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Métro people #52,446


I was sitting where I normally sit on the métro - on a folding seat at the back of the métro carriage, facing forwards. I like sitting there because I feel like I'm out of the way of other people. I'm sure that we all have the places we prefer to sit, for a variety of reasons.

At the stop after mine, a lady of a certain age got on the métro carriage, carrying two bags and wearing a giant red coat. Despite there being plenty of free seats available (facing both forwards and backwards), she immediately placed herself in the tiny space between me and the guy on the other folding seat at the back of the carriage. She placed her two bags on the floor and proceeded to spend a good five minutes removing her coat, rearranging her scarf, huffing and sighing and pouting all the while.

At one point I absently reached up and tucked some hair behind my ear with my right hand. My elbow was out and she deliberately leaned into it - "pardon!" I exclaimed. She just glared at me.

For a full twenty-three minutes she stood between the guy on the other folding seat and myself. I watched the carriage fill up slowly with people, then empty out again as we passed through a métro hub. At the twenty-three minute mark, she let out an enormous sigh (several people turned around to look at her, she was so loud) and sat down just across from me. She spread her belongings out on the folding seat beside her, and proceeded to glare at me and the guy next to me. I bowed my head slightly and glanced at him quickly - he rolled his eyes and sat there quietly, a small smile playing in the corner of his mouth.

At the next stop, I collected my things, got up and stepped off the carriage, looking back briefly to see that she was still glaring at me.

I chuckled. Out loud.

I know I've seen her before. She does the same thing every single time - stands stubbornly waiting for one of us to get up (which has never happened, that I can remember). I don't see the point in giving her my seat when there are SO many other seats available (especially since she's not elderly, nor does she appear incapacitated in any way). And en plus, every single time I've seen her, at a certain point in the trip, she sits down in a spot which is clearly unsatisfactory to her, and heaves a giant sigh.

Lost, Stolen, Discarded


This morning I noticed single condom lying, discarded, on the roof of the fondue restaurant situated just under my office window. I wondered why it's there...

Lost, Stolen, Discarded


"You're so beautiful," his mouth is on her neck, his voice is muffled in her hair. He picks her up and sits her on the open windowsill. She undoes the last couple of buttons on her top then leans back, laughing, letting her shirt fall open. He holds her tightly at the waist and smiles, "someone could see..." He kisses her shoulder, her chest. The night air is cool on her bare belly.

He reaches into his back pocket and pulls out a small purple square. She smiles cheekily and roughly pulls him closer. The condom slips out of fingers and tumbles out the window.

They freeze.

She raises her eyebrows.

He shakes his head.

She shrugs, and starts buttoning up her shirt.

He puts his hand on hers, "I'll whip downstairs and be back in a couple of minutes."
She tilts her head and thinks for a moment, "ok, I'll warm up the bed for us then..."
He kisses her on the mouth, a long, hard, hot kiss, then breaks away reluctantly, grabbing his wallet and racing out the door as she climbs down from the windowsill and pulls the window closed.

The first pharmacy, at the foot of his apartment building, has been closed for hours. The second, 500 metres away, is also closed, despite the fact that the obligatory bright green cross is still illuminated.

He stops for a moment, thinking of the beautiful girl upstairs, then sprints to the closest métro. The RATP worker is pulling the gates over the entrance closed. He clasps his hands together and begs him to let him inside for just one minute. "C'mon man, I know you've been there too..."

The RATP worker winks at him, letting him scoot underneath the gate and run inside to buy as many condoms as he can from the machine. Satisfied, he claps the RATP worker on the shoulder and tells him to have a good night as he runs back up the stairs and towards his apartment building.

Just then, in a moment as effective as a cold shower, he realises he's forgotten his keys. And, of course, the entry phone is broken.


"I'm just about done." She is relieved, and flashes an uncomfortable smile at him around the corner of her computer screen.

"Good. I'll get ready to lock up then." He gets up from his desk, letting his fingers brush against her shoulder as he walks past. She shivers, and would throw a glass of cold water at him if she had one. He's really really really not her type.

She presses Print, then Save, then shuts her computer down. She stands up to get her bag then turns to find him leaning against her desk. The look in his eyes in unmistakable.

She wonders how she got herself into this mess. If only she hadn't spent so much time on Facebook instead of working on that stupid report this afternoon. She would've been out of here with everyone else hours ago and wouldn't be in this sticky situation that she had spent the last three weeks avoiding.

She notices a small purple square he has put in the middle of her desk.

Oh come on, seriously, can he BE any more unappealing? Does this work with ANYONE? No wonder he goes through so many secretaries.

She rolls her eyes and picks it up. Gotta cut your losses, she thinks to herself. She'd call the temp agency tomorrow.

"Oh, you lost something," she said, flicking the packet out the open window and skipping out the door, grinning to herself about the look on his face.


She sits her two year old son on the chair at the tiny desk in their hotel room, then looks around for something for him to play with. Their travelling bags were already on their way downstairs with her husband and their eldest child, and apart from the hotel phone or the big book of restaurant menus she can't see anything to occupy his attention. She grabs her handbag and puts it in his hands, knowing full well she will have a mess to clean up. But how much can really happen in 1 minute?

"Stay here and I'll be back in a sec," she kisses him on the head and races into the bathroom. Thank goodness they weren't going to have another one.

He sits quietly for a moment, gently patting the velvet bag that reminds him of their puppy at home. Then he climbs up onto the desk, methodically removing objects from the handbag one by one and dropping them out the tiny window. Most things slide off the roof below and onto the street.



They lie in bed, the warm afternoon sun streaming through the open window. The sounds of laughter and clinking glasses float up from the street 3 floors below.

He pushes himself up on his elbow, and gently brushes her hair away from her face.

"You know... Us, here, in Paris... I think it could be time..." He looks at her cheekily & throws something out the window.

She clasps her hands to her heart. Finally. Finally.

"Let's start a family..."

"Yes. Yes. Yes."


"I'm STARVING." he complains.

She looks at her rapidly growing 15 year old son with affection - he's been taller than her for a couple of years now. "There's a crêperie downstairs. I think it's open all the time."

He heads into their tiny hotel bathroom, and calls out over his shoulder, "I'll need a bit of cash."

She picks up her handbag (Longchamp! bought in Paris! it was well worth waiting in line at Galéries Lafayettes yesterday - the girls are going to be so jealous when she gets back to Perth) and finds her purse. She rifles through the pounds and the dollars until she finds a ten euro note.

"I'll pop it in your wallet!" she says to him as he comes out of the bathroom, wiping his wet hands on his jeans.

"No no no, that's ok, mum," he hurriedly grabs the note and his wallet out of her hands, then turns to the window as she frowns at him for being so rude. He fumbles through the wallet and flips something discretely out the window. Hopes of ditching his mum in the shops and falling in love with a Moulin Rouge dancer were misguided anyway.


You can't always know what's coming, or how it's going to turn out. But you can always be prepared. Support World Aids Day!


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For 20 minutes she alternates between urgent texting, reluctantly conversing with the boy beside her, and pulling her long, faux-messy hair out of her eyes. He spends most of his time trying to attract her attention, but she brushes off his comments absently as she responds to her vibrating phone; it's obvious that she is only sharing the métro ride home with him by chance. His baby face reminds me of a boy I once knew. 

Apart from the currently typical well-to-do Parisian teen attire (short shorts, leggings, tiny canvas jacket, enormous scarf almost-but-not-quite brushing the floor), she is wearing what can only be described as Ugg boots. I know they're supposed to be the thing to wear but I can't help but shudder. To me, they're slippers. And always will be. Wearing slippers outside is just. not. done. Unless you're running to the mailbox and back.

"You look like an idiot" I think. Then quickly admonish myself for having such thoughts. But it doesn't stop me from wanting to bodily snatch them off her feet and throw them out the window. 

I add lambswool slippers to the list of things we have to bring back from Australia.




This particular march stretched right up Boulevard Saint-Germain. There was a guy in front of the group, just out of frame, carrying a vivid flare that made it look like he was about to torch a car or something.

I have to confess that I giggled a little at the tourists who screamed and huddled together for support.

In a country where the common man and the manifestation go hand in hand, they all blur together after a while.

Slow progress

Sylvain came home from work and we sat on either end of the couch, our respective feet up, chatting about our days.

"How is your toe going?" he asked.

We both stare at my toe, which I proceed to wriggle for the first time since the operation.

"Getting much better, I think!" I exclaim with glee, and continue to wriggle my toe happily.

Then, out of nowhere, like a bolt of lightning, Symphony pounces on it.

I think we have gone backwards about half a day in terms of recovery.

I really should know better.


I had a wee bit of an operation this week.

Actually, it turned out to be a bigger deal than we initially thought, so I'm off work for a couple of weeks whilst I recover.

Whilst my big toe recovers, actually.

It's a bit strange, being off work for all this time, waiting for my big toe to get better. It sounds rather ridiculous when you put it like that.

So anyway, the operation was on Wednesday. General anaesthetic and all that. Fun and games and adventures in French hospitals which will surely be recounted on future episodes of the podcast.

Fast forward through a painful night (once the local anaesthetic they put on my foot wore off, I understood why the doctor thought it was hilarious that I argued about how much time off he was giving me) to Thursday morning.

I can't actually really walk right now, so at around 10am, I figure out how to shuffle/crawl/drag myself out from the bedroom to the lounge room and onto the couch, where I settle in to watch endless episodes of Gossip Girl, Mad Men, Dexter and Ugly Betty, as I drift in and out of sleep.

Then Symphony goes and vomits.

In the furtherest place possible yet still visible from the couch.

I lie on the couch, staring at the puddle of cat vomit, wondering if I can manage to hold out until Sylvain gets home from work and cleans it up.

Then I start feeling guilty about the fact that he's already put up with a lot of my drama already (ie. listening to me chatter incessantly whilst we wait for the surgeon who is 3 hours late in starting my procedure), AND the fact that the puddle of vomit is right at the front door and in Prime First Foot Position for walking in the door.

Eventually the guilt gets the better of me and (pausing Gossip Girl, of course, you can't imagine that I would let a moment of that drama unfold without being in front of the computer screen?) I drag myself around and clean up the messs.

Clearly she didn't get the memo about me Not Being Able To Walk At The Moment.

Or maybe she did, and she's just chosen my weakest moment to get back at me for buying Light Cat Food.

(Note: it's taken me a good few hours to write this entry, as I drift in and out of the cloudy-headedness that goes with happy pills! yay for the happy pills!)
I woke up at 4.13 this morning. 

I tossed and turned until 5.01, when I finally gave up, drifted into the kitchen and had a glass of water, checked my email, and was about to see what was happening on Facebook at that hour of the morning when I heard creaks from the bedroom. I worried that Sylvain was getting up to check on me, but it turned out to be Symphony who thought that 5.01 in the morning was the best time for cuddles.

So we went back to bed, where she lay on my chest, her nose against my cheek, purring. But of course, just as I started to drift off to sleep, she wandered off to sit on the buffet, where she began chewing on plastic (her code for, "I'm so hungry and poor and neglected that the only thing I have to eat is this plastic which I will chew on as loudly as I can to wake them up and maybe they'll think about feeding poor 'lil old me"). So I rolled out of bed and stumbled into the kitchen, where I poured croquettes, one by one, into her food bowl, aided by the surprisingly bright blue light of my computer mouse in the room next door. 

Sadly, when I stumbled out again a few minutes later, having been roused by a suspiciously familiar vomiting noise, the pulsating blue light of the computer mouse didn't guide me in the right direction and I stepped right in the puddle of cat vomit.

5.42 and I was back in bed. 

With clean feet.

Summer Holiday Adventures 2008 (volume 3)

I'm continuing to be a bad blogger, despite promises to the contrary. But my dad's been growling at me for not blogging, and since it's fathers day today in Australia, I thought it was high time that I sat down and finished putting up some of the more choice photos of our trip to the UK (and hopefully my dad will stop his whinging - are you happy, dad?).

Of all the places we've visited in the UK, Scotland really stole my heart. The people were so friendly, bending over backwards to help and with a wicked sense of humour, and the landscapes were simply breathtaking. The first time we drove through the highlands, with the hills covered in heather, I had tears pouring down my cheeks - I might be a sentimental dork, but the country is just magnificent. Every time we turned the corner, there was something else to see, and the views just got more and more beautiful.

Heathery moors

Dance! Abernethy Highland Games, Nethy Bridge

Caber tossing - Abernethy Highland Games, Nethy Bridge

The march of the bagpipes, Abernethy Highland Games, Nethy Bridge

A lot of excitement at Cairngorm Highland Wildlife Park

Claire at Elie

Scottish Thistle

Squirrel - Cairngorm Highland Wildlife Park

The Muffin Man, overlooking Loch Leven, and the burial isle of the MacDonalds

Overlooking Loch Leven, and the burial isle of the MacDonalds

We can't wait to go back.

There are more photos on flickr, and we talked all about our various adventures on the podcast.

Summer Holiday Adventures 2008 (volume 2)

Travelling with Small Children has been an adventure, all the more so because they're so darn cute and say the most hilarious things ("I had to stop going down the slide after two goes because a bug came near me"). But even more adventuresome than travelling with two Small Children? Travelling with an unexpectedly pregnant lady! Very interesting indeed.

We drove around the English countryside a lot, discovering the Cotswolds and some standing stones,

Felicity, at the Rollright Stones

The Rollright Stones

and an English castle garden.

An English Garden, at Broughton Castle

Then we found ourselves in Nottingham, eating lunch at the oldest inn in England,

The oldest pub in England

meeting up with Kyliemac and co for some Robin Hood adventures.

The Muffin Man, Ryan and Kyliemac at Nottingham Castle

Then we went down to London, where we flitted around the city, saw a couple of shows, and did the usual touristy things.

The Muffin Man at the Tower Bridge, London

Big Ben

The entrance to the city of London

And then we drove up to Scotland through the incredible Lake District. Throughout the whole drive, we talked about when we were going to come back...

Driving through the Lake District

Summer Holiday Adventures 2008 (volume 1)

We've been sucked into the whirlwind of summer holiday adventures for the last couple of weeks. As my moblogging has shown, we've been running around all sorts of different places and having tremendous fun doing so with Old Friends and their Small Children. I would spend the next three days writing if I tried to go into all the details (and anyway, we're saving up some of the really juicy bits for the podcast), but here is a bit of a glimpse of what we got up to in our first few days away :

After playing in Paris for a couple of days,

Claire, playing in the water at Paris Plage

we jumped on a ferry in Calais and made our way over to Dover,

The ferry gang at Dover

The muffin man and the white cliffs of Dover

Claire and Phil at Dover Castle

Roman ruins at Dover Castle

then wandered around Leeds Castle for a day,

Leeds Castle

Felicity and Alexis at Leeds Castle

and finally headed up to Northamptonshire and stayed on a farm for a few days.



There are more photos on flickr, and there will be more to come...

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