30. I had, but that was mostly when I was on vacation/didn’t have Tadpole around…. Things are a little busier again now…

    Comment by petite — September 26, 2005 @ 8:40 am

  31. Miss Lisa – I hardly think having 50+ people lynching two-naysayers is anything to gloat over. Their comments were insensitive but it’s all too easy to read what we want between the lines.

    Anyways…Petite… talk about having your slice of cake and eating it too! ;)

    Comment by nardac — September 26, 2005 @ 2:23 pm

  32. Forgive me for noticing that your bloke from South Yorkshire knows how to use words like ‘disengenuous’ but you’re using americanisms, such as ‘on vacation’ and ‘get laid’ Is this in deference to your worldwide audience or are you slipping into some kind of mid-atlantic speak like the otherwise plummy vowelled sports presenter on Sky News last night telling us about “Alonso ‘at’ the Brazilian Grand Prix”?

    Comment by parkin pig — September 26, 2005 @ 2:57 pm

  33. Don’t ask me. I didn’t *see* the Grand Prix… (he said disingenuously)

    Comment by Jim in Rennes — September 26, 2005 @ 4:04 pm

  34. I wasn’t really sure what it meant so I checked in the dictionary and found that I didn’t know how to spell it either. So much for the style police.

    Jim, you didn’t miss much. It was probably one of the most boring Grands Prix of the season.

    Comment by Parkin Pig — September 26, 2005 @ 4:14 pm

  35. Oh my goodness. I leave you to your own devices for one day and you start discussing sport on my blog.

    Anything goes in my comments EXCEPT SPORT!

    Any future comments mentioning any form of sport will be deleted.

    Comment by petite — September 26, 2005 @ 5:36 pm

  36. Ha, parkin pig, I noticed the “vacation” thing too and wondered if it was for the benefit of the US readers. Maybe it’s some crazy side effect of “target language deprivation”…

    And I wasn’t sure what disingenuous meant either, but thought it sounded very good!


    Comment by anxious — September 26, 2005 @ 10:42 pm

  37. Wow Nardac … don’t think it was gloating … I kinda think if 50+ people tell you you’re insensitive you might want to rethink …. and Tess and Cheria had enough guts to stand up for themselves and explain their thinking – still mightn’t agree (or maybe I do?) but gloating? I don’t think so ….

    If anything it’s sympathetic laughter … haven’t we all been in the situation of thinking we’re right or at least reasonable and having the world tell us they don’t think we are? Whether you are prepared to believe the world or not is another matter completely.

    Anyway, enought said – I guess we’ve all turned Petite’s blog into a little chat zone of our own …. hmm, maybe there’s something in that … Petite Chat maybe?

    Comment by Miss Lisa — September 27, 2005 @ 3:56 am

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