Monday, December 31




...was my birthday, and a fine day it was too.

The "best present e-vah" (in the breathless tones of a Strictly Come Dancing Chistmas Special contestant) was that I got my deleted-through-no-fault-of-my-own photos back, thanks to a seemingly simple but rather miraculous piece of software.

S very cleverly convinced me that for my birthday I should buy him a mobile phone as a belated Christmas present, and he is now the proud owner of a Nokia N95 which I get to play with as much as I want, so we're both happy geeks.

And last but certainly not least my dear friend M and her husband are in town, so we had dinner with them and the food was almost as good as the company. Bliss.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 28


...after a decade of financial irresponsibility and general foolishness (but oh what fun it was at the time!) and two and a half years of frugality and saving, I am debt-free.

Except for the mortgage, but I think we can all agree that doesn't count as bad debt.

I'd be tempted to do out and treat myself to something luxurious to mark the occasion (designer handbag? jewelry? cashmere sweater?) and then a huge dinner at a lovely restaurant, washed down with champagne from start to finish, but as it is exactly that sort of behavior that got me into trouble in the first place, I shall refrain.

And so it all feels a bit anti-climactic and dull.

Christmas in England

Christmas pudding - check.
Fish and chips in Brighton, looking out at the sea - check.
Bitter shandy in a proper old (i.e. non-chain) pub - check.
Roast dinner with potatoes, parsnips and Yorkshire pudding - check.
Anglo-Indian curry (miles better than Franco-Indian, it must be said) - check.
A trip to Tesco's to stock up on as much Marmite, Branston, HP sauce, tea, pickled onions, and Hellman's mayo (yes, I know how to make my own, but for most uses I prefer Hellman's) as could possibly be carried back - check.

Missing: full English brekkie. Ah well, next time.

Also missing: 85 photos including some absolutely gorgeous ones of S and I at Beachy Head, overlooking the Downs on one side and the cliff and sea on the other, and of S's family members and friends, due to a fucking arse buggery shite computer-memory card transfer problem. There are worse problems in the world (doh!) but I'm still gutted...

Thursday, December 20

I need a pet.

Or at least some more photogenic houseplants.

Just when I had got used to receiving Christmas cards featuring my friends' children (as in, I look at the photo and think, "my, they've grown since last year!" instead of shrieking "holy shit, we're grown ups! how did that happen?!?") - I get a card with a pic from a childless but doggy-mom friend featuring... her two back Labs.

Friday, December 7

A Metro Moment

On the way home, standing next to a young guy. Leather jacket, long hair. Scruffily cute. I peer at his mobile phone, because I am thinking of getting a new one for myself. I can read the text he is typing.

U are making me like u more than I should.

I smile and turn back to my book, hoping he didn't notice me noticing.

Saturday, November 17

Domestic God

Tonight, S
roasted a chicken for dinner
made stock from the carcass
roasted butternut squash, onions and garlic (for tomorrow's soup, with the stock)
and is now making chocolate cake.

I have
eaten dinner
licked the bowl that held the melted chocolate
made (helpful, or perhaps not) comments on how thick eggs should be when beaten for cake, and the like.

That is all.

Sunday, October 28


...combination for dinner last night: mashed sweet potatoes, sausages, watercress cooked until barely wilted. The smoothness of the mash, the slightly fatty meatiness of the sausages alongside the peppery, bitter cress... yum.

And the colors were pretty on the plate, too. Less gluttonous bloggers might have taken a photo, but not I.

Wednesday, October 24

It seemed to last forever

...and now it's over. The rugby, of course. While France were being ousted by England, we were at a Richard Thompson concert. An unfortunate scheduling conflict, but no regrets. He's a genius and I cried like a crying thing during his rendition of Who knows where the time goes.

Friday, October 19

Anger management

The number of cars, motorbikes and scooters that run red lights just when you think it's safe to cross the street is shocking. Is it normal to give each and every one of them the finger while muttering "crash and die, motherfucker", though ? I'd happily kick and/or key the paint too, except my reflexes aren't quick enough.

Friday, October 12

Too cynical

... for wildlife documentaries.

Went to see Un Jour sur Terre - very impressive visually, stunning in fact - but the excessive anthropomorphism, twee narration and over the top music (look, I'm a cute furry baby animal and I'm being hunted by a predator! quick, bring on the dramatic crescendo orchestration during the chase and have a lone sweet violin playing while I'm being eaten!) are enough to make me want to go out and buy a gas-guzzling SUV and say to hell with climate change and the disappearance of cute furry baby animals.

Anyway, it's OK, because Al Gore just won a Nobel prize and I saw his documentary, too, so that's enough planet-friendly action from me, right ? Bah humbug.

Thursday, October 11

Note to self

Give up going out for lunch with more than 3-4 colleagues at a time.

In a larger group, there will always be someone who bitches about the choice of restaurant. Someone who doesn't drink wine and "jokingly" calls the drinkers alcoholics, and/or someone who does drink wine and "jokingly" accuses the non-drinkers of being no fun. Someone who brings the conversation back to petty office gossip after the rest of the table has only just, with great effort, managed to leave work topics behind and are discussing what movies they've seen recently or what their plans are for the following weekend.

And last but not least, when the bill arrives and gets divided, most people will put down enough money, even rounding up a little, yet when the money is counted there is always an amount missing.

Next time around if anyone is looking for me, I'll be at the salad bar with a good book.

Tuesday, October 9

Things men do not understand.*

Why it's upsetting when 2 pairs of your favorite work shoes (smart enough for office wear, that look good with either skirts or pants, yet are amazingly comfortable, so that you can go straight from work to whatever you're planning to do in the evening without wishing you had time to go home and change, you know the kind - the ones you wish you had bought in every available color) give up the ghost within the same week.

So what, he says, you've still got 53 pairs left.

*Lest I am accused of blatant sexist stereotyping, let me say here that no doubt some men understand. But not the one I share closet space with.

Saturday, September 29


...things have gone wrong. Not badly, but little annoyances have added up, errands that should have been simple took forever to run, the roast potatoes were still undercooked long after the chicken was done. Stuff like that.

And S. has gone to a party which I begged out of, because I'm tired and don't feel social. Which is fine, except I've just noticed the post-it note on which he carefully wrote the address, door code, and name of the host is right here next to computer instead of in his pocket. And he doesn't have a cell phone. And his phone card didn't work last time he needed to use it, and there are no coin operated phones left anywhere in the city. With some luck, he'll run into someone he knows going to the same party once he gets there, but the way things are going today ? I suspect he'll be home soon.

I'm too old go out on a Friday night and have nothing but beer and peanuts for dinner.

Thursday, September 27

"Leave the gun, take the cannoli."

Arthouse cinema playing the 3 Godfather films on 3 consecutive nights - happy me.

Sure I'd seen them before, but not at the movies, and so far apart in time I never "got" the attention to detail and continuity, the plot lines involving secondary characters, the symbolism (oranges!) in the trilogy as a whole. What a brilliant work of art.

Thursday, September 20

Several things

I love my weekly organic seasonal fruit and veggie baskets.

However we don't eat that much green salad. Cue lettuce soup, which is sort of nice but a bit insipid. Cue garlic croutons which make any soup instantly tastier.

My mother is visiting this weekend and I should be on a cleaning rampage but I can't be bothered. Will it piss off the neighbors if I procrastinate until later and start hoovering around midnight ?

I've been a lazy blogger.

That's all.

Wednesday, August 29

Bad food makes me angry.

Risotto with Parma ham and mozzarella, the menu said, for 17 euros. More than I want to spend on a one-course weekday lunch, but OK, fine.

A large plate appears, a small blob of pale risotto in the middle of it. Sprinkled on top, a few slivers of prosciutto-type ham, fried and crispy, and 4 little marbles of mozzarella, the kind you might toss with some cherry tomatoes to make a twee insalata caprese. The ham is tasty, but a garnish rather than a component of the dish, and the mozzarella balls are just lying there, not warm, not melting, just plopped on top of the rice like an afterthought. Mixed throughout the (rather bland) risotto itself, some diced tomato. Not a tomato sauce, not herby sun-dried tomato, just little pieces of tomato, by now warmed through by the risotto, but uncooked and out of place.

The hell ?

Saturday, August 18

Giverny oh so lovely. My last visit was 15 years ago and Monet's garden is even more beautiful than in my memories - and I want to live in his house. Really. All it needs is an ADSL connection and some modern kitchen appliances and I could move in tomorrow. Seriously, Giverny is an easy day trip from Paris and simply wonderful. The relatively new Museum of American Art is also well worth a visit - I'm impressed at how the architect managed to design a completely modern building from scratch in an old quaint village and have it blend in the landscape so well.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 8

Absolute heresy.

Noticed via Tastespotting, this entry at Eternally Cool: Italian chef Filippo La Mantia has "recently been getting a lot of press for joining the ranks of Italian chefs who choose not to use garlic in their food, choosing other natural ingredients such as citrus and herbs instead."

Instead? Instead? Absurd - pile on the citrus and the herbs and the garlic. And I'll have wine with that and coffee and a cigarette afterwards and that if makes me stinky so be it. It's worth it.

Tuesday, August 7


Awwww, how sweet, Titi has come up to bed with me! She's a real purring machine, isn't she - so loud! I'm glad she seems happy. Oh I would love to have a cat of my own again. I wonder if S. would agree? He does like cats and I think he's be OK with it, but on the other hand it will make travelling difficult. On the other other hand how often do we really go away? Not often enough. But that may change in the future. In fact it will change. It had better. I'm bummed that we're not going anywhere this summer. But anyway, I would love a kitty. What vet would I go to, the one in the 11th? She's really great. But it's so far away. Dr. What's His Name close by is much more convenient. But not as friendly. Oh I don't know. He boards cats too. That could be useful. Can you say kennel if you're talking about a cat or is that only for dogs? Maybe it would be best to get 2 cats together right away, that way they can keep each other company during the day. And if they're both adopted at the same time, then they won't be jealous of each other. Isn't that right kitcat? Don't you agree? Oh she's so warm and soft and she smells so clean. Cats really are the best. Self-cleansing. Like vaginas. Oh my god did I really think that? I'm such a weirdo. Weird cat-lady. Come here, let me cuddle you some some. Ouch, not with the claws! That's better thank you. You're so cute. Look at that face. Look at that tummy. Ickle cutie cat. Yes you are. Yes you are so cute. Uh huh. Oh dear I am really losing it.

Titi the cat:

*Feed me.

Monday, August 6

A little moan

...about the freaking weather.

After a nice properly summery weekend - and was that really too much to ask? huh? huh? - today it's November again. Temperatures have dropped 10 ° C since yesterday and it's pouring down with rain.

What's more, the air-conditioning maintenance people have set all the thermostats in the office to 16°, so here I am shivering in spite of long sleeved shirt and trousers and closed-toe shoes, listening to the rain. On August 6th. Global warming my ass.

Tuesday, July 31


Got my hair cut at the weekend. Hardly blog-worthy, now that it's very short and gets a trim every month or so. But I just caught a glimpse of the back of my head in a strategically placed mirror and noticed that I have a mini-mullet.

Shit, shit, shit !

Monday, July 30

Best. Thai. Curry. Ever. what S made for dinner on Saturday. In fact it was so good we had the leftovers for breakfast on Sunday.

Reminded me of when we were dating (i.e. spending as many weekends together as we could afford*). We'd get more curry than we could possibly eat from the best take-away in Sheffield, have a feast, and then eat the rest cold the next morning with mugs of tea. Not everyone's idea of ideal food on a romantic weekend perhaps, but it worked out well for us.

* With heartfelt thanks to BMI Baby, purveyor of cheap fares between Paris Charles de Gaulle and Nottingham East Midlands.

Saturday, July 21

Off to Gare du Nord a little while to pick up the lovely Miss Cookie.

Started to make a list of things to do while she is here, but realized my list of things to do is actually a list of restaurants and food shops to visit and things to eat. I don't think she'll mind too much. Ah Paris.

Saturday, July 14

2 days in Paris

Is a lovely film. I'm a sucker for movies that take place in Paris and I'm a sucker for movies about cross-cultural relationships, but having loathed Before Sunset, I went in to this one (which Julie Delpy directs as well as stars in) with lowered expectations, and came out delighted.

I could swear some of the dialogues are conversations I've had in real life, verbatim - only better, if that makes sense.

Adam Goldberg manages to play a sarcastic hypochondriac without sacrificing his masculinity - think Woody Allen-type humor, but with tattoos and a hairy chest. Julie Delpy's character is beautiful and neurotic and arty, but likeable and unpretentious.

The clichés are there (dumb American tourists! rude Parisian taxi drivers !) but Delpy has fun with them and uses them to wink at her audience rather than as the film's only comic motor, and it works.

Loved it.

Saturday, July 7

Gluttony is

... walking an extra few blocks to the best boulangerie I know instead of going to any one of half a dozen perfectly decent closer ones, getting 2 lemons tarts for breakfast and one baguette, and eating half the bread, still oven-warm, on my way home.

Last night's dinner

Loup de mer, which I think is sea bass, poached.
New potatoes, just boiled in their jackets.
Sauce made of a fair amount of good butter, melted and warmed but not left to cook, finely chopped shallots, and juice of half a lemon, liberally poured over fish and potatoes. Mmmmmm.

Tuesday, July 3

What's in your bag ?

Inspired by a Flickr group, and my mother, who is always horrified by the weight when I ask her to hold my bag for a second.

Umbrella and sunglasses.
Plain glasses.
Lip balm and lip stick. (At least one, often more !)
A powder compact with a built-in mirror and a separate little mirror in a black velvet pouch. Why ? No idea. I don't even use the powder to touch up during the day, but it makes me feel better to have it.
Wallet and keys. (What's in my wallet is a whole other post)
Mobile phone and digital camera.
Public transportation pass and book to read in the Metro.
Waterproof hat in case of rain that warrants a little something but is not umbrella-worthy.
Pantyliner in case it all gets too much for the Mooncup and Kleenex. (In case of paperless public bathrooms and / or weepy films)
Random papers and ticket stubs and sticks of cardboard from Sephora that were once perfume samples but no longer smell of anything.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 25

3 things

  • Flickr is dangerously addictive.

  • Bought old editions of Elizabeth David's French Country Cooking and Claudia Roden's Middle Eastern Food at a second-hand book store for 6 euros ! Classics that have been part of my mother's cookbook collection for as long as I can remember, and now I have my own copies.

  • Have just got a weekly "subscription" of organic fruit and veggies, locally or regionally grown whenever possible: every Wednesday I get to pick up a random assortment of in-season goodness from a neighborhood store. Can't wait to see what's in the basket tomorrow !

Friday, June 15

Smart and successful people

...don't necessarily have a lot of common sense.

Case in point, the lovely lady who requests a meeting with my boss. Meeting fixed. Fine. I ask for her phone number in case I need to get in touch to change the appointment. She mentions specifically that she will be travelling for the whole week prior to the meeting and gives me a number. Silly me assumes that's a cell phone. You would too, right ?

Murphy's Law being what it is, I need to cancel the meeting and as soon as I find out, I leave a voice mail a day for 3 days. No response. Lovely lady shows up at appointed time. Boss is not here. I apologize profusely for not having managed to reach her and we check the number she had given me - yep, it's her home office line.

Obviously the moral of the story is that I should never assume anything. But bloody hell it's annoying.

Wednesday, June 13

Oh. My.

Reading a NY Times food section article called "Fat, Glorious Fat, Moves to the Center of the Plate" half an hour before lunchtime is probably not a good idea...

Tuesday, June 12

What's in a name ?

On the metro a baby is fussing in its fancy McLaren pram and I hear the father say, "Arrête, Toscane".

Not sure whether that calls for a smile or a smirk.

Sunday, June 10

Time flies

.... and we all know it, but sometimes little incidents really bring it home - such as having a meal outside, watching a group of kids play around with a soccer ball. A few of them start to chant, "Et un, et deux, et trois - zéro" and it occurs to me that they weren't even born in 1998 when Les Bleus beat Brazil 3-0 in the World Cup final, and yet there they are, owning that little song, and I remember that day and night as if it were yesterday.

Tuesday, June 5

Talking about diets

In some circles it's a form of female bonding, or so it seems. Or perhaps not...

My boss tells me today that she didn't eat the sushi I ordered for her lunch because she's on a diet. (Huh? Sushi seems to be the ideal diet food to me, but I tell myself that perhaps she's avoiding the carbs in the rice). Anyway, after some short diet blabla (during which I confess that my diets consist of not having seconds, and only for about 2 days before I lose the will power even for that) I tell her that she looks great, which is the truth - granted I've never seen her in a bathing suit, but dressed - and she does dress very well - she has a figure most women would envy, honestly.

To which she replies, on her way out the door, "Thanks, but everything is relative".

Now I'm not usually paranoid (but everyone really is out to get me! nah, just kidding) or overly sensitive, but... ouch, no ?

Sunday, June 3

A wannabe Sartorialist post

Love this woman's take on white for summer - the shoes, the bag, the lace trim on her dress, the flesh-tone fishnets. White shoes in general are hard to do right, I think - they often look cheap for some reason, but hers are great.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 29

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Good - a 3-day weekend spent visiting dear friends whom I hadn't seen in far too long. Actually, scratch good and make that fabulous.

Bad - a dreadful sore throat, and generally feeling phlegmy and achey and tired. Silver lining: drinking loads of grog this evening in an effort to nip it in the bud.

Ugly - a deadline looming at work, a big project that needs to be wrapped up by June 28th. Wouldn't be too bad except that my boss is a first-class procrastinator (trust me, it takes one to know one) and therefore nothing is at the stage where it should be by now.

Friday, May 25

The joys

... of living with a smart-ass.

S, coming back from the supermarket:
- I got asparagus soup, the other choices were tomahto and mushroom.
- Oh good, cause I don't like tomayto soup.
S, completely deadpan:
- This was tomahto.

Wednesday, May 23

Playing tag per the lovely JB.

Each person tagged gives seven random facts about themselves. Those tagged need to write on their blog seven facts, as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag seven others and list their names on your blog. You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and need to read your blog.

1. Just about the only place in the world I'm not particularly interested in travelling to is sub-saharan Africa, and I don't like admitting it because I'm afraid that makes me seem racist. Is that silly?

2. I'm over loving my (not so) new job. In fact, I'm over working. Considering how many years I have left before retirement, and the unlikelyhood of winning the lottery, or marrying rich, this may be problem.

3. One of my plants died today; or rather, I decided today it was beyond saving. OK, so it's only a plant and not a pet, but it still feels sad. And the spot where it lived seems so empty.

4. I'm torn between yearning for minimalism and being a pack-rat at heart.

5. S just got tickets to go see Pirates 3 later on tonight and I'm absurdly excited.

6. I'm intrigued by sitemeters, but think that if no one reads my stuff I'd rather not know!

7. One of my co-workers gave a great big "awwwwww", looking at something behind me in a restaurant, and I turned around, honestly expecting to see a great dog face. But it was a baby. Go figure...

I tag Cookie, Machiruda, Y, Iggy, Pickychick, Kimono Hime, and Livingin Oz.

Wednesday, May 16

Tuesday, May 15

Wish list - part 1 of a series

Of course what I would really like is a Nikon reflex, but then I would want to faff around with different lenses and the next thing you know, woosh, I'd be in debt. So this little Panasonic bridge would do me just fine, thanks.

Saturday, May 12

Miss Bluebell, Margaret Kelly-Leibovici

"Her life was the subject of a BBC miniseries, ''Bluebell,'' in 1986, but Miss Kelly complained that the film's eight hours could scarcely begin to tell her story. She was abandoned as an infant; grew up poor; danced her way across the cabaret stages of Europe as a teenager; worked with Maurice Chevalier, Josephine Baker and Edith Piaf; was interned during World War II; saved her husband from the Nazis; raised four children; could still dance the cancan in her 60's; smoked a pack of cigarettes every day of her adult life; and was awarded the French Legion of Honor and the Order of the British Empire."

From obit by Margalit Fox, NY Times, found on the web here. Photo of her grave in Montmartre cemetery.

Rue Caulaincourt

Part of the "vide grenier" on rue Caulaincourt, but such a quirky image on its own.

Vide grenier means "empty attic". I guess elsewhere it would be called a garage sale, but I like the idea of having an attic full of junk that I would half-heartedly try to get rid of once a year or so, on a sunny day, using the event as an excuse to sit out on the sidewalk and watch the world go by.

Wednesday, May 9

Shamelessly pinched

... from Jo and Machiruda.


Scars upon scars on my knees. Used to run around and fall over a lot as a kid. Don't anymore.


Hmm. Bedroom, a painting by my mother. Living room, a painting I bought in St Paul de Vence and 2 black and white photos by an old flat-mate/friend who I've since lost touch with.


Mobile is black. Landline is grey.


At the moment ? All the Roadrunning, the live album, Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris. Over and over and over. A few old Tom Waits albums (early Waits, not the later stuff). Over and over and over. The soundtrack to Elizabethtown. Over and over and over. Yes, I get a bit obsessive. Oh, and whatever S choses to put on the stereo, but it doesn't really register with me. It's all what I call young people's music, except that it was young people's music back in the early nineties, but I didn't even listen to it back then when I was a young person.


A Picasa collage of photos of S and I. Say awwwwww. Or feel free to puke !


Knowing what I want to do when I grow up. And having it be an attainable goal.


I believe in equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation. So yeah.


Uh. Dunno.


My father's dead. They were until then. Not 100% sure they still would be today if he hadn't died, but who knows.


Soundtrack to Elizabethtown. Ha. See above.


I don't like the dark and never close shutters / pull curtains all the way.


Probably some film director, I'm a great cinema weeper. A real person ? My grandmother, seeing her weak and helpless and not recognizing her own family. (She's doing a bit better now, though, yay !)


Depends on a lot of things. Mood. Season. Time of day.

Fracas is my favorite sexy scent. Un Jardin en Méditerrannée is great for a summer day, as is Eau de Campagne. Féminité du Bois is warm and spicy, good for winter. So is Clair de Musc and most Lutens scents. If I had to pick only one, probably Narciso Rodriguez for her - a good all-rounder. Honey and orange blossom, but with a light musky base so it's not too sweet or flowery.


Not bothered.


No. I've taken them when necessary, but that's all. They helped with pain but didn't make me high or anything. Which is probably a good thing.




Mmmm pizza... Pancetta. Anchovies. Capers. I'll eat pizza with anything except pineapple, really.




My boss. And Nicolas Sarkozy. (Not mad enough to burn any cars though. Don't look at me, I didn't do it.)

Ha - just realized, after reading Dragon Girl's post, that I totally misunderstood this question and replied the wrong way around... that assumption probably says something about me - "moi, make someone mad ? impossible!"

Anyway, after last weekend, the answer would probably be my mother - whichever way around the question is !



Saturday, May 5

In celebration of

...International Jedi Day, which was yesterday ("May the Fourth be with you!"), I took the Ultimate Star Wars Personality Test. Apparently, I am Queen Amidala.

Who are you ? *

*warning - link is not work safe as Star Wars theme plays when the window opens !

Tuesday, May 1

Queensday !

Amsterdam tourist pics

There are 600000

...bicycles in Amsterdam, according to the guidebooks. Here are two of them. As someone who is used to some auditive warning that I'm about to get hit by a moving vehicle, I find the fast-moving bikes a bit disconcerting at first !

Amsterdam B&B

We arrive in Amsterdam and head straight for the B & B to drop off our bags before heading back into the center of town. The place is lovely, as you can see - here is a shot of the bedroom, and one of the balcony. The whole place is well-appointed and cozy. The landlady runs a tight ship - if we had been looking for a party hostel this would obviously not be the right place to stay, but it suits us perfectly.

I wasn't wide awake enough in the mornings to think of taking a photo of the breakfasts we were served in the room, but it was really good, and substantial - eggs, ham or bacon, yogurt, cheese, different kinds of breads, croissants, fresh fruit (strawberries one day, mango the next), freshly squeezed orange juice, and of course coffee and tea. All this for 75 € a night - excellent value, I think !

Friday, April 27

Packed !

and ready to go to Amsterdam for the long weekend. Bringing too many clothes (somehow I never wear half of what I pack, no matter how long or short the trip) but showing considerable restraint by taking only 2 pairs of shoes (yes, the "only" is a bit silly, as we'll be there 3 days, but I like having options).

Anyway, have passport, train tickets, money, address of B & B, phone, camera, clean underwear - the rest is detail.

Thursday, April 26

Welcome, 14

The future is already here.

My company has had a fingerprint recognition system installed to open the front door, so instead of inserting a real key into a real lock and turning it, we now put our index finger onto a little scanning device and hey presto, the door unlocks.

The novelty will no doubt wear off, but all week I've felt like a character in a spy movie, being granted access to the top secret security clearance zone of some nebulous intelligence agency. I was the 14th employee to have my prints scanned, so the LCD display reads "Identité OK. Bienvenue, 14" as the door opens. It's all very Mission Imposible.

Sunday, April 22

Part of the process

... the democratic one, that is.

Of course I voted today, but I also volunteered to tally votes at the end of the day. A very interesting experience, seeing how the system works first hand. It's very efficient and tamper-proof - every vote gets counted by 4 people, checked and re-checked.

One disenchanted citizen and film fan wrote in an unexpected choice for the Presidency - "Robert de Niro - waouh!"

Thursday, April 5

So I'm goofing around

... and just being silly, as one does sometimes.

And S says "I'm very lucky. I have a high tolerance for weirdness".

Wednesday, April 4

Friday, March 30


That's the official shoe count now, courtesy of 2 pairs of lovely ballet flats from Ash. One is utterly classic, in softest leather, with a tiny bow, à la Brigitte or Audrey. The other is satin and rhinestones. Ah, bliss.

Thursday, March 29

Isn't it annoying

... when a much looked-forward to lunch with colleagues leaves me thinking I would have been better off eating a sandwich at my desk.

Efforts to have a pleasant non-work related conversation were swept away in the path of a violent bitchfest over one - absent, naturally - person.

And then the check was split evenly between us and I ended up paying 24,90 € for my 12 € antipasti plate.

Ho hum.

And yes, I should have said something on the spot. But isn't this (partly) what blogs are for ? A safe place for petty anonymous rants ?

Sunday, March 25

François Ozon

I've tried to like him, I really have. I go into the movie theatre with an open mind - no, with a positive bias, even. But nope. I just don't get him.

Am currently reading Angel, by Elizabeth Taylor, the novel that his latest film is adapted from, and I'm really enjoying it. It's clever and wonderfully funny (in a Jane Austen rather than a Monty Python way) and it says this of its heroine: "He realised that she had great pride and not a trace of humour in her" and it seems to me that applies to Ozon's screen adaptation as well.

Still, it's always good to see Charlotte Rampling, and Sam Neill (have I seen him anything else since Jurassic Park?) gives a good performance too.

Friday, March 23


Found out today that the head of a company I used to work for died this week.

He was a real character, a brilliant businessman, at times unbelievably generous to his employees, but extremely demanding and prone to terrifying fits of anger when things didn't go his way or if he thought someone had failed him or not lived up to expectations. Not surprisingly, he went through a dizzying succession of assistants. I didn't work directly for him, but for one of his MDs.

Once when my boss was away on extended sick leave after an operation, I made a decision in his absence - it was only a paltry initiative - after all I was low, low woman on the totem pole, but for some reason this came to his attention. He called me into his office and asked why I had told X that Y. I started to reply, "well, I thought that..." but could get no further. He picked up a pile of papers from desk and threw them at me, screaming "I don't pay you to think!"

I would like to think that nowadays I would calmly reply, "in that case, sir, you pay me too much" and walk away. But this was a good 8 years ago, I was young, and it was my first "real" job, so I burst into tears and stumbled back to my desk to have a good cry. Various people consoled me ("there there, we all know he's a bastard"), and one kindly soul got me rather large glass of wine. (Yes, there was always booze around, and we could smoke at our desks too, in those days).

On the other hand, some months ago I was looking through old papers and found notes where he had praised me, and even years later, I felt proud.

Once a year he invited everyone in the office, from MDs to PAs, to an all expenses paid weekend in the South of France. We would fly into Nice, take a helicopter to Monaco, and from there his yacht would take us to Saint Tropez for a night out and oh my it was fun.

It all feels a little surreal now when I think of it.


Wednesday, March 21


... I forget what an interesting person my mother is, and it's nice to be reminded. Like when I was telling her about The Painted Veil, which I loved, and she told me she had met Somerset Maugham in a teahouse called La Pagode in Saigon, and that she had read all his books, and couldn't believe that I hadn't.

Friday, March 2


...thinking of Piaf leads to thinking to Gainsbourg, which leads to YouTube. This is good.

Thursday, March 1


Saw Dreamgirls last night, and came home singing and strutting, in an absurdly good mood.

Saw La Môme tonight, and am listening to my Piaf CDs now, weepy and desperate for a stiff drink!

Friday, February 23

Bad, bad, lazy blogger...

... that would be me.

Been very busy at work lately, not in the mood to sit in front of the 'puter in the evenings, etc, etc...

So, a few bullet points just to get back into the swing of things.
  • Having S's brother and his girlfriend over this weekend, which should be fun. Am looking forward to doing some touristy things and seeing Paris through first-time visitors' eyes again.
  • There's something special about slipping between fresh clean sheets when the bed has just been made - it's a sensuous pleasure, cool cotton on the skin, but a very virtuous one at the same time.
  • After quite a long time of drinking a couple glasses of cheap but decent plonk every day, having properly good wine again is a revelation. More of that, please.

Friday, February 2

I have a theory.

On February 1st, the ban on smoking in public places took effect in France.

In the past 48 hours, I've been confronted by, or a witness to, more incidents of outrageous rudeness than in the average year.


I think not.

Monday, January 29

3 things

1. I fell down in the Métro a week ago and still have big bruises on both knees and a scab on one. I feel like I'm 6. I can highly recommend Wolford hosiery, though, as they did not tear or run at all. Expensive, but top quality.

2. I've recently starting wearing high heels again instead of flats. Yes, this n° 2 may be a direct cause of n° 1. Never mind.

3. It's a good thing there is no Starbucks between home and office. If there was, my fondness for their chai tea lattes could very well turn into an expensive addiction, and I already smoke, so I don't need another one of those, thank you.

Sunday, January 14

Ah, Sunday brunch...

... at home. Croissants from the friendly neighborhood boulangerie, flakey and buttery and light, with good quality jam. Scrambled eggs, rich with cream and flavored with onion, cooked very very slowly until they reach the perfect consistency.

The window is wide open and the sky is blue. It feels like spring.

Thursday, January 11

Best buy of 2007!

...yes, the year is only 11 days old, but I got 2 of these at Gap Body for 1,99 euros each! Now, if only I could stop eating like a piglet and kick my butt back to yoga classes so I could look as trim as that...

Saturday, January 6

Because everyone else is doing it...

...I'll do my own "movies of 2006" round-up.

According to S - who keeps our ticket stubs - we saw 100 movies last year. Probably more, actually, because I've sure I've seen some without him, and I can't believe we've been organized enough to keep every single ticket - but anyway, that's impressive enough, isn't it? So here's a totally subjective list of my favorites of the year, more for the sake of my poor memory than anything else. Yes, it's a long list. Because I'm a very indulgent critic who can find redeeming qualities in most movies. Hey, I was even tempted to mention Snakes on a Plane. After all, it made me laugh and Samuel L. Jackson rocks. And strictly speaking, some of these may be from 2005 - but if they weren't released in France until 2006, then that's when I saw them.

Brokeback Mountain
Casino Royale
Children of Men
The Constant Gardener
Conversations with Other Women
Dans Paris
The Departed
Inside Man
Little Miss Sunshine
The New World
The Science of Sleep
The Secret Life of Words
Thank you for Smoking
United 93

Honorable mentions - otherwise known as movies that I really, really wanted to love but couldn't quite, or ones that were interesting enough to want to remember, albeit imperfect.

A Cock & Bull Story
The Ballad of Jack & Rose
Enfermés Dehors
Flags of Our Fathers
The Host
The Last Show
Mrs Hendersen Presents
Ne le dis à personne
OSS 117
Pan's Labyrinth
Pride & Prejudice
The Queen

The Worst of the Worst, otherwise known as "I'd rather gnaw my own arm off than sit through this again":

Fair Play - as painful as last year's Domino, and that says it all.
Changement d'adresse - "Woody Allen with a touch of garlic", one critic said. Woody Allen my ass. Garlic my ass.
Rosario Tijeras - a Colombian film about a hit-woman. I thought that even if the film was bad, the soundtrack should be worth listening to. Nope. Simply awful on all counts.
Comme t'y es belle - a chick-flick about a group of sisters/friends in the Jewish community in Paris. Could have been interesting, was a mess of unfunny stereotypes. Utter cringe-inducing crap.