Olivier Twist

Spent last week in Lille, my lovely boyfriend bought me tickets to go and see him since I am still in the Oliver Twist phase of financial security and the 90euro trainfare equals about a thousand plates of gruel. We were meant to get paid on Friday but you can’t expect France to keep a deadline or in any way be efficient in their administrative dealings, so instead we’re being paid on Wednesday. It was quite the disappointment when I checked my bank balance and instead of being full to the brim with a lovely pay day glow, it just said -10.31. Even my bank’s on-screen mascot looked quite hurt. But hey-ho, in France I am a multi-skilled bilingual genius and have therefore posted an ad offering my linguistic talents for the bargain price of 15 euros an hour. So far the only people that have gotten back to me are 2 families that live in the next town, which by driving standards would take 20 minutes but by France’s intercity public transport system would be 3 days on horseback, with me sleeping at churches where kind priests had offered me shelter during my voyage. A charity also contacted me and as much as it would be nice to swan about like Angelina Jolie telling people how much I care about the poor wee bairns, I eagerly await paying customers! Thankfully since I only work 2 days a week I have enough time to do both.

Bought my tickets to Lille in good faith and on the way home realised I had to change stations in Paris. This would be fine, since I had 50 minutes between trains. However, checking the metro lines online I discovered that the journey was 1 hour/1 hour 15 minutes depending on traffic. Sort of like the kind of thing they should know when they sell you tickets. Begrudgingly decided to get a taxi, which in Paris is no small decision. My only experience of taxis in Paris has involved them blatantly trying to fleece me or, in one memorable incident, him himself being so lost that we drove through Paris for 40 minutes with me telling him he was lost, him insisting he wasn’t and then dropping us back where he picked us up and threatening to phone the police when we laughed and refused when he insisted we pay for 40 mins worth of time-wasting. This man however was a delight, charged me less than the going rate, told me I spoke excellent French and even summed up an opinion of Paris that many people hold “it’s a shame that the people aren’t as nice as the city”. Paris is sort of like the bitchy popular girl of France, everyone else in France hates her but Parisians dismiss them as country folk who are simply jealous of their mode de vie.

During my visit I went to see my famille francaise and had a lovely day with them. Went to pick Lily up from the creche and at first she was all shy around me and didn’t want to give me a cuddle or anything and within half an hour she was sitting on my lap eating her pudding and calling me tata (aunty). Every time I’m there I notice such a difference in her, she’s so blonde now and walks about chatting away. I also picked up a bag of clothes that I’d left there last year when I went back to Scotland. Since they’ve been sitting in a garage for a year they don’t smell so delightful but once I’ve washed them all I’ll once again own joggies, a hoody and a coat! Come at me, winter!

A thing that’s always amused me about France is that they don’t have Chinese, Indian, Japanese restaurants they way we do, they’ll have something that claims to be Chinese, you’ll go in and it’ll not be Chinese at all. It’s a culinary trap! Last night on the way home from work, Lisa and I were headed to the supermarket to see what we could buy for dinner with the 6euros we had left between us when a moment of carpe diem struck us and we thought, fuck this, let’s get Chinese and just put it on our credit cards, we are the children of capitalism and the glorious West and I’ll be damned if I suffer from jihad without exercising my eat-now-pay-later western ways. Anyway, on the way we passed a burrito place which was called (wait for it, remember their crazy mixed restaurant ways)….Algeria. Because nothing says rapide mexicaine food like fucking Algeria. Anyway, at the Chinese restaurant I got the Thai deal, with Indian sauce. Makes sense, eh?

Mental report: The mentals have been lacking of late, or perhaps more likely, I have been working of late. However, I did meet a man from the emirates at a bus stop the other day (tip: bus stops are a great way to meet sleazy men) who after asking for my number and me politely saying “no fucking way, pal” proceeded to pull no less than SIX phones out his pockets. I’m not sure if I was more baffled by his number of phones or the fact he took them all out his jean pockets. It was like clowns getting out a clown car, they just didn’t stop coming. You question the trustworthiness of someone with 2 phones, he might as well have just worn a tshirt saying “I import drugs and prositutes”. I started playing with my own phone (which had no battery) just to remove myself from the awkwardness of the conversation and he just went “samsung” at my phone, and I was like [fake smile] “yeah….ehhhh…it’s a Samsung”. 6 phones and you have no conversation skills!!

In other good news, my parents have booked up for a weekend in Paris next month. They’d been talking about whether to come to Tours or Paris but I’m glad they decided on Paris, I think everyone should go at least once, and they can visit Tours when it’s nice and sunny again. I’m so excited to show them my favourite bits of gay pareeee, as well as discover some new places. So if anyone has any suggestions send them my way!

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