vendredi 30 octobre 2009

Space invaders

Somedays I like to just come home, put my feet up, sit on the sofa with the boy and slowly fall asleep in front of a badly-dubbed episode of CSI.

I know, it's hardly rock and roll, but hey, even Joan Jett needed a rest from time to time, right?

Last night was one of those nights. I've been out every evening for 11 days now, and have a full weekend of visitors from the UK ahead of me. I'm struggling with my extended commute and thus my extended day, and I needed a rest.

When I got home, le FP was sat on the sofa with our lovely Dainty Friend - a truly beautiful, petite, gorgeous French girl who is an old friend of le FP. She's easygoing, funny and fun and the three of us ate bowls of pasta and then cuddled up in an ugly old pile of arms and legs to watch TV.

I was enjoying the love-in when the doorbell rang.

It was a crazy French-Canadienne friend, turning up to show us her latest purchases - a pair of rubber trousers and some Louboutin-esque red, sparkly heels. My evening immediately descended into chaos as she stripped off and threw on the rubber pants before giving us her best ANTM runway moves.

The champagne got opened and I figured my cosy evening was over.

The doorbell rang again.

It was the other le FP, le FP Light we'll call him. FPL had brought his boyfriend round to show us his broken hand - he'd fought off some muggers in the cité where they live two days ago and was visibly hurting.

So, amidst screams and whelps and cries of delight - this group hasn't been in the same room as each other for some time it would seem, and they had lots to catch up on - I headed off to the drinks cabinet. Well, it's actually a white leather trunk stocked to the hilt but I like to call it the drinks cabinet.

I opened the 12 year old Japanese whisky and retired, gracefully to my bedroom.

I popped open my freebie webbook (thanks Sony) and did a bit of surfing whilst sipping at the single malt.

Within minutes, I wasn't alone.

Le FP arrived and lay down on the bed next to me.

"Sorry" he said, looking sheepish.

We were in the middle of a tender moment when the door to the room opened to a chorus of screams and a round of camera flashes. Le FP got everyone out of the room eventually and, feeling like a party-pooper, I went and joined them in le salon.

As I got steadily more drunk, I relaxed and started to appreciate the company of these crazy people a bit more - either that, or I started to care less....

At 2am, they all headed off home - except for the one that had decided to stay overnight - and me and le FP went to bed.

I got up with my alarm at 6am this morning, leaving le FP in bed - he had at least two hours of sleep ahead of him before he needed to leave for work - a day's fashion shoot at a fancy design hotel. He didn't even wake up when I rolled him over to kiss him goodbye.

Now I desperately need a night off.

I need for no-one to turn up unexpectedly.

It's going to be Sunday evening. Lights out, no-one at home.

I'm hanging out the do not disturb sign.

Heaven help anyone who comes a-knocking...

jeudi 29 octobre 2009

She stoops to, erm, conquer?

Me and le FP had been out for dinner the other night with a friend who is back in town from L.A.

He's a photographer friend who, amongst other things, publishes 'arty' books of photo's of handsome men, scantily clad. He did the Dieux du Stade calendar once too - naturally I'm very jealous of this and wish I'd known him at the time - I might have worked my way onto the set for that one....

Anyway, we'd been for dinner at the Gai Moulin - a lovely restaurant but for the fact that the owner sings. He sets up his little electronic keyboard in the corner and belts out showtunes and home-grown material. It's not a little tragic, but always fun, always funny.

Dinner had been full of anecdotes of semi naked rugby players, shoots in Mauritius with boys from Sex and the City, and curiously, tales of Brazilian transexuals. Safe to say we laughed a lot and were sad to say goodbye at the end of the evening.

Le FP and I decided we'd walk home. We do this every night, but usually end up hailing a cab, but this particular evening we did indeed walk home.

We headed through the Marais, across place de la Bastille and down my street. We'd been playing the fool all the way home, giggling like schoolgirls and laughing at nonsense.

As we approached my block le FP suddenly stopped. He looked horrified.

He pointed.

And then I saw what he was pointing at.

Next to a tree was a 'lady' crouching down. Squatting.

It was evident that she was taking a shit.

And not just a small, rabbit-dropping-style one either. This girl was laying cable.

We started to laugh. We were far enough away for her not to hear us, but I'd be surprised if she didn't notice the two grown men, bent double with laughter, tears rolling down their cheeks.

When she'd finished her 'business', she just pulled up her trousers and walked off. No wiping, you'll note.

Me and le FP pulled ourselves together and headed home. To get home, however, we had to walk past the scene of the crime. It was horrific.

Goodness knows what she'd been eating. But by the looks of what she'd 'delivered' my best guess was that she'd made a lovely meal out of a length of rope.

Yet again, I felt lost for words.

Le FP looked at me and uttered the immortal line "Erm, oui, mais, erm...comme on dis....Welcome to Paris" and once again collapsed into a fit of giggles.

God help me. God help this country.

mardi 27 octobre 2009

Sous le ciel de Paris

"Sous le ciel de Paris s'envole une chanson
Elle est née d'aujourd'hui dans le coeur d'un garçon.
Sous le ciel de Paris marchent des amoureux
Leur bonheur se construit sur un air fait pour eux."

I love Paris, but you already know that.

This morning, on my hellish commute, I was thinking about how fabulous life in the city of lights is. Or, more specifically, how fabulous my life in the city of lights is.

Yes, it's expensive. Yes, it's polluted. Yes, it can be frustrating. But I love it.

I hate my commute, but every single evening the view from the C train as it crosses the Seine and heads to the Rive Gauche makes me happy. I look up from my book as the train leaves the station at Avenue Kennedy and the Seine opens up before me - the view is straight down the river and the Eiffel Tower fills the frame. My heart sings a little and I know that I'm almost home.

When I head out of an evening to meet friends in the Marais I always go on foot. 200 metres from the house and I'm at Bastille - the grande place with the striking Colonne de Juillet at the centre. The traffic is crazy, there are motards everywhere, the cafés are buzzing and the city is alive. Again, my heart sings a little and I thank my lucky stars.

Sunday morning and I slip out of bed. I throw on a pair of joggers and some kind of jumper and head to the boulangerie Bazin. I wait in line (there's always a line at the best bakers in town) and take in the sights and the smells. I buy my chouquettes, my pains au chocolat and a baguette. I head home, undress and slip into bed next to my boy. We sleep a while longer knowing that when we wake up the best breakfast ever is waiting for us.

I stand at the bar at my favourite nightspot - the Freedj - and I chat to my friends. We speak a mixture of English and French together, depending on who's in town. We laugh - boy do we laugh - we share our ridiculous weeks and we down a few drinks. We leave the bar and head off for cheap chinese food.

Crossing rue Beauborg, we pass the Centre Georges Pompidou - beautifully lit at night and causing controversy even when closed, even so many years after it was opened.

the Pompidou centre reminds me of myself in so many ways. It is so clearly not born of the city in which it has been planted. It has a style that is different to the local style. It expresses itself using a different language. But despite this, it has been welcomed into the hearts of Parisians....even if they didn't like it particularly at first.

I love Colette, Monoprix and Galeries Lafayette.

I love donning my sunglasses and strolling 'les Champs' on a crisp, sunny Sunday afternoon.

I love taking taxis (alarmingly inexpensive) and riding the last métro home. I love ordering a noisette and a tartine for breakfast, vite-fais. I love a Salade de Chêvre for lunch and a carafe of rosé. I love walking 'la Coulée Verte'.

I love Paris, but you know what? What it is that I love most of all?

I love being in love in Paris.

But I think that's a different post altogether.

mercredi 21 octobre 2009

Beats so big I'm steppin' on leprechauns

I'm determined to get my posting back on track but I don't want to post any old crap.

The two subjects I could easily post about are a) run-ins with the law, but that's over and done now and b) soppy, doe-eyed posts about le FP. Which, let's face it, no-one needs right now.

Luckily, my family are alive and crazy and provide never-ending blog fodder.

Take my Aunt for example. No, really, take her. As far away as possible. Ha ha.

She's the older sister to my Mother, and trust me when I say that Aunty definitely got the crazy gene. uh-huh. She got it.

Problem is, she drinks a lot and she's accident prone. Things that don't go together very well. Last time she visited me in Paris she ended up in hospital having dislocated her arm. She did this when she tripped in the middle of the road in front of the Eiffel Tower. When I asked why she wasn't watching where she was going she said simply that she hadn't seen anything quite so phallic in a long time and was just 'admiring its beauty'....

Equally, let's not forget that this is the same woman who - when pretending to be blind - fell down the stairs, having mistaken the door to the stairway for the door to her bedroom. That ended with a broken wrist.

At the moment, my Mother is living with this sister, my Aunt. Mom sold her house recently and has bought a new place, but it's being 'brought up to standard' as she likes to say to her friends. So while the works are being carried out, she's shacking up with her big sis.

The first day that they are room-mates, I get a call from my Mom.

"Your Aunt is in hospital", she said wearily. "She's broken some ribs"

"How on earth...." said I.

"She was stretching to trim her clematis when the rabbit she was standing on gave way. She fell backwards, hit her head on a tortoise and broke her ribs on a little girl with a puppy."

I kid ye not. This was my Mother's explanation of events.

"Did you explain this to the doctor?" I asked.

"Yes" she said. "He didn't seem impressed. But then I don't think they have garden ornaments in India, or wherever it is he's from."

You see, my Aunt's garden has for a long time been a health hazard.

On many occasions I've nearly twisted my ankle on a concrete frog, or bruised my shin on a donkey with baskets. It's like an awful, babes-in-the-wood-meets-tim-burton nightmare of a garden. Wherever you turn there are dull concrete eyes staring at you, lifeless, desperate to be turned back into their living, breathing forms.

"The thing that has upset her most" said my Mom, "is that she broke her 'I wuv you' when she fell".


"The little girl with the puppy. She's always called it her 'I wuv you' - that's what she thinks the little girl is saying to the puppy".

"Please stop"

"No, really, she fell on her 'I wuv you' and she broke the girls head off. She's planning to get it fixed though, once she's up and about again."

The next day, my Mom called me again.

My Aunt had returned home from hospital the day before and gone straight to bed feeling queasy and shakey.

The next morning she had woken up blind. Yes, blind. Couldn't see a thing. She couldn't open her eyes and when she did so manually she couldn't see anything.

"Doctor says it's the shock" said my Mother.

"Just tell her to stay out of the garden" I replied. "And away from the staircase".

mardi 20 octobre 2009

Choose your friends wisely

He walked into the flat and we held each other.

Each told the other that he loved him.

That moment lasted forever. I never wanted to let him go and, by the way he was holding me, it was evident that the feeling was mutual.

I looked down at the big manila envelope in his hand.

"What's that?" I noticed that it was marked with the logo of Hopitaux de Paris.

"It's some x-rays that I had taken at the hospital" he said.

While 'in custody' he'd had some kind of panic/anxiety attack that, at the time, looked like a heart attack. The police had taken him to hospital where he'd been hooked up to monitors, poked, prodded and x-rayed.

All this was happening, yet whenever I called the commissariat they didn't say a word. I can't believe that they would send him to hospital, that he appears to be dying and that they would contact nobody to let them know. Well, I can believe it - it's the police.

Anyway, turns out all was ok, and it was an anxiety attack. Goodness knows the situation was stressful enough to enduce one.

Having finally let go of each other, we lie down on the bed and he tells me what has happened.

Two girls that he knows - good friends with whom we've spent many a great evening - have, it seems, been running a scam on their banks. They've been using each others credit cards overseas and then claiming the cards to be stolen.

It's a good scam - after all, if I'm using my debit card in Paris, how can I also be using my credit card in Montréal at the same time? That's the line they used with the banks.

Seems the banks are wise to this though, and refused to refund the purchases. Faced with a huge bill, the girls implicated the person who had been - innocently - on one of the shopping trips with lovely FP. He'd paid for one of the girls to go to Montréal with him in the summer and this was how she was repaying him.

They told the police that he'd stolen their cards, that he'd been shopping with their credit and that he'd refused to repay them when they confronted him.

Luckily, much like the banks, the police aren't stupid. They see this kind of thing everyday.

As le FP was released, he'd seen the two girls being led into the commissariat. They've been charged and they're awaiting trial is all the police will tell us.

I hope that's the end of it for me and le FP. It certainly isn't the end for the two evil, nasty, hateful women behind the scam.

I look forward to hearing that they are behind bars, fined up to their eyeballs and left to live ruined lives with criminal records that haunt them forever. Really. I do.

Forgiveness isn't coming easy at the moment.

lundi 19 octobre 2009


I left the apartment and walked to the Commissariat de Police. Luckily the Commissariat du 12ème is just 100 metres down the street from my apartment. FP had been taken there in a police car and was well inside by the time I arrived.

I asked at the 'welcome' desk for information and the 'helpful' policelady told me to go home. I insisted and refused to leave until I'd spoken with one of the arresting officers.

In time, one came to see me. He took my name, my address, my proof of identity. Everything short of fingerprints. Nice to know that I'm officially on their system now, at least.

He said "let's discuss this outside" and walked me out to the street.

Once we were on the street outside the Commissariat he said "there's nothing I can tell you. We're keeping him here overnight, at least, and the only thing you can do is go home".

And that's what I did.

The first night that we'd spent apart in five weeks and he was in a police cell.

I barely slept. When they were at the house, the police had alluded to the fact that it was something to do with a credit card scam and so, left alone with my thoughts I started to panic. I checked all of my accounts online - nothing unusual - and immediately felt bad for doing so.

I woke up the next day, as usual, at six a.m. I immediately felt sick and ran to the bathroom to vomit.

I called the commissariat.

"How old is this person?" they asked. I told them.

"Well, he's an adult. We cannot give you any information".

I went to work feeling sick, feeling helpless and useless. Confused and uncertain.

I wanted to believe him innocent. I needed to know he was ok. I was worried, scared and totally disconnected with everything around me.

The morning was spent on auto-pilot. I sailed through an interview and then, feigning sickness, I went home.

Back at the house I called the Commissariat again. Telling them that they had held my 'husband' (I figured that might help me get some info) for nearly 18 hours, I demanded some information.

"He is here, he is feeling better and we can keep him for up to 48 hours". This was all they would tell me. The line 'he is feeling better' scared me.

I paced the house and called a couple of friends. Both helped me - by offering advice, by not judging and by distracting me with long phone calls.

At around nine pm I finally cracked. I was in the kitchen, thinking about cooking something. I stood in front of the fridge, looking at all of the good stuff he'd bought only the day before and I started to cry. I was verging on hysterical. It was awful. Never have I felt so helpless.

I didn't cook anything. I walked back to the lounge, curled up on the sofa and tried to sleep.

At ten pm the doorbell rang.

I opened the door and he was there. Le Fabulous Pairisien. Looking dishevelled, tired, drawn, exhausted.

He walked into the apartment and we literally fell into each others' arms.

"Je t'aime" he whispered into my ear. "Je t'aime, je t'aime, je t'aime".

"I love you too", I whispered back.

All charges had been dropped and he was a free man.

vendredi 16 octobre 2009

Arrested development

I'm sat with le FP watching TV on tuesday at midnight when there's a knock at the door.

This is at the front door of my apartment - so the person who is knocking has already got through the door on the street (with a code) and then through the interior door to the apartments (with a key).

Having experienced the stalker, I'm cautious these days and so I looked through the 'spyhole' before opening. I'm especially wary of anyone knocking at midnight.

To say I was unnerved is not an understatement.

Stood outside were two handsome guys, both holding badges in the air.

"Police National", the one said "open up please".

I opened the door and immediately asked to examine the badges. I asked for names of the officers - they wouldn't give them to me.

"You are Monsieur TBNIL*?" he asked me.

"Oui, c'est vrai" I replied.

At this point le FP appeared behind me in the doorway.

"You must be Monsieur le FP* then?" he asked le FP.

"Yes, I am" replied le FP, as visibly stunned as I by the whole thing.

"Will you come with us please." It was a command, not a question.

He looked stunned, shocked, amazed and like he was about to cry. Neither of us seemed to know what was going on. He got dressed and two minutes later, he was gone with the police officers.

He'd been arrested.

I stood in my hallway in shock.

What on earth had just happened?

*they used our real names, honest.

mercredi 14 octobre 2009

Sex and the City

In Barcelona, in a taxi to a nightclub.

"You're such a Carrie" I said to le FP. He was going on about the pair of Louboutin shoes he wants - to put on a shelf and admire from afar, such is their beauty.

"Yeah, well if I'm Carrie Bradshaw, then who are you?" he asked me.

"Honey, I'm most definitely Samantha" I said.

"Mon Cher", he said, turning towards me with a big silly grin on his face. "You're not Samantha".

"Well I'm not Miranda" I said, huffily.

"Chéri, if I am Carrie", he continued, "then you are my Mister Big".






mardi 13 octobre 2009

They call me Ellen, they call me Rosie, they call me KD, that's not my name.

So, it's all been a bit whirlwind-ish around TBNIL Towers recently.

I feel like I need to share.

Le Fabulous Parisien blew into my life 5 weeks ago. Since then, we've not spent a night apart. We've not spent an evening apart, not a weekend, not a day. Except when we're working of course. Even then we speak two or three times a day.

I'm starting to think that I may be a lesbian - you know, the whole 'moving in together immediately', 'talking about whether there's room in our lives for a couple of cats', 'shopping for scented candles together' thing.

When I found myself sat on the sofa with him last night in what can only be described as a 'scissor fuck' position, I decided enough was enough.

I turned off the TV (we were watching Arrested Development on DVD and appreciating Portia de Rossi - I kid ye not) and demanded we go do something butch, manly, macho.

We went for a cocktail. I know, it's not very butch, but I was reassured...if we truly had turned into lesbians then we'd have gone for a pint of guinness and an arm wrestle, so all's well on that front. I shan't be drinking from the hairy cup for the near future.

Anyway, me and FP. What's it all about?

Well, it's kind of weird.

He's been back from Montréal for a few months and has been sharing with a friend. His stuff is still all chez the friend (which leads to many huffy 'where's my shirt' moments) but he is chez moi.

Above all he desperately needs to find his own place. Neither living with me, nor sharing with his friend is ideal. He's looking but the Paris real estate market is difficult, to say the least. To get my apartment, the company had to pay a year's rent in advance - that was the only way to get straight to the top of the list.

That said, he has two viewings today so hopefully one of those will work out.

It's not that I don't love having him at my house - I truly do.

Because he doesn't work every day like me there are advantages to him being around...he cooks my dinner most evenings, the house is the cleanest and tidiest that it's ever been and there's always food in the fridge.

I love knowing that he'll be waiting on the sofa when I walk through the door. And I know that he'll always have something ridiculous, hilarious or stupid to tell me. Seeing his dopey face when I walk through the door makes my day.

But he still needs to move into his own place.

We both agree that if this is going to stand any chance of lasting, then we both need some space.

Having no time to myself leaves me exhausted, tired, overwraught and fatigued. I'm sure it's the same for him too.

I'm not a natural sharer. I could be, but I need time. Let's hope he gets his own place soon.

Meanwhile, I'll put up with his tidiness, his great cooking and his bedroom demands.

I mean really, it would be churlish not too...

mercredi 7 octobre 2009

What's it all about? (they scream and they shout)

So, firstly, I've not been blogging as much recently...there are a few reasons. It's not that I have nothing to say - quite the opposite in fact.

You know how life is split into three - worklife, lovelife and social life, but maybe not in that order? Well, the theory is that all three should be in harmony, in loving equilibrium with each other. When one of the three demands too much time, effort, energy, then the other two suffer.

My problem is that all three are demanding too much time, effort and energy at the moment. I'm exhausted. Literally, falling down tired, sleeping as soon as I sit down somewhere even remotely comfortable. I'm wiped out.

And the thing is, I'm not sure which one of these areas can give. Which one I can draw back from to try and sort this whole she-bang out.

Work is madness, but it's the season for that. This is always my busiest time of year and it's made worse by the fact that my campaign budget has doubled, thus the work has doubled and the new staff member I recruited started and then quit not 48 hours later.

I'm currently travelling almost every day, leaving early and getting back late. Crazy.

Social life - and I include blogging in this area - is as demanding as ever. I've always worked hard to maintain a good network of friends. Living in a foreign city, this is more important than ever. My friends - on and off line - are really important to me. Alas, with work, I'm finding it difficult to see them as much as I want. I'm struggling to get online and visit friend's blogs and I can't tell you the last time I was picking up the phone to chat the evening away.

None of this is made any easier by my current 'in love' status.

Yeah, you heard that right. In. Love.

Well, at least I think so, but maybe not. Aaargh! I don't even have the time to think this one through properly either.

I've been seeing le FP for four weeks now - and we haven't spent a night apart in that time. I appreciate that this is far from healthy, normal or sustainable. But when have I ever been any of those things when it comes to relationships.

The time I spend with him is fabulous, I love having him round the house and I really look forward to seeing him at the end of the day.

He's generous, kind, loving and sexy.

But that doesn't stop the sick feeling I get in the bottom of my stomach when I think about where this is heading.

Why can I only see this ending in heartbreak for me? Am I really that damaged? That screwed up? That insecure? Why can I not sit back and think that this guy is with me because he really likes me? - goodness knows, he tells me often enough.

Anyway, maybe I have good reason. He told me this morning that he thinks he has to return to Montréal some time in the next couple of weeks. He started with "I'll be gone for a week" and this mutated into "maybe I'll stay there until Christmas - but you can come over for weekends..."

I hate maybes. I hate having no time. I hate feeling insecure.

But most of all I hate sitting here in Calais waiting for a meeting to start with someone who doesn't have the decency to call and say he's going to be late .

Doesn't he realise? It's not like I have time to spare.

The mood I'm in, God help him when he does arrive.

jeudi 1 octobre 2009

If you liked it then you should have put a ring on it

Marrakech is one of those places where a rub and tug is almost obligatory. If you haven't been scrubbed and lathered and sweated and twisted in a hammam, then you haven't really been to Morocco.

This trip I visited two - the luxury Hammam at the fancy hotel (thanks Céline) and a 'public' hammam in the medina. Both were very different to each other. Although the routine is pretty much the same in both - sweat in the steam room, scrub down with black soap, lather up, rinse, rinse, rinse, massage, inappropriate touching, rinse, leave.

Yes, I did say inappropriate touching.

For those of you who are a little sensitive of nature, I suggest you stop reading now and wait until I post something a little less, erm, intimate.

Right, so you're all still with me, then?

In the luxury hammam at the hotel, all was going swimmingly. The gommage - black soap thing - was amazing, the lather and rinse was wonderful and revitalising. As I lay down to get massaged, I started to truly relax.

Now, let's just set the scene here. I've undergone all of the above procedure naked, and now I'm lying on my back, on a slab of hot marble, à poils, being rubbed down with oils by a handsome, nearly naked, hairy Moroccan.

His massage starts well. He pays attention to my trouble spots (shoulders, neck, lower back) and I'm starting to drift off. He then moves to my lower body.

He works his way up both legs, rubbing as he goes. He massages my inner thighs. It's unbelievably good.

He opens my legs as wide as they'll go and sits between them, one leg one each shoulder.

I sense trouble.

Before I know what has happened, my prostate is being massaged - from within - and I'm lay there with my eyes closed, a smile on my face and, yes, a big old erection. It all took me so by surprise that I didn't really have time to think about kittens, poor people or anything else that makes my ardour die off. I had no choice. I was flying the flag for England in this poor man's face.

I figured he'd seen it all before though, so just relaxed and hoped it'd fade away of its own volition.

Unfortunately, his choice of 'next place to massage' didn't help it die away. Well, it did finally subside - but not in a way that left me with any dignity or self respect.

As the masseur rinsed his hands (oversharing, I know - sorry) he told me that I should think about giving him a big tip. I thought that's what I'd just given him to be honest.

The public Hammam was a different experience, but again it all kicked off during the massage.

This time the masseur was a stocky, well-built Moroccan guy who could have played for the national rugby team had there ever been such a thing.

As he rubbed away at my lower back, he made sure to place my hand in such a way that I had 'something to play with' whilst he got on with his job. I never had toys like that as a boy, trust me. Gosh.

Again, he finished the job with a winning smile and took me off to the showers to rinse off the oil.

I took off my loincloth - for such is obligatory in the public hammam - and headed under the tepid stream of water.

So did he.

Yes, he joined me in the shower.

As he soaped me down, I'm afraid that my loins got the better of me again - but then, as luck would have it, so did his. And he had no problem with asking me to get him into a lather.

A big tip later, I left the public hammam unsure of what to do on the last day of the trip. We'd committed to a hammam a day and there was still sunday to go.

Le FP wanted to return to the public hammam. I wanted to go to the hotel spa again. We both went our separate ways with a promise to meet up back at the hotel.

And boy did we meet up at the hotel. After our hammam experiences, we both seemed to be in the mood for a spot of pre-flight delight. I'm sure I can stop the tale there....