petite anglaise

September 12, 2006

Mr Mania

Filed under: Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaiseparis @ 2:09 pm

Ever since I picked Tadpole up from school, crying, this time, because a classmate had tried to remove one of her Hello Kitty hair clips in the playground using brute force , I have had to remain in character. Or characters. It’s difficult to keep track, as Tadpole keeps changing her mind about who I am supposed to be.

“… would you like some Kiri on your pasta, Mr Happy?” I say in an exaggerated stage whisper as I pour the steaming contents of the pan into a colander.

“Yes, Kiri on my pastas. And sweetcorns,” she replies. There is no “please”, but I decide to let that one slide, for now.

“Baby tomatoes?” I continue, at normal volume.

“Mummy! I sayded that you were Mr Quiet!” shouts Tadpole, indignantly. Past tenses have taken an odd turn recently. Where previously they were correct, my daughter has started inventing new, arguably more logical forms, sayded, growded and cryded being the most common.

“Oh, sorry…I forgot you said that…” I whisper, battling to appear suitably contrite.

“You being just like Mr Forgetful, mummy.”

I perk up at the prospect of a change of character, tired of having to lower my voice. We move into Tadpole’s bedroom, where the Miffy table now has pride of place in front of the window. It’s less than ideal, but I don’t really have a dining area in the new flat, so for the time being I make do with this dolls house type arrangement, even when I dine alone.

This overwhelming obsession with the Mr Men began one fine July day when Tadpole spied the boxed set of books I had been saving until she was older as I unpacked our belongings in what she still refers to as “mummy’s new house”. I suppose I should be grateful for any Dora displacement activity. But now, every day, we have to talk like Mr Topsy Turvy (“Night good, mummmy!”), I am called upon to impersonate Mr Tickle on a regular basis and I spend a great deal of time sticking errant pages back in with “ruban daddyseive”. Clearly there was a good reason why this boxed set was so cheap.

“Oh calamity!” cries Tadpole, the next morning, quaking in front of her breakfast cereal, “jus’ like Mr Jelly”, because it is making a “sound noise”.

Drama school beckons, and, quite frankly, the prospect terrifies me.


  1. Is Kiri on pasta one of those things the only under 8 crowd enjoys? Because somehow just the idea makes me stomach turn over. :s

    Comment by kim — September 12, 2006 @ 2:31 pm

  2. oh yes, i’m very familiar with this game. instead my son and i switch places. he is the daddy and i am the son. quite fun on most occassions, that is until the “timeouts” start.

    Comment by Hammers — September 12, 2006 @ 2:37 pm

  3. We do that one too. It doesn’t seem to stretch as far as her carrying me all the way home though, no matter how much I beg.

    Comment by petite — September 12, 2006 @ 2:40 pm

  4. Sounds like there is no need for drama class, it’s right there.

    Comment by joeinvegas — September 12, 2006 @ 2:44 pm

  5. Why Mr. and not Mrs. or Ms.?

    Mr Topsy Turvy, ok, but please don’t let her learn cockney double rhyming slang, whatever you do — that drives me up the wall.

    Comment by Lost in France — September 12, 2006 @ 2:58 pm

  6. Aw, Tadpole is sweet.

    Apparently that’s common in all kids’ learning processes: First they get it right, and then there’s a period where, secure in the feeling of knowing what to do, they start to get it wrong again as they experiment with new ways of doing it / branch out into the next level of profficiency.

    I love the way language becomes so much more malleable when you’re in the presence of a littl’un. My favourite idiosyncracy of Felix’s at the moment is this:

    “Did you didn’t like it, Mummy?”
    “Do you don’t have a bigger one?”
    “Is it isn’t raining?”

    Comment by Clare — September 12, 2006 @ 3:34 pm

  7. See your point, gets kids reading though, they do latch on to these things. Are you reading to her in English and French, that would be impressive!

    Comment by heather — September 12, 2006 @ 3:39 pm

  8. Mmm pasta and Kiri! Yummy!
    Oh, and I am impressed with Tadpole using the words “ruban adhésif” (regardless of how she really pronounces it). In my day we used to say “scotch” for any kind of ruban adhésif. I still do… hey, your 3-year old daughter’s French is better than mine!

    Comment by pardonmyfrench — September 12, 2006 @ 4:02 pm

  9. I also went through a big Mr Men phase. It’s great that you saved them for her.

    At least she doesn’t want to be Mr Messy or Mr Bounce…..

    Comment by Suze — September 12, 2006 @ 4:15 pm

  10. Wasn’t there a Mr Dangerous? I can see that causing some problems.

    Comment by Damian — September 12, 2006 @ 4:26 pm

  11. I just can’t do any game where they have control over me or tell me what to do…I panic they’ll make it a habit! Life with one kid does sound fun though – you can think about playing instead of the mountain of washing to put through the machine…

    Comment by Lucy-Jane — September 12, 2006 @ 4:33 pm

  12. It’s a normal stage of language acquisition, the switch of past tense.

    First they just memorize the words – the correct form. Then they learn the actual rule for creating tense – like the ‘-ed’ ending and begin to reapply it to everything. Then they learn the special forms and start using them again.

    They do the same with plurals and pronouns as well. Stephen Pinker has written some great books about language acquisition “Language Instinct” (he’s like the Richard Dawkins of Cognitive Science – really a great writer).

    Comment by Chrysalis — September 12, 2006 @ 4:53 pm

  13. Wonderful.

    Comment by fjl — September 12, 2006 @ 4:53 pm

  14. treasure those words they say wrong. it’s so cute and once they figure out the correct way to say it you kind of miss the wrong way.

    my daughter is already telling me she is going to be a famous movie star. talk about dread!

    Comment by melani — September 12, 2006 @ 5:16 pm

  15. Either I have missed the hullaballoo over Mr. Men because my tadpole is now a pretty good-sized frog, or it’s not really present over here yet.

    What on EARTH is Kiri?

    Comment by JoAnne — September 12, 2006 @ 5:48 pm

  16. soft cheese

    Comment by petite — September 12, 2006 @ 5:57 pm

  17. You know you are starting to get old when…..

    ……you remember Arthur Lowe reading them on tv!

    Comment by Pete — September 12, 2006 @ 6:01 pm

  18. Is it really wrong that I want a complete set of Mr Men books? Mr Bump was always my favourite…

    Comment by Dave — September 12, 2006 @ 6:05 pm

  19. Ah yes, why didn’t I think of it. We need a meme. A which Mr Man are you, meme.

    I am Mr Fussy. When he straightens every single blade of grass between his fingertips, the uptight obsessive virgo in me swoons.

    Comment by petite — September 12, 2006 @ 6:10 pm

  20. Not to forget Arthur Lowe’s erstwhile sergeant John le Mesurier narrating Bod.

    Comment by Salvadore Vincent — September 12, 2006 @ 6:15 pm

  21. I used to love Mr Silly but Mr Uppity comes to mind these days.

    Comment by fjl — September 12, 2006 @ 7:02 pm

  22. Who(or what)is Mr. Man? ignorant minds needs to know! ;-)

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — September 12, 2006 @ 7:36 pm

  23. I loved the mr men books when i was little – and have to admit to possessing little miss sunshine socks now. I find that they are good to put on at the gym to make me smile…

    Comment by Kingston Girl — September 12, 2006 @ 8:41 pm

  24. I loved Mr. Bounce. I actually still have the French version (“bing bing bing bing bing”). Did you know Mr Sneeze was the first, written after Roger Hargreaves’ son asked him what a sneeze looks like? Now the entire company (around the Mr Men) belongs to this very son…(or so I believe. Forgive me if I’m wrong.)

    Comment by LaiLou — September 12, 2006 @ 8:42 pm

  25. What a little madam! How cute is that!

    We bypassed Mr Men – went straight from Dora to the Fanous Five..go figure!

    I also have the irregular verbs ‘regularised’ by my boys…I find it so funny and don’t want it to stop. Once they say it correctly I’ll know they have moved on to another stage…which always takes my breath away. Then have to figure out how to ‘move’ in the new stage.

    Comment by Geena — September 12, 2006 @ 9:38 pm

  26. Are there any Little Miss books in this box set as well?

    I remember having a larger format (and longer than usual) Mr Nosey book when I was little… I wonder if my parents were trying to tell me something!

    Comment by flechesbleues — September 12, 2006 @ 10:24 pm

  27. Can I presume, from Dave’s comment, that Mr Men books were not part of the standard 70s / 80s childhood in the United States? Arthur Lowe is the ONLY Mr Man reader possible, I can’t imagine Mr Uppity with an American accent either. Tadpole sounds like she should be kept well away from the Little Miss Naughty books, until she’s proven to be Little Miss Sunshine!
    Loved your cinema post, haven’t been for ages and you just inspired me to go!

    Comment by Paris Lights — September 12, 2006 @ 11:35 pm

  28. We spent a few months in France while my youngest was Tadpole’s age. As a consequence we (still) have some Mr Men in English, some in French and some in both. My vocabulary of children’s words improved no end: tickle, giggle etc.

    Our Tadpole learnt them off by heart from my reading them in English and although she couldn’t read, or speak French at the time, she would correct my variable translation if it wandered too far from what she had heard before.

    Now she is a really able linguist so it must have been a good introduction.

    Comment by varske — September 13, 2006 @ 12:06 am

  29. I loved Mr Topsy-Turvey because he always got everything wrong and Mr Wrong for exactly the same reason. Mr Messy (very messy) and Mr Bump (bumped into things a lot) were favourites too. Either my Mum or my Dad read one of the Mr Men books to my brother and me every night and then when my sister came along several years later she loved them too. I think my whole family knew them all off by heart in the end!

    Comment by Ben — September 13, 2006 @ 12:19 am

  30. Lailou, it was actually Mr Tickle, after his son asked him what a tickle looked like. Right story, wrong Mr Man.


    Comment by Isla — September 13, 2006 @ 1:12 am

  31. I’m trying to think of an American rough equivalent to Mr. Men, and can’t. Maybe Dr. Seuss?

    I just went to and am frankly stupefied by the sheer number of Mr. Men and Little Misses to choose from. Are the Little Misses sort of the lame afterthought?

    Comment by LJ — September 13, 2006 @ 1:40 am

  32. I’ve been rediscovering the Mr Men books with my two little ones – I’d forgotten about Arthur Lowe as narrator though!

    I used a couple of Mr Men books in French when I was teaching French. Had to white out all the verbs in passé simple and change them to passé composé because my class hadn’t learned passé simple yet. After reading a couple of them, I had them write their own. Some of them were brilliant! 14 year olds really can be delightfully childish at times :-)

    Comment by LivingAbroad — September 13, 2006 @ 2:03 am

  33. Chrysalis beat me to it. I was going to tell you the same thing about linguistic development and point you in the direction of Pinker for a scholarly but accessible examination of the phenomenen. For this particular interesting development (and how I envy you being able to observe it happening firsthand), try Words and Rules. We’re wired for grammar, just like Chomsky said!

    Comment by Passante — September 13, 2006 @ 2:25 am

  34. No, we definitely had them in the US too. I haven’t seen them here in years, but they were favorites when I was little too. I’d love to find them for my little ones.

    Comment by Jenny — September 13, 2006 @ 2:42 am

  35. None of my children were into the Mr Men. It seemed tazos, bob the builder etc etc…were more their scene.

    Maybe I missed it whilst work 6 days a week. :o(

    i do like the sound of Mr Fussy… it might have made them tidy their rooms!

    Comment by simon — September 13, 2006 @ 4:20 am

  36. OK ! I’m an idiot. What is kiri ?

    Comment by AA — September 13, 2006 @ 4:25 am

  37. Soft cheese, heh, that makes sooo much more sense. I googled it, and was imagining pasta drenched in soda pop. Blech!

    Comment by Jenny — September 13, 2006 @ 8:01 am

  38. Listening to the kids play at mummies and daddies, or teacher and pupil is always an education, and a few bad habits have been changed as a direct result. After a horrendous experience in CE1, my daughter wanted to become a teacher so she could be nasty to children. We tried to talk about what the problem was, but she wouldn’t open up later learnt that she had been told not to talk about school at home on pain of yet more lines! Hearing what her dolls went through, we took found a different school by Christmas.

    Comment by j — September 13, 2006 @ 10:56 am

  39. I believe without a doubt one would associate me with Mr. Worry. That’s basically me in a nutshell!

    As adorable as ever, your little Tadpole! I love reading your stories about her, and as has already been expresseed here, you share them so well… with just the right balance of comedy and sweetness!

    Comment by Always Ace — September 13, 2006 @ 11:28 am

  40. I just checked out the Mr Men site as well. I definitely don’t remember that many characters – and only Misters. I remember being particularly fond of Mr Messy – the easiest to draw as I recall – a scribble and a smile.

    My boys (6 & 4) seem to have bypassed Mr Men altogether. Dora and entourage rule in this house. Does anyone else get frustrated that all the Dora merchandise is directed at girls? – pink and lilac backpacks, pink and lilac lunchboxes, pink and lilac pencil cases etc. etc. I’m not being non-pc – both my boys have dolls – but both draw the line at pink toys and accessories.

    Perhaps you could invent Little Miss Tadpole, petite – now what would her defining character trait be….? I sense it might prove impossible to capture her as a one-dimensional caricature.

    Comment by Jayne — September 13, 2006 @ 11:28 am

  41. Hello Petite, been following your blog for a while now but haven’t commented as of yet. With regards to the last post, I think it’s normal to occasionally miss someone that you shared your life with over a long time. I wrote recently on my shared blog – ‘it’s the little memories that pop up from time-to-time that bring fleeting miss-you-moments for a past that will never become future.’ I think you just have to enjoy the good memories. As for Tadpole and drama school – France’s theatre culture is wonderful. Next week, I am coming to Paris – visiting friends whom I went to drama school with nine years ago in Lyon! Your blog is making me yearn for a sunny spot on a Parisian street corner and ‘un café crème!’

    Comment by Sister Louise — September 13, 2006 @ 12:22 pm

  42. Somewhere, hidden in the deepest darkest depths of my Dad’s attic, I have got an original, yes original Mr Men LP voiced by Arthur Lowe!!

    Fantastic- I haven’t thought about that in years. I wonder if it’s still playable?

    Comment by David in London — September 13, 2006 @ 2:01 pm

  43. Remember to reserve your sense of humour for ‘Miss Stroppy Teenager’ in a few years.
    A character that I felt was under explored in the books.
    Of course you will be unimaginably old by then :)

    Comment by meredic — September 13, 2006 @ 2:12 pm

  44. I found a Mr. Men DVD of the original first series and my boys love it. I just love the way Arthur Lowe calls Mr.Happy ‘Mr.Heppeh’. Got a load of other 70’s series too, like Bod (infuriatingly catchy theme tune which you will be whistling for days), Bagpuss (Professor Yaffle was definitely my hero) Mr Benn (yay!) and the now-very-scary Fingerbobs. Yoffy freaks me out now, how could I have watched it as a child? And of course the seminal Roobarb and Custard. :) Ah! they made telly to last in those days…
    Oh and I’m Mr. Bump, no doubt about it.

    Comment by suziboo — September 13, 2006 @ 2:27 pm

  45. Bring back THE FLUMPS, I say. Especially Pootle.

    Comment by petite — September 13, 2006 @ 2:34 pm

  46. Sorry Isla, you’re right. I’d pulled that from the back of my memory and knew Mr Sneeze was one of the first, but there you go. :-)
    Don’t know any interesting facts about the flumps, but I lurved them to bits. They were fluffy and made cute sounds, weren’t they??

    Comment by LaiLou — September 13, 2006 @ 3:14 pm

  47. The cryded etc made me remember my own daughter’s early take on clothes, the singular for which became “clo”. “Which clo shall I wear today?” etc.

    They quickly growded up now of course…

    Comment by Murphy — September 13, 2006 @ 3:20 pm

  48. Roobarb and Custard? Small, round, orange men with disproportionately long arms I can handle, but blue cats? It’ll never catch on! Actually my daughter tells me that Roobarb and Custard has been revived and is currently showing on one or other of the satellite channels (unfortunately).

    I got her DVDs of both Trumpton and Camberwick Green a couple of years ago and will keep an eye out for original Mr Men – I wonder if at 7 she is maybe too old?

    Reading wise we’re doing Horrid Henry at the moment, and even I had to chuckle at the “How does a mathematician deal with constipation?” joke in Horrid Henry’s joke book!

    Comment by Pete — September 13, 2006 @ 3:38 pm

  49. Back in the day, stealing my Hello Kitty barrettes would get a bitch killed!

    “Oh calamity!” That is likely the most precious thing I’ll read all day.

    Comment by Broady — September 13, 2006 @ 4:08 pm

  50. Camberwick Green, Nr Chigley, Trumptonshire!

    I always fancied being Mr Tickle, the trouble you could make with those arms.

    Comment by Craig — September 13, 2006 @ 4:54 pm

  51. I live in the U.S. and teach French and English to high school students. Last summer I took my fourth trip with students to France. This time we did London and France. Loved it!!!!!! Except we were there around the time of the anniversary of the bombings in London and it was hotter than hades. Have just discovered your blog within the last week and love it too.

    Keep up the good writings.

    Comment by mamanP — September 13, 2006 @ 5:03 pm

  52. “Bring back THE FLUMPS, I say. Especially Pootle.”

    Gee, and I thought Dick and Jane was the joint………..Clearly I was a deprived child :-D

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — September 13, 2006 @ 5:38 pm

  53. Paris Lights – I went again!!! On my Tadpole free evening, I saw “Thumbsucker”. Alone again. And it was still bliss.

    Comment by petite — September 13, 2006 @ 6:03 pm

  54. I live in the States and I was born in 62 – definitely do NOT remember Mr. Men from the 70s and 80s. I have a much younger brother (born in 72) so I think I’d have seen the books if they were big here then, but maybe not! By the 80s, little ones were so totally not any part of my life that a Mr. Man could have been elected President and I’d have been oblivious. Well, bad example.

    Comment by JoAnne — September 13, 2006 @ 6:08 pm

  55. “Thumbsucker”? Dare i ask what that was about? I went through a Mr Men phase as well, dont worry it should only last a few years. Im trying to remember, was there a Mr. Clumsy? If so that would be my squat, male, equivalent. Is kiri like a francaise version of dairylea?

    Comment by Whisper — September 13, 2006 @ 6:22 pm

  56. I liked the
    , especially the Soup Dragon :-)

    Comment by Jim — September 13, 2006 @ 6:34 pm

  57. I liked Bagpuss, it always ended with the same phrase and I found it very touching…”Bagpuss was the most saggy old cloth cat in the world but Emily loved him.” Ahhh.

    Comment by Susannah — September 13, 2006 @ 8:20 pm

  58. I think the past tenses are normal, my daughter does that too – I think they think all past tenses should have 2 syllables like French ones, ie “I walk-ed”. She also says “I grimped” or “il faut crosser la rue”. I guess it’s franglais.
    I always found Mr Men rather annoying. These days I get to re-read my old Topsy & Tims, so uncool 50s throwbacks that they are surely cool again ?

    Comment by Kate — September 13, 2006 @ 9:10 pm

  59. I agree with you about Bagpuss, Susannah.
    Mr Ben was the best, too.

    Comment by Kate — September 13, 2006 @ 9:11 pm

  60. Aaah Bagpuss….
    ‘Bagpuss, dear Bagpuss,
    Old fat furry cat-puss,
    Wake up, and look at this thing that I bring,
    Wake up, be bright, be golden and light,
    Bagpuss, oh hear what I sing.’

    I always thought it was a prayer when I was little!
    Delight of delights….I bought the complete DVD – for the children of course – and then couldn’t resist and got a huge, lifesize Bagpuss, just like the real one, that I cuddle whenever I feel low!
    And then there’s the Wombles…
    Bring back the WOMBLES OF WIMBLEDON! Eco-warriors par excellence! We need you!

    Comment by Lucy-Jane — September 13, 2006 @ 9:58 pm

  61. I’m pretty sure I remember Mr Men, and I’m a (US) child of the ’80s . . . they may just have a striking resemblance to the characters on the boxes of smelly/fruit-scented markers we had at school, tho.

    Comment by emily — September 14, 2006 @ 12:15 am

  62. I think I know the reason they have Mr. Men books instead of Ms. Women. They probably can’t have children’s books with Ms. Bloated, Ms. Cranky, Ms. Bi-polar, Ms. Sleep-deprived, and Ms. Needs-her-coffee.

    Comment by Neila — September 14, 2006 @ 5:40 am

  63. Jim:- I have to agree. Hey, as for a tripod for the telescope. Will a camera tripod do the trick?…

    Comment by simon — September 14, 2006 @ 9:12 am

  64. More Bagpuss memories for fans ( and Petite, I KNOW you remember this one):

    “We will find it, we will bind it, we will stick it with glue glue glue,
    We will stickle it, every little bit of it, we will stick it like new new new.”

    (The helium-voiced mice in the barrel organ).

    Comment by Mancunian Lass — September 14, 2006 @ 9:39 am

  65. Correction: should be “every LICKLE bit of it”

    Comment by Mancunian Lass — September 14, 2006 @ 9:41 am

  66. I loved the Magic Roundabout too – which was French originally wasn’t it?

    The bloke that narrated it was Emma Thompson’s dad.

    Comment by Craig — September 14, 2006 @ 9:48 am

  67. jim, the Clangers were fantastic, what were they made of though? I seem to remember they were knitted or something.

    Comment by heather — September 14, 2006 @ 10:04 am

  68. Mary, Mungo & Midge? Anyone?
    Mind you, Larry the Lamb and Muffin the Mule might show too many wrinkles.

    Comment by j — September 14, 2006 @ 10:20 am

  69. Kate, yes you’re right, Topsy and Tim were great. I seem to remember the stories were full of little life coping skills, like how to cope with being ill and going to see the doctor. Topsy & Tim Go to the Doctor… Topsy had a sore throat and Tim had earache which was very painful but the nice doctor gave them medicine, pink for Topsy and yellow for Tim and before you could say Jack Robinson they were both back to their chirpy little selves again. I think they had a friend called Tansy.

    Comment by Susannah — September 14, 2006 @ 10:39 am

  70. I agree about Topsy and Tim having practical applications. I use the example of Topsy wandering off in the supermarket and getting lost every time we go to Franprix, to coax Tadpole into the trolley seat.

    Comment by petite — September 14, 2006 @ 11:22 am

  71. I am the proud owner of a Mr. Bump pencil case. On it Mr. Bump is saying “if you don’t keep your pencils in this I’ll come and bump you.” I also have a Mr. Bump pillbox. Hmmm, bet they’d be big on EBay, but I’ll never never sell.

    Comment by Lisa — September 14, 2006 @ 2:54 pm

  72. Hi Petite,
    Hoping that conciliation today goes well…will check back later for an update!


    Comment by Karen Mc Cullagh — September 14, 2006 @ 2:56 pm

  73. I remember when it was all fields round here.

    Comment by backroads — September 14, 2006 @ 3:19 pm

  74. very nice to see you backroads… takes me back

    Comment by petite — September 14, 2006 @ 4:38 pm

  75. Héhé, elle est charmante cette petite!
    Et elle a bon goût, en plus : j’adore les pâtes au Kiri.

    Désolée de poster en français, mais j’ai épuisé tout mon anglais à lire tes posts. J’aime beaucoup ton blog que je lis depuis quelques semaines, il me fait bien rire.

    Comment by Melody — September 14, 2006 @ 6:28 pm

  76. Does anyone remember the name of that old childrens show with the three fat life-sized-rag-doll type things that always counted in French and said “Ooh la-la”?

    Comment by Whisper — September 14, 2006 @ 7:05 pm

  77. Thanks Susannah, Topsy & Tim ARE great, just don’t buy the current reprints, Mummy has lost her elegant hat & glove combo and is now a pearl-wearing sloane. Tansy was a later addition in the caring-sharing 70s – adopted sister & racial minority (in T&T suburbia that is).
    PS Petite, you could try putting Tadpole in the main part of the trolley, it’s more fun – just make sure the shopping doesn’t get squashed.

    Comment by Kate — September 14, 2006 @ 8:50 pm

  78. Just curious (being an English teacher), when your daughter speaks (her version of) English, does she have a French accent?

    Comment by J — September 14, 2006 @ 9:49 pm

  79. Tadpole has an English accent with flat Yorkshire vowels. Just the odd word comes out with her French mouth sometimes, like “coat” which sounds more like “ceaut”, a little on the aristocratic side.

    Comment by petite — September 14, 2006 @ 10:29 pm

  80. Just found your site and I think that it is very interesting. Tadpole is very lucky to have two native languages! One of my parents is a native Spanish speaker, but we never spoke Spanish in our home. I speak Spanish now, but it would have been so much easier if I had always used it.

    Comment by Jill in Honduras — September 15, 2006 @ 6:22 am

  81. I am finally realizing that Topsy and Tim and Mr. Man and what not are generational things and I, not having any children of my own, am just too OLD to understand :(

    Comment by Lost in France — September 15, 2006 @ 6:31 am

  82. Lost in France, please cheer up, don’t be sad… and you’re never too OLD to understand.

    Comment by Susannah — September 15, 2006 @ 8:46 am

  83. What the f[***] is Kiri?

    Comment by Sir Pantsalot — September 15, 2006 @ 10:03 am

  84. The 3 fat rag dolls were “Tots TV” Tilly, Tom and Tiny. There was also a donkey and a ball of fluff called Furryboo. Tilly was the French bird. Tom was condecending and Tiny appeared a bit simple. This was on in the early 90’s and my daughter loved it. Contributions from my childhood – “Torchy torchy the Battery Boy” and “Mr Ed” the talking horse.

    Comment by Di — September 15, 2006 @ 10:28 am

  85. Whisper,

    Do you mean Tots TV? Only one of the characters was French – Tilly (she spoke Spanish in the US version!), the rest spoke English. There was a Donkey and a mysterious “thing” called Furryboo. My kids thought it was great. The company that made it have a shop in Stratford Upon Avon that used to have a huge narrowboat in it where the kids could watch Rosie & Jim.

    Comment by Craig — September 15, 2006 @ 10:36 am

  86. They just don’t make’em like they used to…French kids’ TV is *dire*; all Japanese cartoons, and stuff full of violence and snogging. Not that I’m averse to a bit of snogging, but just misplaced in kids’ cartoons. My lot adore Balamory, and cos they’re used to saying English words as they hear them – they’ve got no idea of different accents – they sing the Balamory theme tune and say the characters’ names with a wonderful Scots’ accent! My granny would be so proud…(Glasow roots, see).

    Comment by Lucy-Jane — September 15, 2006 @ 11:24 am

  87. Hi PA

    Haven’t been blogging as long as you but I have to say you were one of the inspiratiions that it could be something other than student self-indulgence.

    To the point – does whisper mean Hectors House? French 1970’s puppetry show starring I think hector the dog, kiki the frog, and zaza the cat, who passed cynical comments from a ladder over the garden wall?

    Fare thee well – and have a look at my blog if you like; we’re bookish people both I think.

    Comment by Drew Mishmash — September 15, 2006 @ 11:32 am

  88. Ah, the lovely Mr Men. I loved Button Moon too. And Fingermouse!

    When I was three, I fell of my (Rainbow Brite) bike and broke my elbow. (It was my first time without stabilisers…) My father painted Mr Bump and Little Miss Naughty on my plastercast – one of my most treasured childhood memories!

    Comment by redlady — September 15, 2006 @ 11:55 am

  89. Scarily, the most recent Topsy & Tim books are *very* PC, with several of T&T’s friends being of different nationalities and also I’m fairly sure one is in a wheelchair…

    I remember T&T talking to the milkman in one book who said that there was just enough blue sky to “patch a Dutchman’s trousers” or similar. I had no idea what that meant, and had to ask my mum…

    Comment by IsoChick — September 15, 2006 @ 1:32 pm

  90. TOTS TV!! That was it! I used to watch Rosie and Jim as well, my favourite character was the duck that sat on top of the boat.

    Comment by Whisper — September 16, 2006 @ 10:39 pm

  91. Congratulations! The articles on your blog are really excellent and provide an authentic picture of what life is like here in this marvelous city of Paris. I am Bavarian/ German and it is very interesting to see our cultural diversities in our beautiful Europe!

    Comment by Karl- Heinz Schabmüller — September 20, 2006 @ 10:05 pm

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