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Showing posts from September, 2010

Witness to a Crime ("I know kung fu")

Hi all,

Have had eyes opened to the seedy underbelly of France. Am shocked and appalled.

Lisette and I had moved on from Ambois to Blois (about 20 minutes up river) and were exploring the local market. Very scenic, rotisseries full of chicken being roasted, stalls carrying great wedges of nasally powerful cheese. Interesting soap, you know the like.

The marketplace was crawling with people and as we stood taking it in I felt a slight prod behind me. When I turned around I realised a French woman on a bike (say early-40s) had just run into me. I moved aside and watched her cycle on through the marketplace colliding with people as she went. Perhaps unsurprisingly, not everyone took this well. An old man (80+ if he was a day) who was on the receiving end of one of her collisions with the masses took umbrage. He bellowed something French at her and waving his arms chased after the woman through the marketplace in the style of a zombie in Dawn of the Dead. She, for her part, was as…

The Crash (or How My Digestive System Unfurled Le Blanc Flag and Waived Like a Mad Thing)

It happened last night as we were approaching dinnertime. I'd felt the odd twinge throughout the day but nothing serious. Come 6pm last night matters took a turn for the worse though as I was overcome with a massive pain which caused me to collapse doubled up in agony. Fortunately we were at the hotel when this happened and so I could stumble to the bedroom and crash. Never had pain like on the stomach front. Felt I was gifted a small insight into veil of tears that comes with childbirth. Lisette was my saviour of the moment, heading out to acquire a multitude of pills from the local pharmacy which were quaffed with much urgency. Following 12 hours of bed-rest I'm pleased to report that I'm feeling much more normal.

Nevertheless, there have been changes on the gastronomic front prompted by this. No more with le steak frite and creme brulèe. No more with the mounds of cheese and butter. No more l'escargot (though it was only Lisette and Una who wer…

Gout is within our reach... (and Kermit too)

After nearly a week of eating French cuisine I am presented with a mystery and it is this: how are the French not yet extinct?

Each meal appears to consist of a *minimum* of 3 courses. Each course contains enough calories, cholesterol and fat to give an elephant pause for thought. So how are these people still functioning let alone skinny? I have some vague notion that the French send themselves away to foreign countries every now and then where they find the cuisine so repulsive they abstain entirely from eating while their bodies return to healthier levels. A "detox trip" if you will; this may explain South Kensington.

We see Lisette's (French) mum and (English) dad next week in Spain and so I intend to consult Annie on the matter. Perhaps that's what led her to make for Geordieland in the first place...


In an effort to fit in more with the locals I have been attempting to pepper my language with French colloqialisms. So there's been a lot of …

On Seine in the membrane

Dear all,

Am typing this on the strangest keyboard I have ever encountered. It appears to be the standard French keyboard which for no reason that I can comprehend does not tally with any other computer keyboard on the face of the planet. Can't think why they made it like this other than to slow the non-French down. It's definitely working. Struggling to find the letters and have given up on punctuation. So if this reads a bit odd I apologise - it's this or insanity.

Lisette and I arrived in Paris on Friday night and met up with our good friend Una who had just flown in from Belfast. It didnt start off as the most French of experiences. Due to the trains not running - maybe a strike - we had to catch a taxi into town. We ended up being driven by a man in gleaming white robes, strange hat and listening to "Africa 1" Radio which is about as local as it sounds.

Una, Lisette and I had decided to venture into unknown waters on our weekend in Pari…