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lundi 25 avril 2011


I know this could be woefully premature, but do I dare say that lately (as in, in the last few days) things have been... better? There has been laughter in this house, including my own and I don't remember the last time that happened...

Now, don't get me wrong. THINGS are still happening and screwing my life up. THINGS are bringing me down and causing tears when I'm alone (which happens quite a lot, actually, though possibly not much in the immediate future with my dad arriving TOMORROW (GAH) for 9 (NINE!) days) and I am, of course, still totally freaked out about money.

BUT. The girls and I have been fighting less, snuggling more (even though I feel like I see them less than ever), laughing more.

Easter has been pretty much OK, to be honest. OK, I didn't see them much: they spent all Saturday afternoon and evening either with friends (separately) or with D (together), not getting home till 10 pm, and then they spent last evening and night (all night) with D, till lunchtime today. But we had a lovely Easter Sunday lunch, in the morning they did an egg hunt in the house and then we went to the Jardin des Plantes yesterday afternoon and it was delightful.

The Jardin des Plantes really is my favourite place in Montpellier, without a doubt (OK, that and IKEA, but that's hardly "typical" of Montpellier...). There were flowers in blossom, frogs, turtles, fish, peace and quiet. It's a magical place, a haven of tranquillity.

This evening we played board games and managed to avoid any sore-loser-ness from anyone. Yes, they went to bed far too late again, but at least there was good humour for once...

L's birthday is getting closer and closer, and of course D is making things complicated: he's organising a party for her on Saturday with his friend M. I'm fine with that, there's no problem. But I've already told him I'll be doing a party in collaboration with one of L's friends who has her birthday a week later and that we'll be inviting school friends. So of course he, D, has invited 2 friends from school - and only 2. And he seems to be incapable of understanding how stupid that is, how awkward, how idiotic. I swear, étiquette and social graces just seem to pass him by...

But I'm really going to try and not let his dumb ass behaviour spoil L's day. Last year was pretty much hideous (obviously), and the day of the party even worse (he walked out THE DAY BEFORE. What a star! What a hero! Will I ever stop being angry about his insane behaviour? And no, I no longer care that he's probably reading this - I WANT him to know how fucking angry I am with him, how much he now bugs the shit out of me. NAH.), so I want this year to be fun, even for me if possible.

I'm still pretty much down in the dumps, but this is the first string of more than a couple of hours in which I've felt any kind of positive feelings since last year, so I'm taking that as a positive.

Happy Easter, everyone!

mercredi 20 avril 2011


I can feel them slipping away, gradually, and it's breaking my heart. I feel like I almost never see my girls any more and, even though I know it's not exactly true and that C's trip to Paris is partly to blame, there is some truth in it.

C left last Monday (11/4) at 5.30 am. I picked her up at the station on Thursday at 7.30 pm, we had dinner at McDonald's and the girls were both in bed by 9.45. D took them to school the next morning, but I brought them home, though I had to take C to her circus class almost at once. And I didn't see her again till Sunday evening. D picked up L at 7.30 pm and I didn't see her again till Saturday afternoon, when we went to see "Winnie the Pooh" (though I have to confess I fell asleep halfway through and somewhat "lost the plot" so to speak). L was out all day Sunday too.

Yesterday (Monday), I had to invigilate an exam, so I asked D to pick the girls up from school, except he couldn't, so it was his friend, Magali. And she didn't bring them home till 8.30 pm, by which time the mushroom pie I'd prepared (ie cooked from frozen) was inedible - burnt on top and cold. I swear, it was like I never see my girls at all, and I was miserable last night, I can tell you!

Hopefully, I'll have some time with C on Wednesday afternoon, but it's difficult. I don't have any money, and there aren't many free things to do that still appeal to the girls now. I know it's classic for dads to be the "fun" parents, but when you're no longer a couple, the injustice of that is even more obvious. I get to do all the boring stuff - laundry, homework, checking school bags, making sure everything's ready, etc. As I don't drive (totally my own fault, I know, but a fact nevertheless) I can't easily take them anywhere and oh, I don't know, I just feel that they're both slipping out of my grasp.

These two little girls mean sooooo much to me, yet we never seem to do anything fun together any more... And that's why I'm hoping that I can find enough money to take them away this summer. Right now, it seems impossible to imagine, but I'm hoping that things will have started to change and that I'll manage to do it somehow.

I know they're growing up - even my littlest hobo will be 7 in just over two weeks - and that increasing distance is normal, but this is different. This is yet more horrible fallout from separating from D: when they're with him, that means they're not with me. It's not just that they're making their own friends, it's also that they're making friends through him, so there are whole areas of their lives where I have no idea what they're doing. Yet I'm still the one who has to prepare everything, organise sleepover bags, make sure everything comes home, remember about homework etc. I'm still the one who has to "manage". And it kills me.

I want them to grow up remembering me for things other than yelling and ordering them to do things. I don't want all their memories of me to be either screeching or crying (or often both). I try so hard, I have ideas and plans, yet I never seem to get round to doing anything. Or nothing right, anyway.

Being single sucks, being a single mother sucks, being so angry and frustrated sucks. My life sucks, except for those all-too-brief and all-too-rare moments of complicity with my sweet little girls. They - and their love - make it all bearable, and worthwhile. And if I lose that, I don't know what will become of me.

jeudi 14 avril 2011

As you were

I don't really have much inspiration tonight. It's late (2.20 am, I have to be up at 7.30 to take L to school...), I'm tired, I feel kind of sick (not sure why) and I just want to drift away to someplace else.

But this has been a strange week. On the one hand, C has been away since fuck-me-o'clock on Monday morning (I had to GET UP at 4.30 am to make her picnic, then get her up at 4.50 so she could leave with D at 5.30 for the station), on a school trip to Paris. She'll be home - exhausted beyond belief I should imagine - tomorrow evening at about 7 pm. They've done some wonderful things, and I know she'll have had a great time, but it really has been strange here without her. She suddenly seems so big these days, so "grown-up"...

On the other, in just under 2 weeks, my little L will be turning 7, whilst my daddy turns 80 today (14th) and my sweet cat Tom will be 14 on Friday. It's all a bit much to take in, to be honest. L can read pretty well now, she's gaining in independence, gaining in confidence, gaining in stroppiness too (WON'T GO TO SLEEP - Gaaaaaaahhhhh), but she's my littlest hobo and she'll be 7 in a fortnight. Blows my mind, actually.

At the same time, my dear daddy will be coming to visit at the end of the month, arriving just before L's birthday and staying till 5 May (which seems like a helluva long time to me - 9 nights on the sofa bed will kill my back). That means he'll also be here on the anniversary of that horrible, horrible day when D finally went totally insane and walked out, insulting me on the street, badmouthing me to our closest friends and ruining L's birthday party (for me, anyway) the next day. In some ways, it's good someone will be here because it means I won't be able to mope all day. On the other, it's a pain in the butt because - heh - I won't be able to mope all day.


That's all really, except that I'm back to listening to Train again - their more rock'n'roll first album this time though - because L has me all Glee-d out (she plays the one Glee CD we have INCESSANTLY) and, as usual, the lyrics speak to me: "they call me free, but I call me a fool...". Yeah. That sounds about right.

mardi 12 avril 2011


I'm starting to believe that I have an obsessive personality - probably not in a clinically definable way (at least I hope not), but there really are things that grab hold of me and take up my time...

My latest obsession is PostCrossing. The principle is simple: you sign up, you get sent the name and address of a random stranger somewhere in the world and you send them a postcard. As soon as your card has been received (and the ID code you must put on it entered on the site), your name and address get sent to someone and then you receive a card from a random stranger in turn. It sounds kind of pointless, I know, but seriously - I have already had such fun choosing pretty cards, writing a little message on them and sending them to "exotic" destinations (so far: 3 to the USA, 2 to Finland, 2 to Russian, 1 to the Netherlands and 1 to Australia), not to mention the excitement rush I get every time a new card arrives in my letter box: so far, I've received 6: 2 from Finland, 1 each from India, Germany, the USA and Russia).

I can't really explain why I enjoy it so much - but I do at least know I'm not alone in this (there are thousands of members according to the site). And I've already decided I'm going to have to pace myself - it could become a pretty expensive habit if I don't control myself. I'm going to try and limit myself to no more than 10 cards a month (which is already 10-15 € in total).

I'm guessing that I enjoy it for the same reason I enjoy Twitter and Facebook - it's all about connecting with people, getting out of the rut I'm in here at home. OK, so these people aren't friends (PostCrossing in particular, but Twitter too - even if there is more sustained contact), but it's contact, it's a little glimpse into the lives of others, and I love it.

Of course, I've always loved postcards (I have hundreds of them - every time I visit a country, a city, a museum, etc. I buy postcards), so I guess this PostCrossing thing was more or less made for me. But if you like getting mail, if you enjoy choosing pretty cards, if you get a thrill from "meeting" new people, it's a great hobby. Though probably not a great thing to put on your CV - it might come over as being a bit "lame" I guess!

dimanche 10 avril 2011


You have to understand that I'm not a big TV watcher. I changed service provider back in October, meaning I have a new "box" for the telephone, internet and TV - and I haven't even installed the TV part yet. So I haven't watched TV AT ALL since early October.

It's always been the same - or at least, since I first arrived in France anyway (which was a LOOOOOONG time ago, believe me). This might be because I find much of French TV to be utter crap (an odd blend of totally dated variety show type things, reality TV and endless detective series, mixed with 3 or 4-hour pretentious chit-chat shows with eggheads and philosophers and bla, bla, bla, meh). I don't watch much TV, is what I'm trying to say.

For a while, way back in the late 90s (like, 97, 98 or perhaps 98 and 99, I don't remember), D and I had cable TV, so we were able to watch certain TV shows actually in English. We watched Seinfeld, and Dream On, and we kind of got into the "Friends" thing. We "joined" the series half-way through (probably series 3 or 4 I should think). But when we stopped paying for cable, we stopped watching Friends, even though it was on French TV because OMG - it's sooooo not funny dubbed into French. Lame, lame, lame. Absolutely not the same. So there are a lot of episodes - whole series, in fact - that I've never seen.

So. Back to the point of this disjointed post that's been rumbling round my brain all day (and, apparently, half the night too because it's now after 4 am. AGAIN.). A couple of days ago, I got this sudden urge to start watching Friends. I bought seasons 1 and 2 (which I'd never seen) earlier this year and found them pretty funny. And I've been watching them for the second time in the last few days. I've just got to the part where Monica hooks up with Richard Burke-Tom Selleck (that's for those of you who are fans - for the rest, it's about half-way through season 2).

I couldn't figure out what exactly was making me watch these episodes so compulsively. They focus quite a bit on the Ross-Rachel saga, and they are the two characters I've always liked the least. So that's not the reason.

And then, this evening, it finally hit me. It's the theme song. That chirpy, brain-wormy theme song; not the chorus so much, as the verse:

"So no one told you life was gonna be this way; your job's a joke, you're broke, your love life's D.O.A. It's like you're always stuck in second gear - when it hasn't been your day, your week, your month or even your year..."

THAT GODDAM SONG IS MY FUCKING LIFE, people. OK, my job isn't a "joke", but the fact that I end up working ridiculous hours, every damn day of the year, and am still broke makes it pretty close to one (oh, plus the fact that there's no possible promotion and I'll never be able to afford to retire...).

These 6 characters are living the kind of life I should have lived when I was their age (but didn't because I was such a freak), and would like to live again (but can't because it's too late). I would love to start over, go back to when I first arrived in France and just do things totally differently. I would love to be young, and free and single-dating-falling in and out of love, instead of the pathetic creature I was back then, and the hopeless future old-maid I've become. I would love to hang out with friends, drink coffee, share meals together and have fun, like I used to back in university, but now can't. Don't get me wrong - there isn't one nanogram of regret concerning my beautiful little girls, I wouldn't change a thing about them, but the rest? Meh. Total waste of time.

I now feel like I'm living vicariously through the characters in Friends. Ross bugs the shit out of me, and Rachel has much the same effect (she's less annoying than he is, but still. Grrrr). Phoebe makes me laugh and Joey's cute, but the ones I like best - now and when I watched them on TV way back when - are still Monica and Chandler. They crack me up. I want to slip into their lives, become part of the Central Perk scene, BE SOMEONE ELSE.

My "real" life is such a fuck-up that these ridiculous fantasies are all that get me through. If I could just walk away from the shit storm blustering around me, believe me, I would. But I can't, and I won't. But I still feel like I'm being eaten up with worries and anger and frustration and loneliness. Lots of anger, actually.

Friends was hugely successful and I pretty much missed the boat on that one - I kind of know what happens, who ends up with whom etc., but I haven't seen the episodes yet. I will, though, I will. And I'll continue to live my life vicariously through them, trying to get through the real stuff the best I can. I'm not eloquent or good with words like Avitable, but I'm definitely feeling the same depression, the same funk. I know I'm strong, and I know I'll find a way through this, but right now, like him, I don't feel it. Till then, I'll watch Friends, and Mad Men and Glee, and get sucked into these alternative universes where I can feel, for just a short while, that I don't suck quite so much.

vendredi 8 avril 2011

Books Part 2

OK, enough of films (though I could bang on about films I've loved/hated all day, despite having rarely been in a cinema since my elder daughter was born in December 2001), and back to books.

One of my very, very favourite current, living authors (though admittedly there aren't many DEAD ones I like to be honest) is Jasper Fforde.

But where to start if you don't know his work? It sounds ghastly and pretentious and silly and, while it most definitely IS the last of those adjectives, it most vehemently ISN'T the first two. In a nutshell (if you've ever read through any of my previous posts, you'll know this "nutshell" idea isn't going to end well), his heroine is a detective called Thursday Next. She lives in a town in England - Swindon - in a sort of parallel 1980s - by parallel I mean that it's not science fiction (I hate science fiction apart from The Hitchhikers's Guide, strangely enough by a dead author, disproving my previous point) but that it's a 1980s Swindon that only partially existed. In Thursday's Swindon, people commonly have dodos as pets, the Crimean War is still raging, England and Wales are also at loggerheads, croquet is a national sport, etc.

Thursday works for Spec Ops 27, which is the literary detectives branch. She deals with bogus original manuscripts, etc. The main event in this book is Thursday's battle with the evil Acheron, who kidnaps Jane Eyre (I knew this was going to be difficult to describe). Forays inside the plot are necessary to save Jane and the national treasure that the book represents. This first book (The Eyre Affair) is hilarious and clever at the same time. There are so many details that catch your eye...

Subsequent adventures see Thursday have her husband's existence eradicated from everyone's memory, be employed by Jurisfiction (INSIDE book world - her mentor is Miss Havisham who is a great fan of motor car racing. You will learn all about how books are REALLY written (none of this "author" rubbish!) and meet a wealth of amazing, sometimes vaguely familiar, characters...) and oh, so much more (did you know that in Bookworld all the characters in Wuthering Heights are forced to go to anger management counselling, with sessions held in one of the rooms not mentioned in the novel? Or that Jurisfiction have a headquarters set up in the ballroom of Northanger Abbey?...).

I have loved every book in the series and can only recommend that you dig in... I would recommend that you read the books in order: it's hard enough as it is to keep track of who's who! I particularly liked Something Rotten, the 4th book in the series - in which, amongst other things, Hamlet is revealed to be a Mel Gibson fan and Ophelia mounts a coup to take over the play... but truly enjoyed them all and am eagerly awaiting my birthday (18 May if anyone's interested) when my dad has promised to buy me the newest one, One Of Our Thursdays Is Missing.

So go on, get out there and start reading Jasper Fforde!

By the way, he has also written other novels, though I've only read the two "Nursery Crimes" novels: The Big Over Easy (about Humpty Dumpty: did he fall or WAS HE PUSHED?) and The Fourth Bear, featuring a unique villain in the shape of the Gingerbread Man - "psychopath, sadist, convicted murderer and cake/biscuit". Both were good, and definitely amusing, but not as good as the Thursday Next series...

This must be the biggest nutshell in history...

mardi 5 avril 2011

Top Five Films

I picked up this idea from I Like To Fish and just had to give it a go (you KNOW how much I like memes...), especially as Travis' choices were so normal - nothing pretentious or arthouse or (in my opinion) unwatchable... that's not to say I agree with his choices (none of his 5 are on my list), but they're almost all films I've seen and enjoyed enough, whereas the what I call pretentious stuff I can't even sit through...

Anyway, enough of that. On to my Top Five Films Ever (or at least so far).

5. Face Off. I'm absolutely not afraid to admit to having a "thing" about Nic Cage. Yeah, he's made some dud films, but I suspect I haven't seen most of them - I don't go much to the cinema, so I haven't seen any of his recent offerings and they are the ones I suspect of being the least good. But this one, oh, I loved it! Not only does it have Nic Cage, but also John Travolta (who was, as you'll see below, my first ever actor crush!). I loved the plot, however improbable it was, and just thought it was a great action film.

4. Stand By Me. I am most definitely not a Stephen King fan, so the fact that this is based on one of his short stories is quite unusual. But I just loved this film (and not just because River Phoenix was so damned cute in it). I've used it as a teaching aid (read: pretext to watch it), I find it unbelievably moving. The ending, when the narrator talks about what happens to his friends as they grow up makes me cry every time - it's particularly bittersweet when you know what happened to River Phoenix in real life. The story is simple (OK, a little macabre, it's true - it IS Stephen King, after all) but so sweet, so charming at the same time, I can't imagine anyone not being pulled in a little bit. It's like every kid's ideal childhood adventure, a childhood from another time, another age. The actors are great, the music's great, and Kiefer Sutherland snarls his way into classic mean kid status.

3. A Room With A View. Total change of style and pace. This film conjures up such good memories for me - my friend J and I went InterRailing "round Europe" waaaaay back in 1989. We didn't actually visit that many countries or places, but that was a deliberate choice: we decided we'd much rather spend a few days in each place than whizz through a city a day and only have blurred memories. We planned much of our trip during our "Classical Civilization" lectures, and we decided on France, Italy, Austria and Germany. For Italy, we were very much influenced by this wonderful film - and indeed watched it on video the night before we left. This film always, always makes me think of J, who is still one of my very, very best friends. The fact that the film also stars a whole slew of my favourite actors and actresses (Helena Bonham-Carter, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Denholm Elliot, Julian Sands (veeerrrry sexy), Rupert Graves, Simon Callow...) is most certainly no coincidence...

2. Don Juan DeMarco. Ah, Johnny Depp... *sigh*... I've had a crush on Johnny Depp since I first saw him in Arizona Dream, way back when I was first living in Lyon. I actually - unlike most people it would seem - find him LESS appealing as Jack Sparrow, and much prefer him in the slightly kooky characters pre-Pirates of the Caribbean: Gilbert Grape, Benny and Joon, Ed Wood, Edward Scissorhands (all great films that I've very much enjoyed). But this film, oh, it's just adorable. Truly adorable. JD is soooo cute, with his sexy accent, his overblown tales of adventure and love, his whole persona. Brando is excellent as his shrink, Faye Dunaway delightfully flaky as Brando's wife and the whole film is delicious. I don't have it on DVD (yet!) but back when I had a video-player, I watched this A LOT. Another feel-good go-to film!

1. Grease. The first film I remember begging to be taken to see at the cinema. The year it came out. So, yeah, I'm old. But I was very young back then and my mother was dead against me seeing it, probably worried about some of the "language" or "scenes", all of which went straight over my naive little brain. I ADORED this film and developed a huge crush (as only an 8-year-old can) on John Travolta. The very first single (on vinyl!) I ever bought was "Summer Nights". One long, lonely summer during my university years, I watched this film on DVD every. single. day. I know it by heart. Yet I still love it... It's still one of my guaranteed mood-picker-uppers, a go-to "happy" film... Fanstastic stuff!

Almost-made-the-lists: Breaking the Waves: probably one of the most devastating films I've ever seen, it turns me to mush every time, a sobbing heap of misery on the sofa. Yet I love it too. Must be the masochist lurking within. The Sound of Music: what can I say? A classic among classics, a much-loved childhood standard, Julie-freaking-Andrews, all those SONGS... Wonderful. Dead Man Walking: sober and serious, moving and masterful, a great film that really got me thinking about my position regarding the death penalty. Sean Penn is AMAZING in this. Leaving Las Vegas: another devastating film, and Nic Cage at his absolute, absolute best (this film didn't make the Top Five simply because it's not a film I would watch over, and over again - too heartbreaking, too tough). He got an Oscar for this and totally deserved it.

I could probably go on and on, but this is already way too long, so I'm going to stop now. But I've really enjoyed doing this, even if I doubt that anyone will read as far as this...


So, yeah. I'm in a bit of a funk tonight. Quite a lot of a funk, actually. I would never have imagined that one day I'd find it so hard, so uncomfortable, so unpleasant to have to be in the same room as D for an extended period of time. But it is. Or at least, it is NOW.

The PTA thing was my thing. It was the thing I invested myself in, the thing I did. Since we split, D has started coming to all the meetings too. And I HATE him for it. I know it's his right, and I know there's no argument I could ever put forward that would justify my feelings, but still. I do, I HATE that he comes.

I also hate that he's got "M", a nice, reliable, solid, respectable (so it seems, I barely know her) woman he knows from his church. He claims they're not an item, and that may be true. But he sees her all the time, he drives her car, she picks the girls up from school, they've stayed at her place (without D, to be fair), and will now be staying at her place with D while she's away. I HATE him for this, too. I feel like he's replaced me, with some mild-mannered church-going type. She's great with the girls, and they really like her, and to be honest, I've got nothing against her - apart from the fact that she does more fun stuff with my little girls than I do.

I'm alone, every night, every weekend, all the time. I'm more lonely than I've ever been in my entire life, more isolated and scared and miserable. And he's limpet-ed to this M woman. And they spend more time (more "fun" time, anyway) with my girls than I do.

So yeah. Total funk tonight. Watching Mad Men didn't help, either (I find this series strangely compelling, yet unbelievably wooden and depressing at the same time. Can't explain why I keep watching it at ALL).

Sorry. This wasn't meant to be another moan-fest, but that's what came out when I started typing.

dimanche 3 avril 2011


I've always loved reading. I don't remember learning to read (in Britain you typically start at about 4 I think, whereas here in France it's not till 6), and I certainly don't remember it being traumatic or difficult (unlike telling the time and times tables which. Well. Not so much fun).

I was often alone as a child, what with being the only child of parents who seemed to love moving from one end of the country to another every 12-18 months, and having no family to speak of (I actually have a pretty large family, but no one knows each other, everyone's much older than I am and many members are no longer speaking to other members. Dysfunctional, clearly). So books became one of my go-to activities.

I studied literature in high school (French, English and Latin), I studied literature at university (French, Spanish, classics-in-translation). I started a "buy-a-book-a-week" thing when I was a student and kept it up for years. Amazon loves me.

Strangely enough, I've never been a fan of libraries - I like BUYING books, OWNING books, REREADING FAVOURITE books; not borrowing-reading-returning books.

If you've read any previous entries in this blog, you'll probably be surprised, given my propensity for whining, complaining and bemoaning my fate, that many, many of my favourite authors and books are, in fact, funny. Laugh out loud funny. Hilarious, tears streaming down your face funny. Oh, and gory detective novels too, but lots of funny, for sure.

So, I've decided to let you in to my own personal library and share with you some of my favourite books. They're mostly not recent at all (but all "modern" - I love literature, but not so much the "classics", the "19th century" (or older) stuff; I've read my fair share of it, liked some, loved some even, but hated more. So yeah. This will most definitely be 20th and 21st century stuff), and you may already know most of them, but still. Here we go.

In this post, I'm going to talk about a book that makes me cry laughing every time I read it. Yes, it's simplistic and no, the characters aren't particularly likeable, but the book is funny: it's "Are you experienced?" by William Sutcliffe (1997!).

The summary of the plot is in the link, so I won't bore you with that. What I liked was how it perfectly captures the snobism of the "year-outers": I didn't do a year out (too cowardly) and believe me, you soon get fed up with those who did, banging on incessantly about their hardships and spiritual awakening in far-flung places (trekking in the mountains of Afghanistan, living rough in Bolivia, back-packing round Asia...). Yes, they may have had marvellous experiences, but it shouldn't make those who didn't do it feel like lesser human beings as a result... Dave is perfect in his role of boring, cowardly, unenthusiastic traveller, and Liz is equally perfect as the full-blown year-outer par excellence.

The writing is simple, though there are some clever character sketches. You don't really get much of a feel of India (there are all the stereotypes and clichés though), but that's not really the point. This isn't (AT ALL) a guidebook for those actually planning to back-pack round India. The setting is almost irrelevant, in fact: what counts is the attitudes of the characters, and many are hilarious (I particularly liked J - I'm sure I've met him, with his pretentious claptrap and money sent from Daddy).

If you're looking for something light to read, something that will make you laugh out loud but not overly tax your brain, a book to take on holiday or on a long train ride, this is the one!


I don't think I'll ever fully understand quite what it is about Schwepps' Indian Tonic Water that I love so much (I actually drink the diet version because I prefer the taste - maybe because there's no HFCS in it? I don't know) but boy, do I love it! I've been drinking it on and off all day. If I analyse the taste, I find that I don't actually have much good to say about it, but there's just something about it. I prefer the taste (sweet!) of Diet Coke but know that diet tonic water is probably less bad for me, so I've switched. Besides, yellow is my favourite colour...

samedi 2 avril 2011

Fool's day

When I was a kid, I really liked April Fool's Day. I used to play harmless (but to my mind hilarious) tricks on my parents, particularly my dad - I put blue food colouring in the milk he put on his cereal one year, another year I swapped the milk and orange juice (hmmm... coffee with orange juice, yum!), that kind of thing. At school we used to play tricks on our Latin teacher (because he had the best sense of humour and used to play elaborate tricks on us too) and the History teacher (because she was the most gullible). It was always harmless, never humiliating, just funny.

In France, the main idea is to stick paper fish on people's backs. I've no idea where this comes from, but it seems pretty harmless to me and though I've rarely participated in the "fun", I don't mind it. Not at all (last year I think, I hid paper fish in the girls' snack boxes for school and in D's papers or something).

What I don't like is the kind of tricks D likes to play. Sometimes they're OK, because they're so outrageous no one really believes them from the outset (though a kind friend DID believe him a few years ago when he told her we'd been given a goat to look after and could she help us - she called her ex-husband and was ready to get her son to drive the goat to her ex-husband's goat farm for us...).

But there was another year - probably about 4 or 5 years ago - when D came up with the brilliant idea of telling everyone (family, friends, local shopkeepers, the stallholders at our local market...) that I'd run off to live with another man, leaving him (D) without a steady job, without steady income and with two small children to look after all by himself. He pretended to be heart-broken, asking people if they could help him with the girls while he pulled himself together (oh, the irony!). I was furious - it made me seem like a real bitch and, because he'd told people who didn't really know me, when they saw me, they all looked at me as if I were the worst person in the world. Of course, he confessed the truth and what have you, but still. I always felt that some of the shopkeepers/stall holders had a niggling doubt about me after that...

This year, I was spared D's tricks. He played one on the girls, but I don't think they fell for it (L might have done, but I don't think so). I also got round the problem by virtually not leaving the house all day.

So who's the fool in all this? Me, probably, because I totally fucked up today - my alarm didn't go off, so I got up too late, meaning I couldn't get the girls to school for 8.30, meaning I had to keep them home till 1.45 pm, so I got nothing done this morning, then I had birthday presents to buy this afternoon and voilà. A totally unproductive day (again).

I escaped the part of April Fool's Day I dislike (another advantage to this otherwise hellish situation, I suppose), so maybe I'm not so much of a fool after all. And I don't think I fell for any pranks on the internet either...

What I do know is that the prank calls are over for another year, and that's good.

The other thing I know is that April Fool's Day was our anniversary. This would have been our 15th. That's been on my mind all day, and has made me unutterably sad. 14 years, down the drain. 14 years of trust, and encouragement, and support, and love - all for nothing. All's that's left is pain and loneliness and bitterness and a shitload of anger.

The only good thing to come out of those 14 years is our beautiful, beautiful little girls (a true blessing, for sure, and I couldn't wish for better), they are all that makes it worthwhile. For the rest, I wish it had never happened, he's hurt me too badly now, hurt me, wounded me, destroyed a part of me forever. And I'm not good at forgiving (or forgetting for that matter).

So maybe I am the Fool after all.

vendredi 1 avril 2011


So, this is the end of the month. I failed at NaBloPoMo, but I'm not bothered by that - I worked my ass of this month and still managed to post 28 or 29 times here, which is pretty good I think. No great writing, no hysterically funny posts, not as much whining as I'd feared there might be, but 29 (or 28? I don't remember) posts all the same. I'll be trying NaBloPoMo again sometime soon, possibly in June - I'm too tired to contemplate attacking April, and there will be a lot of stuff to do in May, so yeah, June, why not? It's a fun challenge...!

The end of things is always bittersweet. Sad in some ways, positive in others. My relationship with a man I loved more than anything in the world at one time came to an end after 14 years and, although I haven't yet reached the "happy" place, I'm hoping it's on the cards all the same sometime in the future. The school year is also approaching an end (at the universities, anyway - the girls still have 3 months of school), meaning that teaching will soon be over till September, freeing up Monday afternoons and most of Thursdays.

It's the end of the month, and I'm pretty glad to see the back of March - it's been a tough month. I'm hoping April will be more restful, more peaceful, more serene...