Wednesday, 24 June 2009

The FrenchPaper anyone?

A new English language newspaper has just been launched about France and I was wondering if anyone has got their mitts on it yet? If so, what's it like? I haven't actually looked in the shops to see if Amiens has been deemed worthy of stocking it (I'd bet the world I won't find it here). It says on the website that it'll be stocked more heavily in places where anglophones live (again, not Amiens).

I'm interested to know if it's just centred on Parisien life or that of the South.....and if it's actually worth buying?

FYI, I completed a survey on their website about French way of life and I think they should be sending me a psychiatrist soon..... if you've got some time, complete it - you can totally see what they are getting at by the questions asked.

The FrenchPaper.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Amiens animated

Wow, try saying that five times in a row.... and I can hardly believe it the first time!
Loads of events converged this weekend in Amiens and it was so nice to see so much going on.

It was the fete dans la rue which is an annual event in Amiens now in its 27th year where there are loads of outdoor theatres, circuses and shows all weekend. It also happened to be our quartier's annual party too on Friday which was fun. Our road was closed off and we had brass bands and majorettes parading until 2am with a BBQ wafting our way throughout the evening.

The best show was a circus act on Saturday night that launched itself off the top of a 15 floor building in the tuwn centre and as they slid down a tightrope t the floor, they threw white feathers into the crowd. It was impressive but slightly scary! There were so many feathers it looked like it was snowing. Very beautiful at almost midnight!

Because it was fathers Day, we'd invited J's parents for the weekend which usually means mega stress for yours truly (is the house clean enough? will they like the food i'm cooking? is it up to MIL's standards?....) but I'd decided not to cook this time and so we went out for dinner instead! So much less stressful! hehe.

The weekend also coincided with the annual marché sur l'eau which reminds us of way back when the farmers/veg growers came to market by boat to sell their produce that they had grown in the hortillonnages or water gardens. These gardens are small areas of land surrounded by water from the river Somme that are only accessible by boat but are very fertile. Once a year the market is recreated, with the agriculturers dressed up in traditional costume. The boats arrive from the hortillonnages, they stop the boats in the town centre and unload the fruit, veg or flowers onto the quai and the market starts. Since arriving in Amiens I have missed this event each year so I was delighted to be here this year. We bought a few things, raspberries, flowers...and then we went to the hortillonnages to take a boat tour there which I've done a few times now with different visitors but never stop being impressed by its beauty and tranquillity despite it being practically in the town centre.



On the boat tour of the hortillonnages

J's parents left on Sunday evening, and we just couldn't make it out for the fete de la musique (so, you weren't the only ones L!) We were exhausted! We did get to hear a very amusing drunk man coming back from the fete de la musique though....at 5am we were woken by a man in our street who was shouting 'I ammmmm drruuuunnnnnnkkkkkk, la la la di da.....' The music was in him that night...

A really busy but very nice weekend. As I said, it's great to see Amiens with some things going on! It continues also as the fun fair is in town as of last weekend for a month...candy apples, candy floss.....and waltzes await me...

Monday, 15 June 2009

Did I mention that I've got British TV?

This is actually old news but I realised the other day that I haven't really told anyone about it!

For my birthday, J organised for us to have all the free British channels - that's over 300 (free to air channels) but I've got about 20 in my favourite's list.

We bought a bog standard 60 cm satellite dish, pointed it at the satellite Astra 28.2° (with the help of a professional who knew where to point it), bought a bog standard digital channel decoder, and voila, all my favourite channels - free. No need for a subscription or need to pay the tv fee that my parents must pay. hehe

It truly is that simple and not too expensive. All in all, including paying the pro to point the dish, 140euros. I've seen adverts from companies in Paris selling the kit and installation for a minimum of 450euros.... so I think it's possible to organise this for yourself if you want the British channels.

I watch an enormous amount of French tv, and have no problems following programs, hey, I'm even accepting to watch films in VF these days but it is soooooo nice to keep in touch with what's going on in the UK.

This way, I've got the best of both worlds.

Friday, 12 June 2009

My beautiful ring

As requested, here's my pacs ring that I was very lucky to receive. Let's not make any illusions here, I chose it and I was very excited in the shop! J has said on many occasions that he would never choose me jewellery in fear that I wouldn't like it.

I've never had a ring that was made to measure and it was quite interesting trying on all the sizes before deciding on which size I should get my ring shaped to. I'm a 48 apparently. :oD


As it's white gold, it will need re-dipping every 5 years or so as the 'white' rubs down with time to reveal the gold. You learn something every day...



Thursday, 11 June 2009

and the pascée ate sandwiches

J and I got pasced yesterday! 


After getting all the paperwork together, we waited for our appointment and at lunchtime yesterday, holding pinkies under the table, we got pasced. 


I even managed to OUTSMART a fonctionnaire by providing an orginal copy of my birth certificate which I'd paid £10 for and got sent to France just in case. The French are obsessed with original documents aren't they and us Brits only get 1 birth certificate that stays with us for life. Although I was told that I wouldn't need a copy, that they understand that our original is unique, I thought I'd pay for an official copy quand meme and bingo, the woman in front of demanded an official copy. Bye bye £10 copy, hello nice simple pacs procedure. Me: 1 Them: oh millions....


After the signing procedure, we ate cheese and ham sandwiches in the park and went to a café for a hot chocolate and a cake. I had a merveilleuse au chocolat cake for the first time and would totally recommend them. yummy. J left me to go back to work and in the evening we went to a new brochette restaurant in Amiens and we had champagne apéro followed by brochettes and beer! haha. It was great!


J was very wonderful and bought me a white gold and tiny diamond ring which I fell in love with at first sight in the shop. We picked it up just before we got pasced. It's simple but beautiful and I can't stop taking sneaky looks to see how it sparkles in the sunlight. 


I'm feeling very spoilt today!

Monday, 8 June 2009

The internet is back whilst I'm bouncing back

eugh, the neufbox broke the night of the scary storm two weeks ago and we've just been reconnected. Believe me, 2 weeks not being able to ring my parents in the UK for free every day, not being able to watch tv or check my emails/blog was horrible! Especially not being able to ring home. I think I use up the *free* phone calls for all of picardie! 2 monthly phone bill -30 minutes to France, free; 10 hours to the UK, free. So, am so happy to get it back!! :oD

Lessons started again last week after, urm, was it 9 weeks of the blockade? Whatever, it started again and with little point as the exams start tomorrow. I've got three exam sessions to individuate and about 200 exams to mark afterwards and then, yes, the summer holidays/unemployment will start! or summer holidays # 2....

I've been feeling better and better mentally these past few weeks/months. I started my bilan de compétances two weeks ago and although it's only the start, it has confirmed to me 1000 times over that I've done the right thing by wanting to get out of teaching. The Bilan lady voire shrink (ha) tells me that once you make the decision to get out of an unhappy career, everything else gets better and fits into place. Here's hoping, so far so good.

I've been so unhappy that I've been depriving myself of things as I didn't want to spend money on myself. The happier Emma tells me to go out, spend some money on things that will improve my life more....so, this afternoon I'm going to the ladies only gym and will (proably) sign up for the summer - histoire to use up my time, get fitter.... and I don't feel guilty about spending the money this time.

On a similar note, some of you will know how excited I am when I go to Lille and get to go to the UK clothes shop New Look...well imagine the squeal of delight I made when I found out that Amiens does indeed have one (Since when? Rachie, how did I miss that?) So, i think I'll be paying it an extended visit this afternoon too.... J just slowed down proceedings on Saturday...I've already got my eye on some sandals and a bikini....

Crystal, ring me!

Off for a nice British cup of tea....bon aprem everyone

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