petite anglaise

March 10, 2008


Filed under: book stuff, on the road — petiteanglaiseparis @ 11:50 am

The first time I saw the schedule for my trip to the UK, one section in particular caught my attention. From 9.15 am to 1.00 pm on Wednesday I would be doing GNS interviews, back to back, whatever they might be.

At the time of writing this post, I realise I’m still none the wiser about what GNS actually stands for. Gruelling National Speak-a-thon, perhaps?

Imagine, if you will, a tiny studio at BBC Broadcasting House. I sit at a desk covered in some sort of material, which is less than ideal for setting down cardboard cups of coffee as the surface is treacherously uneven. In front of me sit a large microphone and a pair of headphones. Over the course of a few hours I am to speak to fifteen local radio stations who have booked ten minute slots of my time. Some will be live, others will be pre-recorded. By 1.00 pm I’m told I’ll have been beamed into the homes of three million listeners.

I’m not feeling particularly intimidated by the prospect. Probably because I’ve already had the pleasure of talking about suppositories on live national radio earlier that week and, that very morning, I briefly parked my buttocks on the couch of BBC Breakfast. Radio is like blogging: I talk, but I can’t see my listeners and they can’t see me. There is none of the fear of falling quite literally flat on my face as I creep into a TV studio, step over all the trailing wires, and take my seat next to the presenter while she talks live, on air. There’s nothing quite as paranoia-inducing as having to stick your hand up your skirt to feed a tiny microphone up inside when you are approximately 10 cm outside the range of a live camera.

By 10.30 am I’m crossing my legs and trying not to think about wanting to go to the toilet. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve uttered the words “sock suspenders” and appear to have a number of other pet phrases I trot out at regular intervals, which you will have heard if you were tuned into BBC radio Newcastle or Jersey or Cornwall. Mostly the presenters are kind, asking straightforward questions and seeming interested and friendly, despite the fact they are unlikely to have given Penguin’s press release more than a cursory glance. A couple of them actually quote sentences from the book, which I find impressive. And those that introduce me as petite anglais or petit anglaise – effectively transforming me into a shemale – are in the minority.

Then comes the unpleasant exception: a pre-recorded interview where I’m questioned by two clearly unsympathetic presenters, a man and a woman. The line of questioning is tough from the outset. ‘Wasn’t it completely insensitive of me to write about real people?’, they enquire. ‘What about Mr Frog’s feelings in all of this? And how do I think my daughter will feel when she reads it one day?’ Their tone and tack seem to indicate that they find the whole concept of blogging and memoir writing thoroughly distasteful.

I explain, patiently, that the book is dedicated to my daughter and her father, and that Mr Frog not only had to sign forms to say he was happy with the portrayal of his personal life but he actually enjoyed the finished product. Some parts more than others, obviously, and I had to make a few minor changes at his request. But overall I think he comes off well in the book. He’s a far more likeable character than the narrator, in my opinion, and is, arguably, the hero of the tale. As for Tadpole, I’m sure there will be moments in her teenage years when she will hate me for recounting her exploits or recording her sing. But will she squirm any more than I did when my parents got the baby photos out in front of guests? I’m willing to bet there will come a time when she’ll be pleased so much of her childhood has been preserved for posterity. In the same way that I now love the silent super8 films recorded by my granddad when I was little and wish that he’d made more.

By the end of the interview I feel as though my interrogators have thawed somewhat, and our chat ends on a pleasant note. The researcher comes back on the line and thanks me for my time, and for a few moments I can still hear the presenters wrapping up the interview with the usual ‘petite anglaise, published by Michael Joseph, is available in all good bookshops’.

But, when the recording is over, just before the line goes dead, I hear the woman say something to the man and my heart stops beating. It’s a word which was clearly not intended for my, now burning, ears. A word said so dismissively, so spitefully that it brings tears to my eyes. I whip the headphones off and stare at my Press officer (who has been sitting on a sofa in the corner throughout, also wearing headphones) in disbelief.

‘That presenter just called me a SLAPPER!’ I say, incredulously, unsure whether I’m about to laugh or cry. She looks horrified, but we don’t have time to talk as BBC Radio Ulster have just dialled in. Carrying on as though nothing were amiss requires every ounce of professionalism I possess, but somehow I manage to hold it together.

Next time we have a two-minute gap and our BBC contact man pops his head cheerily around the door, I recount what I heard earlier. He scurries off to investigate, then returns, armed with an apology and an explanation so far-fetched that I’m almost tempted to believe it.

They have their own brand of banter, the two presenters in question, you see. He always monopolises female guests, and talks to them in a different, slightly flirtier voice. And when he does so, once they are off the air, she’s in the habit of calling him a slapper. So it wasn’t directed at me; it wasn’t even about me. Allegedly.

Now, I have a friend I often refer to as ‘slag’ to her face, with such an affectionate tone that it’s almost become a term of endearment.

But I can’t shake off the feeling that there was venom in the voice I overheard. I don’t think I believe that it was harmless banter. And although I shouldn’t care about the opinion of one ill-informed stranger, I find that I do.

The upshot of this is that, for me, the ‘S’ in GNS will forever be associated with the word ‘slapper’. Which just leaves the small matter of the ‘G’ and ‘N’.


  1. You are the lovliest slapper I know.

    Comment by Lisylu — March 10, 2008 @ 12:38 pm

  2. General News Service.

    I bought it, Amazon recommended that I also buy a book about dealing with a boyfriend who is a tw*t – a situation that I don’t think will ever come up in my life.

    Comment by Daniel — March 10, 2008 @ 12:39 pm

  3. Can’t help with the GNS quandary, but that presenter sounds like a really spiteful b**ch.

    On the other hand, you come across as a really lovely, warm person on all the interviews/ recordings.

    She is so obviously off-target with her dismissive insult that you shouldn’t give her a second thought…

    Sad the way some women enjoy knocking other women, she’s probably just mad jealous of you for several reasons…

    Comment by happyforyou — March 10, 2008 @ 12:41 pm

  4. After a quick googling, the most plausible definition of GNS is the Gloucestershire Naturalists’ Society…Could that be it? They are: “a group of keen and inquisitive people, interested in their surroundings, and anxious to record them.” Sounds like your kind of people ;-)

    What a gruelling schedule, indeed. Hang in there – hopefully it is all worth it!

    As for the “Slapper” (thanks again, google), I would not waste any time agonizing over it – sounds like jealousy, plain and simple…

    Comment by Isabella — March 10, 2008 @ 12:50 pm

  5. Don’t waste any time thinking about the “slapper” comment.Keep up the good work, and enjoy your comment’s from your many fans.
    What have you got lined up for the next few weeks?
    By the way when do you find time to sleep?

    West Sussex John

    Comment by JOHN — March 10, 2008 @ 1:14 pm

  6. When people like that insult you, take it as a compliment and consider the source. There is nothing more pathetic than some self-righteous witch who needs a microphone to make herself feel important.

    Comment by The Bold Soul — March 10, 2008 @ 1:33 pm

  7. yup, jealousy… she’s on a silly mean-spirited radio program with a chauvinistic co-host and you’ve got two lovely babies (tadpole and your book) and a kind ex- and a happy fiance. Jealousy thru and thru.

    Comment by Rachel — March 10, 2008 @ 1:44 pm

  8. What a horrible woman!!! I bet she’s toe-curling with embarassment – that’ll teach her for showing off with the microphone still on: it’s clear she’s just jealous. I’m sure she’d rather be in Paris, with a lover and a fabulous, published life, that stuck in a room with the other old git! I hope she gets a dressing down. Boooo!

    And am loving the book! Makes the Tube just disappear every morning on the way to work!

    Comment by prue — March 10, 2008 @ 1:49 pm

  9. Awful, but maybe that was the truth, they call each other slappers?!? You haven’t done anything that bad, honestly. A small indiscretion. There was a really great Hanif Kureishi interview the other week, think it was in the Telegraph magazine, in which he talks about writing about people – and their responses. It made me feel easier. Hunt it out?

    It must all feel very weird…. but great.

    Smov xx

    Comment by Single Mother on the Verge — March 10, 2008 @ 1:57 pm

  10. La critique est aisée mais l’art est difficile. Jerks abound. For many, that’s how they make a living.

    Comment by corine — March 10, 2008 @ 2:08 pm

  11. How sad that her inferiority complex got in the way of her supposed professionalism. Don’t let idiots like that get you down, and congratulations with the success of your book!

    Comment by Juniper — March 10, 2008 @ 2:37 pm

  12. Just a supposition – if your radio interviews are going out as part of news programmes, then GNS could be the BBC’s “General News Service”. And as for the whole slapper saga, better to be called a slapper (whatever was meant by it and whoever it was aimed at) than not be called anything at all and pale into insignificance. It’s always good to provoke a reaction, isn’t it? Who wants to go through life with no effect! :-)

    Comment by Groovypoppy — March 10, 2008 @ 2:40 pm

  13. Gobshite Names Slapper ;)

    Comment by oxo — March 10, 2008 @ 2:41 pm

  14. Don’t let one stupid remark ruin your day – you’ve had so many wonderful reviews and people who have loved your book! You are not going to please everybody and there are people out there who take great pleasure in being nasty and others people down.

    Comment by Karen — March 10, 2008 @ 3:25 pm

  15. Interesting, if a little Freudian response. I seriously wouldn’t worry about it, you’re not a slapper as far as I can see, are you?

    See what I mean?

    Comment by Nick — March 10, 2008 @ 3:38 pm

  16. Ah the stupidity of insulting someone with the 36th most influential blog in the world!

    Good (for) Nothing Slapper perhaps?

    Comment by susie — March 10, 2008 @ 3:40 pm

  17. How completely horrid that you had to endure that! My inner me would have jumped up and said, “What the f**k did you just call me?” but my outer me would have done the same as you have done.

    I still can’t believe you said “ring sting” on Women’s Hour.

    Rock on!

    Comment by Peggy — March 10, 2008 @ 3:46 pm

  18. Ummmm… what’s a slapper?

    Comment by magillicuddy — March 10, 2008 @ 4:05 pm

  19. Well, having worked in PR for sometime and attended several of these radio days, all i can say is that some radio presenters are a little big for their boots!!the presenters were probably just jealous of your fabulous career, as opposed to theirs…small fish etc….

    Comment by Gemma — March 10, 2008 @ 4:09 pm

  20. um

    Comment by petite — March 10, 2008 @ 4:10 pm

  21. Yes, please ignore bad people – they are everywhere. Radio hosts too, especially here in the US – quite a bunch of people I could do without.

    Comment by joeinvegas — March 10, 2008 @ 4:13 pm

  22. Perhaps you giving them a left hook to the mouth would have given them a new meaning for “slapper?”

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — March 10, 2008 @ 4:17 pm

  23. It’s almost a term of admiration in some circles I know anyway, so don’t worry about a nasty bit of spite.

    Your score over the last four years is hardly exceptional, though, is it? Just normal for a healthy woman. So do keep on truckin, p’tite.

    Comment by Moses — March 10, 2008 @ 4:20 pm

  24. Petite thanks for the link…I had no idea either what the word meant!

    BTW I ordered my second copy of your book on Amazon to offer it to a dear friend you will be here in Paris in April. Hopefully I will get both copies signed on March 20th! Looking so forward to this evening!

    And really you should not let this ugly person upset you!


    Comment by Olga — March 10, 2008 @ 4:22 pm

  25. So you’re Generally Not a Slapper, but there’s always one.

    I’m amazed at the bile some people throw at you – it makes me wonder whether they’ve read anything you have written. After all, you’ve explained yourself perfectly – well enough to staisfy the men in question – it seems that some people are too stupid to realise that.

    Isn’t radio fun! Just thank your lucky stars you weren’t doing talk back.

    Comment by Damian — March 10, 2008 @ 4:25 pm

  26. As someone who frequently finds himself on the other side of the microphone on press days, squashed between the other regional newspapers and the music websites (but never the nationals, who have an entirely different PR set-up), I found that very interesting to read.

    (I’ve also been in one of those little cells, at the BBC studios in Westminster, talking on local radio, and so had a certain twinge of recognition.)

    I always try to keep it in mind that my interviewees might be having the same conversation many times over, and so I’ll usually start with a couple of easy lobs (“tell me about the new album/tour”) that will allow them to trot out the usual spiel, before moving on to hopefully more stimulating territory.

    I also try and let it be known in some way, hopefully fairly early on, that I’ve done my research, know my stuff, and am genuinely interested – and it can be satisfying to catch the subtle but noticeable upping of interest/engagement that often follows. The last thing I want to do is come across as yet another ignorant, semi-detached hack, trotting out standard questions by rote – and it’s that genuine sense of fear which motivates me.

    Anyhow – and apols if you’ve mentioned this before and I’ve already forgotten about it – I was also wondering about the “what does Mr Frog think” issue, so it was good to read your answer. (It’s not that I thought you’d published against his wishes, heavens no, but I just wondered about the specifics.)

    Loving the book, by the way (I’m up to page 227). Really, truly loving it.

    Comment by mike — March 10, 2008 @ 4:52 pm

  27. thank you, thank you for posting this entry, it helps us remember why you got a book deal in the first place! Much appreciated. I admit to getting a bit tired of the “event announcement” content of your blog lately.

    Comment by Small Town Diva — March 10, 2008 @ 5:18 pm

  28. Oh, one more thing. Tough, seemingly hostile questions don’t necessarily mean that the interviewer is against you. After all, they are there to ask the sort of questions that their audience/readership might ask, possibly based on pre-conceptions and lack of knowledge. Such questions therefore hand you a golden opportunity to calmly neutralise these mis-conceptions.

    My partner gets interviewed quite often about his business. The first time that he faced hostile questioning (from a local radio station, as it happens), it threw him badly, and led to him a) mucking up the live interview and b) fuming about it afterwards. Now he goes in prepared for the worst (which rarely if ever happens), never taking such questions personally, and instead giving calm, measured replies.

    I actually think that people can sometimes come over best of all in these situations (provided that the questions haven’t hit upon some awful truth, in which case the defensiveness and/or stroppiness which follows speaks volumes).

    (Having said that, I asked a certain musician a very gently provocative question this lunchtime, and he didn’t take it too well at all!)

    Comment by mike — March 10, 2008 @ 6:11 pm

  29. I can’t see how anything in your story/blog/book would warrant the term slapper being applied to you?
    Even by catty/jealous types, it’s a bit of a stretch…

    The BBC guy’s explanation sounds quite plausible…you’re being a little sensitive (understandably) methinks.

    Chill out!

    Comment by Jacqueline — March 10, 2008 @ 6:21 pm

  30. I’ll be on Radio Four this evening around 10.30pm to talk about Civil Serf and blogs and firings.

    Comment by petite — March 10, 2008 @ 6:34 pm

  31. I can see how this would hurt way more than a bad review. It just feels personal and unprofessional.

    But I think a good rule of thumb to remember is that if people are bothering to criticize you, it’s a good thing at the end of the day. Better to be talked about, either positively or negatively, than to be ignored.

    Comment by The Window Seat — March 10, 2008 @ 6:38 pm

  32. Is slapper the same as slut, or is there a nuance? Not that you are either – I’m just asking just our of linguistic curiosity.

    Comment by lisette — March 10, 2008 @ 6:40 pm

  33. How horrid! I second the people who said you have come across as wonderful on your radio and tv interviews (it was half the reason I bought the book actually, I was going to wait till the price came down but all the press was so good I had to get it!)

    Loved book by the way but would have loved to have the rest of the story with it (getting fired, your swelling fame etc). But perhaps it’s for another book? I certainly hope so.

    Comment by letigre — March 10, 2008 @ 6:45 pm

  34. When I first started working at a Bristol restaurant, the kitchen lads referred to one of my waitresses as ‘scuttler’ – thinking it a term of endearment I used it in front of a customer, little realising that it is, of course, Bristolian for slapper.

    Comment by j — March 10, 2008 @ 8:43 pm

  35. Wish I’d have known you were on.

    Comment by Jean-Luc Picard — March 10, 2008 @ 8:48 pm

  36. I saw your interview on Breakfast and read the article in You magazine. It’s amazing how your life has gone from blogging to a book deal. Good on you. I wish you success and a happy life :)

    Comment by Craftydramaqueen — March 10, 2008 @ 8:53 pm

  37. Beyatch. Her, not you.

    Comment by clarissa — March 10, 2008 @ 10:00 pm

  38. What a very hurtful thing to overhear…and how very unprofessional of her, you know what I would call her!!! I heard your interview on Womans Hour and loved it.

    Bought your book today, can’t wait to read it.

    Comment by Anne — March 10, 2008 @ 11:03 pm

  39. Instinct never lies, Petite.

    If her words made you feel as though you were punched in the stomach,that IS how they were intended.

    She timed her “accidental” remark well: a punch is most effective when it is unexpected. Remember that she is a media professional(despite what her behavior may evince.)It is possible that she wishes to goad you into suing her in order to gain publicity and/or money; there is no shortage of sharks waiting to feed on the anxieties and insecurities of a newly succesful,charismatic young author!!

    Your past has proven that you are a formidable adversary. You are too intelligent to allow anyone the power to hurt/humiliate you.

    May you long enjoy your success, both in professional
    matters as well as in your personal life!!

    Comment by Belle — March 10, 2008 @ 11:04 pm

  40. Here (Canada) when used between friends (at least those who know the term at all), “slapper” is somewhat affectionate. A tease. Take it as that and ignore the horrid woman, petite.

    You’re writing is brilliant and subtle as always…even when talking about a radio interview gone wrong. I would be far more scathing and vindictive in my response.

    I can’t wait to get the book. Any word on whether or not the Canadian edition will retain more of the English (vs. American) language?

    Comment by Chi — March 10, 2008 @ 11:39 pm

  41. I meant ‘your’ not ‘you’re’, of course. eek.

    Comment by Chi — March 10, 2008 @ 11:41 pm

  42. This Canadian had to look up the meaning of the word. Had no idea. I think it was insecurity and jealousy on their part…you certainly didn’t deserve that.

    BTW-loved the Guardian article on Belleville!

    Comment by Liz — March 11, 2008 @ 12:46 am

  43. In order to hear this item, you could try this link:
    I have just noticed that the link has today’s date, so it may last longer than 24 hours. If you cannot get it this way, I went to
    Petite was on at 22:40, and there is a link. But I expect that page that page will get replaced after tomorrow night’s programme.

    Comment by Pierre L — March 11, 2008 @ 1:02 am

  44. Envy and jealousy will always accompany success, especially from ambitious media types. Take it as a compliment. How extraordinarily unprofessional of her, though. You’d think she’d know about open mikes and such.

    Comment by dan — March 11, 2008 @ 2:01 am

  45. hey – have just devoured your book in two sittings – loved it, loved it. Hadn’t read your blog before but heard you on Victoria Derbyshire last week and wanted to find out more. Am a bookseller at Borders in Preston and will be recommending your book to anyone who will listen. Keep blogging and good luck – sure your book will be a huge success. j

    Comment by jane in preston — March 11, 2008 @ 2:33 am

  46. “What Do You Care What Other People Think?”

    Richard P Feynman

    Comment by Eric — March 11, 2008 @ 6:13 am

  47. Sigh. I wish my life was as exciting as yours. I’m sure I get called a slapper too (though I am actually the opposite), just not on the BBC. Meh, she’s just jealous :)

    Comment by Wanderlusting — March 11, 2008 @ 7:08 am

  48. (The) Girl’s Not (a) Slapper

    Loved the book and still love the blog. Take no notice of petty, small town radio hosts.

    Comment by Kristin in Oz — March 11, 2008 @ 8:26 am

  49. Slapper – you??

    I only counted seven bottom gropes at your most recent party.

    She has you all wrong.


    Comment by Le Meg — March 11, 2008 @ 9:03 am

  50. I heard you last night. You sounded good.

    Now I’m off to read Civil Serf before she’s hung drawn and quartered.

    Comment by Damian — March 11, 2008 @ 11:26 am

  51. Oops. It looks like Civil Serf has already disappeared.

    Comment by Damian — March 11, 2008 @ 11:26 am

  52. I had to look up the word too.

    I suppose being a public person means you need to get used not only to people telling you they don’t like what you do, but also a few others telling they don’t like who you are. Of course, many more will tell you they love what you do and who you are. Still, that’s tough to bear.

    Comment by ontario frog — March 11, 2008 @ 11:52 am

  53. but here’s the thing, for anyone that might have been on the wrong end of a relationship betrayal, your story could really sting, and all the more so for the happy-ever-after and success it’s brought you. it’s not necessarily a right or grown-up reaction but there it is. pain sometimes makes people behave badly. i suspect your harsher critics have rather more of that going on than jealousy, or some far-fetched notion to sue you. that doesn’t make you a slapper, but perhaps a scapegoat for all sorts of things. you showed yourself to be a consummate professional in your handling of the situation, far more so that your interrogator, and there must be a degree of satisfaction in knowing that about yourself.

    Comment by daisy duke — March 11, 2008 @ 12:01 pm

  54. Just wondered how your event in York went? As I’m a fellow Yorkie, I really wanted to come along but I had a prior engagement. I’ve spent the time since hearing you on WH reading back through your archives, and I’m very much looking forward to picking up the book – may have a wander down to Little Apple this afternoon, in fact!


    (And thanks, Pierre, for the link to the World Tonight interview)

    Comment by Mel — March 11, 2008 @ 12:40 pm

  55. But Petite love, it is the slappereqsue in you that people love and want to read about. Let’s be honest, who would have read your blog avidly and who would have published your book if you hadn’t had a couple of excellent shags? No-one wants to hear – fed up with boyfriend, toddler driving me insane with boredom, job dull, same old, same old.
    You did what most of us can only dream about or live vicariously through your blog and that is to find a new life and make it happen instead of just talking about it. So what if taking a lover or two, being a single parent, sipping drinks in bars in Paris in the early hours sounds occasionally slappery? It also sounds magnificently dangerous, exciting and liberating. My life and no doubt that of most of your readers pales into insigficence by comparison. I’d far rather be known as a slapper than a boring old fart -which unfortunatley, is exactly what I am!

    Comment by Alice Band — March 11, 2008 @ 2:45 pm

  56. Why don’t you name the female presenter?

    Comment by Patrick — March 11, 2008 @ 2:51 pm

  57. Hi Petite!

    I’m enjoying reading your book as I used to live in Paris (1999 – 2000)and frequent le Charbon and many of the other places you mention. Not only that, I was sure the three piece band from Manchester you mentioned in the book had to be I am Kloot – and lo, scrolling back through your archives to May 2005 I find I am right! I know them from Manchester and in fact I have supported them in a gig at The Ritz in Manchester (I used to do an Edith Piaf tribute act called Comme des Stars). So like the rest of the planet I feel I have a connection with you! Anyway, now I teach French and Spanish in primary schools in your native Yorkshire.

    I’m only on page 110 of the book so I don’t know the end of the story yet, though as it’s your life, I suppose it’s still a work in progress! Good luck with the writing and don’t worry about that presenter, you know I bet the fanciful explanation was actually true. That’s exactly the kind of blunder I can imagine making and then nobody believing that I was only having a laugh with a colleague.

    A plus!


    Comment by Jo — March 11, 2008 @ 2:59 pm

  58. It may have been venomous but directed at the other interviewer rather than you. My limited experience with on air personalities is that they are pretty wrapped up in their own little world and probably didn’t really give you enough thought to call you any names. It seems unlikely that would be what she would call you even if she disliked you tremendously. I think I believe the producer.

    Comment by Jules — March 11, 2008 @ 3:44 pm

  59. I read your interview with ‘you’ magazine, and felt really sorry for you and how you have been treated. but to get back up and become who you are, i have nothing but admiration. plus youre quite blunt and funny! always a plus in my eyes.
    thank you

    Comment by Helen — March 11, 2008 @ 3:46 pm

  60. Did you really say that Mr. Frog is a more likable character than the narrator? Now THAT is a brutally honest response.

    And if you did it [blogging] for no other reason, posterity of Tadpole’s youth is probably the best gifts you could give her.

    Great answers. Were those pre-planned? I hope that they don’t become part of your speech track.

    Comment by kara — March 11, 2008 @ 4:06 pm

  61. Such a lovely combination of bathroom humour and indignation. You’re one classy lass Cinderella. Tried on any shoes lately?

    Comment by SW France — March 11, 2008 @ 4:18 pm

  62. I believe the BBC guy’s explanation. If there’s one thing working “in showbiz” taught me, it’s that it’s never about the guests – they’re just an occupational hazard and half the time, you’re not even listening to them. You certainly wouldn’t dream of passing judgement on them because IT’S ALL ABOUT HOW GOOD YOU WERE. Or was that just me?? :-)

    Comment by rhino75 — March 11, 2008 @ 4:18 pm

  63. @60 – this blog has always been a ‘warts and all’ account of my life. I think many people relate to what I’ve written because of this honesty, and although it places me squarely in the firing line (I’m thinking Amazon reviews here, many of which seem to be criticisms of my personality rather than of the book I’ve written), I don’t regret writing it this way.

    Comment by petite — March 11, 2008 @ 5:58 pm

  64. Am just finishing your book and have really enjoyed it. You describe a life similar to one I could, and perhaps should, have lived had I not decided to leave Paris and follow a different path. Still love Paris, ‘though, and next time I am there will look up some of the places you write about. Have to say I was suspicious of James from the start. I’m was pleasantly surprised to find you still blogging – keep up the good work! Bon courage!

    Comment by Irene — March 11, 2008 @ 6:24 pm

  65. I just read the marie claire article, and am wondering why do you wear that baggy, big cloths?It is a new fashion in paris? at first I thought maybe you expecting.

    Comment by pchenge — March 11, 2008 @ 6:52 pm

  66. Um? It’s a sweater dress from Whistles, one of my favourites. Short and shapeless was all the rage this winter. But no, I’m not pregnant…

    Comment by petite — March 11, 2008 @ 7:06 pm

  67. TV presenters are always bitchy. Leave them to get on with it and enjoy the fact that they must have had to squirm while making up a long excuse….

    Comment by JouesRoses — March 11, 2008 @ 7:26 pm

  68. I was wearing a dress in that style the other day and someone asked me the same thing.

    How about a sh*t sandwich for lunch? Thanks for that.


    Comment by Jacqueline — March 11, 2008 @ 7:59 pm

  69. Saw your book at Heathrow the other day! Have been reading your blog after seeing the article in You magazine. Really enjoying it – you have a lovely life and being in Paris makes it seem all the more glamorous.

    Comment by Babycakes — March 11, 2008 @ 9:31 pm

  70. It’s sad what jealousy will do to another woman. She’s the loser here not you. Good luck with the book.

    Comment by ExpatKat — March 12, 2008 @ 1:20 am

  71. I have got your book in Australia at last. It came from, so it must be loading up the Amazon distribution network. Well done.
    I am looking forward to the next book. OK, not right away, but keep it in mind. :-)

    Comment by PeterG — March 12, 2008 @ 10:20 am

  72. Catherine, any chance of a freebee? I’m in rehab and am totally broke!

    Comment by Trevor — March 12, 2008 @ 12:25 pm

  73. Horrid woman!

    Comment by Beth — March 12, 2008 @ 1:45 pm

  74. Well, I discovered your blog while watching the BBC’s morning programme. You’re certainly not a slapper I thought you looked distinguished, came across as intelligent and a genuinely nice person.
    I’m also a keen blogger, but have been off the computer for a while because I was unable to type properly due to an operation. I’m a non native speaker of English, who prefers to blog in English in order to keep up my knowledge of your beautiful language. I haven’t been blogging actively for a few months and already I feel my English’s standard slipping away…

    Comment by Denise — March 12, 2008 @ 5:17 pm

  75. Don’t make fun! That woman is maybe an authority on the subject!

    Comment by Dan Dx — March 12, 2008 @ 6:17 pm

  76. Just wondering if she reads your blog, if so, she’ll be mighty embarrassed at this outing! By the way, has The Boy been reading the book while you’re on tour?

    Comment by Lisa — March 12, 2008 @ 10:09 pm

  77. Come on Petite, grow a thicker skin!
    To some you are a slapper, to others you are someone who was brave enough to get out of a situation that wasnt working…

    Comment by Gill — March 13, 2008 @ 9:52 am

  78. Two things: one is I couldn’t find your book either at Manchester Airport or Roissy this weekend. Second thing is I have many times been called a slapper and quite honestly take it as a compliment as most of the time it is done by someone who is a) jealous or b) stupid or c) both. Leanr to love the insults and life goes by so much more pleasantly.

    Comment by Cheria — March 13, 2008 @ 7:38 pm

  79. Argh. I hate hearing that. I’m often lurking next to Jordan in biography. Or in Travel. Which is annoying.

    Also, some travel shops in airports won’t stock hardbacks…

    Comment by petite — March 13, 2008 @ 7:52 pm

  80. I think, P, you owe it to all of us to name names re the slapperage. :-)

    Comment by Brennig — March 13, 2008 @ 7:54 pm

  81. If the ‘slapper’ comment was innocent then the person concerned should have had no problem in coming to you to explain it herself. The fact that she couldn’t be arsed shows that she meant it and was too arrogant to care. I agree with Brennig – name names! :o)

    Comment by David H — March 14, 2008 @ 2:37 am

  82. Unbelieveable. You should definitely name names – truth is a complete defence to defamation. Anyway, maybe you should remind her that it takes one to know one!! Really enjoyed the book btw. xx e

    Comment by Emma — March 14, 2008 @ 9:42 am

  83. Petite… she looks like someone who would make such a pitifully petty remark. I hope she reads the blog now, which she admitted she didn’t at the time of the interview. Although being a petty person, I doubt that she will.

    On your next book tour, perhaps you will be able to have some fun with this particular interview!

    Comment by Danna — March 22, 2008 @ 10:54 pm

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