Tuesday, 20 December 2011

C'est Christmas Time!

I've just been over my last blog post and edited it quite a lot, it was so badly written. The punctuation was terrible. I know my punctuation is always terrible but in Sunday's post it was particularly bad, so I do apologise. I was absolutely knackered on Sunday night after a lovely but quite busy weekend, which I need to finish telling you about...

Ok so I blew my fuse or my fuse blew up- whatever the 'technical term' is for using too much electricity and then loosing it all in one go. My phone was dying so I sent a text to Kayt asking her to come to my place in the morning and ring my buzzer until I answered, because we were supposed to be going to Julia's for a Transcontinental Christmas Lunch (the transcontinental part being the mince pies that me and Kayt promised to bring).

On Sunday morning I awoke in my cold, dark room to the ringing of my telephone- Kayt was ringing to see if it was working and luckily the battery had lasted the night. We arranged to meet in front of Marks and Spencers so we could get the mince pies for the Christmas Lunch. For the second time in a row I was lucky in that there was no queue outside, but once we got through the doors a very annoying man in a suit told us that the Food Hall would be closed for half an hour while they restocked the shelves. We decided to- oh my God, I'm so sorry! I've just realised I'm doing that thing again where I describe every, tiny, boring-arse thing that happened to me in the minutest detail imaginable.

Ok, let's jump forwards a few sentences:

...grabbed  a basket and ran in, suddenly overcome by a passionate desire to grab everything and anything within eyesight. As we were the first ones in, I had about two minutes to get a proper look at everything and I realised that the Champs Elysees M&S Food Hall is even more magnificent than I first thought! They have cocktail sausages and sausage rolls and proper sausages that are only 2.59 a packet! They have naan bread and biryani, beef stir-fry and bottles of BBQ sauce! They have chilled salads and sushi and desserts and yoghurts!!

We were overcome by the sheer volume of Excellent English Produce that lay before us and I momentarily lost control of my Mind, Body and Soul- I've not been home for four months and the sight of Reversey Percies was too much for me... I went into a FRENZY. We bought three boxes of mince pies, a chicken and bacon sandwich, two packs of salt and vinegar crisps, two packets of crumpets, a Turkish Delight chocolate bar, a packet of bacon and a box of Bakewell Tarts. Phew. Looking back, we might have gone a little bit overboard...

Especially as, upon arriving at Julia's flat, we discovered that they had made enough food for fifteen people. Before we even started the meal, we had bacon and pesto pastry tarts that Julia's sister Laure had made, plus blinis with taramasalata and this tuna thing that Julia made with coriander and lemon juice. Also present was the internationally-recognised Party Snack Staple- breadsticks and carrot crudités with humous. They'd even made a huge bowl of punch with fizzy wine and fruit juice. Oh it was so lovely, I feel kind of bad that all we brought were mince pies. Abby doesn't even like mince pies- the first time she tried one, at a party in Liverpool, she thought it was a madeleine, which is a sweet little French sponge thing, and when she tasted the gritty, bitter surprise in the middle she spat it out in front of everyone. Ha ha.

As we snacked and drank, we played 'Time Out'- a boardgame version of that party game where you have to make your partner guess the names of as many famous people as you can before you run out of time. Me and Kayt went through all the cards first and weeded out most of the French people because we had no idea who they were, but as it turns out, we didn't even know who all the non-French people were...

I couldn't understand why Abby wasn't guessing 'Admiral Nelson'. I described him as 'short, French, leader, war, uniform, very short man, eye patch, French! Short! Leader! Eye patch!' I was thinking of Napoleon, who apparently didn't wear an eye patch. Oops.

For our main meal Abby made us chestnut and mushroom risotto with chicken coated in breadcrumbs, stuffed with bacon and foie gras. It was very, very delicious and not even spoiled by the graphic photographs I saw last week on the Champs Elysees, held up by angry protestors and showing geese being force-fed through funnels. Like most things in life, I just pretend it doesn't exist! : D

After all the lovely food I'd consumed, I was struggling to keep my eyes open after two very long days and late nights. Julia said I could have a nap on her bed, so I did. For two hours. When I woke up everyone had started on the pudding which upset me a little bit. Kayt said "Did you expect us to wait for you to wake up? Did you expect us not to eat while you slept?"

The answer to that question is always YES, BITCH!

For pudding Laure had made a pear and dark chocolate tart, me and Kayt had brought Bakewell Tarts and mince pies and for some reason there was also a huge box of chocolate snails, which are kind of like decadent chocolate seashells. (Not that chocolate seashells aren't decadent- as any English readers* will know, 'Guylian Chocolate Sea Shells' are the Poshest Chocolates you can buy. )

As we gorged ourselves on Christmassy treats (Julia and Laure loved the mince pies but Abby wouldn't go near them) we watched Love Actually and I must say I welled up at the end when everyone hugs each other at Heathrow Airport. It made me think about Friday. I can't believe I'm actually flying home, it's been so long. No, I really can't believe it. I feel like something is going to go drastically wrong.

Anyway, on Sunday night Kayt came back to my place with me so I could grab everything out of my fridge and take it to hers, because obiviously my fridge wasn't working. While I banged about in the dark, Kayt had opened this wooden box thing on my wall and pressed a green button and suddenly everything turned on again! It was a Christmas Miracle! Or, as Kayt called it, ' a fusebox'.

On Monday I worked my last shift at the restaurant until after Christmas and I actually meant it when I wished everyone a Happy Christmas. They are kind of growing on me. After that I went straight to my au pair job, which I was really worried about as I didn't know if I'd end up wandering around like a spare part.

But it was fine! The eight year old had a friend round and they wanted to play with me so we played 'theatre' which basically involved acting out really boring situations, like I'd be the mum and they'd be my daughters who had broken a toy and I had to shout at them, then we'd all swap roles. I kept trying to introduce magical elements to the game like 'Why don't I be the mum and you be my baby UNICORN?!' but they just looked at me like I'd suggested we all shave our heads and drink petrol.

From my au pair job I went straight to Georgie's for sausage casserole. We listened to Christmas songs and ate M&S Christmas cake and now I feel really Christmassy!!

Today my au pair job was ok, both the girls had about six million mates round (I'm exaggerating a little bit) and I had to make lunch for them all, which I don't mind but not one of them said thank you. I mostly chatted to the baby's nounou because the girls didn't want me cramping their style. The nounou told me that she gets paid 1,200 euros a month for 184 hours and that she can't afford to buy her three sons Christmas presents this year...

There was talk of me accompanying the dad and the five girls to Jardin d'Acclimation which is like a kid's 'amusement park' designed by a child-hating bastard. I took the five year old and his Mad Mate there last summer on a boiling hot day and it was crowded and stressful and I swore NEVER to go there ever again. I could tell the dad was a bit overwhelmed by how many kids he had to look after, so I hovered around anxiously, faffing about with my coat to make it clear I was ready to leave.

"You." he said, as he caught my eye, "What did my wife tell you to do today?"

"She told me to come for the lunch and then that's it." I half-lied.

(She told me to be there for lunch time, she didn't say what time I had to leave.)

The dad nodded and said I could go. Yey! I skipped down the road with one thing on my mind:

Chirstmas Shopping.

As always, I've left it to the Last Fucking Minute and I am getting a little bit stressed out. I did this last year and ended up buying everyone a jar of French honey and a bar of soap. I knew this afternoon might be my only chance to go shopping before I go back to England, so I went to the Christmas Market on the Champs Elysee, determined to find everyone a lovely, unique, appropriate gift. I started to feel really Christmassy, what with the pretty lights and the festive songs playing, so I decided to buy myself a cup of vin chaud.

I drank it too quickly, felt really light-headed and ended up buying everyone a box of French tea and a bar of soap.

Hmm. You know what has made me feel very un-fucking-festive? Thinking about the nanny. And how her boys aren't getting any presents this year. All the money I spend on going out and make-up, I could have bought her kids some little presents. Once you get into that frame of mind, it's hard to stop. How can we enjoy our Christmas dinner when there are people with nothing to eat? How can I sit in my room drinking tea and eating mince pies when there is a man sleeping on a doorstep two doors down? Etc. etc.

Oh wait, I've just remembered something- homeless people aren't real! They just pretend to be homeless in order to get money from hardworking people like you and me. At the end of the day they go back home to their huge, well-heated apartments and eat a hearty meal with their clean, well-cared for kids.

And you know all those people with poorly-paid jobs who can't afford to buy their kids Christmas presents? Well it's ok because they want to be poor. They could get a better job if they just pulled their finger out a bit and made an effort, but at the momeny they're more than happy to work fifty hours a week and struggle to buy shoes for their kids. And don't even get me started on unemployed people...

As for the Third World, have you actually been there? They only pretend to be poor when the cameras are on them- if you actually go inside one of those shantytown shacks, you'll see they've all got widescreen tellies and American-style fridges, with ice-cube makers.

And as for those photographs of the geese... they're all photoshopped! Everyone knows that foie gras is French for 'tofu paste'.

There. Now I can enjoy my Christmas.

*Unless you're a Posh English person- who knows what bloody chocolates they eat. Hotel Chocolat probably, the flashy dickheads.


  1. I love you so much. The world's a better place with people like you in it

  2. Thank you very much indeed, Anonymous- unless you're being sarcastic. I feel a bit paranoid now.