2014

Here we go, tip-toeing into another brand new, shiny year full of promises. Mostly promises of keeping the promises that we made last year but then broke. Mine are : to stretch every single day of this year (I have 20 mins before midnight), to pick up an instrument on a regular basis and blow down it/strum it/press its keys, to write daily, and to be more patient with the children. Ha ha ha, I can hear most of my readers laugh to themselves (most of them being family and close friends and/or hostages in my own home), as you all know in 20 minutes I will have broken at least one of my resolutions. But the 1st of January doesn’t count as most of us are recovering from last night’s party.

I would just like to say Happy New Year to those of you who do actually read my blog once or twice a year or even more. HAPPY NEW YEAR. I hope 2014 brings good things you were hoping for and other good things that you didn’t imagine in your wildest dreams. Good things galore to all of you. To everyone!

I barely wrote last year (that’s 2013), my blog slipped down to Very Low Priority status while I went back to work, a new sort of work, and started to earn my living again. This year is already filling up with quite a few projects, either lucrative or artistic (rarely both at the same time) and all very enjoyable, which means I don’t have to put in as much time re-training or finding work, I just have to do the work, which somehow is easier then looking for it. So… I’m hoping to write more often.

No promises, mind. Just a Happy New Year to y’all.

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Hunters Backlash …

Well, it had to take something pretty strong to get my writing my blog again. I just had a very angry comment about a post I wrote just over 2 years ago: The Wild Boar Hunting Society. The person writing the comment was so angry at me, threatening to spray pig slurry on my home, that I went and re-read the post. And I have to admit that reading it with fresh eyes, I realised that I had made some big sweeping statements two years ago. In the blog post I come across as a raging extremist. I think it was partly because like the person who was angry at me, I was also very angry when I wrote the post. That week I had been in close, conflictual contact with some very drunken, selfish, rude hunters who had blocked the road to our house with their massive jeeps. And it was the two year anniversary of the death of a young man who had been out on his mountain bike and shot and killed by hunters. And I was breast-feeding and hormonally sensitive. Especially when walking past the cut-off tails of baby wild boars that had been nailed to the door of the hunters’ hide-out. But that doesn’t excuse everything. I did write “I hate hunters. I hate them with all my might. I delight in tales of them accidentally shooting each other.” That was pretty nasty of me, I have to admit. And I went on to write, “When I see them, I scowl and send out deadly rays of painful cell-shrivelling terror, aiming for their inner organs. The more hunters who perish, the happier I am. This is because all the hunters I have ever met are : 1/ boorish, 2/thoughtless, 3/self-important, 4/narrow-minded, 5/ macho. They are also all red-faced and ugly.” Ahem. I can imagine that someone who doesn’t know me might have read that post and come to the conclusion that I am an absolute raving loon, wrapped up in a fog of hatred and bitterness. And to lump all hunters into one category is totally unfair, I know. I can’t stand people doing that, yet I did it 2 years ago having just had a run-in with a nasty bunch of blokes who all happen to like shooting animals of a winter morning.

Since then I have met some nice hunters. Ones who are careful and respectful of nature and the families living in the countryside. Ones who warn you they’re hunting in a certain area so that you don’t stumble into their crossfire. On two different occasions I have found a couple of lost hunting dogs and have phoned their owners so they could be reunited with their faithful friend. I even offered them a coffee. I have had a meal with some very nice hunters who are friends of a friend. One of my colleagues, who is now a friend, turns out to be an occasional hunter. So my view of hunters has changed. Some of them are utter idiots, still stumbling drunkenly through the valley shooting too close to the village houses, but some of them are very decent chaps.

Here is the angry comment on my original ‘Hunters” post:

“If only you could see yourself for what you are. In my opinion the sort of Brit who gives other English people in France a bad name. Who or what gives you the right to be critical of the local traditional culture. Hunting in France has been practiced for a very long time & certainly long before you imported your intolerant towny views. Rarely have I read such a demonic rant as yours about the hunters. You are obviously the wrong sort of person in the wrong place at the wrong time. Either you should ship-out or get professional therapy for your intolerance & try to blend with your locality. Thank God you don’t live anywhere near me or I’d be delivering a couple of tons of pig slurry via pressure pump all over your house. Surpised no one has done so already, it’s long overdue.”

In response to this, I have a few things to say.

Who or what gives you the right to be critical of the local traditional culture.” Well, anyone has ‘the right’ to criticise anyone or anything, including local traditional culture. It’s called freedom of expression. And criticism shouldn’t come as a surprise when certain participants of a traditional pastime are disrespectful of the people actually living there. The hunters who tend to block the village square and all access to the houses below the village don’t actually come from around here. They’re not locals at all. They drive down from Lyon and St Etienne, hunt, drink, hunt a bit more while still drunk, drink more, then drink-drive their way to their weekend gîte. I’m not the only one who is annoyed with the behaviour of these particular hunters; lots of other villagers are bothered by them, our mayor too. They are renowned for being disrespectful and aggressive. Very different to the hunters I have met who live around here. The local hunters are far more careful of the environment and the villagers.

“Hunting in France has been practiced for a very long time & certainly long before you imported your intolerant towny views.” Hmmm. How do you know I’m a “towny”? I’ve been living in France for 18 years, most of that time in the countryside. When I lived in central France I ran a farm with my French boyfriend. I have birthed lambs, calves and foals. I tended to a vegetable plot so huge we didn’t need to buy any vegetables for five years. I know my plants, my trees, my mushrooms. Not exactly a towny then. It’s these particular hunters who are “towny”, driving down from the big cities to have careless fun in the countryside. And even if I was a towny, just because something has been practiced for a very long time doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be criticised. Hanging was practised for a very long time until someone started to make noises about it not being a very nice ‘tradition’.

“Rarely have I read such a demonic rant as yours about the hunters.” Yeah, you’re right there. I did indeed sound demonic. And I was indeed ranting. Sorry about that. I was really pissed off with those disrespectful drunken men. And I went and lumped all hunters in the same bucket, which isn’t fair, I know. It’s quite a revelation to read something I wrote so long ago, now in a very different state of mind, and to actually be regrettably surprised at what I wrote.

You are obviously the wrong sort of person in the wrong place at the wrong time”. Erm… hang on. Maybe those drunken hunters were actually the wrong sort of people in the wrong place at the wrong time. ie: rowdy, drunken blokes in a sleepy little village at 2 in the morning, parked so that the inhabitants couldn’t drive down to their houses, or out again in the event of an accident and/or a dash to the hospital.

Either you should ship-out or get professional therapy for your intolerance & try to blend with your locality.” Yeah, thanks mate. I help the local farmers out when they need a hand, visit the elderly ladies in the village, only buy local produce from the local farmers, give free English lessons to the neighbourhood schoolchildren, translate all sorts of things for the villagers and help them when they don’t understand documents in English, take all our vegetable peelings and leftovers down to the farm to feed the pigs, give guided tours based on the local architecture, history and geology of this corner of the Ardèche, speak fluent French with local slang thrown in… if that’s not blending in with my locality then I don’t know what is. You have hastily judged me on one angry blog post without knowing anything about me or my life.

“Thank God you don’t live anywhere near me or I’d be delivering a couple of tons of pig slurry via pressure pump all over your house.” Wow. And you talk about intolerance and demonic behaviour. Nice one, the pig slurry and the pressure pump.

Surpised no one has done so already, it’s long overdue.” Well, now things are getting interesting because I have never been “ranted at” before in my life, yet just yesterday someone had an email rant at me for something entirely unrelated. Or was it? I am beginning to wonder whether the two angry rants are in fact coming from the same source. It’s so easy to find people on the internet. All it takes is typing my name into Google and there my blog is. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s pure coincidence. But the writing styles are VERY similar… which makes me wonder… hmmm…

Four times a year.

“WHAT?” you are thinking, “Four times a year?! She only does it FOUR TIMES A YEAR?” Yes. Statistically speaking, I am now down to four times a year. The last time I did it was the 3rd of June. Exactly 4 months ago. This is not good.

And the last time I did it, not many people were involved. I clearly don’t have the pulling power I used to have. They say that when you do it often, you get better and better at it, so people remain interested and keep coming back for more. Regularity keeps the cogs oiled and the wheels turning. My cogs and wheels are now so rusty it will take a harsh iron brush and a pint of WD40 to get things moving again. Maybe I should just throw in the towel and admit defeat: I am not cut out for writing a blog.

“Oh, she’s talking about writing a blog? WE thought she was on about… you know… doing it.”

Look, I can’t help it if my readers are a bunch of depraved, sex-obsessed wierdos, although I quite like the idea that you are. It rather inspires me to keep going, but to re-angle this blog into a daily, depraved collection of sex-obsessed stories for wierdos. Maybe that is the way forward. So I shall try it out here and now, as this afternoon I did reach a sort of climax, and it did indeed involve a washing machine.

(And no, it’s not the old cliché of housewives sitting on their machine during the spin cycle.)

There I was, alone, in the cellar of an old stone French house, wearing nothing but a pair of hugely sexy tracksuit bottoms, wondering how I was going to tackle the hulk of a machine in front of me. In my hands, “la carte electronique”, the soon-to-be new brain centre of my friend and lover, Arthur Martin (model AM1200). I tentatively dipped my right hand into Arthur, taking him from the top, and gently caressed the eight zillion coloured wires trailing from his upper body. Without hesitation, I grasped one of the thicker braids of wires, felt for the plug at the end, and eased it gently into place. It fitted perfectly into the electronic card and I felt Arthur Martin groan with pleasure. I felt for another plug and rammed it in harder. Then another, then another. I hoped each one was in the right place, that nothing was forced or uncomfortable (I hadn’t used any lubrification) but it was too late to turn back now. I then slid the card into the top of Arthur’s body and screwed it as hard as I could; my boyfriend had previously warned me to screw hard, in case the vibrations of the spin cycle loosened things up too much. Arthur didn’t seem to mind. I was encouraged. I slammed the lid on his head and plugged him hard into a socket. That turned him on. He lit up, I grabbed his dial and twisted it to “30 minute Flash”, and then stood back to watch him operate on his own. It was pure pleasure to see him juddering and shuddering, to listen to the rush of water and the ejection of his waste fluids, to watch him spin into a frenzy and then collapse in a heap, to hear the BEEP BEEP BEEP of the end of the wash cycle, and to know that at last, my washing machine was bloody working again. Dear Arthur Martin, how I have missed you. You do a spin job like no-one I know.

Ahem…

That really is quite depraved and definitely for wierdos. And very possible written by one. I can’t put this on Facebook or send it to family as I will be immediately cut out of any wills I was still in and never again be invited to parties and barbecues. If I rule out readers who are friends and family that means maybe 3 people in the entire world will read this, and only because they were on internet searching for info on how to change the electronic card of an Arthur Martin Electrolux washing machine. But at least I’ve managed to keep up my rate of 4 times a year.

NB: I am not (yet) sponsored by Electrolux.

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Blogfast

For those of you that receive my blog posts automatically, this one may come as a surprise, as you probably assumed that having spent so many months with only under-5’s and sheep for company, I had lost the faculty for writing. But no. I have been on a blog fast.

A blog fast is the direct opposite of a Blogfest. A Blogfest involves hundreds, nay thousands of bloggers, all writing furiously, whereas a blog fast involves just me, not writing anything at all.

It was not intentional. I just had too many things going in my life that I simply could not write about. Things that were either too personal, or too boring, or too grim, or too involved with famous people (no names mentioned but he is the best children’s illustrator ever), or too involved with close family members, or too incriminating of other family members… my family members are now all sitting up straight, spilling hot tea in their laps, going “Who?!” “Me?!”… yes you, I might be talking about you, watch out, and send me a Cadbury’s Flake and some nice pants just to cover your backs.

Speaking of pants…

Léonie has decided she has had enough of nappies and wants to wear pants. The ‘had enough of nappies’ bit is fine, as long as she stays butt naked, as then she remembers to go and sit on the potty for her pee. However, with pants on, the sensation must be very nappy-like, especially when she wears six pairs of pants at the same time, which is her current desire, so she just ends up peeing through six pairs of pants. Today it was warm and sunny so I persuaded her to play outside with nothing on her bottom and she delighted in sitting on the potty in the sunshine. I only tell you this as I just discovered the UK is swamped in snow and ice and I want to make you jealous. Let’s face it, the climate difference is probably the only thing you might feel envious about where my life is concerned, so I’m going to make the most of it.

More on the theme of undergarments… (me? trying desperately to find a through line for this blog post? never). We watched Mary Poppins yesterday and this morning Tommy was singing “Let’s go fly a kite” at the top of his voice. Here is his version of the song:

Let’s go fly a kite
Up up, in the sky!
Let’s go fly a kite and send it boring,
Up through the underwear
Up where the air is air,
Oh, let’s go fly a kite!

Cowgirl and her faithful potty.

Cowgirl and her faithful potty.

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Six pairs of pants. Layering is in.

All that just to say, I’ve finished my blog fast and am now crossing my fingers to make it to a Blogfest.

Padded bras for kids.

Ahem. I fear I have become a little dull. Writing about insects and home renovation. In the list of Topics To Avoid Like The Plague When Writing A Blog, these are numbers 3 and 4 (numbers 1 and 2 are personal hygiene problems and favourite cleaning products).

Well today I’m writing about a subject that involves sex, which is always a good crowd puller, although today I wish my subject wasn’t about sex. But it is. Yet it shouldn’t be.

Whilst searching for slippers in the childrens’ section of Monoprix I found myself in front of a whole range of padded bras. Nothing strange there. Well, it is a bit strange when you realise that nowadays padded bras outnumber the non-padded ones by about five to one, but anyway, that’s not the point. The very disturbing thing about these rows of padded bras were they were in the children’s section. Not by accident. On purpose. They are for little girls. We’re talking TEN YEAR OLDS and upwards.

Mothers of ten year olds may be thinking I’m very naive and that yeah, these padded bras for children are everywhere and have been everywhere for ages. Or maybe they’re just rife in France. I have no idea. All I know is that I find the concept of making little girls’ breasts look a lot bigger is creepy and perverted. TEN YEAR OLDS. Even 12 year olds, 13, 14 year olds… what does it mean when underwear manufacturers are selling “bigger boobs bras” to such young girls?

Oh but I am naive. I’m totally out of touch. It’s nothing, just sexualising kids in yet another way, the way everything is sexualised nowadays. I should lighten up. I mean I don’t have to buy those bras for my little girl, do I? But that’s not the point. The point is that someone, somewhere, thought they could make some money by selling bras for children who don’t need bras and then adding a ton of padding so that those children look like they do need bras. Why balloon our little girls’ breasts? To make them look like women, to make them sexually attractive. Bloody hell, it’s already hard enough when you’re 18 to fight off men’s stares, wolf-whistles, and hands, imagine a ten year old having to deal with all that.

We don’t sell cod-pieces to little boys. We don’t sell special padded-pants to make them look like they have large willies ready for adult action. We don’t glue fake stubble on their faces.

I read an article in the Guardian the other day (which I can’t find now of course) about people who like having sex with much younger partners. This was written following the whole Jimmy Savile scandal which still makes me feel sick to the stomach. The writer was saying that it’s about power, not sex. The older partner is interested in the power he/she gets to wield over someone so much younger, less-experienced, less sure of themselves. This in turn indicates the older partner is actually hugely lacking in self-confidence and is searching to feel powerful by having much younger sexual partners. Yup, that makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is how this ‘preference’ has permeated our society. The “ideal body” resembles a 16 year old body, not a 36 year old one.

Most young girls now grow up thinking their worth is largely built on their sex appeal. Ten and eleven year olds trying to be women as fast as possible will love those padded bras. I can just see their mothers trying to dissuade them. I can see the little girls happily carrying their new padded bra back home and trying it on, coming downstairs with their new boobs, Mum and Dad choking on their tea, looking at each other in panic, wondering how on earth to deal with the situation. Try telling an eleven year old that her boobs will grow in time, that she doesn’t need a padded bra at her age, that having boobs doesn’t matter – the rest of the world is telling her it does.

(NB: I have chosen the title on purpose because I bet some parents/kids are actually using those words as a search term. Maybe, just maybe they’ll read my post and MIGHT spend 20 seconds thinking about it. Or maybe not. Any comments on this topic are more than welcome. Léonie is only just coming up to 2, so I’ve got a few years to think about this one…)

Here I go again.

Alas, this is not a reference to Whitesnake’s epic hit: ‘Here I go again on my o-o-own, goin’ down the only road I’ve ever kno-own, like a gypsy I was born to roam alo-o-one, but I’ve made up my mi-i-ind, I ain’t wastin’ no more ti-i-ime…’ or something like that. I can’t remember the exact words, despite having listened to it 500 times, over half of them on a coach crossing Brazil when I was a 15 year old glam metal fan. Oh yes, I am not ashamed of my youthful folly, of my crush on men with long backcombed hair and carefully-applied eye make-up and spandex, indeed, it made me what I am today: a 39 year old woman with accidentally backcombed hair (what I believe Fifty Shades of Grey would describe as ‘just fucked hair’ although in my case it generally signifies ‘just slept with the pillow on my head so as not to hear anyone snoring/crying hair’), no time for carefully applied eye make-up, and a loathing of anything vaguely spandex including rubber gloves. Def Leppard, Kiss, Van Halen, Guns’n’Roses, you name it (in the glittery, pouty, rock category), I listened to it. I probably even went to see them and stood too close to the speakers which might explain my early-deafness nowadays. I’m not actually deaf, I just don’t hear certain things, or so L’Homme says, although he’s the only one who says that and now I come to think of it I often DO hear him but just pretend I haven’t. So in fact, I’m not at all deaf. In the space of two sentences I have regained my full aural faculties.

But back to the point of this post, which is to say that L’Homme has gone back on tour which effectively means that once I put the kids to bed the evenings are mine ALL MINE (cue evil crazy professor laugh), so I can get back to writing this thing. Hoorah! – for time to myself in the evenings. Boooooooo! – to doing all the daily drudgery on my own and not having company once the kids are in bed. Mind you, L’Homme hasn’t vanished from our lives for the next 9 months in one single whammy, he will be back nearly every weekend and sometimes even for a few days in a row. So I can look forward to spending evenings arguing about whether or not to trade in our car and where the potato peelers should or shouldn’t be hanged/hung. In moments like those, I can think of only one place where I would like to hang those potato peelers.

But bless him, he means well.

Kind of.

Sometimes.

And the other times it’s not his fault, honest guv, it’s just his male pride forcing him to behave like an egotistical macho Stormtrooper with a Mission To Get His Own Way.

I can say this because at the moment that is not the case; the last three days have seen a Nouveau Homme around the place. No, I haven’t got a new man in my life. Or maybe I have, but he has borrowed the outer envelope of my old L’Homme. They look exactly the same, but Nouveau Homme is calmer, more patient and when I say, “I’m going to a different market to do the shopping”, he doesn’t construe it as “fuck you, I REFUSE to buy you any saucisson.” He actually hears what I say. And even more mind-blowing, he doesn’t mind if I have an opinion that differs to his own. Yesterday I started to sand down an old garden table using a couple of bits of sandpaper and he came along with a proper sanding machine and took over the job. I went for a bike ride with Léonie and when we came back an hour later he was still sanding like a maniac and the entire terrace was covered in 3 inches of dust. “I’m going to sand it down so it’s all metal and then varnish it” he declared. “Oh”, I replied, “I was planning on painting it a bright colour. That was the whole point of sanding down the rusty bits. I fancy a brightly coloured table for the winter. Not a grey metal one.” I winced and prepared myself for the backlash but none came. “Oh” he said. AND THAT WAS IT. I went into cardiogenic shock and had to lie down on the floor. I thought maybe the blow-up would come later but it never did. At lunchtime he just said he was silly and had gotten carried away with the sanding machine. I choked on my cheese.

This radical change of behaviour from L’Homme came after I had spent 2 days in Lyon dancing my socks off, seeing a load of shows, hanging out with friends and meeting new people. He said I returned home “changed” and maybe he’s right; I was definitely bouncier. But I was also bouncier because he was being so NICE. Nice is not something L’Homme does really. Funny, yes. Generous, yes. Impulsive, yes. But nice? Very wierd. And very… erm… nice. I hope it lasts. The odds are it won’t, as once he’s back on tour and effectively living most of his week as a single man out on the town it’s difficult for him to adjust to 2 small, demanding children, a selectively-deaf girlfriend and a totally deaf labrador, along with all our needs, wants, desires and loud voices. The result tends to be lots of short-tempered hurtful comments sprinkled with some angry shouting and a couple of slammed doors, but often we don’t notice as there are some baby kittens living out behind the house and we’re busy discussing whether they’ve eaten the food we put out and what we’ll call them once they decide to adopt us. But maybe, just maybe, L’Homme will manage to keep his Nouveau side to him when he comes home. He still thinks I’m the one who has changed and is now sending me on more dance courses in the hope I’ll remain buoyant. I’m not arguing with that one.

And talking of buoyant, or the opposite of buoyant (which is probably ‘sunk’), a friend came for lunch the other day, a reader-of-my-blog friend, and he made the remark that my writing had become ‘not so fun’ over the past couple of months. He is indeed right, which is why I have written so little, as I just felt like screaming and complaining and whining and whinging and no-one wants to read that. In fact, I apologise for my last post, which came across as a total downer whereas I thought I had tweaked it enough to make it sort of funny. Alas, it wasn’t, and I’m sorry about that, it won’t happen again. However, I did get a ton of comments on Facebook which did encourage me in my flipper research and made me feel a lot better, so thank you for that, dear readers. The same friend suggested that when I’m feeling that down I shouldn’t write but instead should go round to his place for a cup of tea. So he’d better get a hefty stock of  good tea in as I shall be taking him up on the offer.

NB: I just checked the Whitesnake lyrics. I wasn’t far off. I changed hobo for gypsy, being English and not actually knowing what a hobo was at the age of fifteen. It truly is a beautiful world when you can find the lyrics to an old Whitesnake song in a matter of seconds, rather than digging out the old dusty cassette tape, borrowing a cassette player from the 90 year old neighbours, changing the plug, rewinding and fastforwarding the cassette until you find the chorus and transcribing the words onto paper with a feathered plume.

“An’ here I go again on my own
Goin’ down the only road I’ve ever known,
Like a hobo I was born to walk alone
An’ I’ve made up my mind
I ain’t wasting no more time…”

Pure poetry. Good old Whitesnake. I shall be returning to the subject of their lyrics soon, as I have just read a number of their songs I used to sing along to as a very young teenager and only now realise what they were banging on about. Basically, screwing women to shut them up. I prefer the sanding tables option.

Back in the saddle again.

Quite sheepishly, here I am again. Having announced in a typically actressy dramatic fashion that THAT WAS IT, it was all over, finished, done with, through, I would no longer be writing my blog, may you all weep and mourn me for weeks and months to come… here I am, a mere ten days later.

I can’t seem to stick at anything, not even being depressed. I tried my hardest, I lay on the sofa crying, I hated myself with a vengeance, I concentrated my hardest on thinking gloomy thoughts, but then our first load of summer visitors arrived and having a house full of people jolted me sharpishly out of feeling sorry for myself. You just can’t be depressed with a ton of friends around, smiling and pouring you a glass of wine and saying how they love your house and how adorable your kids are and isn’t your man handsome and funny and how gorgeous the weather is and aren’t you lucky. I started to feel quite selfish and even a little stupid about feeling so down.

And then there was a circus festival down the road where I saw a ton of shows, seething with jealousy at the performers on stage and willing one of them to break their ankle so that I could leap up and cry “Have no fear! I can replace him/her/it! I’m a multi-talented actress/dancer/accordion player/juggler/trapeze artist/bareback horse rider/acrobatic horse!” (the last five are lies but I was ready to try). I also really enjoyed the shows and swore to steal as many ideas as possible and make my own one woman show, with which I am planning to tour the world, be knighted for cheering whole continents up and conquer the universe. All that by next year. So I was already feeling a lot more cheery and was considering maybe writing a post or two, and then my sister (Sister 2) went and created her own blog for her homemade kids’ clothes line, Heavens-to-Betsy. Well, not only did it look a lot better than my blog, which I hadn’t updated visuals-wise since 1977, but by her 4th day she already had 94 readers. My utter maximum in a day is 144. There is nothing better than sibling rivalry to give you a wake-up call in the form of a slap round the face. Which is why I am sitting on our sofa right now, ignoring the glorious sunshine outside (no, I don’t live in the UK) and making my blog at least look a bit better, even if the content is still waffly and largely incoherent.

The other thing that stopped my down-in-the-dumpsiness in its tracks was having to rush Tommy to emergency ward on Sunday afternoon. His right leg just stopped working. He couldn’t walk, stand up or even move it without screaming with pain. I drove him to the hospital where they did x-rays, scans and blood tests and slept overnight with him on a camp bed. L’Homme took over yesterday and I came home to look after Léonie. This morning they operated on Tommy. They extracted the fluid that was in his hip and sent it off to be tested. We’ll know more about what he’s got in a couple of days when we get the results. It’s either a benign “rhume de hanche” (“hip cold” which I had never heard of) or it’s something more serious, maybe treatable with antibiotics, maybe not. I drove Léonie and I to the hospital this morning to be there when he woke up from his anaesthetic. His leg was in a traction thing with a weight on the end to try and straighten it out. He has a small incision on his left hip. He was all grumpy and upset and worried that he would always have a weight attached to his ankle. “It’s there forever Mummy? Oh no Mummy!” I reassured him that he would be up and about in a couple of days but the doctors reckon they’re keeping him in at least another 3 or 4 days. They need to be sure it’s not anything serious and they need the blood tests to show the infection marker going down, rather than up, which is what it has been doing until now.

Just a few days ago I remarked out loud how lovely it is in the summer because the kids are never ill.

All this makes me wonder whether I should put off going back to acting and performing for another year or so. The kids are still so little and still so prone to dodgy illnesses which land them in hospital. With L’Homme on the road 8 months out of every 12 I’m usually the only one here to look after them, although this time we are lucky it has happened while L’Homme is home.

Ironic really. We had put this week aside to “spend time together” – ie. put the kids to bed early and stay up late sipping wine in the sunset. Instead we’ll be seeing each other fleetingly at the hospital as the other one takes over, swapping car keys and nappy bag and Léonie. But at least all this has put life into perspective and hoisted me back into the saddle again (even if I do have a bit of chafing saddle sore).

I’m just crossing my fingers and praying to Zeus (or whatever god will listen to me), that Tommy’s leg problem is nothing serious and that he’ll be back on his bike soon.

Goodbye for now.

I’m stopping blog-writing for the moment, like I’m stopping a lot of things. I’m a tad lost and my sense of humour has deserted me, which is a definite no-no for a decent blog. So rather than boring you with depressive whinging, or putting on a brave face and writing empty, forced posts, I’m packing this in until I have worked out where I am and what I am going to do with myself now. Normal service will resume one day, I just don’t know when.

Tried and Tested

So I have been inadvertently testing a theory out these last three weeks and I can now confirm that yes, when one stops writing regular posts on one’s blog, no-one reads it anymore. This may be common knowledge to 85 million bloggers out there, but I am stubborn and I won’t believe something until I have tried it out (admittedly I have already tried this out without knowing because I rarely used to check my reader numbers, but now I do check them and so am now known to weep in the kitchen corner on days when less than 40 people read my nonsensical waffle). Always having to try things out for myself has often proved to be a pain in the arse where my life is concerned, as things would have been a lot easier had I just listened to others and learnt from their experience. But no. I had to have my own experiences. Mostly painful and/or embarrassing and/or disappointing, only to realise that what so-and-so told me in the first place was true.

TRIED AND TESTED:

1/ Running on magic petrol. ie: Not stopping at the motorway services to fill up with petrol because baby was sleeping. I thought I had enough to get to the next service station. Or that my car would just float there if I ran out. It didn’t. That was an expensive one. If you run out of petrol on the French autoroute you have to remortgage your home to pay the fine and promise to give them your next born.

2/ Going to a concert dressed like a 24 year old, real age: 16… very high heels, tiny weeny mini-skirt, lots of eye make-up,  not much else. I ended up snogging the lead singer of the heavy metal group ‘Acid Reign’ backstage.  My boyfriend (who wasn’t there)’s best mate smacked the singer over the head with a plank and stopped things going any further.

3/ Inviting 2 different families for Christmas when Léonie was 2 weeks old and the upstairs wasn’t yet finished. I have some great memories of this Christmas, and some utterly exhausting ones too. It was a haze of no-sleep, festivities and kids screaming though the house. I can remember looking at L’Homme in a state of utter fatigue and him looking at me in a “I told you so” way but not actually saying it as I would have ripped the water boiler off the wall and dropped it on his face.

4/ Wearing a puff ball skirt. Nuff said.

5/ Being in love with 2 men at the same time. This wasn’t actually a decision I took. I wasn’t testing out a theory. It just happened. I accidentally tried it out. I thought it was an impossibility, but all of a sudden, there I was, in love with 2 blokes and not knowing what on earth to do about it. Although, if I’m totally honest with myself, I was probably slightly more head-over-heels crazy about one of them. The one I couldn’t keep, of course. Just the fact I couldn’t keep him made me crazier and crazier about him.  Like eating a Flake and knowing that I won’t be able to eat another one until the next time I visit the UK. I love that Flake so much more than the Smarties because I can buy Smarties in any shop I want in France (they even sell them in lingerie shops). However, nowadays when I think of “the one that got away” I doubt things would have come to much even if I had managed to stuff him in my sock drawer and keep him there. One day he will be a big French film star and I shall reveal his identity and bump my daily reader statistics into the thousands. I have a calendar photo of him in the buff. That should do it.

But until that day, my daily reader numbers rely on me writing posts regularly. So here I am. I’m back. Ahoy there.

The Readers Who came For Tea

You need to read yesterday’s post to get this one (it’s quite short). It’s about one of my blog readers who turned up in our garden a couple of months ago. Well, two of my readers in fact, as it turns out they both partake of my blog. We were rushing off that day, so they visited us again yesterday.

Well, they came, they saw, they cooked us dinner. Patricia did, that is. She grabbed those peppers, courgettes, spring onions and the wok and whipped us up a great veggy dish. L’Homme “balanced” the meal out with five fat sausages. They had also brought us wine and chocolates.  Malcolm played with Léonie on the Danger Staircase. For around 20 minutes I didn’t have anything to do. It was all quite wonderful.

So if any of you other readers want to just turn up with gifts aplenty and cook us a meal, you are more than welcome.  Just thought I’d let you know.

This is the view you’ll get as we eat your homemade meal on the terrace. Come on, it’s a fair deal. Flights to Nimes and Marseille are closest. See you all soon.