petite anglaise

July 23, 2008


Filed under: misc — petiteanglaiseparis @ 10:06 am

I fully intended for this post to be a witty open letter to the person who stole my identity and used my bank card for an extravagant online shopping spree (total cost: €3.285,17). Or perhaps a song, in the style of Brassens, who in Stances à un Cambrioleur so eloquently thanked the burglar who had the good taste to pay his house a visit.

It would have described my joy at receiving a letter from the Caisse d’Epargne, heavy with menace, which informed me, in typically verbose (but not particularly comprehensible) French, that having noticed repeated dysfonctionnements consécutifs à l’utilisation de ma carte bleue, I was invited to “regularise” the resulting overdraft. If not my card would be cancelled, my bank account immobilised, the Banque de France notified, and helicopters would be dispatched to hover outside my apartment window so that men in uniforms could shout at me over their loud hailers and/or airbourne snipers could get me in their sights.

Imagine my discomfiture when I took a peek at my bank statements online and noticed that I was overdrawn to the tune of a little more than € 3.285,17. Had I been sleepshopping at Brandalley, MisterGoodDeal and CarrefourMobile in Courcourrones for the past couple of weeks, or could there be some other explanation?

Cue a call to the emergency number to halt all spending on the offending card, a visit to the commissariat de police (just behind the town hall where we got married) to make a lengthy statement to a friendly, businesslike lady wearing impressively sturdy boots and, last but not least, a trip to my bank to hand in a letter explaining my woes (they don’t do oral) and attaching a list of the opérations frauduleuses they had failed to spot.

The good news is that apparently I have some sort of insurance against such eventualities and, even if my overdraft does not appear to have miraculously disappeared as yet, I am assured that all will be set right dans les meilleurs délais.

In the meantime I trust the men in helicopters have been dispatched to the delivery address provided for whatever item (a flat screen TV?) was purchased on MisterGoodDeal for the tidy sum of € 1.827,48 by my impersonator, in order to intercept the guilty party.

As for my sense of humour, it remained intact until approximately 5 p.m. yesterday, when water began to pour down my kitchen walls in a repeat performance of last year’s dégât des eaux and I began searching for contact details for the absent, brand-new owner of the apartment using google.

It reached an all time low at 4.53 a.m. when I could be found atop a ladder in my négligé and rubber soled shoes, brandishing a screwdriver, intent on removing the water-filled bathroom ceiling light.

So there will be no witty, carefully-crafted post today as morale is at rock bottom.

Move along folks, nothing to see here.


  1. Poor Petite! It just drains every ounce of energy and/or goodwill from you when these things happen… I generally don’t give advice on household repairs but I think you should go and buy something lovely and preferably not particularly useful for the new place and pick up a good bottle of wine on your way home… Now it’s obvious why it takes ages for anything in my house to get fixed and why I have a house full of nice candles and wine!

    Comment by Rois — July 23, 2008 @ 10:23 am

  2. In short. Rubbish. Hope you at least get some sunshine or something to brighten the rest of your day! I would say indulge yourself but I guess the thought of the overdraft doesn’t help that. But maybe buy some chocolate…? Hope morale rises again soon.

    Comment by L.C.T. — July 23, 2008 @ 10:41 am

  3. OH cr*p. Seriously what an awful day. I hope those snipers don’t turn up. Identity theft is SUCH a pain in the ass.

    If it makes you feel any better, I posted a glowing review of your book on my blog yesterday :) I’m quite sure ALL FIVE of my readers appreciated it, and will now rush off to buy it. Eh hem.

    Hoping things get better soon!

    Comment by Ness — July 23, 2008 @ 10:48 am

  4. I completely agree with Rois, but think the occasion deserves two if not more bottles of wine! Can only tell horror story of when my own card was hijacked and went on a shopping spree on its own, in Paris of all places, and gave me a bill of aprox £20.000!!! Thankfully both the police and HSBC realised that (sadly) it was not me who had had a field day in Chanel. At least it was a thief with good taste?

    Comment by Jennifer — July 23, 2008 @ 10:51 am

  5. And, just to prove these things do come in threes.

    Bank n°2, 6 weeks after receiving our signed loan documents and 3 working days before we are due to exchange:

    “we can’t release the loan cheque until you send us the second (identical) copy of the loan documents sent to your husband’s home address.”

    *waving white flag*

    Comment by petite — July 23, 2008 @ 10:52 am

  6. a trip to my bank to hand in a letter explaining my woes (they don’t do oral)

    I’ve heard that you can get special offers in certain branches of banks in Pigalle, if you are in the know.

    Comment by fruey (Let's Have It) — July 23, 2008 @ 11:54 am

  7. Ugh. Well, at least the third shoe has dropped, and hopefully things start looking up. Soon — no — immediately.

    Comment by Caryn — July 23, 2008 @ 1:01 pm

  8. Just the opposite: this post is EXCELLENT!
    I particularly enjoy the description of the letter from the Caisse d’Epargne… English might not be more efficient, but I rekon that they have a nicer and more polite way of dealing with things.

    Comment by Vonric — July 23, 2008 @ 1:03 pm

  9. Sorry about the theft of your identity. These things can catch you out very awkwardly. Internet shopping can be less secure than we realise.

    Good to see that the ladder, negligé and rubber-soled shoes are keeping you up nights, though.

    *Tsssk.* These newly-weds ….

    Comment by Roads — July 23, 2008 @ 1:18 pm

  10. Quel cauchemar.

    Comment by dumdad — July 23, 2008 @ 1:33 pm

  11. How horrible for you on both counts. It’s so demeaning to tell people you’ve had your card stolen and the chappe at the desk just nods…

    Comment by Rachel Green — July 23, 2008 @ 1:41 pm

  12. Oh holy merde. Well, as I once read on a bumper sticker (because they are the source of true wisdom at times like this), “don’t let the bastards get you down”.

    It will get better.

    Comment by The Bold Soul — July 23, 2008 @ 1:45 pm

  13. Well it appears you are due for some good things, at least the third indicates it must be over then, right? I am so sorry, an absent-ish neighbor can cause problems. At least they did not leave a howling dog for three days as my neighbor did this past weekend.

    Comment by Jules — July 23, 2008 @ 1:55 pm

  14. Oh pobre petite. Que lastima – A veces la mierda nunca termina (now your blog is trilingual!). Basically, sometimes the shit never ends.

    But I am quite sure it will. The leak will fix, the identity theft is being dealt with. And you still have the new place and delightful husband (hey, I saw the pics, he’s adorable!) to enjoy.

    Esto también pasará (This, too, will pass).

    Comment by Astrogirl — July 23, 2008 @ 2:56 pm

  15. Quel horreur! They got me too. Bank rang (i had failed to notice) and said, ‘So you aren’t in Las Vegas/Canada then?’ Nope! They knew I wouldn’t be, never going anywhere as they rightly diagnosed!!
    Well bon chance, things will look up soon, I hope!

    Comment by scribble — July 23, 2008 @ 2:57 pm

  16. Is there a French expression for “when it rains, it pours?”

    I’ve had so many “threes” in my life that I had the expresion tattooed on my arm. It makes a great conversation starter.

    I hope they find the tasteless fool who decided to mess with Petite!

    We all hope things get better for you!

    Comment by r'n'r RN — July 23, 2008 @ 3:32 pm

  17. Is it not wonderful to have a husband to share the crap with – as well as the good times? Just image how much worse it would have been to cope with it on your own. I know you have dealt with a lot on your own, but I’m sure you will agree that the support of a husband makes things a lot easier. I lost mine 11 months ago so enjoy!

    If ever you have the chance to sit it out or dance I hope you dance.

    Comment by Jen — July 23, 2008 @ 3:37 pm

  18. Blah. That’s so sucky, I’m so sorry. I’m currently disputing fraudulent charges at my own bank, but they don’t come NEAR the amount you mentioned.

    I agree with Rois, a little retail therapy is perhaps in order? And wine, yes that’s a must. Pamper yourself with something for a day, and things will no doubt seem clearer and more manageable in the morning.

    Good luck with everything!

    Comment by Jenny — July 23, 2008 @ 3:55 pm

  19. God that all sounds massively shit. Hope this all works itself out soon.

    I wholly concur with the getting a nice bottle of wine on the way home. Fixes everything (bar, possibly, alcoholism).

    Comment by Léonie — July 23, 2008 @ 5:16 pm

  20. I once owned a Washington, D.C., townhouse that experienced a broken pipe from whence oceans of water flowed from a recessed ceiling light suddenly one evening. Oh, the language! Much merriment ensued. We got a plumber in to fix it dans les meilleurs délais. I do love speedy repair work. Getting the water stains to disappear was a more expensive trick.

    In the U.S. of A. (the best damn country in the world!) all credit card companies have an efficient way of dealing with fraud that usually does not involve any financial loss to the poor innocent cardholder. My worst experience? Someone opened a cell phone account using my stolen Social Security number. I knew nothing until the company called to politely request payment for the previous year’s service. I reported it as a fraudulent account, and the matter was dropped, but I had to put a fraud alert on my credit record to stop further “incursions.” Annoying but not financially ruinous. Still, it felt like a gross invasion of my sense of privacy.

    Comment by Michael — July 23, 2008 @ 5:18 pm

  21. Your idiot voleur gave a delivery address?!? That’s funny. Thieves can be so clever that they are dumb.

    My hubby lost his cell phone a few years ago. Somebody found it and promptly called everyone he knew. But then, the silly fool called our home from the cell’s directory leaving a message to call back some other number if we wanted to “buy” the phone back. The police paid the thief a surprise visit in our place, and arrested him. Ha! Can’t wait to hear when your dumb thief gets caught.

    As for the water in the light fixture and Bank no. 2, your white flag and the wine/chocolate cure are definitely in order.

    Here’s a toast to your morale’s return!

    Comment by PJ Carz — July 23, 2008 @ 5:46 pm

  22. whining again…

    Comment by Carruthers — July 23, 2008 @ 6:15 pm

  23. Here’s a link to a funny sketch by Mitchell & Webb that says it all about bank identity theft. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

    Comment by Mike In Marseille — July 23, 2008 @ 6:18 pm

  24. I had this happen to me a few years back, the the scum that did it charged everything to AOL Online shopping. I don’t even want to mention how long it took to get it through the thick heads at AOL that we did not have an account with them.

    Our bank however, was far more helpful, but they too did not spot things quick enough.

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — July 23, 2008 @ 6:57 pm

  25. Well, I thought I’d had a bad week till I read your post.
    Poor you. Hope everything comes up roses from now on.

    Comment by sablonneuse — July 23, 2008 @ 8:02 pm

  26. A small consolation I realise but you’ve made my day by painting the picture of being “atop a ladder in my négligé and rubber soled shoes, brandishing a screwdriver” – I’m evil I know.

    Comment by Daddy Papersurfer — July 23, 2008 @ 8:23 pm

  27. In case this makes you feel any better: you’re not alone !

    Today I got not just one, but two benign-but-painful medical ailments bothering me, PLUS my doctor is on sick leave herself AND I have no hot water in the house.

    Life sucks, the only thing you can do is have a laugh at it.

    Comment by walken — July 23, 2008 @ 9:15 pm

  28. Your descriptions suggest that French banks are even _worse_ than ours in the UK – something I had not thought possible, despite occasional hints! It is that sort of experience in a foreign language that would finish me.

    Comment by John Norris — July 23, 2008 @ 9:19 pm

  29. That reminds me of my 8th grade algebra teacher, whose identity was also stolen and whoever did bought ten porn magazines, a gucci suit, and a TV. haha

    Comment by jules — July 23, 2008 @ 11:00 pm

  30. YIKES!

    Comment by teeweewonders — July 23, 2008 @ 11:42 pm

  31. Been there, Petite. I wholeheartedly feel your pain. Hang in there. It will get better and the funds will be replaced and/or you will be told–again–that you won’t have to pay for that junk. Our thief also bought a flat screen with our credit card. No delivery address though. Too bad.


    Comment by Kathleen — July 23, 2008 @ 11:43 pm

  32. And here I was, annoyed to arrive home after a very long day at work to find the spare tire stolen off the outside of my car. I will stop cursing the thieves now.

    Comment by Pattoo — July 24, 2008 @ 12:21 am

  33. Wow, what a horrible experience. One can only hope that the offender DID provide a delivery address!

    Comment by librarianlisa — July 24, 2008 @ 12:26 am

  34. This happened to me as well, the credit card was due to be replaced and somehow went missing between the bank and my house, collecting $10,000 in charges from sports stores and grog shops.

    I don’t remember being that drunk while playing tennis!

    The bank then took a $5,000 tax cheque out twice, but only forwarded the money once (of course). We managed to prove that it wasn’t our mistake, but it still took over 3 months before they cleared the account.

    Most theives are basically stupid so hopefully this will be the case for you. Chin up.

    Comment by QldDeb — July 24, 2008 @ 4:14 am

  35. As the saying goes: tomorrow is another day!
    That’s my motto … and I live by it.
    Hope tomorrow is a better one for you petite x

    Comment by running thread — July 24, 2008 @ 4:30 am

  36. My husband cancelled our credit card once because we suspected someone had somehow used it to buy an oven. When he asked me if I’d made a purchase in some far away country town shop I said no, so he promptly reported it to the bank and cancelled the cards. Two days later his Mum rang (who lives in the country) to thank him for buying her a new oven and having it delivered!

    Comment by Angel from afar — July 24, 2008 @ 4:52 am

  37. I hope it all works out soon!

    Comment by Marjolein — July 24, 2008 @ 11:43 am

  38. Quel horreur, thank god for the insurance – I had the same thing happen, and although Barclays was happy to let someone pay 2,000 euors in rent in France when I lived in England, they are ever-vigilant about ringing me when they notice “abnormal spending” in Topshop.

    Comment by Marianne — July 24, 2008 @ 11:49 am

  39. What a dreadful day! Hope your card and bathroom are okay soonish.

    Comment by Yu Ming Lui — July 24, 2008 @ 12:09 pm

  40. sorry about all your woes. Keep your sense of humour, you obviously are, and don’t despair !
    Shouldn’t it have been your hubby up the ladder ??

    will try to get along to the reading on Monday.

    Bon courage

    Comment by Kate — July 24, 2008 @ 12:09 pm

  41. I now phone my bank to inform them if I’m doing something unusual after a few nasty surprises. They’re good at blocking suspect transactions. Unlike CL who had the gall to inform that I was obviously on holiday in California, despite my physical presence at the guichet!

    Comment by j — July 24, 2008 @ 1:25 pm

  42. waouh, je vois que tes vacances ont pris un petit tour désagréable.
    Hier, nous aussi avons reçu une douche froide alors qu’il faisait enfin beau.
    Bon courage.

    Comment by marie-hélène — July 24, 2008 @ 1:55 pm

  43. #22: “whining again…”

    Oh come on, Caruthers, get a grip. She isn’t whining. She’s recounting, with humor, a series of things that went wrong. Whining involves a tone of “poor pitiful me, feel sorry for me”. I don’t see that anywhere in the post.

    Petite, what a bummer. I’ve had the water problem four times over the years, complete with industrial strength dehumidifiers and fans going day and night, and holes cut in drywall and ceiling, so I have every sympathy.

    Comment by Passante — July 24, 2008 @ 3:37 pm

  44. I reckon it was Trevor…

    Comment by David in London — July 24, 2008 @ 4:57 pm

  45. Actually, I never reported the theft of my wife’s credit card (in those days when I was married to her). The thief was spending less on it than she was.

    Comment by Jim — July 24, 2008 @ 8:03 pm

  46. Banks and their overdraft fees are like women and their chocolate. Attempt to separate at your peril.

    Comment by Memarie Lane — July 24, 2008 @ 9:47 pm

  47. :-(

    Comment by Karma — July 24, 2008 @ 9:53 pm

  48. What a rough day you had! Hoping things get better soon!!!

    Comment by desireenb — July 24, 2008 @ 10:43 pm

  49. I have only recently discovered your blog and am already absolutely obsessed! Your description of the break up with Lover is resonating and it is comforting to read some of my own thoughts written by someone else.

    I will continue to read avidly.

    Comment by Carrie — July 25, 2008 @ 11:49 am

  50. Oh Petite, quel misere! What hideous people at least you can be rest assured their karma is well and truly ruined! Jennifer, love your comment:

    “Thankfully both the police and HSBC realised that (sadly) it was not me who had had a field day in Chanel. At least it was a thief with good taste?”

    There is something vaguely reassuring about a thief with good taste!

    Comment by In Style Gal — July 25, 2008 @ 3:09 pm

  51. Mike in Marseille:-

    a hilarious take by Mitchell & Webb on identity theft and banks (who could funnily enough often be described as robbers, methinks)


    Comment by Anonymous Academic — July 25, 2008 @ 3:22 pm

  52. and yet you remain witty despite yourself. bravo. ;)

    Comment by jennyb — July 25, 2008 @ 4:23 pm

  53. Friends who live near us in France reported recently that someone had been gambling on the internet in their name and CA phoned to check if it was them and yes, they are now improving their French by going through everything with gendarmes etc. They think their credit card details (including the code on the back) were taken by someone working in a petrol station where you have to hand over your card while you are in the car and tap in your code to a machine handed to you. We have now started to pay in cash or by cheque or use a machine connected directly to the pump. We think they were targetted due to their English surname with people thinking that perhaps they don’t check their French bank account statements regularly. I now check my “movements historiques” every time I get money out of a guichet. Sorry to hear your problems and hope they are resolved soon.

    Comment by Janice — July 25, 2008 @ 5:01 pm

  54. Jim #45 recognise that line from one of Peter Mayle’s novels – Hotel Pastis ?

    Comment by Kate — July 25, 2008 @ 8:38 pm

  55. hi petite,
    long time reader, first time leaving a comment.
    I like the way you make a quite stressful situation sound like a scene coming out of a comedy flick. You have quite a unique talent with your writing, I hope you keep it up for the years to come.
    I had my purse stolen once containing credit card, debit card and ID card and as I did not realize right away it was missing (yes I know, I can be a big Dodo bird sometimes), the thieves went on an hour shopping spree in my very home town. I hardly ever use my credit card so when I called the credit card company – as they had not spotted the sudden surge – I asked them if they could eventually get a brain and realize that when one never uses her credit card in stores and all of a sudden visits 10 stores in less then an hour, it should trigger a reaction – at least a courtesy call to see if there was a problem. The best is that is was a big credit card company here in the US and I had the “identity theft” protection on it. So glad I was paying the insurance fee every month…
    I also found out that, since the thieves had my picture ID and were smart enough to make purchases of only less than $300.00 at a time (not enough to raise suspicion – I bet they had done that before), no one was really checking their ID and even when it was done most clerks are instructed to “match the name”, therefore don’t even look at the picture – next time you are being asked for your ID at a US store when paying with a credit card, I invite you to do this little test: once you put the ID card away, ask them if they realized it was a nice blonde (well, that is a bad example in petite’s case) on the picture – being a brunette, I love to to this from time to time and see the reaction on their face – then show them that it was indeed you and just point out the uselessness of checking an ID card just to match a name – chances are if a thief has your card, he or she also has you ID card.
    Anyway, in my case, my bank was pretty prompt in refunding the money and after filing several claims, police reports and sending multiple letters to prove I was not a liar (gotta love that), the credit card company finally refunded the money … 3 months later. Mieux vaut tard que jamais!
    The worst was the dozen of checks they had also written, using the same trick (less than $ 300.00) because I had then to plead my case store by store (experiences varied from customer services to customer services from sympathetic to indifferent to plain out rude, accusing me of fraud) and even to the district attorney (that was not so funny) but eventually, everything went back to normal – 6 months later ;-)
    After all was said and done, I estimated that they had spent a total of $5500.00. Good grief! Since it was right around “back to school” time and judging by the type of stores they went to, I am sure some kids got pretty cool stuff to show their classmates. In a way, I am quite happy it went this way, at least they got useful stuff (including groceries), not a big screen TV.
    Tout est bien qui finit bien. Hope it ends up this way for you too!
    A crazy frog lost in Texas

    Comment by crazyfrog — July 25, 2008 @ 9:56 pm

  56. You have my sympathy. We all have days/weeks like this and then we find out about something happening to someone else that puts the event into perspective and we feel selfish. I have recently had two friends die as a result of cancer and that fact always helps me to remember that things aren’t as bad as they feel. It doesn’t stop me feeling that they are at the time however.
    Good luck with the financial bureaucracy and the upstairs owner.
    Please keep writing – I enjoy seeing your point of view which is very different from my experience.

    Comment by James S — July 25, 2008 @ 10:39 pm

  57. Ah the joys of France! I once had a similar situation but it involved checks (cheques) and not a card. The person who stole my checks (apparently out of my mailbox) had the nerve to cash one at a bank teller’s window and the teller didn’t check identification or anything!

    Rest assured, everything did return to order.

    Comment by Lost in France — July 26, 2008 @ 9:03 am

  58. Bad luck Petite, it’s just not on that you should have household emergencies while trying to resolve the financial debacle…it doesn’t sound as though you received the best help from the bank. I’ve experienced both these nightmares but not together.

    A week before my first visit to Paris I had my rucksack stolen, lost my passport, purse, cheque book, keys, you name it! I had to change the locks, apply for a new passport, cards…and someone used my cheque book (it was before plastic was routine) to make several hundred pounds worth of purchases. I was mad when it eventuallyy went to court because the woman, despite having committed the same offence before, was let off with a caution because she was an unemployed single parent………while I was a single parent doing 2 jobs to make ends meet. The good news was the bank were fantastic as was the Passport Office who got my replacement passport to me in time for my trip and I had a fab time falling in love with Paris.

    We had the water dripping off the light fittings experience when we’d moved into new hospital accommodation, my ex-husband is a doctor but not very common sensical or practical, so I went roaring out of the house, baby on hip, and found the builders and persuaded them to move us lock, stock and barrel into another house that was completed and vacant. The guys from the building site lined up and did just that…..they were amazing. It transpired that someone had failed to fix and seal the pipe from the cold water tank properly.

    I’m a great believer in wearing wellington boots when doing anything vaguely electrical, I hope you switched the mains electricity off too. My power went off suddenly on Friday and I needed to hit the trip switch……which is up near the ceiling in the kitchen. Having only had a 2nd knee replacement 9 weeks ago I was wary of climbing on a chair and up on the work surface – which is my normal route. Discovered that from the chair I was able to open the box with a walking stick and then trip the switch…was wearing a bath towel but no wellingtons.

    Now that I’m approaching retirement I’m wondering about moving into a flat or apartment but your experience has made me wonder because you have to be able to trust your upstairs neighbours!

    Do hope it’s all sorted out ASAP! Angela

    Comment by ookymooky — July 26, 2008 @ 11:58 am

  59. How can you in almost the same breath say that you are “atop a ladder in my négligé and rubber soled shoes” and that there is “nothing to see here”?

    Hope the financial woes are quickly resolved and the offending parties are severely and swiftly punished.

    Comment by ~Tim — July 26, 2008 @ 5:19 pm

  60. I thought you were complaining about your bank because they did not do oral.

    For a moment, the post had quite a different tone.


    Comment by Billygean — July 26, 2008 @ 7:53 pm

  61. Do you read these? Nothing petite about the run of luck you have had.

    Comment by Epistling — July 26, 2008 @ 10:31 pm

  62. #58 Angela:

    Five years ago, pre-retirement (as I still am), I sold my three-floor townhouse/terraced house and bought an apartment. Having seen my parents (father with Parkinsons, mother with Alzheimers) and my 90+ year-old aunt (almost blind, and after a broken hip shuffling around on a walking frame/Zimmer) trying to manage with two floors, I decided that wasn’t going to happen to me and that I was going to make the move when it was my choice and not when I fell at the age of eighty-something, broke my hip, and someone said, “We’ve got to do something about you, dear,” and took it out of my hands.

    Yes, I’ve had problems with water in my apartment, once because the line to someone’s icemaker broke and once because my immediate upstairs neighbor’s bathtub caulking finally gave out. The first time the condominium association’s master insurance policy took care of everything; the second time the neighbor’s insurance took care of the repairs but the building management brought in and paid for the dehumidifiers and fans. It was a bother, but I figure I was unlucky to get hit twice and it’s not standard operating procedure, and I weigh against it the convenience of a totally secure building, underground parking, three elevators/lifts, everything on one floor, neighbors 30 seconds away, no lawn to mow or snow to shovel, and a swimming pool and tennis courts.

    I have absolutely no regrets.

    Comment by Passante — July 27, 2008 @ 12:44 am

  63. Thanks Passante for the gee up sounds good. I suppose I could always go for a top floor apartment…..then I’d be in control! LOL

    At the moment I don’t feel in control as I live in a small 2 up/2 down cottage circa 1865 and yesterday heard a bang and clatter and found a piece of plaster on the sitting room floor, not huge admittedly, and a crack and hole in the wall. Living in a terrace next door to a guy who has been “renovating” his cottage for the past 3 years has not been a positive experience. He’s a botcher and my daughter and I are sure that once he’s finished and wants to return to The Orkneys the estate agents will market his cottage as a renovation opportunity. I’m comforting myself with the thought that my property insurance will cover me if my house falls down thanks to Mr Botcher’s handiwork.

    Hope progress has been made Petite. Angela

    Comment by ookymooky — July 28, 2008 @ 7:14 am

  64. Let this be a lesson to you to check your bank account statements DAILY online and then IMMEDIATELY cancel credit card, check book etc if you notice evidence of fraud especially if you have a lot of transactions due to royalties. French financial institutions have a hard time believing that you were not in Hong Kong, New York, Paris and Peshawar at the same time yesterday and thus require a file full of proof as per your whereabouts. The burden of proof is on you.

    I am just happy that in the US the banks move quite quickly to remedy the situation. In fact we can even withhold credit payment if you can justify that the service was not up to par.

    Good luck with the water damage. I’ve had two incidents in the last two years thanks to the upstairs neighbor. First comes the culprit’s inevitable denial (it’s in their genepool) and then comes the long wait until the walls dry out. No replaceable drywall for France but rather plaster which takes abut 6 months to dry and then another month or so to get someone of to redo the walls.

    Comment by rocket — July 29, 2008 @ 9:40 am

  65. I don’t do oral either.

    Comment by Alice Band — July 29, 2008 @ 6:43 pm

  66. Nightmare! But hope the reading at the Shakespeare bookshop went fine – yesterday, I think – and things even-ing out to ‘normal’ again today.

    Leaks are the worst. Hey ho, these things are sent to try us.

    Having been away from the blogosphere for some time, it is so good to read that in the main the year has been a special one for reasons to do with love.

    All best wishes, Livvy

    Comment by Livvy U. — July 29, 2008 @ 10:45 pm

  67. Oh dear. What makes it so gutting is that it wasn’t even anything particularly stylish that they did with it. Ideally speaking, you would discover a large mystery purchase from an intriguing little shop in the 13th of which you had never heard. Curiosity aroused, you would hop on the metro to investigate and discover an absolute *gem* for interiors, fashion or rare porcelain which you would never have discovered otherwise, but to which you will only bring the closest friends in future as a heavily guarded style secret.

    When my credit card was stolen in Rome they spent €500 in a sportwear shop. How pedestrian of them.

    Comment by Passementerie — July 29, 2008 @ 11:59 pm

  68. Hi, I love your writing style, it’s easy and cheers the sole, a bit like another France based blog ( that I like to read now and then. You had a hell of a day there, but don’t let scummy no-good low-life thieves get you down.

    Now to get your book for my girlfriend, I’ll give it her when she’s in hospital, in a few weeks time, with our third – it’s just the kind of thing she likes.

    Comment by Lee — July 30, 2008 @ 11:39 am

  69. Bonjour petite anglaise,

    Quel horeur!:ç
    Hope your problems will be solved soon…

    I read your book some months ago and really enjoyed it.
    Your book inspired me to start my own blog as dame blanche at and words can’t express how much this blog means to me. In the meantime i lost my job and it turns out that getting pregnant will be a challenge for me… but with the support of many zappynauts i manage to keep my head up…

    so thank you very very much!
    good luck with your credit card story and take care,

    dame blanche

    ps: don’t mention my english ‘met haar op’ as we say it in dutch

    Comment by dame blanche — July 31, 2008 @ 9:23 am

  70. The first time we went to Paris one of my cards had about $4000 it was drained on Belgium computer parts . It was a good thing we had other cards and plenty of cash . This was only a day or two into the trip.

    The bank gave all the money back and didn’t tell me much about how it happened.

    The Hotel we stayed at had my passport and credit card so probably a bad Marriott employee .

    Just glad my wife over packs the cash ;-))


    Comment by ==Alaska — July 31, 2008 @ 11:39 pm

  71. Hope you are getting all these things resolved ! The fraud stuff can be a nightmare to get to the bottom of….

    Best wishes,

    Ps ..enjoyed your book…..

    Comment by Rhiannon — August 1, 2008 @ 12:38 pm

  72. Dear Petite,
    Is there any chance that if you continue to post less and less that your book will have a smaller audience as people start drifting away gradually? I hope not. I love your blog. Some may tire,though,of returning every day and then never seeing anything new.

    Comment by Sheila K. — August 1, 2008 @ 5:44 pm

  73. Hej petite!
    Two weeks ago I visit Paris while I was reading your book. The city came alive by your words and I was able to see the things you see in your city everyday.
    It was my first visit there but I already love it!

    Au revoir et merci petite!
    Desirée from Holland.

    Comment by Desirée — August 2, 2008 @ 11:47 am

  74. Petite,

    Considering all the awards you have garnered over the past few years, this may not mean much, but it is my little way of saying thanks for the inspiration. Just head on over to my blog, and you’ll see what I mean.

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — August 5, 2008 @ 5:35 am

  75. We also had our bank account fraudulently emptied recently. It gives you a shock, doesn’t it?

    Comment by AnneDroid — August 5, 2008 @ 8:07 am

  76. Good to cheer the sole isn’t it?! Thought about some sideline job as a reflexologist petite?!;o)Any chance of a new post soon? How was your reading?! Is your laptop lost amongst multifarious boxes in your new flat?! Has the identity thief also stolen your talent the cad?!I dount it muchly…Come back petite, same post to behold for ages is gloriously frustrating!

    Comment by gorgeousophie — August 5, 2008 @ 9:18 am

  77. Please read ‘doubt’ karma strikes at the speed of light, that’s me done for mocking others!

    Comment by gorgeousophie — August 5, 2008 @ 9:19 am

  78. had a good laugh
    sorry :)

    Comment by Gondolfo — August 6, 2008 @ 11:03 am

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