Thursday, 30 April 2009

News item of the week

Courtesy of Yahoo...

Gallagher sparks flu panic

Noel Gallagher has revealed how he caused panic when he recently sneezed at a South American airport.

Made me laugh anyway.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Just as day is dawning

I've always liked the idea of being a travel agent.Which is just as well because I feel like one at the minute.Having spoken to the nice,understanding lady at the Sophienhof in Kiel this morning,causing her much amusement as I told her of my little cancellation accident last night,I then had to do the honours for mother and father.I bought the train tickets for the imminent visit last night,and have looked at approximately 694 hotels that might be appropriate.Choosing a hotel in Paris is a nightmare,particularly in my area it seems,as it's pretty expensive as it is.So I settled on Levallois.Because I like Levallois,and it's just across the road.

If any readers out there are in need of help,just write to me in the comments section with all your travel requirements.I specialise particularly in: Paris,the Kiel/Flensburg area,Oslo and Esbjerg.PVE wishes you a very bon voyage!

Of course,really I'm just a half-baked translator and proof reader.Who's rubbish with Microsoft Word.Actually,I started and completed a whole bit of work today,eventually.That doesn't happen very often,even if it does only really involve copying and pasting.So that was nice.My office best friend,who has for some reason started talking to me in a mixture of French and English,apparantly has work for me to do tomorrow,and "veut me voir.Early in the morning".I bet it's going to involve phones and long-distance calls and much embarassment as usual.Anyway,I've had the Postman Pat theme tune in my head since then.And I hope you have too now you've read this.It's annoying :)

One of our friends (OK,one of Maria's friends) had his last day at work today,so we went to the Italian restaurant round the corner for lunch to mark the occassion.Yesterday I had the misfortune of having to munch on foie gras,today it was raw egg (I wonder what it'll be tomorrow- horse feet?).I had spaghetti carbonara,and while it was a hell of a lot nicer than the one they make in the canteen (sauce so watery it just sinks to the bottom and leaves the spaghetti dry),I really wasn't feeling the raw egg that had just been cracked over it as an afterthought.And it was far too cheesy.And there was no black pepper.Or herbs of any sort.But I ate it anyway,it was €9 after all.

No exciting chats with RP today.Although he did say Bonjour whilst standing a little bit outside of my office.That's progress :)

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

In which Raquelita enjoys lunch à la française

Today started off in an utterly pants fashion (I can't use the word "pants" without thinking of Philip from The Apprentice now...God that was the most cringeworthy thing I've seen in a long time...).Following not much sleep thanks to incessant rain and wind last night,I had to be at work early for a meeting that I didn't understand a word of and was then told "you're writing the report".Hmmmm,am I now? It's gonna be a very short report I think...

So that annoyed me.One particular thing about that annoyed me enough to put down my Diddl pencil and sit on my notebook (well,it was a bit of a squash in the room),although I probably shouldn't say what it was,just in case.Let's just say there's nothing worse in my job than being compared.Grr.

Anyway,after that,we went for a ridiculously posh lunch.Or a typical French lunch.Depending on where you're from.I really wasn't in the mood for it.I'm really enjoying canteen lunches with Maria at the minute- we've been getting on really well lately.Well,not that we ever didn't...So yeah,I didn't really fancy it.And when I saw foie gras put in front of me,I really really wanted my normal steak and chips.Foie gras is one of those things that you look at and think it must all be a bad joke when French people still insist that their food is better than British food.I've had it once,in Norway.Or rather,it was James's and I was intrigued.But this was even worse than that.I just do not see what can possibly be appealing about...well I don't even really know what it is and nor do I want to.On a few occasions in France now,I've discovered the best thing to do is just to swallow it and pretend it's something else.It's not always easy,but it works.The champagne helped too.And the white wine,whatever it was.It wasn't Lambrusco but it'd do :)

Of course,all the glasses (4 of them!) and cutlery confused me.I've seen Pretty Woman a million times but still forgot which fork you use first.I was like a proper English person abroad.Felt a bit miffed that my buddy was down the other end of the table.He would have shown me.And mocked me.

We had beef for main course.Surprise surprise.I accidentally ordered it "à point" which I was terrified afterwards that it meant rare and that I'd get a cow on my plate and have to do the job myself.But it was OK.Rare is "saignant",which is also the French word for "bleeding".Mmmmm,nummy num nums!It was nice though,apart from the odd alarming piece of fat.There was mash,and runner beans.And a tomato on top of the mash.A nice touch I thought.

It was at this point that my neighbour started chatting to me.Now I've fancied the pants off him (oops,there's that word again) since my first day at work,but he never ever speaks to me.So this was a surprise.And I'm sure I was as red as my main course the whole time.My face definitely felt hotter than the sun anyway.There was more wine involved at this point (the red stuff,my nemesis),so I can't really remember that much.But he was very charming,laughed at my jokes that were probably really unfunny,and was impressed with my dissertation idea.I was also impressed that I managed to remember the title of it,given the circumstances.Oh yes,and he said that I speak very good French,especially considering I only have 4 hours of lessons a week.He overlooked the point that I've been learning for 11 years (half my life),but whatever.Whereas practically everyone I know in Germany (with one notable exception) thought my linguistic skills were great,RP (I shall refer to him as this from now on,don't ask...) is the only person to have said anything positive here.So that made me very happy indeed :)

A bit more vin rouge and I probably would have told him exactly what I think of his very lovely indeed accent when I've overheard him speaking English on the phone.

The day has come full cycle though and ended on another fail.Great as I think I might be at German,I somehow managed to cancel my hotel booking for next Friday.Pozdravlayu menya!

Oh,I had crème brûlée for afters.It was alright.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Quando sono sola sogno all'orizzonte

Oh dear,this made my eyes more than a little bit damp.

That song (along with Nessun Dorma) gets me every time (it's the words I think),but this version even more so.I didn't know Grégory ever sang it actually,until I read it on Wikipedia.

French star, Gregory Lemarchal recorded a version for his album "La voix d'un ange" which was posthumously released in 2007. It is not considered the best performance but has significant context as Lemarchal died of cystic fibrosis in April 2007 at the age of 23.

Mmm,maybe not the best,but still,I can't think of many other pop singers who could carry it off as well as him.

Oddest performance of the week?

Loving the inflatables :)

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Today in summary

- Visited by my French teacher.Spoke lots of French and quite enjoyed it.No going out for beer or generally having a bloody good evening like when my German teacher visited me in Kiel though
- Got kissed by lots of French men
- Discovered one of my colleagues who I fancy a little bit has been to Kiel
- Learned when to use gerunds,infinitives and participles in English
- Learned what gerunds,infinitives and participles in English are
- Got caught not working and looking up Italian nationality law instead
- Discovered I have the right to Italian citizenship/nationality providing Daddy has never renounced his
- Decided I'd probably never need Italian citizenship/nationality and therefore will not pursue it any further
- Chatted about Supersize Me,apparantly it's only just been shown over here
- Had McDonalds in Levallois
- Decided Levallois is better than Paris
- Washed my bed linen in the sink.It's nearly dry
- Watched yesterday's Apprentice- Howard should definitely win.Oh,and I loved Captain Squawk by the way
- Watched yesterday's Newswipe
- Waiting for someone to upload tonight's Inbetweeners.Although it hasn't been on in the UK yet,so I think I'll be waiting a while :)

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Why didn't you say something earlier?

has just come to my attention that the birthday of this little blog has been and gone without me realising.I started it back on the 29th March 2008,and duly forgot about it for the next 2 months,which is probably why I didn't realise it was a year old already.So happy belated birthday,blog! Here,have some cake...

Might be a bit stale,it is 17 months old after all...And I know you're not 21...

Anyway.Thanks to the 1772 peeps who have visited since March last year.I realise probably half of those were me (stupid cookie setting) and Keira,but whatever :) Traffic has increased (not by much though) recently,and I seem to be getting visitors from all over the world (OK,Europe mostly).So it always intrigues me to see how people come across this blog.Sitemeter suggests that it's the result of google searches which are...

- valid: "French europop" (a few peeps from various places)
- stalker like: "gregor schlierenzauer's girlfriend" (has come up a surprising amount of times,often in Eastern Europe.I didn't even know he had a girlfriend!)
- very specific: "blog english woman in flensburg" (someone in Flensburg,surprisingly.Well I was in a magazine that was released there once (even if it was nothing to do with the blog)...Maybe I have a fan :) )


- just plain odd: "where can i get a rowley birkin wig?" (someone in America.They have The Fast Show there?)

Anyway,however you get to PVE,keep on coming! It's good to know you're here :)

Monday, 20 April 2009

Someday I will live my fantasy

In my world where no one seems to stay in the same place for very long (including me that is),and you get the feeling that some of your friends from home have given up on you because you're not part of their amazing fantastic new life wherever that may be,it's good to have a constant presence.As bored as I am of being away,I still wouldn't swap everything I've done (or haven't done as the case maybe) in Kiel and Paris for 3 or 4 years in one British city with a constant hangover,not remembering what I'd done the night before and arguing with my supposed best mate over some bloke.I know that's "the student thing to do" but I just find it so crass and a waste of time.Snobby as it might be,I just think I'm above all that.

I still do enjoy seeing people from home when I get the chance,but everything seems to have changed so much,sometimes it feels like we only do it out of politeness and it just doesn't feel the same anymore.Maybe I'm just wired a bit differently to them,but me and Keira have managed to keep in touch practically every day since we've been away,and we've lived in 3 different countries and had loads of new things to get used to.So I guess I'm just a bit miffed that with the others,it's always me who initiates the conversation and even then,it's stilted and a bit pointless.

I still have one person though who hasn't changed (thank God),and who I can rely on for regular MSN chuckles usually about all manner of disgusting things and for reminiscence about all the hilarity that occurred when we worked together 4 years ago.4? Or 3? I can't remember now...And believe me,it's often very much needed :)

Anyway,how did this all come about? I didn't mean to write about that,what I meant to tell you about was the exciting news that I've started writing again :S Many times I've embarked on writing a fantastic work of fiction,but every time I've failed and either got bored with it or realised the whole idea was just a load of pants.This idea though has been in my head for nearly 4 months,and seeing as I have a lot of "brain-time" that would be much better used on things other than it currently is,I thought I'd give it a go.In my head it sounds brilliant,in reality it's probably the worst idea since Belarus sending that Elfimov guy to Eurovision,but what the hell :) Oh,and speaking of Eurovision,it's more or less 100% inspired by this song...

Yep,I'm writing a story based on a song that didn't even get through the National Finals in one of the worst Eurovision years I remember.That says it all really :)

Sunday, 19 April 2009

I was not supposed to fall in love with you

This weekend has been a fail and win in equal measure I think.Yesterday,the plan was to go to the Musée d'Orsay (there's an exhibition about 19th century Italian photography and painting that I want to see),but that didn't work.After several minutes of lateness and several phonecalls between myself and Maria (no matter where we decide to meet,we never find eachother without phoning eachother at least 3 times),we discovered the queue was far too long to be worth standing out in the rain for 20 minutes for.So we got lost a bit and then went to the Les 4 Temps shopping centre in La Défense.I didn't buy anything but did acquire a headache that lasted a good 8 hours or so,and resulted in me being in bed by 10.Fail.I did have a very very nice if not far too spicy thai green curry though.And we witnessed an amusing yet typical argument between waitress and disatisfied Parisian customer (who after the event,went back to her seat glowering at the poor waitress and pointing at her as if to say "I'm watching you").And Maria told me some amusing stories about weird teachers at her old school in Venezuela.Oh,and we discussed the horror that is working in retail.Even 3 years later,I still find that therapeutic :)

Today me and Sophie had lunch at a very nice supposedly English style place near St Michel.Normally in Paris you don't get much food at all,but maybe that's why this place was English-style,as neither of us could finish what we had.And mine was only salad :/ After that we walked around a lot and ended up at the Jardin du Luxembourg,which is very nice indeed.

Around the railings of the gardens there's an interesting art exhibition type things full of pictures and words about all the EU member states.As an extreme EU-phile,this pleased me greatly :)

Anyway.Do you remember the first song that got you obsessed with Europop? If you are,that is.Well I rediscovered mine on Friday night,through doing something which be explained more at a later date either here or on WYM.It's by Gloria Estefan and it's called Corazón Prohibido.Despite having watched Eurovision for many years before,this was the song that really did it for me.It was around this point of my life that I started becoming very interested and more aware of my cultural identity,and so thought anything "Latin" was brillo.My dad had Gloria's album,also called Gloria,back in 1998 and although I liked quite a few of the English ones,there were 3 Spanish songs stuck on the end,and this was my particular favourite.I spent so long learning the words to it...Obviously never inspired me to learn Spanish though.When I got the choice a year later,I went for good old Deutsch instead.I won't even go into why...

The English version Heaven's What I Feel was also on the album,and I think I remember it being released in the UK.From what I can gather,the lyrics are pretty similar in English and Spanish- loving someone you shouldn't and it being great and wrong at the same time blah blah.I wasn't interested at the time anyway,I just thought it was cool to learn a Spanish song :)

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Observations of no specific time period

In Germany I wrote about my observations of the week,well,nearly every week.But here not so much,mostly because I don't do anything.Which reminds me of this conversation I had with my favourite work person today (we're friends again now after the thing that happened yesterday.A thing that I never actually wrote about,but never mind):

Me- Je ne fais rien ici, je ne suis pas motivée.Mon problème c'est que mon cœur reste toujours en Allemagne
Him- Ta cœur ou ta tête?
Me- Tous les deux...

(I only include this in the hope that one of my friends from home is reading.He'd be so proud of my wishy-washy lines :) )


- Middle aged Frenchmen seem to love my dress sense.I wonder what this says about my dress sense?
- French men in general are rather fashion conscious,not like the ones at home.I like
- However they seem as silly and forgetful as men at home.This afternoon marked the fourth time my favourite person at work told me where he was going on holiday,despite us having had a very in-depth conversation about it once before,seeing as I've already been there and he wanted advice
- French people are absolutely obsessed with healthy eating,so much so that it is quite annoying.Some are quite hypocritical though- I'm always being told by one particular person that I shouldn't drink so much coke (hmm,like Germany alll over again),yet the same person will eat a small yogurt and pour a whole sachet of sugar into it
- I've mentioned backpacks,but what is it with rollerblades and scooters on the metro?! OK you can excuse kids,but it's never kids with them,it's businesspeople.And lots of them.Why?! You really don't need to be anywhere that fast.Rollerblade OR metro.Not both
- Things I've seen people carrying on the metro (at rush hour): a big spider plant,IKEA flatpacks,rolled up carpets (in the case of 3 North African men this morning- 3 generations of what I assume was the same family each carrying a carpet!),and the best...a settee.Yes.And not even a 2 seater either,a big massive one
- Dora the Explorer speaks English instead of Spanish (might have mentioned that before)
- Steak really is a staple here
- Everyday items I normally take for granted are bloody expensive- pillows and corkscrews being the ones that immediately come to mind
- In France,"kebab" is just a way of cooking meat.What we at home would call a kebab is called a "Greek",well "Grec" anyway
- Kebabs in France are rubbish

Hell is other people at breakfast

I'm currently sweltering in my box here- I can't open the window because it's so windy I think everything in here would get sucked outside in 5 seconds,which isn't good when you live on the 8th floor of an 8 floor building.I do have a fan but I think putting it on would be a bit extreme for April.Oh well.

I just wanted to link to this site that I discovered today anyway.It's called World Hum,and if you're obsessed with all things travel like I am,you'll like it.I acquired 16 power point presentations today that I have to translate into French,so I think it'll be a lifesaver during the (many) breaks I plan to take :) Today I read the article Confessions of an Introverted Traveller and it's easily the best article I've read in a long time.Through my whole time away I've been worried about what people might think about me.People at home that is.I worry that they think I'm boring or have some kind of personality defect because I'm not all that interested in meeting new people.At least not making 'friends' anyway.If it happens,great,but I'm not one for actively seeking out people.I believe you can learn just as much about a place- if not more- from exchanging the odd sentence (especially in the right language) with colleagues,shop owners,whoever,than trying to recreate your life at home.(Not that there's that much social interaction going on there either...).Which is why for me,coming away to work rather than study and be practically forced to socialise with people I probably don't really want to,is a much more fulfilling thing.But à chacun son goût as I've never heard anyone here say :) Anyway,this article on World Hum (and the comments that follow it) made me realise that this way of life is much more common than I thought it was.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Railway Tracks

Yes it's Teitur time again.

Tokspor is the only Faroese song I've ever heard sung live,so it's a bit special.I had no idea what any of it meant when I heard it the first time,but I thought it was lovely and even though the music itself is relaxing and chilled out,I thought there was something about the song that sounded really hopeful too.Well.You can see for yourself,and I've put the translation underneath too.Thoroughly bloody wonderful lyrics as always.This performance was from a club in Paris (looks like the Sentier but is probably a million times bigger in reality :) ) a week before I saw him in Esbjerg.I'm sure he was wearing that cardigan too...

We have built this endless city
Where the electricity flows like a spiderweb
It catches everything along the way
From thieves in the night to animals astray
The railway tracks reach far away
And I long for home to stretch my tired legs

People walk the streets in winter coats
It has been so cold, the rivers are frozen
The ice it bites everywhere it can
Not even the trains can get used to the cold
The clock faithfully keeps time
Soon I will move from here, by foot, if I have to

I need to return to a smaller life
To be alone with those that I know
Where no one looks at me strangely
Where I already know the song of the birds
Railway tracks aren't found there
But I know a way, if I have the patience

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

So what ya gonna bring to my party then? A calculator...

I love The Apprentice and am looking forward to watching it on a real telly tomorrow.I've just come across these videos on youtube,I love them,they're so funny.

Am going back to the UK tomorrow for the weekend.So see you on here on Monday evening- inshallah. :)

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Titles are overrated anyway

Today's been interesting.I had to get to work early for the meeting,so I got up at the ungodly hour of 7.20 (compared to 8.45 most days),and watched a bit of Dora the Explorer on TF1 while I was getting ready.Interesting cultural point- here in France,Dora speaks English where she'd normally speak Spanish.Why I wonder?

Anyway,I got to PdC (my metro station) to see on the screens that are always full of cheerful news,that there were problems on line 13 in all directions,therefore big delays.Aaagggh.Indeed there were a lot of people at St Lazare,queuing round the corner (just about) and the likes.But I'd be buggered if I was getting up early for nothing.So I pushed my way right to the front of the platform,which was a lot easier than I thought it would be,and got on the first train available.Win.

After some last minute fussing around doing things that would have been done ages ago if I'd been told correctly,and after etiquette procedures which I didn't understand at all (I'm from Kent,how should I know what manners are?),we started the real business and I wrote lots and lots of notes.I only hope I can read them tomorrow when I have to write them up.

One of the guys I rather like was there.He's gorgeous but he has bad table manners and he never talks to me,or should that be- doesn't acknowledge I'm there.This went to a whole new level today when he had to do something on my computer,and- despite there being quite a lot of room- he practically sat on my lap to do so.And still didn't say a word.That amused me anyway.Actually he did say something afterwards,but it wasn't very interesting.Oh yeah,and then for some reason (again,despite there being a lot of room),he decided to sit directly behind me like we were on a bus or something,and kept looking at my notes.Which really annoys me!I don't know why.I'm a control freak like that.

After all that though,I went back to my office (Office Buddy has returned- that will feel weird tomorrow after being on my own for 2 weeks),had a chat with my favourite person nextdoor (he's so nice,he seems to be the only person there who understands me- not in an emotional sense,in a pure "I got that the first time you don't have to repeat it" kind of way) about holidays (as usual),and then came home after a brief stop in Levallois to buy something that's a bit overdue.And some wine- a half bottle, of which I have drunk 3 glasses and spilt another all over the rug by my bed.Oh well.

Oh,and by the way- my daddy didn't approve of my Dieux du Stade post apparantly.So here's some nice French men with clothes on to redress the balance.

I love Vincent Cassel.I think I first saw him in La Haine,a brilliant film about life in the Parisian suburbs- the more rubbish ones that is- that manages to be gritty and real without being completely depressing.Crimson Rivers is another really good film he's in- weird,but very good.Apparantly he's from Montmartre- a very cool place indeed :)

Guillaume Canet is lovely,probably with a capital L.He's from Boulougne-Billancourt which is a posh Parisian suburb where Sophie works,and Yoplait's fizzy yogurt is made.I first saw him in Jeux d'Enfants,a story about childhood sweethearts who grow apart etc etc.It's good,I've only seen it once,so must remember to bring it back to Paris with me next week.I have (I think) another one of his films too- Ne le dis à personne- which he starred in and directed.Apparantly it's rather famous. *shrugs* I didn't realise that.

Gaspard Ulliel is soooo cute :) He's been in quite a lot of films considering he's only 24- the best one obviously being Paris Je t'aime (he was in the soulmates bit at the printing shop in Le Marais).

I really do love French men...

What hits you is the pain

I forgot to mention this at the weekend.

Dizzy is the new Yoplait drink which is being advertised all over the metro (and telly apparantly) at the minute.On Saturday at St Lazare,Sophie pointed out that everyone seemed to have one of this purple bottles,and when we found people distributing them for free,we thought we'd better try it.Lucky me,I got the last bottle :)

The advertising slogan is "ce qui frappe c'est sa douceur" (what hits you is the sweetness).But whizzing past the adverts on the metro the other day,I thought it said "douleur" instead (what hits you is the pain).This is probably more accurate.Because Dizzy is fizzy yogurt.Yes.Fizzy yogurt.It's wrong,so wrong.But the Parisians at least seem to love it...

Monday, 6 April 2009

Kiel,meine Perle*

€75 later I have a new French phone.My British one is working intermittently,but I can't deal with its attitude,so I only use it for JC to wake me up singing Baila in the mornings.

The weekend was a complete write-off,I did pretty much nothing,and was annoyed because my phone didn't work,my internet didn't really work,I didn't get to the theatre,the weather didn't know what it was doing,my hip has started to hurt again and I've run out of things to watch on youtube.

I've been feeling miffed for a while now.Well,about a week.Paris is great,it really is,but I'm bored with being away now.It's also a bit frustrating because my French hasn't improved at all.Well,it has since I got here,but it's still not up to the level it normally is at university.Which is just rubbish.I suspect this has something to do with the fact that,although I'm trying,I'm not really into it.I was never looking forward to coming to France.There are so many great things about Paris,and Parisian culture,and the work ethic (I love my workplace more and more everyday :) ) and unlike some other people I know who were here before me,I think I've fit in with no problems at all.You don't have to speak French all the time,if someone can see that you're having problems,they'll switch to English.Which is nice if not very frustrating indeed for a linguist.That said though,I do speak far better when I'm distressed.Shame everything here is so laid back then I suppose...

But my heart is still in Schleswig-Holstein so to speak.I miss Saturday afternoons spending too much money in Flensburg,the boring train journey back wondering what is in Süderbrarup and thinking I really must go there one day,getting the bus back (for nothing) to Alsenstraße and stopping at Lokma kebab before going home.Oh yeah,and speaking a language that I enjoy speaking and am rather good at.There are things about the place that irritate me and that I don't understand.France is a Latin country,whereas Germany (or SH at least) is much more Nordic in terms of culture.I think I probably fit in to the Latin way a bit better,but I have big appreciation for Germany.For a start,SH is pretty.Not all of it,but the city of Schleswig and the villages around it are lovely,Lübeck is great,and there's nothing there I love more than walking along the Flensburger Fjord.Also,it's close to Denmark,and if there's anywhere outside of Medway where I feel completely at home (even if it is a bit unnerving),it's Southern Denmark.Most local people in SH don't seem to think too much of their state.Or at least,Kielers don't.It's true,it is boring after about a week and there really isn't much to do,but that's what's great about it.It's normal.It's not a big flashy capital city full of tourists and cool architecture and things.It is what it is- fjords,Nordic walkers,rapeseed fields and cyclists.And it's flipping brilliant.

*Well the saying is "Hamburg,meine Perle" but I don't like Hamburg.And it isn't in SH.

Sunday, 5 April 2009


So I was meant to be going to see Je m'voyais deja this weekend seeing as it's my last chance and all.I went to the theatre yesterday but it seemed everything was shut,so I thought I'd call them today to book my ticket.But after checking the website this morning,the phoneline is only open Monday to Saturday.Rubbish!So it looks like I won't go after all.Still,it was like €40.I could buy half a Longchamp bag for that...

Saturday, 4 April 2009

F*****g technology!

Europop Mansions Paris Branch is awash with bad feeling this evening.My British mobile and the French mobile networks have taken it upon themselves to go all Dima B and Dima K on me ie- they don't connect anymore.It was fine this morning,fine when I called Maria to say I'd be at the opera house in 5 minutes,fine when we were having lunch in an overpriced,pretty disappointing cafe in St Lazare,but after that it decided it didn't want to know anymore.I have full reception but "Limited Service".Read- "no f*****g service whatsoever.I can't make/receive calls or texts,can't check my balance and can't even phone Virgin's Helpline.Which is probably for the best as I bet they're anything but helpful.When I do try to make calls it says "Not Allowed" like I've done something bad.Sorry phone,I didn't realise I was at your mercy.Whether it's just something to do with France or if it'll continue to be a brat in the UK next week,I don't know.I spoke to the guy who works at my local internet cafe (after I tracked him down in a minimarket) and he was very nice indeed.He said it could be a network problem and if it's still like it tomorrow,he'll do something to it (I don't really know what).Anyway,I hope it'll work.It wouldn't bother me so much if this happened at home,but my phone is my only 24hour communication method here.So it does bother me.Grrrrrrr.

Friday, 3 April 2009

The PVE Essential Guide to French Culture

Don't let it be said that PVE is all about my moaning,my shopping trips and all the boring things I did at the weekend.Look at it as a cultural education too.

Yesterday I got to work lateish at about 10.Sometimes I do this by choice but yesterday I did intend on going early and was very annoyed that my attempt was thwarted by Line sodding 13 at St Lazare.AGAIN.I waited a good half an hour for a train that I could actually get on without risking death by asphyxiation,fighting anyone who dared push in front of me on the platform and getting thoroughly annoyed by the bint behind me who saw fit to hold on to the pole in front of me thus getting in my way,when there was a perfectly good door handle nearer to her.Thankfully she got of before I did,but still,the result was that I was in a very bad mood indeed when I got to work.

Anyway,when I got there,I saw Maria had sent me an email,the contents of which cheered me up immensely :) If you're not familiar with Dieux du Stade (aka The Best Idea in the World Ever),then allow me to explain.

A whole 8 years ago,someone had the great idea of getting the Stade Français rugby team from the posh part of Paris to make a calendar where they do things like this...

and this...

oh,and this too...

I might as well end the story there,that's all you really need to know :) Anyway,what Maria sent me was all the pictures of this years' calender,which you can see here.Mmmmm...There needs to be more naked French men in my life.Definitely :)

JC Watch: Part 5

I really need to start putting my telly on once in a while.So I watch a bit of Teleshopping on France 1 in the mornings when I'm getting ready,but methinks JC isn't gonna appear on that any time soon.Then again,depends how desperate he is to get this third album out I suppose.Which isn't very judging by the fact he's been working on it for about 45 years now.So he's only taking the big gigs for now- word association games on teatime telly that is :) Still,probably better than The One Show...

In my defence though,I was at Sophie's house last Saturday night.And she doesn't have a telly.Not that she would have wanted to watch a quiz show with everyone's favourite washed-up Belgian pop star anyway I suppose.

I went to say hello to one of my favourite peeps at work today,I had to poke him because he was listening to music and didn't notice me come in.He's probably sick of my physical/verbal abuse by now,but that's another story...Anyway we got talking about music and I told him about my love for JC:

- I love Jonatan Cerrada
- To look at?
- Erm,a bit...I saw him the other day
- I think he's doing theatre work these days
- Yes! I'm going to see the musical this weekend

And I will! Definitely (in between present shopping for Keira's birthday and going up the Eiffel Tower or whatever Maria and Sophie decide to do this weekend).Because it's only on for another week and I'm not here as of next Thursday.I'm excited :)

I spy with my little eye


PARIS (AFP) — Two senior executives at French state energy giant Electricite de France (EDF) have been charged on suspicion of spying on Greenpeace, a judicial official said Tuesday.

EDF security chiefs Pierre Francois and Pierre Durieux are charged with conspiring to hack into computer systems including at the environmental group, the official said, confirming a report on the Mediapart website.

A computer expert is also charged in the case along with Thierry Lorho, the head of private detective firm Kargus Consultant, and a third unnamed person, the official said.

Both executives deny knowingly hacking into a computer system, but the computer expert has admitted the charge, the judicial official said.

EDF confirmed on Tuesday that an investigation had been opened for "fraudulent intrusion into computer systems" and that a search had been carried out on its premises.

But the energy giant said it was a victim of the detective firm Kargus, and that it had registered as a civil plaintiff in the case, a spokesman told AFP.

A source close to the investigation told AFP that Kargus had signed a contract to provide unspecified "services" for EDF.

I don't fink dat sounds very good...Interesting though,that this story came out the same week that Deutsche Bahn boss Hartmut Mehdorn resigned because of the spying-on-staff scandal (good old useless,overpriced Deutsche Bahn :) ) and Airbus also admitted to doing the same thing.It's one thing spying on your well,enemies I suppose,but doing it to your staff...that's just all kinds of wrong.

That's the only thing of interest that's happened here this week anyway.Or rather,the only bit of news that I've heard about.Nothing like sneaking a look at someone's paper on the metro in the morning.This is something I often do now,I used to get my own but my room started to look like the inside of a recycling bin,so I stopped.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

RIP Anton :(

You might remember Anton,my pink housemate.Well,the pressures of living in an 8th floor sauna got too much for him.The other day I gave him some sugar to try and liven him up a bit (he had about 3 flowers left at the time and was sagging a bit),but that combined with the oppressive heat in my room seemed to do him no good and by last night he was flopped all over the place with yellow leaves and funny coloured stalks and still only 3 flowers.So this morning he went in the bin and hopefully off to flower heaven.

But he will be replaced.Soon enough :)