So. New Year’s Eve.
I’ll try not to bore you too much with the details of my eight hour coach journey, but it needs to be mentioned as it was the longest bit of my whole fucking weekend.
It wasn’t actually that bad, getting the coach. I mostly snoozed and looked out of the window. (Luckily I managed to get a window seat and I made sure that nobody sat in the empty seat next to me by putting my bag on it and looking stern.)
The coach stopped a couple of times at French motorway service stations, but I refused to get off, in case Something Happened and I was left stranded in the middle of the French countryside. As a result I had to ration my little bottle water to one sip every thirty minutes and I was in that horrible position of being desperately thirsty and desperate to have a wee at the same time, for the entire jounrey. But I held fast people- I think it is all good practice for when I inevitably get stranded in the desert one day. I am sure it is just like being sat on an air-conditioned coach for eight hours…
However I did have to get off a couple of times for Border Control, which was so relaxed I wish I’d brought three kilos of heroin with me, just for the sake of it. I can’t remember if we had to go through the whole thing again once we reached England, but at some point in the journey, whether it was Calais or Dover I can't remember, we had to go through British Border Control and I felt so snide on everyone who wasn’t British, which was everyone apart from me.
All the Chinese students got questioned about what they were doing in France, what they were studying, why they were coming to England, how long for etc. Then there was a Mexican girl in front of me in the queue- I wanted to jump in and save her when she was asked who she was staying with in London:
“Erm, a guy.”
“Is he a friend?” the woman behind the booth asked her.
“Erm… kinda… I met him on Facebook and he, erm, he asked me to stay for New Year’s…”
I wanted to shout at the woman behind the booth:
“Can’t you see she has met a man on the internet and now she is going to have sex with him?! Stop asking her about it!!”
Somehow I managed to hold my tongue and soon we were all back on the coach, driving towards the next stage of our journey which was a complete Mystery- I had no idea how we were going to get across the Channel.
‘Over, or under? Over, or under?’ I kept muttering to myself.
I couldn’t see the sea, but I assumed we must be near it as we had gone through Border Control. At the very last second, I saw a big metal tube thing, just before the coach swung into it and everything went dark. It was like being inside a tin of sardines, except instead of sardines there were coaches and cars, parked in single file, with no room to even open their doors.
It was a bit claustrophobic, but it only took forty minutes and then... we were in Enlgand!!
It was so exciting. My face was glued to the window, seeing England through fresh eyes. I tried to imagine how I’d feel about England if I was seeing it for the first time, arriving on a coach. There were a lot of old people stood on corners, looking at things. Looking at pub menus, looking at bus maps, looking at other old people also stood on corners, looking at them from across the road. There were lots of stone walls and green fields and posh people gallivanting about on horses.
After what seemed like an AGE (in actual fact I think it was about two hours) I saw a sign for Lewisham.
“Lewisham!” I thought, “That’s in London! I know it is!”
I gathered all my stuff up and prepared to jump out of my seat ahead of everyone else. We drove through Lewisham...
Then, we continued to drive through Lewisham....
We just kept driving and driving through fucking Lewisham.
Then I saw a sign for Peckham and I got all excited again but it took us AN HOUR to get from Peckam to London Victoria. London is so bloody big!
It’s weird that I had to trek all the way to Gallieni to get the coach in Paris and I was grumbling because Gallieni it's the furthest east you can go and still technically be in Paris (I live in West Paris) and yet it only took thirty five minutes to get there. Paris is so tiddy compared to London.
Shit, I’ve just realised I didn’t want to go on and on about my coach journey and yet I have… oops.
Oh well, that part of the story is over now, on to the actual New Year’s antics! It gets a lot more exciting, honestly, there was a fat man in Speedos and everything!
Anyway, I better leave it there, because I need to go to my au pair job soon. On Tuesday the eight year old was really pleased to see me. I don't know why, I was a bit suspicious actually. I think the girls were pleased with their Christmas presents, even though they thought the Lush bathbombs were sweets. Thank God they didn't try and eat them. I showed the eight year old how to use it on Tuesday night but it didn't fizz as much I remembered. It just kind of bobbed about in the bath and then it melted. Still, she liked it, I think.
I don't think they expected any presents from me. When I left for Christmas I said to the mum "Oh there's some presents under the tree for the girls" and as I said it she handed me two massive bin bags of rubbish. She had just asked me to take them to the bottom of the street for her and she looked a bit regretful that at the exact moment I told her that I'd given them Christmas presents; she'd given me their rubbish to take out.
Anyway, on Tuesday the eight year old kept asking me if I'd bought a new handbag yet and I told her I was still looking for one.
"Do you like pink and brown?"
When I didn't answer very enthusiastically, she looked so upset that I quickly changed my answer.
"Yes! I really want like pink and brown actually! Why, have you seen one in a shop or something?"
"Yes. I show you." she said.
Then when I was just about to leave, the mum appeared in front of me holding a paper bag.
"We got you something!" she said.
I opened it in front of them, because for some reason French people love watching you open presents. It was a little handbag. I was so surprised and pleased but I also feel a bit embarrassed because they had clearly only given it to me because I got the girls presents and that's not why I did it at all.
But still, I needed a new handbag and it's a really nice one! It's a really small clutch bag and it's not 'pink and brown', thank fuck, but it's made out of pinky brown leather, almost like a lilac colour.
When I got it home I had a proper look at it and it's from Zadig et Voltaire.
Pas mal. Pas mal du tout.
Pas mal. Pas mal du tout.
I took it out last night but the little girl is really disappointed that I'm not using it for work. I tried to explain that it's more of a 'going out bag' but I might have to give in and start taking it to their house. I don't know if the mum expected me to take it to work as well though, because she said something about me 'not having to take a big bag everywhere.' Normally I either take my massive black bag and fill it with stuff I don't need just so it doesn't look empty, or I don't take a bag at all- I wear my coat with the Massive Pockets. (Seriously, they are so big that I can fit the after-school snack in one and a bottle of wine in the other.)
Actually, now that I think about it, this is what I did last year as well and that au pair family bought me a handbag for Christmas and a handbag for my birthday. Maybe I look like a person in need of handbags.
Hmmm, what else can I say quickly before I have to go? I feel like I have a lot of things to say...
Oh. I know.
Let me have a quick moan...
I am working an unbelievable amount of hours at the restaurant. I don't know how long I can keep both jobs up for. Don't even mention the fucking teaching job as well. I might have to jack the teaching in because it's just too much. Even with just my restaurant job and my au pair job, I'm not going to have one day off for the next three weeks.
It's Extra Shit because Amy, Clare, Mairi and Laura are coming to Paris next week for our mini-Paris reunion and I don't know if I'll be able to spend any time with them!
Think of the money, think of the money.
The only problem is, I am thinking of the money and all I can think is, how can I get my money from France to England?? Every time I try and do it something goes wrong and as a result I am spending more and more money on cocktails and shoes in Paris while back in England my credit card and overdraft and holiday go unpaid and my debts are getting steadily and steadily more out of control...
Still. You can't let yourself worry about these things, can you? Best to just push them to the back of your mind and go out for cocktails, in your new shoes.