Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Toulouse, where the sun lives

I got back from Toulouse on Sunday after 3 glorious days there celebrating the christening and first birthday of J's nephew.

His christening was on Thursday (a bank holiday in France), and he had his first birthday on Friday. When the words 'ooh, christenings are becoming more and more like weddings' I knew I was in for a feast, literally. I wasn't disappointed. We spent three whole days eating and drinking and laughing oh and swatting mosquito. eep. Eating in the South is very different to the North I've discovered, and I prefer it down there. The christening menu was composed of entrée, main course, cheese and dessert and lasted 2 hours. In the North, there is usually another entrée, a sorbet to clean the palate between entrée and main course, and sometimes even a salad between the main and cheese. Meals in the North also last alllllllll day. Last Christmas, I spent 7 hours sitting at the dinner table. aggh. 

I overheard my MIL talking at the christening, and frankly, I wish I hadn't. It seems she's 'counting' on J to produce a girl. Woah, that would mean me, not J I guess. ;o) Boys are the rule of thumb in their family and to be honest, I myself would be amazed to have a girl. That won't be happening for ages yet anyway. Scary that the MIL is already thinking about it though. Christenings and weddings always do that don't they. Not content in enjoying the moment, family members always look to other couples and project them into the future. I remember a friend being terrified going to weddings with her boyfriend of 10 years as the enviable always got asked to why they weren't married yet.

Anyway, we had a great long weekend. It was hot, and I finally got to see the sun and feel its presence on my skin. I honestly think I've got S.A.D. 'cos I always feel much better in the sun. I'm also sad to say I shed a tiny tear on the journey back to Amiens. I mean, I actually laughed and had fun at the weekend. Even J said how happy he was to see me enjoying myself. In Amiens, there is no family, no friends, no sun, no laughs. It just brought it home to me that I am on a personal journey at the moment to create a better life for myself. Maybe a move to Toulouse wouldn't be a bad idea....

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Hilarious. Blackpool trying to put the ooh la la into the tourist industry

Warning ! This is NOT a joke. Just seen on sky news that Blackpool, a seaside town in North East England, has a new advertising campaign. If you are unfamiliar with Blackpool, it's famous for its tower, very much like the Eiffel Tower but smaller of course! What do you think? I love the reference to 'Lancashire casserole.....no no....'ot pot'...a meal like pot au feu in France where in the UK there is a divide on what to call the meal. I don't know how well this advert 'travels' but I think it's hilarious.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Kin Ball

In my quest for an improved life, I've been thinking about doing some sport. Yes, even thinking about it is a huge step forward for me....

I was reading a local free regional magazine this afternoon and came across an organisation in Amiens that is introducing young people to sports and it mentioned Kin Ball as one of them. As I have nothing better to do, I looked it up and frankly, I'm speechless. You may or may not know about this sport, but you should watch this video twice as the first time I saw it, I just thought 'WTF' but now it's growing on me.... why doesn't this sport exist in the UK? gym lessons would have rocked.

There are 3 teams of four players. One team calls out another team and that team must stop the ball from touching the ground. If it touches, the team who called out gets the point. The players in the video are SOOOO into it. I do wonder about carpet burns though..... Video in French

Monday, 11 May 2009

I finally got my French test results back

I had a TCF test on the 27th March and finally got the results today.

Compréhension orale - 510
Structure de la langue - 547
Compréhension écrite - 490

Résultat global - 510 which is a C1 on the European Language level scale.

I am so happy with the results!!! I came away from the test convinced I'd totally failed the grammar bit - I honestly felt like I took educated guesses at most of it so you can imagine how I felt when I saw that I got the best grade in the grammar! The world works in mysterous ways.

Please note I have no idea how they work out the average as it obviously isn't a straight average of the 3 grades. Please also note that they told me the results would be with me within three weeks - 3 weeks stretched to 6 1/2 weeks. Vive l'admin.

It just goes to show you that you can get by in, hell, be good at a language without having a formal education in it. I've done it the hard way. I've learnt all my French in France and finally maybe I can start to have a bit of confidence in my language skills. I feel very proud of myself today. I know my French is far from perfect, but almost 4 years on from the day where I had to look up 'curtain' and 'knife, fork' and 'litter bin' in the dictionary in order to communicate crudely with the school where I was housed as an assistant, I can now easily watch the TV on any subject, read trash magazines, read novels and dam it, argue with fonctionnaires in French.

For those of you who are newer in France, it is possible. Hang in there.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Why cleaning is bad

Death occurred during huge cleaning session (still in progress) in honour of my in-laws visit tomorrow. I hope J isn't too upset about this when he sees it...it's the souvenir from his godson's christening - so goes the tradition that the godfather buys something like this to give to everyone at the christening. I hope it's glue-able. eek

Monday, 4 May 2009

One up

For the observant amongst you, you will have noticed that my age in my profile bit on the right went up sneakily last week. It was my birthday and I was lucky enough to spend it at home in Wales with J and my parents. I did nothing special all week but it was great all the same.

I spent my actual birthday gardening, all day. My parents have a garden on all sides of their house and a hedge on all sides, some one metre high, others 3 metres high. We decided to help them out cutting them and mon dieu, I'm sending out respect to all gardeners. I was given the task of picking up the cuttings and I was exhausted after a day of bending, scooping and lifting. I would never again need to do gym squats if I had a garden. The only problem was that I really hurt my leg in the process of repetitive squatting. The next day was a write-off for me, spent knitting, whilst J continued with the petrol fuelled hedge cutter. He was in man heaven.

I don't have any photos of the gardening, but mum does so when I get some, i might add some here.

The night of my birthday we went to our local pub that serves amazing home cooked food. I had a huge spicy curry, lots of good wine and was told to leave space for dessert. I was expecting a huge chocolate cake to arrive (who wouldn't) and so was slightly miffed to receive a slice of chocolate cake with candle on top and alas, 4 spoons. They didn't even play the happy birthday cd. Worse, my mum was really disappointed. What with the 4 spoons, mum thought there would be 3 other slices arriving, but no.....we waited a while and then accepted we would have to share my slice. hmmmm. When paying, they asked if everything went well, and when mum said innocently that she was disappointed by the 'special birthday surprise', the boss was called over and mum didn't have to pay for it. She was thrilled but her jaw dropped when the waitress said under her breathe after her boss had gone that mum was lucky as that dessert cost £20. Yes indeedy....one slice of chocolate cake WITH candle £20 (about 25euros at today's exchange rate). yikes, candles are expensive it seems. It wasn't even a sparkly type. Again, lack of photos means you'll just have to take my word for it. Needless to say, we were all relieved that we didn't pay for it. phewee.

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