Saturday, 22 October 2011


I had to go to my au pair job today, which makes it three Saturdays in five weeks. Hmmm. Originally we said I'd have to go in on a Saturday about once a month...

I got there at 11am today to find the whole family watching TV together. They were watching a music channel and that song was on that goes 'I love trahhnce' and the dad was bopping his head to it. The kids told me that when they went to Ibiza this summer, their dad went to Pacha one night with his mates and he bought the girls t-shirts and key rings with the Pacha logo on. Imagine if the dad was secretly a massive, pill-taking raver?

Anyway, as soon as I arrived the cosy family gathering was over. The mum made everyone get ready for the park, even though nobody wanted to go because it was frrreezing outside and they were having a nice time with their mum and dad. I feel like the reason the eight year hasn't warmed to me is because everytime I pop up it's to take her away from her parents in order to do something she doesn't want to do.

When we got to the park, the girls ran around a field trying to get warm and I played with the baby in the sandpit. The mum had told me to stay there for an hour, but after half an hour the girls said they wanted to go home and the baby's hands had turned bright red with the cold, so I took them back. The eleven year old girl had a friend staying, so as soon as we got back the three girls ran off to play together, then the mum took the baby into the kicthen for his lunch, so I was left stood in the living room like a lemon.

I asked the mum if I should start the lunch for the girls and she said it was too early, so I went into the girls' bedroom and sat in the corner, trying to read a French book while the girls kept shooting me dark looks. They must have been wondering what the hell I was doing there, on a Saturday, when they clearly didn't need me. I was wondering the same fucking thing. I could have been SLEEPING. I was hung over, tired and I still had red wine stains on my lips from the night before- I should have been in bed.

The mum said to me yesterday that today she would need me from 11am until 1pm. But at 1pm she announced that there was a lasagne in the oven for me, the eleven year old and the eleven year old's friend. Then she put the baby down for his nap and went out for lunch with the eight year old. The eleven year olds obviously didn't need me to be with them and the lasagne was cooking, so I just sat on the couch checking Facebook on my phone. (I am SO glad I went on contract and got a Proper Phone that has internet.)

After we'd eaten our lunch, the baby started crying.

And crying.

And crying and crying and crying.

I rang the mum and she told me to leave him, but to ring her back if it didn't stop after twenty minutes. He did stop eventually, but I could hear him babbling and singing to himself and he was supposed to be sleeping. By now it was past 2pm and I was really pissed off. I don't mind working three hours on a hangover, but four and a half hours is too much, especially with a baby that won't sleep. He was crying maman maman maman papa papa papa papa and I felt like crying for them too, where the fuck were they??

At 2.30pm, the girls went and stood by the front door. "We're going to the cinema." they said. Then the doorbell rang and it was dad, come to take the girls to the cinema. As he left he shouted over his shoulder that the mum would be coming home in half an hour...

I was so bored and tired. I ate about sixteen biscuits from the Gouter Box, plus half a bar of Cadbury's Chocolate I found in there. I don't know where they got it from but I don't feel guilty- I was supposed to finish at 1pm, so by rights any English chocolate I find is mine. The baby started crying again, so I went upstairs and just played with him, resigned to the fact that he wasn't going to sleep. At 3.30pm, the telephone rang. It was the mum.

"Can you stay another hour? I need to take my mum to the pharmacy. Can you heat up some formula and take the baby to the park again?"

I don't know what's wrong with me, but instead of saying "No, come back NOW, you said I would be finished two hours ago and I don't know how to look after your baby!" I said: "If you need me, I can stay."

So I muddled my way through the French formula instructions, hoping I'd got the right thing, because she described it as 'milk in yellow box' but the stuff in the yellow box looked like biscuit-coloured cream, and then I lifted the baby out of his cot. He was so happy to be out of his cot that he stopped crying for his mama and papa. I do love spending time with the baby because he seems to really, really like me; the mum told me he asks to play with me when I'm not there. (Oh yeah, he can talk a little bit- I know I keep calling him 'a baby' but he's sixteen months old, so I guess he's actually more of a toddler.)

I couldn't find his boots anywhere, but I did find some teeny tiny Adidas trainers, so I put them on him because they look sooo cute even though I bet they cost a ridiculous amount. This family don't own anything that doesn't have an expensive label inside.

The afternoon was a bit warmer, which meant the park was quite busy. It was really embarrassing speaking French to the baby, because I can only say really simple things like 'It's not like that, it's like that' and 'Let's go!' Most of the time when I have to look after him, I just make noises like 'Ooooh!' and 'Wow!' and he copies every sound I make. I think he thinks some of the sounds are words (how can you tell the difference when you're only sixteen months old?) because whenever he sees me he points and goes 'Oooooooh!' like Mr Humphries from Are You Being Served?

Unfortunately, there were some English babies with their parents in the sandpit. I didn't want to speak English to the baby infront of them because they might guess that the baby doesn't understand a word of English and think I'm a terrible person for not communicating properly with him or something, so instead I reverted back to our special language of Ooooohs and Wows.

He wouldn't have his formula, but by that point I didn't care. I gave him some chocolate biscuits and then took him back home. It was 4.30pm when I got him back to the house. The mum had just arrived. She didn't seem very happy that he hadn't had his nap or had his formula. She said she'll text me tomorrow about what hours I'm doing next week, because it's the school holidays and all. No 'Thank you for working an extra FOUR HOURS today' or anything.

Pffffft. I'm knackered. I got home and slept for two hours, then Kayt rang me about tonight but I really can't go out. I've got my Stupid Fucking Waitressing Job tomorrow at 9am. Except, they neglected to mention in the job interview, that staff have to turn up half an hour before each shift for 'briefing' and this half an hour also counts as the unpaid break. How fucking ridiculous is that? I really don't know why I haven't quit yet.

On Friday it actually went ok, because I was 'running', which meant I just had to run back and forth between the kitchen, taking food out, taking dirty plates down, plus helping the girls who were waitressing clear tables and stuff when I had a spare minute. I think I was a really helpful runner. The girl working on the bar had hurt her knee too and the coffee machine upstairs was broken, so I even made all the coffees for her and took them to people's tables. The annoying thing is that every time I have waitressed this week, there hasn't been a runner.

That means I had to: greet people and seat them; take their order; check to see when they finish each course so I can tell the kitchen to send the next one up; go down to the kitchen when plates are ready; clear tables and take dirty plates down to the kitchen; wait on people whilst they eat in case they want more drinks/condiments/coffees/desserts; give people the bill and then 'cash' the table, which is fucking difficult when it's a table of about ten work colleagues and they all want to pay separately. I have to do all of the above things for about fifteen tables at a time. In French.

I'm not moaning but I don't want people to think that I'm an idiot and that I'm struggling to do a really easy job, because it's not easy it's HARRRRRRRD.

Anyway. Forget all the language problems and carrying three plates a time- on the rota I'm down to work Halloween and it says 'FANCY DRESS OBLIGATORY' and they ain't talking about the customers... There is no way I am doing a job I HATE whilst wearing a tacky costume and 'scary make-up'.

Sigh. I'm so knackered. I really wanted to go out tonight but I think for once I'm going to be sensible. I'm knackered and I can't go to sleep until I've sorted my room out. Since I've started this Stupid Fucking Waitressing Job I haven't had any time to do my laundry or my washing up and my room has become a sickening pit of slovenliness.

There is so much I need to do and I just don't have any time!!

My bank card has been blocked because I went overdrawn by accident, and I don't know whether I put the money back in there in time or whether they've charged me fifty euros, because I haven't had time to go into the bank. The bank manager has sent me a letter saying:

Vous êtes actuellement en dépassement de vos autorisations sur votre compte de chèques. Je pense que nous pouvons certainement trouver ensemble une solution adaptée à cette situation.

Argh, why did I move to France? I can barely look after myself in England, let alone in a non-English speaking country. I can't believe I am in trouble with my new bank account already, I don't even know how I got overdrawn. I am just waiting until Orange try and take the money out for my phone contract and then I'll really be In Trouble.

I haven't booked to go home for Christmas yet either. My mum said she can lend me the money but then it's just more debt on top of debt, although I guess I'll have to borrow it if it comes down to it- I’m going home for Christmas no matter what.

For FACK’s sake.

Everything seems bleak.

I’m tired.

My room is cold and messy.

I feel sick from how much chocolate I've comfort-eaten today. Plus, I've just made enough spaghetti carbonara for four people and I ate all of it in about ten minutes. I am disgusting. I could have shared that with the homeless man who lives on my street. He sits on the steps a few doors down from my building and no matter what time it is, he's always there, sitting in the cold on his own. Last week after Favela Chic, he was there when I came home at about half four in the morning and then five hours later when I went to work he was in exactly the same position.

It's so cold now. I don't know how people survive on the streets every winter. The Homeless Situation is really getting to me. Last year I kind of didn't care... I mean obviously I cared, but you can't run around crying all the time about the state of the world or you'll never get anything done, so I was able to block it all out. But this year I can't ignore them.

There was a homeless family living at Bastille and they had two very small children. I saw them every time I got off the metro there (to selfishly spend lots of money on cocktails for myself) and then last week I saw the police moving them on. In England the police would not let a toddler and a tiny baby sleep on the streets- they'd take the family to a hostel or something. Even if they called Social Services to sort it out, there's no way you would get homeless children sleeping on a mattress in such a prolific area of London or Manchester. The police were horrible as well; they didn't give a shit because the family were obviously Romany Gypsies.

Did you know that Spain and France are talking about expelling all Romany people? I hate how people think it is ok to be prejudice against Romany Travellers. Oh, they're all pickpockets and thieves are they? So shall we just expel them from Europe? Why don't we just build concentration camps and kill them all? Did not enough of them die in the Holocaust the first time round?

Ooh, check how dark and angry my mood is!! I think it's time for...



  1. Oh dear! Life is too short to be doing something that's making you so miserable. I feel for you and hope you can get a different job. Best wishes and best of luck. Bossyi

  2. I used to get the same weekend problem in my au pair job; they'd ask me 'if you're not busy would you mind looking after the kids while we do a bit of shopping'. Being a friendless English person in Madrid I was never busy, so I'd get stuck spending all of Sunday having to look after the kids whilst the rents spent the day wining and dining and spending lots of money. Grrrrrrrrrr it used to piss me off so much - so I feel your pain. Concerning the waitressing job, I say quit. Just imagine how liberated you'll feel when you know that you never have to go back to the shit job ever again. Cheer up soon!

  3. Thanks for the support and thanks for commenting you two!

  4. I will try and cheer up soon, and I think I'm going to quit this week after I get paid!

  5. Feel sad for you, What a life! I hope things take a turn for the better soon.

  6. Aww what a horrible weekend :( Hope things turn around for you really soon!

    When I lived in Paris, the homeless problem really got to me as well. I felt like such a horrible person walking past them all the time and not giving them any money or food. And don't even get me started on the ones with cute pets tucked into their coats...

  7. Thanks for commenting everyone!

    Oh don't make me think about the ones that have cute little pets please Crystal : (

  8. "I may well be a bit of a dickhead, but nobody is making you read this."

    That truly is the funniest thing I've seen on a blog in a long time. Thank you so much!

  9. Ha, thanks for commenting Mark!