Monday, 18 July 2011

I've finally moved on... I packed up my bags and hauled out. This was followed by several consecutive nights of dreams in which I was begging my boss for my job back.
Every dream was accompanied by a sense of humiliation and desperation.

Jeez Louise- I'm more worried than I imagined.

However after that, I had a dream that I was interviewing for a fab job and I got it. So my subconcious must have worked something out in the end.

In fact, I'm so glad to leave the town, i no longer see her as a beautiful woman with no conversation but simply a frigid old spinster of a town. It certainly seemed determined to turn me into one.

I went to see a friend in Montpellier. A town that I have always felt good in. I got another wonderful Covoiturage lift there and the thing that struck me were posters of music concerts everywhere. I realised that this was a rarity to see in Lyon. an indication of the non-groove of the place.

We went tot he Worldwide Festival in Sete. Excellent beach party though the best Dj was RKK- a middle aged fat French bloke who started his turn saying "it isnt about age or beauty- its about the music" and he proved that mny times over. The next day I was hunting him down on the net and then went onto discover DJ Dolores- a very talented Brasilian bloke.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Not enough c*ck to go round.

I read a recent newspaper article about many countries promoting the abortion of female foetuses. There is concern over womens rights ;the increase of female trafficking and prostitution.

But the concern is really over how this impacts on men who later need wives and cant get one.

As a feminist type woman, I am supposed to be outraged. My pragmatic nature is not.

The statistics can be apparently bad as 115 men to 100 women. (who for?) However, this doesn't factor in the gay statistic which according to my gay friends is 1 in 10. Actually, most of my gay friends say it is 4in 10 but thats just their pro-gay viewpoint.

So in a world where approx 10% of men are Gay, is this not just redressing the balance? doesn;t it just give the girls a chance of a proper life? A life with no man, no kids, no family, makes existence an academic exercise.

Once I would have been outraged. Now I just think " hey aborting us before birth?- jeez lousise -they are doing us a favour".

Do all these female foetus's have to live - just so men can have the choice and make their lives easier?

Friday, 17 June 2011

Other expat women...

Most expat women are usually in a couple and/or with kids. In France I am finding myself as the rare woman on her own. This is hard.

Other expat women admire me...and are as glad as hell they they aren't me.

They do not include you into their home circle . They are happy to go for a drink with you once a year as long as you fit into the slot where hubby isnt around and OH MY GOD- they have to actually spend sone TIME ALONE!!!!! Hit the panic button.

This is the hard part about being that '"independant woman".

In 2011 you would hope that life has changed and they would include "the single woman" , but they dont and wont.

A little devil inside me found myself wanting to shock them out of their smug comfort. Recently, in a girly lunch time chat, I said that I would shag a marrried man.

froze. Not because they thought their bloke would shag me, but because I was " breaking the sisterhood taboo". Actually I wouldn't. I know myself. But I felt they deserved a little REALITY check about their total selfish attitude.

I am missing London Town for the networks of alternative family that we create. Couples, single parents, gays, singles - we somehow hang in there together.... if its a celebration. Easter/Xmas people are invited , not left out in the cold. I know for sure if I was in a relationship abroad- I would definately be including my single friends on National Holidays...

But generally expats are a straight lot. Their
version of family is sooooo last century. Soooo 2.4.

So friggin straight.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

More Retro than Thou -A Cup cake rant.

My biggest fear on returning to London is the fear of RETRO.

All my 40 plus hipster friends have returned to classic retro as a default setting. Cos when you're too old for skating/hip hop chic...hmmmm...

I know! 40's and 50's always looks cool and I wont look a fool.

So now, just like in my 20's -- you've still got to have the "look" or you are simply not cooool enough for school.

The last few years -Glastonbury and now London has been filled with oldies sporting this look. It all started with Lost Vagueness going for the pikey/gentleman Jim n Jill thing a few years back. Now it has evolved into Tea Dances, Weekenders, Electro Swing, Secret Tea/Baking clubs/knitting. Aaaagh its endless and frankly CONFORMIST.

...and dont forget The Inevitable CUP CAKE BRIGADE. Middle class girls doing their conservative W.I look hoping that some bloke might finally realise that they are marriage material afterall and forget they were doing lines of coke/K/e in a field somewhere years before.

...and Cup Cakes are rubbish.

Leche bots! Licking Debbie Harry's boots

Ugh, Kirsty Young should know better. She was horribly sychophantic towards Debbie Harry on Desert Island Discs. How many times did she say she dreamed of being her and go on about her looks?

I found the whole interview a wasted oportunity....she basically let DH get away with implying that she was part of a generation of women who rejected the whole " feminine" image. In fact, at the time, most punk girls felt that as much as we loved Blondie's music, DH/Blondie got noticed BECAUSE of her looks... and Kirsty didn't challenge that once and banged on about her beauty.

Kirsty's going off as an interesting interviewer, as did Sue Lawley who also was too sycophantic and ultimately this makes a mediocre and conciilatory interview. It ends up that the interviewee doesn't get pushed to reveal something personal and thats booooooring!

In fact she should have asked "How hard is it to go onstage in your 60's knowing your audience are expecting your former beauty and agility or watching to see if you've lost it " And if she denies that she cares about this, then ask her why she has resorted to botox and a face lift? It's not very punk after all!


I awoke a 5am with the nagging doubt that I should have joined a SAMBA group . derrrrrr!!! I might have made friends . Oh silly, silly me.!!!!!

I keep thinking I should have tried harder and smarter. If I had only got a bloke here... Im so disappointed to have to come back to a non socialist country. I lived through Thatcherism- I dont have the strength to live through Cameronism

A promise to myself to join one again back in UK. London School of Samba perhaps , because cos I know my matedom has thinned considerably in London in two years and as I'm thinking of the doing the Brazilian thing...

Monday, 13 June 2011


I handed in my notice on my job 2 months ago and my flat 3 months ago. I have packed and sent off the majority of my belongings and now it is simply time to take stuff to the dump and clean the place and get my deposit back.

I leave with mixed feelings. Did I try hard enough to make friends/practise the language/internet date...?
Was it an impossible task... to come here alone at my age and think i could create a life in less than ten years?

France is a couples culture and a family culture. If you dont have one or both of those- you are lost. An Anglo-saxon 'mates' culture wont do. Waif and stray "mates" are not invited to family gatherings like they are in the UK.

So you need to get yourself in a relationship.. its the key to the door. Without that- nothing! I realise that last time I spent time her - I had a boyfriend. So i met people- we went to his Breton family's home and I felt part of something.

Outside the mountain... its cold and lonely and I hear the distant music somewhere.

I dont regret taking the chance- but I return home disappointed.

What did I achieve in two years.?

I directed two full scale musical prouctions.
I appeared in a play.
I made major improvements to my language skills.
I made a French tax return.
I learnt how to deliver IGCSE Drama Solo!
I made a couple of friends.

Not too bad in terms of achievement. But by God it's been a lonely path. It has made me feel too close to the main character in Anita Brookner's "Look at me". I never wanted to be her. I feared it -even in my 20's, as I feared being Gloria in "They Shoot Horses Dont They" when I was 10.

I toy with returning. Here or somehwere else in France. I'm not sure. I am reluctant to give up on my investment- which is getting much better at French and undersanding better how it all works here.

Have I ever returned anywhere apart from back to London? It's the latter that tells me that I am not just a gyspy.

And finally, am I better off living in a socialist country? Hell yes. Returning to the UK is a return to hell.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Lyon is a secret. You know there is a party somewhere, you can hear distant music but you cant find the source.

Living here is like being the crippled child who is left out side the mountain when the pied piper has whistled all the other children away.
Lyon is a like a beautiful woman who has no conversation.

Speaking french with the french

  1. If you ask a French person to speak more slowly and articulate- they would rather switch to talking to you in English.

  1. They will interrupt your flow and correct you constantly over the smallest mistake (without solicitation) no matter how well you are doing. Correcting your grammar is more important to them than understanding the essence of what you are trying to communicate.

  1. I used to think it was a power trip but after having worked in the French system, I surmise that the reason for this is that as the French style of educating is punitive and they “mark negativelyYou start out with 20 marks and each mistake loses ½ point. US/UK style is all about adding points.

How many times has a French person who can communicate their subject extremely well insist on saying how bad their English is? This leads me to believe that they have learnt to be hard on others in the same way that they are hard on themselves.

  1. As a language educator I know that- something has to be used, analysed and exercised around 14 times before it can mentally stick. On-the-hop corrections are rarely remembered the following morning. Also not everyone is an auditory learner.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

I'm such a loser.

I missed the bus to go Ski-ing. I am gutted.

Two trips to the ski hire shop in one day to ensure the best ski boot fit. Running around buying special insoles to help with that. My sandwiches made , my ipod charged, tissues and vaseline in my ski jacket pocket, camera,...

I set the alarm for 5,30 am to get the bus at 6.40pm. I woke three times in the night and then thought, in what seemed like the early hours.. I'll just check my alarm again. 6.55am. On no.

What happenened?...Last thing last night... I dropped my phone and it came apart. I had to reset all the settings. I had mistakenly set it for 12 hours later.

I'm now so angry at myself, I've been punishing myself with cleaning and filing since 7 am. I must face everyone who I told I was going... I feel such a fool.

My karma drives me nuts.

When in Rome....

Im off ski-ing on Sunday- just for the day. Mayeb I'll meet all the Lyonnais who are clearly not here at the weekends. It's a ghost town here in winter

I’m terrified as it's been six years since I’ve been and I'm so unfit. Last time was pretty difficult and now six years and two stone further on…..However, I want to conquer my fear of the slopes and one of the advantages of going alone is that you don’t have to keep up with anyone. I can take it very slowly on the baby runs. I think taking it slowly on the green runs was probably the last time I actually ever really enjoyed ski-ing. I need to decide if I finally actually really hate it or not. I bought a whole ski outfit for 30 euros in a charity shop so I've not much to lose and i'm going with a company that do day trips from Lyon. (The other participants will be about 17 and snowboarders) Any way---- as long as I don’t come home in an ambulance…

Nothing happening on the man front. Wonder if it ever happen again. Pissed off that my time is up at 46 but I guess one has to accept it at some point. It is prob never easy. Oh why can't I force myself to go out with ugly balding grey men? Life might be a lot easier. My tits are beginning to look susupiciously like my Nans. If I ever feeel like im missing her- I need only to take my bra off, get my grey thermal vest on and watch a bit of telly.


Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Light at the end of the tunnel

Life finally feels like it is shifting a tiny imperceptible bit. Last night I had a play read through with an English Theatre company here and we are planning on putting on a few short pieces in a pub in Lyon. I'm excited as it feels I have been stuck in boring old teacher mode for ages. I was starting to wonder if in fact I would never be anything else, and my days of artistry were over.

This summer, as musician "friend" of mine.. said:" So you decided to give u performing then?" I was gutted but pride made me snap back; " No, I'm just exploring a different project which is living in France at the moment. I will perform again." He looked sulky. His comment was designed to sting. Ding Ding Round One-- to me.

Also my incredibly competitive sister, who has been having some marvellous personal success this year... smirked triumphantly: ' oh, you seems to have ..... disappeared'.

Aside from them being arseholes... it just shows you in reality how much teaching sucks you into its world. My life at the moment is bearable because I am working part-time and it is less demanding of me as a teacher in some ways than the UK system- which just wants blood.
Now I can do a tap class and a French class in the evening and even think about being involved a small bit of theatre. I don't become obsessed with some kid's attitude/performance all day and evening and have bugger all else to talk about.

Oooh, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

other expat nutters

and I thought I was negative about France! A lovely couple I met in the pub last night ( a Irish themed pub... which if Disney were to do pubs, this would be it.) told me that they couldn't get a full night' s sleep as the bin men would drag the bins down flights of steps every single morning at 5.30 am only to be followed by screaming teenagers at from the Lycee opposite hanging out in front f their front door.

She said: I went across the road to the director and complained and when he said that the forecourt area outside our apartment was public property, I said DO... YOU ... WANT.. ME TO PUNISH... YOUR... STUDENTS .. INSTEAD... DO YOU?

Her green eyes bulged with every word.

She continued: DO...YOU?

I imagined that the director was probably pushing a button underneath his desk by now.

BECAUSE I WILL..... YES I WILL.....and then went into a serial killer description of what she would do to them.

"hmm... but I bet these kids were polite to you when you went past them in the morning... i offered.

"YES THEY WERE.... she said darkly.

I have made a mental note that she is mad, and perhaps I shouldnt have been so hasty in offering my flat a a venue for the womens' networking meeting. My other friend made a move to get her bus.

" Are you sure you're going to be allright left with these two" she whispered.

"Yeah" i said.. basing it on the fact that i've already met so many nutters in my life that one set more wont make much difference.