Holiday Ongoing…

I’ve been meaning to post something whilst on holiday and have completely failed in the attempt. I’ve been too busy doing nothing. So let’s do it short and sweet with a list, whilst I am still motivated:

A Big Frog Holiday

The Heat! Apparently, the last two weeks of intense weeks are the first France has had since early Spring. I am delighted that we have good weather, although it occasionally a little bit balmy even for me, with highs of 35 degrees (that’s 95 Farenheit, y’all). I left wet washing to hang outside overnight and it was nice and toasty this morning, that’s how hot it is. Here in France, such high temperatures are called ‘la canicule’ (heat wave) and it is cause for some concern in a number of departments following the canicule of 2003, when an estimated (and greatly contested) 20,000 French people died of heat-related conditions, in particular among the elderly, and caused outrage because of the lack of preparation in hospitals and hospices. Now there is a government-led Plan Canicule in place to ensure that priority is given to providing  fresh air and fresh water to the sick, the very young and the elderly in these places.

The Food! People reacted with amusement and concern at my Twitter comment that I’d gone to a French supermarket and wept. Those were happy tears and I kept them inside, but it’s been two years since my last visit and it did necessitate an internal adjustment. We went to a massive supermarket where you could buy all your material for making preserves, a couscoussière (a special dish to make proper couscous, yes sir) and probably your entire wedding list. All those lush lettuces free from packaging, the red tomatoes you can smell from the next aisle, the brioche, the cured meat hanging,the fruit compotes (French people go crazy for fruit compotes and you can go from the basic apple compote to the odd apple and chestnut, with every type of fruit in between), enough choice of dairy to have a different dessert every day for a year, and in the Ethnic Food section, the ultimate in foreign fare: PG Tips.

The Olympics! I will give praise where praise is due, and rant everywhere else, and sadly I feel the Olympics coverage deserves little praise. The French commentators across the two channels who shared the coverage required inside knowledge of every sport to be able to do it justice the way it was organised. In one afternoon, the same people would have to talk over three or four sports, often switching from one to the other  between performances. We were watching a rather tense pole vault competition and would suddenly switch to a sprint race for five minutes before going back, it was terribly distracting (although apparently not as poor as the NBC coverage, or so I hear). On the other hand, the closing ceremony was happily covered from start to finish with minimum comments from the French news team, who were rather complimentary and amusing when they did speak.

French Music! French TV itself is as bad as it ever was, apart from or because of, depending on your mood, the horrifying Generation Top 50 on the W9 channel, which shows you short clips of popular music by year. Yesterday there was 1992 and 2000, today I caught a bit of 1996. That’s when you realize how far removed from the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ world France actually is and the music that marked your growing years is just not the same that marked us Frenchies. I was caught between reminiscing about Jordy, in the charts at four years old singing about how hard it is to be a baby, Ophélie Winter finding her faith and Michael Jackson’s Earth Song (the video of which was apparently not released in the US) which marked my teenage years (and these are the better songs on display), thanking the stars that I missed the craptastic Musicals’ years which gave us Roméo et Juliette (my personal choice for worse song of the year goes to Les Rois du Monde, in the Top 50 Every Single Week of 2001).

 

A Little Girl Holiday

Little Girl Does Stairs! Little Girl decided to take this holiday opportunity to grow up at a scary pace. She discovered within a day of arriving at my parents that she could do stairs. Ours at home being Victorian and therefore very very steep, she’s not had much luck with them, but here is another story. Basically we can’t leave her anywhere downstairs as all she wants to do is go up, and there is no stair gate.

Little Girl Walks! She’s been gearing up for this but in the last couple of days, she has decided that walking might after all be better than crawling and she is gradually leaving one for the other.

Little Girl Communicates! I wasn’t there to see it, but she dirtied her nappy and went straight to her fresh nappies to pick one up and brought it to my mum to get changed. It’s just like me to miss the fun bits.

The busy month of May

You might have noticed that I’ve not been around this month, which is annoying when so much has actually been going on that I could have written about.

My new laptop (only 2 months old) suffered a colour malfunction and half the screen turned green and pink, making it impossible for me to work properly (read: play Castleville on Facebook). I sent it off two weeks ago and it came back today with a note that they had to replace the LCD screen! Thank goodness for product warranty.

I did go online on Badgerman’s computer but it took about 10 minutes to load and froze constantly. I am simply not patient enough to suffer through that every day.

In the meantime, May happened. It was eventful and I could write all about it now, but it feels too much like old news. Instead, I’m going to make a list.

  • Little Girl started to crawl and is now going up and down the shallow steps to the garden, pulling herself to standing, walking whilst holding on to furniture and looking very much like a poor little prisoner standing in her cot wailing to get picked up because she doesn’t want it to be bedtime at 8pm.
  • Eurovision happened. I love the Eurovision Song Contest with its bad 80’s songs, terrible outfits, awkward presenters and political voting, and it did not disappoint. Two thoughts though: the Russian grannies should have won and Engelbert Humperdink was flippin’ awful, which is just as well since we’ve got enough on our plate paying through the nose for the Olympic Games.
  • I voted online in the first round of French Legislative Elections (voting for the Northern Europe representative at the Assemblée Nationale – which I think are a bit like MPs), which was fab and easy. If they could do the same for Presidential elections, I would be perfectly happy. Even if Java played up and I had to spend half an hour re-installing an old version to make it work, on Badgerman’s crap laptop.
  • I played and sang at a wedding for the first time in about five years, which was very stressful and a lot of fun. It’s a whole different ball  game to carry around amps, keyboards and guitars when you also have to fit a baby in the car.