petite anglaise

February 23, 2007


Filed under: parting ways — petiteanglaiseparis @ 2:02 pm

“Are you sure it won’t be too weird, me meeting you and your friends for dinner in Marrakech?” I say, between forkfuls of crispy pancake. Mr Frog and I are having lunch at the Vietnamese restaurant tucked behind the Café Chéri(e) on boulevard de la Villette. Tiny and unassuming, it is nonetheless jam packed, and we were lucky to get a table at all.

“It will be slightly awkward, yes,” he replies with a half smile, “but we can’t not meet up. It’s too much of a coincidence that we’ve ended up both being there at the same time…”

“Well, I’m pleased you feel that way,” I say. “I’m quite nervous about being on holiday on my own, so it’s nice to know I’ll have some chaperones on my first night, at least.”

When I booked my holiday, you see, to neatly coincide with Tadpole’s stay with her French grandparents during half term, I knew Mr Frog was going to Casablanca, but neither of us had any inkling that a weekend in Marrakech was also on the cards. If he was going alone, meeting wouldn’t be odd in the slightest. We often do lunch, with or without Tadpole, or shoot the breeze by email or googlechat. But since our breakup nearly two years ago I’ve barely clapped eyes on any of his friends or work colleagues. They were more his than mine, and I figured I’d relinquished my right to see them. Not that they hate me or anything, and I’m almost certain that Mr Frog badmouthed me to no-one, because that’s simply not his style. But seeing these people after almost two years, after everything that has happened, both in public and in private, it’s bound to be strange.

I try to imagine the conversation we’ll have over pastilla and tajine in a rooftop restaurant overlooking the medina.

“So, Catherine, you’re writing a book now. What’s it about? It’s a memoir, right?”

I blush. “Well, er, meeting this guy for starters.” I point at Mr Frog with my fork. “And then, er, leaving him for someone else, and how we all dealt with that. Among other things.”

Oh yes, I feel sure this is definitely going to be weird.

a good cause

Filed under: misc — petiteanglaiseparis @ 1:29 pm

Dear PA,

In the UK we often take the right to blog for granted. But what if a post on Petite Anglaise landed you in prison?

In China, internet sites are blocked, chat rooms are monitored and journalists and bloggers are arrested.

Amnesty International is deeply worried about the restriction of the right to freedom of expression in China. Right now we’re appealing for the release of Shi Tao, a journalist arrested in 2004 and sentenced to 10 years in prison for sending an email to a pro-democracy website in the US about press restrictions around the anniversary of the crackdown on peaceful protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

You can do something now to help:

You can do something now to help. We are asking for you and your readers to write to the Chinese authorities demanding the release of Shi Tao, as part of our campaign against internet repression. See here for more details.

To show your support for freedom of expression on the internet add this link to your blog and help Amnesty International find more people to stand up for human rights.

Thank you for your help,

Drew Davies
(Amnesty International)

February 21, 2007


Filed under: navel gazing, single life — petiteanglaiseparis @ 7:57 pm

As I sat on the métro on the way to see some girlfriends yesterday, a bag containing chablis, Nutella and maple syrup wedged between my feet, I couldn’t help thinking back to happier versions of Mardi Gras, and in particular the 2006 edition, in honour of which I threw a pancake party and invited a few friends* from work to my old apartment. It was the first and last time many of them got to meet the man I referred to on this blog as Lover (a pseudonym to which a few readers strongly objected, but I felt then, as I do now, that given just how much time we spent horizontal, the name fit very snugly indeed).

A few days later Lover brought my dreams of an idyllic life together in the Breton countryside crashing down around my ears. I picked myself up, carried on, and so much other stuff happened shortly afterwards that I really didn’t know how to feel anything other than numb for a while.

What this means is that I’ve now been single for almost a full calendar year. It’s a state of affairs without precedent, because after much racking of brains and counting of digits, I can say with absolute certainty that the last time I was single for a Whole Year was in 1988. Although to be fair, at that time I’d been single for a total of fifteen years and was breathlessly awaiting the arrival of my first proper boyfriend.

How do I feel about this? Well, of course I’d rather be happily alone than with someone who was wrong for me. And yes, messing around with few strings attached seemed like fun for a while, but now just strikes me as utterly pointless. As for online dating, I check in to look at my profile from time to time but can rarely muster up sufficient enthusiasm to actually reply to my emails, let alone drag myself out on a blind date.

I know that this year without a special (adult) person by my side has been really good for me, in some ways. I’ve built new friendships, invested a lot more in existing ones and spent lashings of quality time with my daughter. I’m sure I needed to be alone, for a while, and that I’ll appreciate sharing the good, the bad and the ugly with a special someone all the more because of it, when the time comes.

But am I truly happy with this state of affairs? Is single the best thing since the invention of Nutella? Is single the new size zero?

I’d be lying if I said I loved it. Single still doesn’t come naturally to me and I doubt it ever will. So please excuse me while I go and comfort myself with a large pot of leftover nutella, a useful side effect of which is that size zero will never, never fit.

February 19, 2007


Filed under: working girl — petiteanglaiseparis @ 11:00 am

I am going to the prud’hommes (French industrial tribunal thingy) today to contest my dismissal. This is rather unexpected, but my lawyer informed me late on Friday evening that contrary to everything we had been led to believe, my ex-employer’s lawyers had changed their minds about asking for the hearing to be deferred to a later date (and had forgotten to let us know).

Given that I’d been told precisely the opposite a matter of days earlier, it’s somewhat miraculous that I’m back from the UK, have childcare for the day and can attend at all. I suppose, to look on the bright side, at least I haven’t spent the last week feeling apprehensive, which might have put a dampener on my trip to England with Tadpole.

More later…

Update: lawyer obtained a deferral and the case now will be heard on 21 March, which should give me time to actually read the substance of the arguments being made against me and make sure all the facts are straight.

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