petite anglaise

June 29, 2007

calling in favours

Filed under: good time girl, misc — petiteanglaiseparis @ 2:53 pm

So, if I were to be planning a sun, sand and (ahem) sex getaway in late August and was considering the Canary Islands as a possible destination, what would my dear readers suggest? Any info on tourist traps to be avoided, well-equipped but untacky hotels, most picturesque spots etc would be extremely welcome.

We (ah yes, we) have a pretty decent budget, don’t drive (I daren’t, he can’t), are keen to take in more than one island over a 10-14 day period, and we’d rather book it ourselves than get some sort of horrid package deal.

Of course, if any of my dear readers has a 5* villa with pool and would like lend it to me…

Now all I have to do is keep all my most horrifying and repellent character traits well and truly under wraps for the next month or so…

update:Gave up on the Canaries and am going to Greek Islands instead. Have only booked flight so far, so all advice still welcome…

June 25, 2007


Filed under: navel gazing — petiteanglaiseparis @ 11:48 am

For the past nine months I have been living in a shadow. Impossible to shake off, a suffocating cloud of self-doubt hovered above my head, darkening my every thought, my every gesture. Impossible to conceive of meeting a man (or boy) while I felt so brittle, so unsure of myself. Impossible to really appreciate this new life of freedom from the constraints of the métro boulot dodo routine I’d been locked into for so long.

Writing “petite anglaise” has often been a lonely, fraught process – and this despite all the reassuring noises from my agent and editor whenever I sent them a few chapters to read. Because the hardest task of all was proving to myself that I could actually pull this off and produce a manuscript of which I could be unreservedly proud; a manuscript which would do petite anglaise justice. And so I worked, fretted, agonised and procrastinated. Writing – which seemed so natural when it was for the blog – had now become work. Why was it suddenly so much less enjoyable, I wondered? Why was my favourite pastime suddenly a cause for teeth grinding? When I wasn’t working, I fought to suppress the guilt that I should be. Even though, arguably, when I wasn’t actually writing I could have made use of my free time by going to the cinema, say, or taking in an exhibition, I found I simply couldn’t. Instead I sat hunched over my MacBook, a gnarly knot of tension between my shoulder blades, surfing the internet, but taking very little pleasure in doing so.

I alternately overate or fasted. My moods, which have always had a tendency to swing without due warning from one extreme to another, now spiralled even further out of control. I had panic attacks: heart racing, breath snagging in my throat. On more than one occasion, meeting Mr Frog for lunch, I noticed my hands trembling when I picked up my fork. Whenever I snapped at Tadpole, voice shrill, patience on a short fuse, I detested myself.

Seeking some sort of temporary respite from my anxieties, and from spending so much time trapped inside my own head, rewriting my past, I drank to excess whenever I went out. Regretted it bitterly the morning after, when temporary euphoria gave way to blinding headaches.

Then, one fine day in May, I gave birth to the second draft. And even before the feedback began to filter back to me, the cloud began to dissipate. Because while, undoubtedly, there is still work to be done, I’ve proved to myself – to my inner editor – that I am equal to the task. Thirty-four chapters, almost 100,000 words: a satisfyingly thick wad of paper, the sight of which gives me a thrill whenever my glance falls upon it.

The gestation period almost over, I began to relax. My posture changed, the tension left my limbs, my skin cleared. I began to enjoy my free time with a clear conscience; to live in the moment. I still party too hard, on occasion, but that brittle edge of desperation, of hysteria has gone. I found myself flirting again, re-discovering a side of my personality which has been in hibernation for the longest time. It’s like meeting an old friend.

And so I am hell-bent on enjoying this summer, revelling in my new-found peace, savouring the lovely, melty moments I have been sharing, of late, with the boy who lives a few doors down the street, but who I could so easily never have met.

Life is good.

June 19, 2007

four eyed monsters

Filed under: misc — petiteanglaiseparis @ 10:40 am

A good friend of mine emailed me a link yesterday to the indie film “Four Eyed Monsters” suspecting it would appeal to me. He was not wrong. I just watched all 71 minutes of it before my first cup of coffee of the day. It’s honest, quirky, touching and occasionally hilarious. And as someone who has lived out an entire relationship over the interwebnet, ça me parle

So, in short, I have no qualms about using whatever internet influence I possess to promote it.

The filmmakers are distributing it for free on youtube for a limited time only, and are asking for your help to pay off the credit card debt they incurred to make it by joining (who will make a $1 donation for every signup), buying a DVD or a legal download of the film ($8).

June 18, 2007


Filed under: Tadpole rearing, Tadpole says — petiteanglaiseparis @ 10:22 am

“Mummy?” says Tadpole, seconds after the front door closes behind “mummy’s friend”.

“Yes?” I say, hand poised to squirt ketchup onto a slice of baguette, in readiness for a much needed fish finger sandwich.

“Have you got a baby in your tummy yet?”

I flinch, and the ketchup misfires, liberally coating the worktop.

“No sweetie, I don’t have a baby in my tummy…” I say slowly, once I’ve recovered my composure, setting down the ketchup and crossing my fingers. “Why are you asking me that today?”

“Because mummy, when I said that I wanted a sister or a brother, like Anna at school, you said ‘maybe when you’re six years old’. And I’m already four years old. And after twenteen more sleeps I will be five, and then six…”

I sigh, and resolve never again to bow to Tadpole’s pressure to put a time limit on everything. Future events are always measured in sleeps in our household. And she has an alarming habit of remembering throwaway comments made six months or more ago, deliberately glossing over the word “maybe” and then repeating them to me with a “but you said as though I’d made some sort of legally binding promise.

“You know,” I say suddenly, with a sly smile, “daddy could make you a brother or sister. Maybe you should talk to daddy about this, too.”

A problem shared, I think to myself, picturing Mr Frog’s face, is a problem halved.

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