petite anglaise

February 1, 2006

pillow talk

Filed under: misc — petiteanglaiseparis @ 7:56 pm

I try sitting up in bed, as an experiment, but this does not work for me at all, and I let myself flop back into the pillows, groaning theatrically.

“Tea?” enquires Lover, appearing, as if by magic, with two steaming mugs.

“I want my mum,” I whimper, pitifully.

It’s not that I’m ungrateful. Nor am I finding fault with the almost indecent levels of pampering I have been subjected to over the past couple of days. Invariably however, when I feel ill, I remember, with a certain nostalgia-tinged fondness, days off school as a child. Languishing on the sofa in front of daytime television, vaguely aware of the comforting background noises of my mother clattering about in the kitchen. The compulsory ‘feeling better’ meal of boiled egg and soldiers which she always made once I was on the mend. To this day, I cannot eat a boiled egg unless I’m convalescing. It just wouldn’t be right.

Today there is actually nothing wrong with me that a flu-strength Lempsip wouldn’t fix – although a French doctor would probably say it was a very serious rhinopharyngite and write me a prescription as long as my forearm. But I reserve the right to feel sorry for myself all the same.

I sip my tea pensively, then turn to Lover, casting around for inspiration.

“I have nothing to write about on my blog. What can I write about?”

“Hmm,” he says. “Make something up… how about the fact that you came home from work last night and found me in flagrante with a rent boy? That would get a rabid response from those commenters of yours.”

I frown, wondering whether I should worry that rent boys were involved in the first idea that spontaneously popped into Lover’s mind, and at 7.00 am on a Wednesday morning. Thankfully, I remember that there is some story involving a British MP and a rent boy in the UK news at the moment, so I should probably not consider this flight of fancy a serious cause for concern.

“You realise your inbox would be deluged with hate mail? Or you’d be tracked down and lynched? My readers are a very loyal bunch. Well, apart from Tess, and Dr Analyst.”

He has to concede that I have a point. Using his real name in my comments box is possibly starting to look like less of a good idea. It may limit his future margin for manoeuvre considerably.

“Anyway, be careful what you wish for,” I continue, mischievously. “When Mr Frog asked me to flesh out his character a little, I had him dancing around my living room in women’s clothing to the Scissor Sisters.”

Oh yes. The possibilities are endless…


  1. Yep!…. but deserved, not blind loyality…. and we are working on Tess and the pecuniar doctor. We’ll soon win them round to the concensus view! Enjoy the tea & soldiers

    Comment by fella — February 1, 2006 @ 8:30 pm

  2. :O i had the getting better egg and soldiers too! Do you think its a Northern thing?

    Comment by Maxi — February 1, 2006 @ 8:35 pm

  3. hmm boiled egg and soldiers sounds good. :-)

    Comment by Nicky — February 1, 2006 @ 8:36 pm

  4. That sounds a lot better than the toast and 7up I was given as a child. I do have to admit I had to google soldiers to figure out what they were.

    Comment by M@ — February 1, 2006 @ 8:56 pm

  5. From now on I will know how to ask for “des oeufs à la coque avec des mouillettes” in English!

    It seems a real shame to restrict them to times of convalescing, though. Your mood and taste buds are not at their best in such conditions, so you’re really missing on something ;-)

    Loyally yours

    Comment by ontario frog — February 1, 2006 @ 9:43 pm

  6. Hope that you feel well soon :).

    Comment by H. (aka. NC_State_gal) — February 1, 2006 @ 10:48 pm

  7. Get well soon Petite!!! And when you’re better tell us more about the rent boy using as few verbs as possible :o) (only joking)

    Comment by Hazy — February 1, 2006 @ 10:54 pm

  8. You need a copy of ‘Jackie’ and a bottle of lucozade…

    Hope you feel better soon.

    Comment by Pomgirl — February 1, 2006 @ 11:13 pm

  9. MMMMM….Oeuf à la Coque et Mouillettes….yummmmm

    Comment by Bev — February 2, 2006 @ 1:05 am

  10. It’s strange, isn’t it, how certain foods just remind us of being young and ill?

    I can’t taste ginger ale without thinking of the little green glasses my mom would pour it into when I was sick.

    Comment by Anna — February 2, 2006 @ 1:25 am

  11. Golly, for someone who is apparently adamant that this space on the web is by no means a plea for approval/vindication, I have to say that cheap shots at those who do not offer treacle thick fawning, and the continual belittlement of a man you dumped for your Lover (capital L, woohoo!) somewhat belie the shaky mantra.

    Oh, please, someone tell me that I don’t have to come here if I don’t like what I see. I can’t help it, it’s like a beautiful train wreck where only the mannered imagery emerges stumbling from the ashes.

    Comment by moira — February 2, 2006 @ 1:25 am

  12. At the risk of making you feel worse … in our case it was vegemite toast, the Australian cure-all …. after all, don’t they say that ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’? … I think that pretty much sums up Australia right there :)

    Hope you feel better soon … and we need some serious discussion as to the possibilities of cloning “Lover”, he’s too good to share with just one (lucky) woman!

    Comment by Miss Lisa — February 2, 2006 @ 2:04 am

  13. Petite, I just started Almost French and I have to tell you this- I wish you wrote a book. Seriously. If Almost French sells, yours would be a blockbuster. You know, since I decided to bring my English to some level on which I would not blush at compliments “you speak English very well like for someone who lives here only 2 years” – blush is caused by sudden realisation that, in fact, I have been studing this languagae around 20 years – I have been reading almost exclusively eduardian&victorian novels and I almost forgot what accessible & modern writing is about. Well, you remind me. Do you know any books by expats living in England?(I am prepared that they will be inferior to your writing, of course :)

    Comment by mag — February 2, 2006 @ 3:36 am

  14. Nice to see some good stuff here. Hope you’ll feel better soon.

    Comment by john — February 2, 2006 @ 8:40 am

  15. Bioled egg and soldiers ?

    You were lucky !

    My mothers remedy for sore throats, or indeed any cold-related symptom was to cut a large onion in half, place on a tray and cover, nay smother in brown suger.

    This was then placed under a grill and heated until the sugar melted and ran through the onion until the tray was swimming in a brown sticky substance which looked like toffee but tasted like onions – this was then tipped down my throat.

    She always swore it was a old wives remedy but I’ve never found anyone else who was tortured in this way – the fact that I never complained again of having a sore throat only justified this form of child abuse in her mind.

    Comment by Gary — February 2, 2006 @ 9:45 am

  16. I know I may have mentioned this before, Petite, but: mag is right.

    In my case it was Heinz tomato soup…

    Comment by Zinnia Cyclamen — February 2, 2006 @ 9:51 am

  17. The onion thing: ew! But you have reminded me of one of my mum’s less endearing practices – which was to require me to take a dessert spoon full of cod liver oil and malt every morning. Because I was a sickly child. It was thick, gloopy, and fishy-malty and made me gag.

    No-one could have been more pleased than I when cod liver oil capsules came onto the market.

    Moira: lighten up? I was not having a pop at Mr Frog, I was referring back to a previous post. And I can’t see why Tess and Dr Anal-yst would mind a namecheck. But hey, each to their own sense of humour.

    Comment by petite — February 2, 2006 @ 10:16 am

  18. I completely agree with you about the feeling ill and nostalgic for days off school, and having a special ‘convalescence’ food. Mine was mashed potato with a poached egg. We would sometimes get Lucozade, which I’m sure was different then. It came in an orange cellophane wrapper.
    The first time I was ill away at university, was the first time I realised that being ill at home had its own little ritual. I realised that if I wanted the mash and egg I would have to wait until I was well enough to make it myself and that made me feel miserable as well as sick. I now try to save illnesses for home!

    Onion thing: yuckety-yuck!

    We too used to get given a teaspoonful of malt, but without the cod liver oil, thankfully. I quite liked it, but don’t know what it was supposed to do though.

    Comment by Miss Kartoffel Waffel — February 2, 2006 @ 11:50 am

  19. I have been reading your blog since last July. Cod liver oil capsules have been around for years – I remember having a daily dose in the early 1960’s and feeling sick when the foul taste lingered

    Comment by Rose — February 2, 2006 @ 12:04 pm

  20. Mag – try L’angleterre ferme à cinq heures. i don’t know who wrote it but i am sure it is on amazon

    Comment by cheria — February 2, 2006 @ 12:06 pm

  21. Hot Ribena. That’s what our Mum always gave us when we had colds, and so naturally that’s what I’ve been giving my oldest boy while he’s been home with a heavy cold this week. The blackcurranty vapours have a profound healing and comforting effect, especially when inhaled while tucked up under a duvet on the sofa, knowing that your brothers are at school and you’re not…

    Comment by Helen — February 2, 2006 @ 12:17 pm

  22. The rituals you grow up with when you’re sick normally come from your mum or the neighbour who looked after you. Strangely mine come from our cats.

    There was always a cat on my bed when I was home sick. After a certain number of hours there would be a changing of the guard which always, much to my enduring surprise, involved affectionate grooming. What made it special was that the cats never normally got on with each other. They wouldn’t even be in the same room together let alone groom each other. All differences were put aside whilst you were sick, only to be faithfully returned to, once you were well again. It made me feel very comforted & special when even the cats would make an effort on my behalf. As an adult it has been a very nasty shock to be both sick and alone.

    Onion thing – you’re mum’s nutty than mine! I just got the standard crushed tablet in honey mixture – nothing like putting a disgusting tablet in something that will stick it to your tongue for the following 5 minutes ensuring you really get to taste the tablet!

    Comment by Scoobycat — February 2, 2006 @ 12:43 pm

  23. Oops – “your mum”

    Comment by Scoobycat — February 2, 2006 @ 12:44 pm

  24. here’s the link

    Comment by cheria — February 2, 2006 @ 1:03 pm

  25. Yuck to the onion and yuck to the cod liver oil. I too used to be faced with a spoonful of it every morning.

    I remember the day my mother tried a new remedy on me for a tummy bug. She had bought a juicer and the accompanying book ‘Juicing For Life.’ The tummy-mending juice was fresh melon juiced with ground root ginger. I have never been a big fan of ginger but could tolerate it in cakes etc. I always loved melon. That drink changed my gastronomic course in life. The drink made me more violently sick than I was in the first place. Ever since, I cannot bear the thought of ginger let alone the smell or taste – no ginger cake, no ginger in stirfry or sauce, no gingerbread men, nothing. I still love melon (a good thing being that I live in France) but every so often, the smell is just a little too reminiscent of that juice and I do sometimes have trouble enjoying it as much as I should.

    Roll on lunchtime and my goat’s cheese salad because I’m now imagining that hideous onion thing, cod liver oil and ginger-melon juice. It’s not nice.

    Lovely post Petite, made me smile!

    Comment by redlady — February 2, 2006 @ 1:32 pm

  26. *makes mental note: Eggs*

    Comment by greavsie — February 2, 2006 @ 1:49 pm

  27. No no … not just a ‘Northern thing’ … I had those gooey soldiers too except my Mum called it ‘dippy egg’. Hope you’re feeling better.

    I’m a new reader to your blog ~ and very much enjoying!

    Comment by Kerry — February 2, 2006 @ 2:24 pm

  28. Being not from the English-speaking world, I have to admit that I didn’t get what “soldiers” are. I haven’t known until now, that a food exists with this name.
    Can you help an ignorant German with the secrets of cuisine anglaise?

    Comment by adventurer-to-be — February 2, 2006 @ 3:51 pm

  29. I agree with Mag and Zinnia – great writing, would make a great book. Hot Ribena.

    Comment by Jonathanm — February 2, 2006 @ 4:53 pm

  30. All this week i have been taking Cold and Flu capsules and they are doing nothing for me so i’m feeling sorry for myself. There is nothing wrong with feeling sorry for yourself once in a while. I hope you feel better soon.

    Comment by Growing Up — February 2, 2006 @ 5:07 pm

  31. handy hint from one mother with a flu/cold/snotty nose thing going on to another…

    you know how your nose always gets red sore and flaky from all those tissues? I’ve tried everything from regular face cream (it stings) to vaseline (it shines), the solution? babybum cream – works miracles!

    Comment by croque madame — February 2, 2006 @ 5:19 pm

  32. A-t-b: Soldiers = buttered toast cut into thin strips so that you can dip them into the yolk. Beautifully illustrated by the photo at the top of the blog.

    Comment by Jude — February 2, 2006 @ 5:33 pm

  33. When I have a cold, all I seem to want is gallons of orange juice and cinnamon toast.

    I can’t even stomach an egg, of ANY variety, on a healthy day let along while recovering from illness! You Brits are a heartier lot than we Yanks! (Although I do love the term “boiled egg and soldiers”.)

    And while on the subject of Britishisms, what the hell is a “rent boy”? I’m guessing it is either a male hooker or the boy who collects the rent for the landlord, and if you say an MP is making headlines in the UK right now, I’m betting it’s the former. Please confirm!

    Comment by The Bold Soul — February 2, 2006 @ 6:13 pm

  34. The Bold Soul – first guess was the right one. My favourite American expression in that vein is “Lot Lizard”.

    Comment by petite — February 2, 2006 @ 8:26 pm

  35. Umm – boiled eggs and soldiers that takes me back. To add to the home remedies – didn’t anyone besides me have to gargle with salt water (to cure a sore throat)? Of course being Irish, a common cure-all in my household was whiskey (mainly for my Dad). However, I do remember being about 11 and having horrendous cold sores and sipping whiskey from a big spoon – yes it stung like crazy!

    Comment by Graniab — February 2, 2006 @ 9:27 pm

  36. Thanks Jude, now as you said it, I can see that it`s just buttered toast up there, but without the explanation it could have been anything.

    I would also vote for Petite`s blog transformed into a book. PA you write soo good – maybe there`s a new career ahead of you.

    Comment by Adventurer-to-be — February 2, 2006 @ 9:57 pm

  37. Scissor Sisters? Women’s clothing? Made up? I’m disconsolate.

    I’m going through a bit of a Benylin phase at the moment myself. Mmmm – golden gloopy Benylin.

    You do know that everybody’s right about the book thing, don’t you?

    Comment by Tim — February 2, 2006 @ 10:42 pm

  38. here’s a lovely poem to make you feel better. It conjures up a somewhat poignant image, and was written by a 9 year old, with reference to Christmas (very topical, non?). It goes something like this:

    there’s a noisy party in the kitchen
    my sisters are having a fight
    my Nan bought me a drum kit
    and I’m playing ‘silent night’.

    children are so weird!

    Comment by roystona — February 2, 2006 @ 10:44 pm

  39. Did you transport what is ailing you to my yonder shore? Okay, here I sit with many of the same symptoms you describe, cup of Typhoo in hand, and attempting to complete something called “breathing,” which vanished yesterday while working.

    Now if I were still near my mother, she would rush right over with a large amount of Jewish penicillin, a.k.a chicken soup.

    Now, if you had caught Lover trying on your knickers, now THAT would have been good reading! (Especially if you would have described how the two of you had a conversation over which pair made him look fat.) Rent boys are sooo yesterday…………;-)

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — February 2, 2006 @ 11:23 pm

  40. You’re not alone. I’ve been blowing my nose for the last week. I’m taking whiskey and hot water. It does no good but it’s a good excuse to get down some more Jameson’s.
    Cod liver oil capsules were dished out at junior school in Heckmondwike when I was a little lad in short trousers. You had to stick out your tongue to receive one from the teacher every morning before playtime. I hated the taste so I kept it under my tongue and then spat it out in the schoolyard which probably explains why I’m currently on the second cold of the winter.
    Now going to google up ‘Lot lizard’ cos hat’s an Americanism I didn’t know.

    Comment by parkin pig — February 3, 2006 @ 12:48 am

  41. parkin wrote

    “Now going to google up ‘Lot lizard’ cos hat’s an Americanism I didn’t know.”

    I’m American and I never heard of that one.

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — February 3, 2006 @ 1:03 am

  42. Ah well, it’s probably a JT Leroy-ism then.

    Comment by petite — February 3, 2006 @ 9:17 am

  43. Dave should get out of that lake more.
    Similar to ‘truckstop queen’

    Comment by Parkin Pig — February 3, 2006 @ 1:00 pm

  44. Re Pomgirl No.8: Unfortunately Jackie is no more, to compensate I nick my daughters’ Jacqueline Wilson books.
    The onion thing is gross, makes me feel slightly less aggrieved that the only thing I was allowed to eat if poorly was gruel – basically flour & water heated up. I got sent home from school, where mother dearest worked, with raging chickenpox, as I’d refused aforementioned gruel and was therefore NOT ill! No TV or books either – just bed.

    Comment by J — February 3, 2006 @ 3:51 pm

  45. Oh no, another Kerry has joined the ranks of Petite commentors. I may have to find a way to distinguish myself. Perhaps ‘Kerry in Washington’ or ‘Kerry The Man’ (since I am, on most people on-line tend to assume, given the name, that I’m not).

    In any case, being American, I have no idea what soldiers are. Anyone care to illuminate?

    And although my mother always made me a boiled egg when sick as well, she would mash it up in a bowl with pieces of toast. The only way she could get solidish food down my throat.

    Comment by Kerry — February 3, 2006 @ 4:00 pm

  46. Parkin wrote:

    “Dave should get out of that lake more.
    Similar to ‘truckstop queen’”

    I get out of teh lake plenty, but don’t usually visit truckstops. But I do know that one.

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — February 3, 2006 @ 4:58 pm

  47. Shoot, I feel sorry for all of you–my grandma used to pump us full of warm whiskey and honey mixed together, drunk out of a mason jar, and make us tapioca. Now THAT is a cold remedy worth getting sick for.

    Comment by Small Town Diva — February 3, 2006 @ 7:38 pm

  48. I found you by way of another blogging friend, and what fun I am having reading these posts! I fall in line with the dry toast and ginger ale set, and if these posts are any indication, I agree with the person who said you could sell a book. Almost French was wonderful, and you are funnier. Feel better soon…

    Comment by Erin — February 3, 2006 @ 8:20 pm

  49. I won’t make you read another silly comment, but wanted to just let you know how your blog gets better and better. Even when you’re ill!

    Comment by Eric at Paris Daily Photo — February 4, 2006 @ 8:14 am

  50. Petite, I hope you’re feeling better. Everyone I know this side of the ocean has been sick this past week. Who knew a contagion could stretch so far?

    I’m a little… well, puzzled, I guess you could say, by the way you write about the man in your life. Didn’t you tell us before Christmas that his name is Jim? And link to some of the comments he’d left on your blog before you two got together? So, um, why do you call him “Lover” still? (Other than, of course, the fact that he is your lover.) When you move in together, and if you get married, will you call him Live-In, and then Husband?

    Of course it’s your blog and you can call anyone anything you like, but speaking as a long-time reader, it messes with my reading brain, ever so slightly. I have to do a translation in my mind; every time I see “Lover” I think to myself, “Oh, she means Jim.”

    Comment by Postmodern Sass — February 5, 2006 @ 12:21 am

  51. Thank you. I have spent most of yesterday evening and this morning reading your journal from its beginnings.

    It has made me question just how much of myself I have sacrificed over the years for an outwardly peaceful, but inwardly turmoiled existance.

    I wish you the very best in life. You deserve it.

    Comment by Bella — February 5, 2006 @ 12:16 pm

  52. @ Kerry (in Washington).
    I also wondered what a kind of food “Soldiers” are. I asked this question in comment No. 28 and Jude answered it in No. 32.

    @ Petite.
    Do you feel better? I hope so, but actually it seems to be a time for flu. I even caught one myself and now are at home. Can flu be passed on via the internet? – in this case it could blame you *attccchhhoouuuu!!!*

    Comment by Adventurer-to-be — February 6, 2006 @ 8:52 am

  53. I’d never heard them called soldiers before, but I figured from the photo what Petite meant. What I’d like to know is, what’s a rent boy? (Am I living too sheltered a life in Toronto?)

    Comment by Postmodern Sass — February 6, 2006 @ 6:15 pm

  54. A rent boy is a young male prostitute, in my neck of the woods !

    Comment by P in France — February 6, 2006 @ 7:05 pm

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