Monday, 17 October 2011

Poisson sans boisson c'est poison! Lit; To eat fish without drinking wine is poison!

Well we are back to Monday and the last week of half term before the holidays and don't I know it... I may have murdered at least one child by the end of the week, they're so fractious even the whistle has come out and that's a proper final measure! Worked though.

I digress;

The weekend the weather was fabulous and I made the most of it but before the weekend there was Friday night and I headed into central Paris to meet Mishy her boyfriend Chris and Rich. We all met at Goncourt and headed to the cork and cavern a very Irish bar located at the beautiful Quai de Jemmapes

This place is so Irish if you even attempt French at them they'll just look at you funny. It sells traditional food and even a full English breakfast but at a crazy 15€ for the pleasure (I found out why so expensive on the Saturday though so will explain all later).

A glass of vin chaud was most welcome as the temperature here has plummeted somewhat it's not so much l'automne here as hiver for sure but the colours of the trees say otherwise!

It was a great evening, I have to pinch myself a lot here still as I'm sat in Paris with friends on a Friday evening I mean what is their not to pinch myself about. I'm in Paris, I'm out on a Friday night and I'm with friends! Lovely friends at that I'm a lucky girl to meet such great people all the time! If you're reading this guys yes I take cheque...

It's very olde world decorated inside and when we first arrived we managed to get a corner table but the bar was heaving so Chris and I were sat on/in actual Guinness barrels. Not comfortable I assure you as they are biologically designed to do damage I'm sure, so we moved before Chris could worry too much about how his future chances of having children would be affected. When we moved we moved to a lovely table right next to the dart board which was fine til some tipsy French students decided they were going to play and most amusing it was to watch too. But preferably from a distance. Soon as they arrived avec darts to The board Rich had the hindsight to move and come to my side of the Table away from potentially lethal head piercing darts especially as the marks on the wall from matches past indicated there was a very real possibility of this happening.

Whilst Michelle and Chris were being impossibly cute with each other (it's Friday after all and we are in the capital of luuurve) It left Rich and I chatting. Seeing as we are both single I get the feeling mishy is doing this on purpose. Bad panda ;) Anyway we got onto the subject of French language and how hard it is to learn and I told him I was finding it really really difficult it's just not going in at all, I'm picking up very little and get chance to practise little. Now normally if I say this to people they say 'right that's it from now on English is banned from this conversation you may only speak french'. Which is exactly what Rich decided to do. Now this is all very well but my French vocabulary is extremely limited and just because I'm told I can only use French words, this does not mean my french vocabulary is going to suddenly expand by itself...

When I asked him how he'd feel if I said right that's it we can only speak RUSSIAN from here on in... He got the point. You gotta know it to be able to use it :p

We stayed out til midnight at which point mishy and Chris headed back home and rich and I headed off to chatellet. There was the option to stay with Rich and meet up with his American friends for an all nighter in St Michel but i had planned to get up early Saturday morning to meet Chris for the rugby in Montmartre so he left me at chatellet where i caught the last RER back to chessy after midnight.

I cannot explain quite how it feels to emerge from the station when you are heading home and have to walk past Disneyland... It's a lot quieter at that time in the morning too ;)

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

I went to bed knowing I didn't have long till I had to be up only to receive a text from Chris to say he was ill so I decided instead to stay in bed for the rugby although was mostly engaged in Skype conversations for most of this time!

Ah yes the rugby. They're very excited about this here

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

So anyway unless you've been living on the moon you know that the French won their rugby match and are now in the finals. So herein having been out here a couple of months now and loving my adopted new home country I'm gonna have a 'enough of the anti French rubbish English people' style rant and I'm in as good a position as any to say it because the difference between those who say it and this who don't is our location.

I know it's often friendly banter but if I have so much as shown an inkling that I'm pleased France has done well at a sporting event someone somewhere goes 'oh look at her she's been in France 5 minutes and thinks she's French'.

Well no, but my ancestry dictates I'm as much French as half the UK born Wales and Ireland supporters... This was recently actually said to me as I was pleased at the results for France over Tonga and some people obviously were not, so i quickly reminded the people who were badgering me over my support of the French, that I was pretty certain they had no affiliation with new Zealand...

Plus at the end of the day I believe England are now home and France are playing in the final this weekend? Good work boys. Credit where it's due.

Anyway back to we hate the French.

Remind me again just how LONG ago was the battle of Waterloo?

Myth dispelling time for the non ignorant;

I am always being told how miserable the French are... Um have you looked around at some of the faces in England recently??

The foods terrible...well if you don't like garnish no France isn't the way forward but the French are not obese and I've had no indigestion problems at all. What else... Oh yes one person said to me:

I don't like Paris there's no buzz, London's a 24 hour city Paris is finished by midnight. Midnight?? Are you kidding me?? They are usually only sitting down to dinner at midnight! (I experienced this first hand Saturday night...) if you go out for the night meeting at 9pm is early if you go to a club you'll go about 3am, you never see people walking home from a night out because you can literally keep going for 24 hours here so people come and go from bars and clubs at will.

Another one - the French aren't very sociable. Even walking through my village Saturday night I noticed if several houses in a row were vacant it was because they were all gathered at Jean-pierres 3 doors down!

oh and the last one I can think of was someone saying they found London to be more open with more green spaces than Paris. I guess they went to a different Paris to the one I'm in then for sure. If anyone can find a valid reason for being anti France/French who has actually lived and spent a reasonable amount of time here then I'm listening. Meanwhile, stop it you are boring me.

Any who that rant over Saturday I wasn't up to much it was a lazy day, so i went to Val d'Europe, managing to catch a direct bus from the next town which was lucky. Thing is they dint like working lunch times so my bus timetable gies sort if 7-10am then they just decide they aren't going to lay on anymore buses until about 5pm so you have to time it right at a weekend! So I walked to Montry as the condé bus ceases completely at weekends. En route I thought I'd finally grab a picture of this:

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

It's amazing that this tiny sleepy little village holds such amazing artwork and this is down a side street so it's not really ever going to be appreciated by too many!

The guy has been all over the world though and someone very cleverly found his website for me

I'm guessing he is also responsible for the huge birds and various cats in the area. Just incredible.

I stopped in one of the local shops en route to grab a drink and conversation exchange with my local friendly shop keeper. We have an agreement, every time I go to the shop I teach him 4 new English words as he's trying to improve and he teaches me 4 French. I may be able to form a whole sentence soon!

Anyway i finally caught the bus and promptly headed to Auchan where for the first time ever i found the English section! So I bought some custard creams for the english dept. Meeting next week and then spotted these...

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Yes that is 1.48€ for 1 tin. So now we know why a full English costs 15€ in central Paris and I actually really miss baked beans so treated myself although I may just keep them for posterity at that price! I'm not doing it again, I'm back in the UK next week and will be stocking up then! I have a list long as my arm of things people want bringing back it's amazing, chocolate hobnobs, corn pops, baked beans, crumpets, fruit mince and mince pies! (who knew it's pastry and the French don't sell them...)

I headed back to the house after my shopping excursion as Anne was having a dinner party and I was on Sasha duty! So once again I wandered back through Disney.

Now why would you post these guys at the entrance to the happiest place on earth??? I hear mickey can get a little crazy sometimes;

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Got back to find my landlady wandering round the house in just a bra (somethings cannot be unseen) and decided this would be a good time to elope with Sasha so grabbed her lead and off we went!

We decided to head down here

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

And discovered this

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Then decided to go up here...

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Then I had nooooo idea where we were but we were in the woods somewhere (what gave it away was all the trees). Then I finally came across a sign that told me we had ended up in Couilly Ponte aux Dames which is the next town. oops. Worse it was getting late...

Note to self never go exploring with an hour til dusk

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Luckily this turned out to be my road!

So anyway once we were home Sasha was then confined to my room. With the guests arriving she was having a champagne reception and Sasha has a super swishy tail which she feared would end up taking out the expensive glasses so Sasha was sent to doggy borstal.

She was not happy

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Anyway after 2 hours I swapped shifts with the mysterious Gerard Depardieu lookalike who lives upstairs and went down to join them as a guest. As the per the French custom they don't eat til about 10pm so thats what time our 4 course meal started which was absolutely delicious! With little saucissons for starters (they love these chewy little dry sausages out here!) and of course mains, a cheese platter and dessert (and of course wine, there's always wine, in fact the biggest bottle of red I have possibly ever seen in my life) either way This I declined because you can't have wine EVERY day. Well you can but I was starting to feel like an alcoholic as a glass of wine everyday for someone who used to be teetotal just feels odd so I stuck to the funny tasting sparkling water they also have here. My only issue was with the starter. Doesn't matter how many times I tell the landlady I don't like fish she nearly always offers me some fish dish and offers it me usually starting with the words "now I know you say you don't like this but..."

Tonight was no exception. Prawn cocktail for starters. I've never eaten a prawn in my life and these were HUGE! I ate it BUT if I said I had actually chewed a single one of them I'd be lying.

Dinner went on til well after midnight and the guests were there til at least 2am but I retired as wanted to get up and explore Paris on the sunday!

Luckily Sunday was as beautiful a day as Saturday so I walked the canal path to Esbly, hopped on the train to the Gare de l'Est then headed to the Gare d'Austerlitz for a wander along the seine. Now here I must apologise and stand corrected for my error in last weekends blog where I said I took line 6 to Bir Hakim to take in the view provided by the only train that goes over the seine. Well line 5 also crosses over the seine. Fail. But a lovely suprise fail for me at least :)

I had no set plan from the gare so when I spotted people heading into an area that looked like the entrance to the park I just went with it. Beautiful afternoon, no agenda... This is how I discovered le jardin des plantes. Perfect, I had no expectations today but if I had then this place was just what I was looking for.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Hmmmm so going back to London and it's green spaces ;) I'll stop now I'm just being bitchy but I do love it here.

Here they had a zoo, labyrinth, botanical and medicinal gardens with all plants explained, geology, zoology and natural history museums are all here also.

Anyway I do love parks in cities they are extremely recreational and here people come to together to just enjoy themselves! Families were picnicking there were scout groups galore visiting, old friends, new friends, boyfriends, girlfriends it was such a lovely atmosphere so I sat on a bench to absorb it for a while.

Lazy Sunday afternoon:

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

After I'd relaxed and wound my way through the labyrinth and inspected the flowers and watched the world go by I headed off to walk along the river as per my original plan. As I left le jardin and crossed the road I noticed a lot of police activity as they were blockading the road and then I noticed the skaters! Hundreds of people out on skates travelling round the city!

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Not sure how many participants there were but they were still arriving at the blockade as I walked away, there were individual skaters, couples, entire families and some had brought stereos along so they were playing music it looked awesome fun!

My mission however was along the seine.

Such a beautiful day

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Now what i was looking for today, when I first came to Paris for a holiday a couple of years ago I went on one of the river cruises and en route had seen an area that had steps built into it forming like a mini amphitheatre around which people with seemingly all the time in the world were sat, some had stereo systems blasting away and on the platform/stage part people were dancing.

I had always wanted to be one of those people sat on the steps, watching with seemingly all the time in the world, or maybe even one of the ones dancing, but just to have the time to do that as opposed to being on holiday so dashing about seeing the sights! Well today I wanted to find this place and I wanted it to be me so off I went hoping I'd gone far enough down the seine to find it.

Hmmm what's going on here then...? HERE IT IS!!!

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

line dancing afternoon held by 'si seniors' a group for 'country seniors'. Obviously in for the long haul with their food (and of course wine...)

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Bit of night fever and yes in the background of this pic, that is one of the river cruise boats passing by on which I'd been sat in May 2008 which means; that person I was talking about earlier? The one sat on the steps watching the dancers, the one with seemingly all the time in the world... I'm now officially THAT person.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Happy with my lot in life I wandered further down the river noting all the people socialising along the river bank as I went.

Parisian picnic essentials no. 1 a spot by the river (see opposite bank for further evidence this is the place to be) 2. Good company and 3. A baguette and last but by no means least (actually it's just a Parisian essential in general) no. 4 a bottle of wine. Usually red. Don't leave home without it.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Bit like this guy (down n out Parisian style, a classy tramp; drink red wine, fall asleep under poster advertising alcohol, do you think they have a problem out here?)

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

But then why wouldn't you picnic out here with this view of the ile de la cite, you cant pay for such a view from a restaurant! (well actually yes you can but I guarantee you it's considerably far more than the 3€ it will cost you for a baguette and a bottle of red will...)

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

And in my wandering this is something i saw amongst many sights but I just loved this...

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Oh and this is for my mum having had a conversation with her that morning about their 25th wedding anniversary spent in Paris where she mentioned a man sat by nitre dame playing a squeeze box. As I said to her; "mum there is ALWAYS a little man by Notre Dame playing a squeeze box. Case closed:

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

I headed down to St Michel and at this point received a text from Michelle to say she was on rue de Maine with the girls if I fancied joining them. That was a he'll yeah, so 20 minutes later I found myself on a sunday evening drinking a mojito outside a typical Parisian cafe bar in Montparnasse with an international bunch of girlies. I feel the return of my inner Carrie Bradshaw.

This is how my Sunday evening also ended as obviously as night arrived I waved goodbye to central Paris and Michelle and I were just in time for the 8pm train back to Esbly.

Good times indeed!

So now it's 4 days till my holiday plus have had a bit of an exciting turn of events in the housing situation for Michelle and I but seriously do not want to jinx it just yet. Just fingers crossed that something amazing (how much amazing is one person allowed in their life let alone a matter of weeks) is on the horizon. Will know by next week though.

Bon semaine to you all!


Friday, 14 October 2011

Bête noir (a pet peeve)

So the week has ticked along fairly normally. It's almost half term and don't I and the children know it and boy are they fractious!!! Tonight's dance class nearly wound up a news story ending with: "before turning the gun on herself..."

I am also frantically trying to make sure they complete their English work on time. Ah initially this pile of marking made me feel grown up now I feel like a teenager with homework :p

Photobucket Pictures, Images and PhotosB

Michelle has been having plenty of fun with the littluns in English, she asked if I could keep on drilling away with objects and colours in my English enrichment lesson as due to the French's manner for speaking backwards they can say the object in English and they can say the colour in English but ask them to combine the two...

What are these?


What colour are they?


So what are THEY?!

Scissors red!!!

These gems are only second to their comprehension or rather lack of listening to the actual questions. It is not uncommon when waving flash cards of pictures such as cats at them and asking them what it is for the answer to be....


Or showing them a flash card of a banana complete with description...

"okay class, it's long, it's yellow, it's fruit, you eat it...what is it?"


I get it a lot, during hangman for example.

"give me a letter"


Um no Jean not quite what I asked.... Okay class NO words, give me a letter, ONE letter NOT A WORD, NO words.... hands up....who can give me a letter? Yes Marie..."


Off exasperating lessons to something else that has been sent to exasperate me. Now all my friends know I LOVE cats and this area is not short of them, I have 2 favourites on the way to work. First there's grumpy puss.

How can you not love this face:

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

I die laughing whenever I merely glimpse a look at this cats face and when I first saw him (when I'd finished quietly laughing to myself about his grumpy expression from a safe distance so as not to hurt his feelings, I mean have you ever laughed at a cat? Would you tell a member of the mafia they were a bunch of overhyped girls? No you'd get shot down. Cats have that way of making you feel small and inferior at a glance. I'm not so sure the Egyptians worshipping them was wrong let's face it cats do command respect). I'm one of those people fool enough to give it them.

Anyway grumpy puss with only a face it's mother could love is actually the loveliest happiest puss ever. Upon noticing my interest in him I got a lovely big "mrrrooooowwwww" and was invited over to fuss him. I was a little cautious of the invitation for good reason but thought I'd push my luck and sure enough it was sincere and he got the benefit of a nice back scratch and a good chin rub and I was rewarded by some lovely rumbly purrs.

Now the reason for my caution is another cat I meet en route every day.

Prissy puss.

She has been sent to humiliate me on a daily basis and the reason it's daily is I continually fall for it.

I still remember that first day strolling along to work and there she was. Looking petite, black and White and with lovely soft fluffy delicate looking fur all neat, tidy and waiting to be fussed. I made the appropriate kissing noises to get her attention and was 'regarded'. This is my invitation to inch forward a little and stretch my hand out so she can sniff me first and smell whatever it is that changes their mind (there's an order to these things you can't just barrel in there) maybe you smell friendly! I inched closer and closer and she didn't move just stood there straining her neck to sniff my hand. When I finally got close enough so she could she didn't run, she had a sniff and regarded me some more then up went the back and the tail a sure invitation you can fuss them so I reached my hand to gently stroke her lovely fluffy back and...with all the fluidy of an expert body popper she managed to evade every single one of my digits. Her entire body somehow rippled and morphed itself around and just out of reach of my fingers it was incredible! And at this point she walked a couple of steps away from me and invited me to do the same again.

Like a fool I followed, sure enough same thing 'yes you may stroke me here' signals only for her to disappear round my hand like quick sand and then run off JUST as a car came round the corner so not only was I left looking like a prize muppet crouching in the floor on all fours, this cat was now nowhere to be seen and I was merely on the floor, in the middle of a country lane, on all fours with no purpose! The drivers looked highly amused. I wasn't.

This ritual is the same every day, ONCE she caved and let me stroke her before disappearing away a little further to invite me over some more...I am NOT falling for it again but like the untouchable every day it is my mission to get that fuss out of her!

Ah hello puss!

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Who moi? Sorry didn't see you there...

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Yes you! Feline friendly?

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

C'est possible (it's French after all) come a little closer, closer still...

Time to nonchalantly stretch and wander away to a safe distance then maybe suggestively rub a brick to hint that this time I MAY let you fuss me...

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Damned pernickety puss. That's it I'm done next time I see her I'm definitely ignoring her!!!

Besides I have a new interest. I happened to spot one of the many mole hills I pass on the way home moving yesterday so that's my new obsession. Mole hunting!

Feline adventures aside I have been learning more French this week. The funniest on Monday being

Poo. Which means lice. No that probably isn't the right spelling but that's how you pronounce it! So when the staff noticed Christian and I pulling funny faces in the teachers meeting Monday at the word poo being thrown into a sentence Michelle explained to us poo means lice then when we had finished laughing we explained to the teachers that 'poo' en Anglais, means un 'ca ca' en francais (remember that confusion from before) too many words sound the same another new one of these I have learnt is 'pause'.

Now you may look at that and think 'pause? That's English what's the problem?' and you'd be semi right as it does mean what it says. To pause, to take a break... Except when all the children during DANCE class are asking me something that I understood the first half of the sentence to be 'can we...' that's fine. But pause is phonetically pronounced POSE en francais.

So translating 'Karen can we have a (insert new word here) pause (pose)'

No wonder they were so irritated that My response was:

"no not yet it's not finished! The dance isn't finished! You can pose at the end!!!".

I totally wasn't getting it which made me look like a right slave driver (ok theres truth in that my ex clients will tell you as such) and therefore they totally weren't getting a break right then either. They thought they were asking for a break and all they got was me telling them no and voguing wildly at them to demonstrate 'pose' as I understood it.

However they thought I was saying no break til we finish the dance and I thought I was saying no posing till we finish the dance (the end pose, as you do when dances finish) and so 5 minutes later when I said to take a break they were extremely pleased and pleasantly surprised and thought I was being a cool teacher after all. Neither of us understanding this was what the other wanted it worked out nicely all the same!

Ok French idiom of the week. No really I mean the idiom is quite literally 'OK'. It means hiccups. If you have the hiccups you 'ave thee OK, eets called OK' as one teacher explained to me.

I like this. Some silliness for the day.

Generally the week has ticked along well, in preparation for Halloween next week I have been doing a routine to 'thriller' in my dance class which they are all loving and maybe i will see about them performing it at the Halloween party next Friday.

As we are now winding down for half term the lessons are different next week and Friday is technically a day off lessons and there'll be a Halloween party in the afternoon which will make a nice change. Although as the only member of the English department who works Fridays I have the pleasure of not only helping with this I have been allotted the new position of makeup artist, own disguise optional. Hmmmm I have seen some awesome witches hats in the Disney village ;)

Also Thursday morning was a half day for sport as it was school photos day and us English teachers were charged with keeping order whilst the various children had individual shots, then brothers and sisters shots (oh dear lord this was too cute!!!) then class shots (I have had an individual teacher one god help me) then the entire school photo. As the English teachers teach everyone we had to be in every single photo so I apologise to all the parents. There is no escaping my grinning mug in 99% of the pics available to purchase!

So anyway it's half term next week like I said which means I have survived 6 weeks in my job. I cannot believe it I really can't where have the weeks gone? Time flies for sure as they say. Got my flights booked as going back to cov for the first few days. Miss my parents, it's been a While since I said that but we are very close and used to speak pretty much everyday I can't really do that anymore maybe once or twice a week we catch up, plus my parents have been busy being superstars of the theatre and my dad is rehearsing for about 3 shows right now and my mum has the lead role in a play which opened last night! So they have been rehearsing all hours and as i am an hour ahead and do need my sleep contact is minimal, booo. We get a few brief minutes on occasion in passing on facebook or skype bit like the movie ladyhawke there is a brief passing window where we know the other is still alive and okay but that's it although am sure I'll catch up soon!

Also was my beautiful nieces 11th birthday yesterday which I'm sad to have missed and even sadder as she is having a birthday party tonight so thinking about her lots but sending love all the same. It's just more special when I do see her.

So this weeks blog is dedicated to my family. I love you all. Mum and dad for making me, me and if they don't want to take credit for my craziness then thanks for just being there! Love to my niece even though I am a lousy and absent auntie and much love to my big brother; don't sweat the small stuff things will get better sometimes we just encounter these things that are sent to try us and believe me bro if I could afford to have you shipped out to me here or to cov when I go I would!

Anyway slushy stopping. I have an hour left to make myself look less like sue silvester from glee then I have a date with mishy moo and richy roo (we are normal I swear) in central Paris and then tomorrow I have my notepad, my wallet, my camera, my travel card and a Welshman. Everything a girl needs for a weekend in central Paris (if you are wondering the welsh man is accompaniment to the wales match for which we will be holing ourselves up in Montmartre dans le matin) so whilst the forecast is perfect sunshine for a glorious autumnal weekend, you will find me appreciating the scenery

Bon weekend tout le monde


Monday, 10 October 2011

Le vie en Rose (life in pink) the best of life

Ah Monday Monday came around again far too fast but it's been a pretty crazy weekend to be fair that just whipped by! Ah time flies...

Well with just under two weeks to half term my thoughts are turning towards that and what I'm going to be doing, I have 12 days off... Was hoping to be working, preferably rehearsing for the wild west show over half term but as Disney is flat out busy with Halloween that week it's not likely, so currently trying to sort out 10 FULL days somewhere so I can spend all day living breathing and eating Annie Oakley and have the show hammered into me so then it's done and I'm ready to go whenever needed! We shall have to see...

Speaking of the wild west show I went along to it on Friday night, courtesy of the chief (my friend Shawn). A good friend of mine was visiting me for the weekend from Devon and so I decided we could hit up a couple of the bars in the Disney village Friday night and told Shawn as I must owe him a couple of beers by now for being one of the most awesome people I have ever had the privilege to meet, if he fancied it then to come join us post show. So he said how about coming to the show?

Seemed as awesome an idea as any so many thanks to Shawn for what was one of the most fun nights I have had in a looong time! (I said ONE of the most fun nights, so any one who has been out with me lately who is reading this and currently pouting at me for seemingly dissing their presence and entertainment value ... Don't it's a figure of speech!!!)

Ayway let's back track slightly! My friend was arriving into CDG on Friday afternoon so I arranged to meet him minus red carnation under the 'Disney Village' sign at Marne la Vallée. It's big enough you can't miss it. I then warned him he couldn't miss me because as always I was dressed like a Nike sponsored ninja; although turns out you could miss me as it was easy enough to use my ninja skills to sneak up on him.

We hopped on the bus and headed back to my house in Conde so he could drop his stuff off, plus I had just done 4 hours of PE and an hour of dance so wasn't totally fresh enough to go straight out!

Although first we had to battle the landlady... Now her hospitality is lovely but when you are in a hurry getting away from her is almost impossible and she managed to make us miss the first bus so we were a captive audience a little longer.

Now the previous night when I had been doing some washing she took it on herself to ask me if I was washing my sheets for his impending arrival as she could give me fresh ones if I wanted. I told her it wouldn't be necessary, I wasn't washing sheets and he was staying in michelle's room whilst she was in central Paris this weekend.

This was met with her clucking and saying 'of course it's none of my business...' I looked at her and told her point blankly friend meant friend and the spare room was where he was staying. She LOVES gossip does this one.

As she went on saying she "didn't mean to pry of course it's none of my business what you get up to and who with..." I casually folded my washing and switched off my hearing. Clearly this was prying and clearly this was making it her business. So when I introduced him to her I really shouldn't have been surprised when she rehashed the conversation from the night before and told him she didn't mind where he slept...

All I can say is it's a bloody good job he's a good friend else this would have been mega awkward! (i also heard her creaking along the landing stopping first at my door, then his, in the small hours of the morning. Bless her she'd have been most disappointed)

Note to self: should you ever start dating whilst still living here, don't bring them back... I thought it was your mum and dad that were supposed to do this to you not your landlady!!!

Anyway we finally got away and made the next bus and the night began! Trip to Billy bobs for an aperitif as in Disney you can get glowing cocktails you know:

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Then met Shawn in the foyer for the show at 9pm for ticket collection then onwards into the wild west!

So we are ici...

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

The wild wild west

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Do you reckon I could knock her off her horse from here?!

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Funnily enough on this night Annie Oakley rode the same horse I did for the audition and ...yep it's still being a sod and absolutely refused point blank to do his lying down trick! I felt for her.

Chief Shawn in action

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Now little did I know that this evening for the show he had decided I could come down and be one of the volunteers for riding in the stage coach when it gets nabbed. So before I knew it when they asked for volunteers he was heading up towards me and telling me to get on stage... I was somewhere between you have to be kidding me aaaaand oh my god that's awesome I wish my parents were here!

Blurry screen shots as only got video of this otherwise... Being brought down giggling my head off:

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Yep still giggling my head off and being escorted backstage by the chief and chip n dale (tic et tac)

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

I was lead backstage (ah hello not been back here for a while) but I remembered it well, climbed into the stagecoach, buckled up and then off we went onto the darkened stage ready to be ambushed by thieving cowboys!

I was the first passenger to be hauled out by one Christian Starr who is a damned fine looking bad cowboy it has to be said and I found it pretty hard to feel too bad when he opened the door of the stagecoach, looked at me and said "well hello beautiful" before hauling me out the coach onto the dark stage and yelling "give us a kiss" whilst pretending to make a move on me. Please note I say pretending. ;)

Now would you complain? (sorry though ladies he's taken)

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

The other 3 hostages were also hauled off and we were tied up before Buffalo Bill arrives with the cavalry to save the day.

I really didn't think being molested by a hot cowboy and then tied up by him was too much of an ordeal, I have decided I'm on the bad guys side.

Waiting to be rescued... Actually I'm more eyeballing the hot cowboy, I confess.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

The cavalry are here:

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

After the excitement it was back to your seats for the finale, extra loud cheers for the chief of course and I couldn't help but sit and wonder how long before it gets to be me there:

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Shawn if you're reading this, next time I'm on stage with you it'll be in that pic above just so you know!!! As Walt Disney himself said its always fun to do the impossible. My dad is super excited about all this because he grew up reading all about the wild west show, he says himself he never dreamed one day he'd have a daughter associated with it, even both my grandfathers were crazy about it... I rode a lap of that arena for them at my audition I fully plan on doing it again some day very soon. They dreamt it, for them I'm doing it x

Anyway post show merriment continued into the small hours as we hit the Disney village. We partied the night away with Shawn and his brother Lucas and a host of other cowboys, Indians and Disney staff even joining in with the line dancing for a spell! I love that I get to laugh that much, I love that Disneyland is my local, my life is surreal.

So anyway post Friday night we eventually woke up Saturday. I was awake quite early so thought I'd leave Chris a while then I set off down the hallway and went to go hammer on his door only to be able to hear him snoring from the hallway so aborted that idea :)

When he finally woke up I exchanged some quick rendez vous messages with my other mate Chris from work, told him we would meet him at Montmartre within the next couple of hours and set off to join him. But not before we dodged my landlady again... This time she had made us gratin, i swear she had been waiting for us to come downstairs all morning and was insisting we sat down to eat. Despite trying to tell her we had only come downstairs dressed in coats and complete with shoes on looking like we were Ready to leave the house.. Because we were!!! It was futile. 20 minutes later we managed to edge our way out the front door and run for our lives complete with slice of said gratin...

Then an hour later we were pulling into Anvers and heading up the steps to the Sacre Coeur. Stopping off for a naughty nutella crepe en route

Um guilty as charged

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Dropped Christian a quick text to tell him we had arrived, popped into the sacre coeur so Chris could say a prayer for his mum like a good catholic son and then off we went into the crowds.

Street theatre

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

A man doing salsa in Tap shoes with a goldfish bowl on his head. All 3 fish seemed happy enough though!

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

I had said see you on the steps of the sacre couer and so there we were met by Mishy, her boyfriend Chris and um Chris from work. So hi guys this is Chris, Chris meet Chris and Chris. Introductions out the way Mishys Chris (it could get confusing, Michelle and I were taking it in turns to randomly yell "Chris" to see who looked up first purely for our own amusement) anyway CHRIS (S; there surnames at least all had different beginning letters) produced a bottle of red and 6 cups and our partaking in the Montmartre harvest festival commenced!

Pour toi...

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Okay first pics of me and the team, I love these guys.

Me and michy under the sacre coeur (which incidentally is made of a stone that cleans itself when it rains...I'm great at pub quizzes)

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

The English department!

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Can anyone think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon? I sure as hell can't. However given that the previous week the weather had been almost 30 degrees someone has definitely turned the weather down here now and it was freezing, so we found the vin chaud setup in the fabulous courtyard of the St. Pierre de Montmartre which dating back to 1133 is the oldest church in the area despite it's relatively modern facade. Again pub quizzes...I'm in!

Rather fabulous wine heating machine. Half expected to see Belles dad from Beauty and the Beast pop out from underneath...

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

View from the courtyard

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

The harvest festival in full swing

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Obviously all good days must come to an end and we eventually said goodbye and headed off to Montmartre so Chris could do the touristy thing and check out the moulin rouge

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Then we scooched into the Latin quarter for dinner (headed to rue St Severin at St Michel for le Bistrot 30 which is a fabulous and ridiculously cheap little place I discovered years ago) then we headed home for a relatively early night to make the most of the daylight Sunday as Chris was heading home Sunday evening!

Sunday we managed to evade capture as we left in the morning and shot into Paris early starting at Notre Dame.

Sunday mass at Notre dame

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

This is always a good place to start as it is really easy from here to follow the seine from the ile de cité to the louvre (passing the padlock clad Ponte des Arts and pointing out to him Ponte Marie) I remember Ponte Marie well for it's bitter irony. It's not particularly a special looking bridge and yet it's reputed to be the most romantic in Paris. If you kiss someone as you pass underneath they'll be yours forever, make a wish it'll come true blah blah blah... Lies. I'm now divorced ;)

Anyway as we passed the louvre the last remaining stragglers of the Paris 20k which had been held that morning were struggling past and there was a brass band playing to cheer them along.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Now this is the second time in the last fortnight that I heard it... jingle bells!!! Called something else in France and with different lyrics I'm sure it may well be but in England it's a christmas tune and I have been hearing it since September now. Its not right!!!

We left the vicinity of the Louvre, wandered through the Tuileries to Place de Concorde and then up the Champs Élysées. It was a very grey drizzly day but the colours of autumn are so beautiful right now the colour of the sky matters not.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

As is customary we wondered in and around a few shops before reaching our final destination

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

And spending time having a good giggle watching the priorité a droit rule in full action at the place de l'etoile! No crashes that day. I'm mean really.

From here it's easy to just hop on the metro and take the only line in Paris that goes over the river for a lovely view down the seine and alight at Bir Hakim for the Tour de Eiffel. A must!

There she is.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Such a beautiful site I love the Eiffel tower

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

After taking many pictures all of which I have probably taken in the past and am just rehashing but with a different date on the pic (and if I'm honest a different bloke) we jumped on the metro back to St Michel for a last drink before it was time for him to head back to CDG and St Michel was the central stop for us both to go our separate ways.

After we'd said 'a bientôt' I headed off back to the gare de l'est to catch my train to Esbly. Smiling as I went. I used to find it sad when friends came to visit then left when I lived elsewhere but I'm so happy here and having such a great time I just feel deep down that if my mates have to say goodbye to me and leave me anywhere in the world, then of all the places I could be this is the one deep down they know I'm more than happy to be left to it in.

I went home zapping my navigo as I went through the barriers and smiling massively to myself. After all guys...

I've made it.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos