passive smoking

commercial break

I feel a bit of a blog break coming on.  I think I am running out of things to say after nearly four years of blogging.

I shall be back if and when something catches my blogging imagination.

28 Comments 14.3.07 15:34, comment


Long gone are the girly evenings where I would try to define what I wanted in my ideal man.  Probably because most of my friends have now either found their ideal man or want a momentary escape from their ideal man to complain about him. 

A few years ago, when my friends were still interested in understanding what I was looking for in my ideal man, I managed to avoid all the usual clichés about 'good sense of humour', 'intelligent', 'caring' and decided that my ideal man would be someone who is at ease with himself.  This probably says more about my previous choice in men (spectacularly ill at ease with themselves) than with any deeply profound insight into coupledom.

I read a blog post a while ago (sorry I can't remember who it was) from a man who described his feeling of joy each time he saw his wife. 

Me, I feel refreshed.  To quote Blur, "an enormous sense of well being". 

Normal service may resume soon.

17 Comments 28.2.07 20:23, comment

Brittany and the Baltic

In the space of only 3 weeks, I have been invited to take part in 3 sailing regattas, all of them taking place in the first two weeks of June.  The first one is in Poland, on the Baltic sea.  I am very excited about this as I have never been to Poland before.  At all costs I must avoid Polish vodka, my last two drinking disasters have been due to vodka (the last one only just over a year ago...) and sailing on small boats on a choppy Baltic sea does not mix with vodka.

The second regatta is in Lorient in Brittany.  This is on a real boat, big enough to sleep on and apparently the races are very competitive.  I am part of an all female crew.

The third one is in Portsmouth in the UK, also on big real boats, and I haven't decided whether to go yet, as it follows on immediately from the one in France.  It will be the fourth time I have taken part in this regatta, so I'm a bit of an old hand now.

The best thing is, all three regattas are organised through work - and I don't even work for a sailing company.  What are the chances of getting work to organise and pay for 3 regattas in 3 different countries and that I get invited to take part in all of them???  That is seriously cool.

66 Comments 12.2.07 20:42, comment

mild torture

99% of my work colleagues are French.  50% of our job involves dealing with non French speakers, so the official working language is English.  There are 3 types of English speakers amongst the French;

1. Excellent English speakers, with or without a strong French accent (approximately 20% of my colleagues)

2. Totally useless but have a good laugh and mostly use pantomime gestures (none of my colleagues)

3. Mediocre English speakers, who make themselves passably understood (around 80% of my colleagues)

I have spent this afternoon listening to category 3, and it is exhausting. 

I know they make an admirable effort and I know how difficult it is to speak in front of an audience in a foreign language .... BUT it is unbearable to listen to.

I am now listening to BBC Radio 4 on the internet for some light relief.

37 Comments 8.2.07 19:12, comment

sniffing books

On the metro this morning, scrunching into the last station on the line, I dragged myself out of my ipod induced haze and noticed a man across the aisle closing his book to pack away in his briefcase.  Except that it didn't quite reach his briefcase - he ruffled the pages infront of his face and stuck his nose right into the book to have a good sniff.  He did this four times, without the slightest regard for the spectacle he was making of himself. 

Ruffle, SNIFF, ruffle SNIFF. 

Apart from that he looked like a perfectly normal business man.

34 Comments 6.2.07 19:20, comment

emergency braking on line 38

My Mum was visiting this weekend and today we got the bus for a few stops to rest our weary legs on the way back from a Sunday afternoon stroll.  It was the number 38 which we got from Port Royal going towards Denfert Rochereau.  It was approaching a stop and several people had got out of their seats to get off, including an elderly and elegant lady.  The bus came to a screeching, dramatic and violent stop, throwing everyone on the bus forward then back.  A car had cut across the bus lane.  Lots of people screamed and the people who had been standing in the aisle ended up in a confused heap on the floor of the bus.

The elderly and elegant lady was in a state of shock and pain, hunched into a corner surrounded by concerned passengers. The bus driver shouted out in a panicked voice, "is anyone injured?" and a passenger told her to call for an ambulance.

We got off the bus to walk the rest of the way - there were plenty of people to look after the elderly lady.  Two minutes later an ambulance passed us, from the fire station just round the corner from me which I now walk past every morning on my way to work.  I haven't yet worked out the French fireman / ambulance system - it seems that the two are one and the same. 

The relief I felt when a passenger on the bus reassured the eldery lady that the ambulance was on its way, was similar to the relief I felt when hearing over the boat radio a couple of years ago, that the lifeboat was on its way to pick up a capsized canoeist.  I think it must be part of what defines a civilised society, that when things go horribly wrong, you can call on someone to help.

58 Comments 4.2.07 21:26, comment

not quite yet the end of an era

Despite my dire prophecy that France would be the last country on earth to ban smoking in public places, the day has come (well, it will come on Thursday) when smoking in public places is officially banned.  All except bars, cafés, restaurants, tabacs (little shops which sell cigarettes) and night clubs, which have until next year to implement the ban.  So I won't be changing the name of my blog for the moment, the official re-naming ceremony will have to wait until 2008. 

In the meantime I will try to stop myself from preaching self-righteously to inconsiderate smokers and I will continue to enjoy my fabulous French cuisine accompanied by a light haze of nicotine. 

27 Comments 29.1.07 19:22, comment