Friday, 31 May 2013

Weather

Today in the nursery, I got a present from a kid who's leaving- it was a 'strip shooter game'.

HA. 

It was from Sunshine, the little girl I saw in Comptoir Général a few weeks ago, or rather it was from her mum, who is from Manchester. I know I shouldn't have favourites... but Sunshine is my favourite, was my favourite. From the bright lights and boulevards of Paris they're moving to... 

Runcorn.

I had a lot of things that I wanted to blog about, but can't remember them now. I finished yesterday's blog post abruptly because I had to go and accompany Kayt to the medical centre so she could get 'some scans'. She bloody loves the doctors. It was like taking her to a theme park, she even got to take her scan home in a gift bag emblazoned with the Radiology Department logo.

The medical centre was GRIM- lots of scabby, handwritten signs and dark, tiled walls. Basically, it was a medical centre for 'poor people'. Kayt lives in quite a rough area, but there's a few 'bobos' and rich families that live there too... I'm guessing they all go to the 'other' medical centre. 
It makes me feel all riled up and angry in defense of the NHS- why would anybody want to get rid of it? 

Yesterday we had to queue up to tell them Kayt had an appointment, then we had to queue up to get a slip of paper, then Kayt went down to the radiology department and they told her to go back upstairs to the 'check-out' to pay for her scan, then she went back down for her scan, waited, had her scan, waited for her results... then we had to do the whole thing again for her second scan.

It wasn't cheap, either.

To be fair, the whole process didn't take too long, it just seemed like a very long-winded way of doing things. Kayt said her doctor was lovely as well. I'm not saying the French healthcare system is bad, I'm saying that I love the NHS.

Anyway, I know what I wanted to blog about now- there was a silver lining to me not getting a second audition at Guildhall...

This month Paris had two really good dance music festivals- Marvelous Island and Weather- and I couldn't go to either of them: Marvelous Island because I was away at the seaside; and Weather Festival because I was in London for my audition. But TC and OJ told me there was a Weather Festival after-party on Sunday night that I could go to and Sonja Moonear was playing, a DJ they've only recently discovered and who, they've told me, I MUST AND SEE. 

They had a few friends over from England as well, who had come to Paris for Weather Festival. By the time I arrived at TC and OJ's flat on Sunday evening, they'd all been raving for two days already and weren't sure if they'd make it to the after-party... A few hours and a few drinks later, everyone was ready to go out again.  

TC, her friend Sarah and her boyfriend decided to stay in the area for drinks as the party was a long, long way away. It was at the Porte de Versailles 'exposition park' at the end of Line 12, the same place that We Love Dice was. When we arrived, there was a little queue of people near the main gates, but OJ pointed out a building on the other side of the complex, high up on the other side of the motorway, with strobes and shadows dancing in the windows. That had to be it.

We walked round the gated complex, looking for an entrance. It was chucking it down with rain, but now I associate all Parisian raves with the rain and I quite like it. (It always seems to be raining when I go in or come out of a rave, but everybody is so happy that they don't mind.)

After walking for about thirty minutes, we realised we'd come full circle- the little queue had to be the queue for the Weather party, but how did it lead to that building of lights and beats, up above the world so high? (Like a diamond in the sky?)

It was like being in an airport. We went up escalators, walked across a glass bridge (which took us across the duel carriageway) and traveled along moving walkways... We couldn't hear any music or see any other people. I started to think that maybe we had accidentally queued to get into an airport.

Then we reached the 'club' (I think it actually has a name now, like 'Electro' or something) and we could suddenly hear the music. We got inside and it was amazing- it was nowhere near as crowded as it had been at Loco Dice! There was room to dance, no queues at the bar and the windows weren't steamed up, so the lights of Paris were visible through the huge glass walls. It was so different to We Love Dice, when people were shoving and pushing and running around like dickheads.

We arrived just in time to see the last five minutes of Sonja Moonear's set, which was a shame because she was really, really good and then somebody else came on and all of a sudden the energy just went dowwwwn. 


 

I didn't think I was that fucked, but I don't remember much of the night, although it was two weeks ago...  I remember we went to the smoking area a lot and OJ had a metallic pink cape with him and people were doing the limbo with it... I remember one of OJ's friends met a really, really tall Dutch man and asked to get on his shoulders, then he made the really tall guy get on his shoulders... 

I've got no idea what the music was like, just that it was techno. I also have no idea what time we left, but when we got back to the flat TC, Sarah and her boyfriend were still awake- yey, everybody together again. We carried on drinking but people dropped off one by one until it was just me and TC left- we decided the best thing to do would be to stay up all night.

Somehow the morning came and people started waking up. TC made me five coffees and then we all went to their local bar for brunch and by brunch I mean four Bloody Marys. I'd never had a Bloody Mary before but I see now why people drink them after a night out drinking, it was like nourishing my body with food and topping up my alcohol levels at the same time.

All of a sudden I felt really sinister. It was an 'optional' Bank Holiday and luckily I didn't have to be in the nursery, but my au pair family had said they might need me. I TOLD the mum to text me the day before, otherwise I would stay out all night and not be able to go into work. She hadn't texted me but she did send me a message about my food shopping... I knew she'd asked me to go into work, I knew it...

In the end I turned my phone off.

After 'brunch' we went back to TC and OJ's and soon it was time for their friends to get the Eurostar home. I hate that feeling when the rave and its aftermath is coming to an end and it will soon be time to face Real Life. 

I didn't go home until about 9pm. I was sure everyone on the metro was staring at me (they probably were, it being Paris), I was sure I looked mental and I didn't know what to do with my hands or my face and I didn't know where to look. I suddenly realised it was Monday and I hadn't been in work. I rang Kayt and she said:

"Hold on a sec I'm just talking to Adam (her boyfriend), I'll call you back."

I burst out crying and put the phone down. When she rang me back two seconds later, I answered as if I didn't know who she was and couldn't think why she was calling. I'd obviously scared her with my crying but I felt really emotional and mental. There was an English couple sat next to me and I kept looking at them sideways as I whispered into the phone:

"I just feel a bit paranoid. I've not slept for a while. What day is it? I didn't go into work Kayt and I don't know what day it is."

The English couple looked at me like I was a talking into a potato, attached by a string to my tin foil hat.

It was all a bit messy, to be honest. The next day I had to go and teach a drama lesson, then I got home and realised my phone was broken (that's THREE phones that have broken now in as many weeks). I emailed Kayt and asked her to come round to mine for lunch, then when there was no reply I decided to go and get a sandwich from Marks and Spencer. 

When I arrived home I found a very alarmed looking Kayt lurking in the corridor, she'd been banging on my door, thinking I was inside, either collapsed on the floor or hiding under the covers having a paranoid freak-out. She'd been messaging everyone, asking if they'd heard from me.

"Erm, she just went to get a sandwich." she then had to inform people.

When I went to my au pair job later on, the mum even didn't mention the day before, although the nanny told me she'd gone to work in the afternoon... I wonder if the mum called the nanny because I'd gone AWOL?

I guess it doesn't matter, all's well that ends well.

Tonight me and Kayt are going to see SBTRKT, I'd forgotten all about it! I can't believe we were supposed to go almost four months ago.

The song below reminds me how much money I've spent these past two weeks, on absolutely nothing, on crap. Sucked into a culture, living like I do. Disgusting amounts of drink, eating out, make-up, make-up remover, kimono jackets that I have still never worn... 

I'll wear it when it stops raining ok and it will be worth every penny...

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Drama School Auditions

You might be interested/disgusted to know that I'm typing this with my right foot stuck in a pan of hot, salty water. There's something wrong with my big toe, I don't want to talk about it. Kayt told me to go to the doctors but I WILL NOT.

It's been a ridiculously long time now since my last drama school audition, but y'all know I like to be consistent... so here we go.

After I got dropped off at the gates by the lovely red-haired couple that restored my faith in humanity and showed me the Meaning of Life (all in a day's work), I wandered off again because I still had two hours before my audition. I was worried the couple would spot me and think I'd been lying about my audition, a lost fantasist, roaming the streets of London pretending to have a drama audition, killing time until her Weekend Pass expires and it's time to go back to the mental hospital...

I read my book on a bench (why does it feel so weird doing that in London, when it's perfectly acceptable in Paris?) and then my cousin Sophie came to meet me for a bit. She said she'd been reading up about the drama school I was auditioning for and thought it was the one I was most suited for- they encourage applicants to be themselves in the audition, not a character. I definitely like that idea but I struggle with it- I don't want to be myself, I want to be a character, to be somebody else. It is something I really want to work on though.

The auditions were held in the student union. After being buzzed in, I made my way downstairs to see a group of nervous people waiting silently in an empty bar. They were all sat together on a big banquette but nobody was talking. As nobody else was talking I thought I better keep quiet, but it was so awkward that I kept smirking and wanting to laugh.

Not long after I sat down, we were called into a room by three ex-students. They explained what was going to happen- we would have a workshop to warm up, then we would wait in the room until we were called in for our audition. After everybody had auditioned we would be told who had been successful.

If we were successful, we would be asked to go for a second audition the following day, which was a Sunday. I'd known this beforehand but still decided to book my Eurostar back to Paris on the Sunday. It's not that I didn't think I had a chance of getting in but... yeah, I didn't think I had a chance of getting in.

I was one of only three English people auditioning and after the ex-students explained that the second auditions would be held the next day, I understood that the school had organised it so that anyone coming from abroad only had to stay in London for one week (the third, final round of auditions would be held the following Friday), rather than travel back and forth each time. In't that nice?

I'd forgotten there was going to be a workshop. We did a lot of exercises we used to do at uni: walking round the room, making eye contact, filling the space; then we had to stop in front of someone and look, 'really look' at their face and tell the other person something we liked about their face. (I told one guy I liked his eyebrows.) We had to mime carrying a cup of tea to the audition panel, spilling it, mopping it up etc. They asked us to line up against the wall, then walk forwards and tell everyone our name, where we were from, what made us laugh, what made us cry and finish the sentence 'Acting is...'

After the workshop we went back into our waiting room. I was last on the list, so I had a long wait until my audition. Everyone was a bit chattier after the warm up and I asked the two English guys if they lived abroad as well- one said no, but that he'd had 'a problem' in his first audition and so they'd told him he could audition again, and the other guy told me he was a popstar in Vienna... That's really not what I expected him to say.
The other European people were from Sweden, Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands... and there was one French boy. I spoke to him in French for a bit, but only a tiny bit so he wouldn't figure out that I actually don't speak French. I felt very international. That night the Eurovision Song Contest was on and we joked that we were like a mini Eurovision...

HEY!

It's hard making jokes in a group that speaks six different languages.

Eventually... I was called in to audition.

Unlike other drama schools, the audition panel told me before I started to perform my pieces to them, rather then look over their heads at an imaginary audience. One of the ex-students sat in the room so I would have somebody to make eye contact with, in case the audition panel had to look down and make notes.

I did my contemporary speech and my Shakespeare speech first, I thought both went quite well but then I'd already performed them in my RADA and LAMDA auditions, then they asked me for my third piece, which I hadn't practiced at all. They asked me to sit in front of them and do the piece as naturally as I could, as myself, not in character. After my first line they stopped me. I guess I was adopting a character, a slightly posher version of myself, without realising it.

"As yourself," they reiterated.

I did again, as myself, or as much as myself as I could. (I don't really know what my real accent is, it depends on who I'm speaking to but I don't change it on purpose.) Luckily the monologue was somebody describing a night out to her friends and the character was my age, so it was easy to be chatty and naturalistic.

When I'd finished they asked me for 'my song'. I'd had no idea there would be a song until after the workshop and the ex-students has asked us to write down what song we would be doing. The audition panel stressed that it wasn't about my singing (which is good, because I can't sing) but that they wanted me to tell a story.

I secretly enjoyed doing the song, because I LOVE singing but I can't sing in my shower because all the neighbours can hear me. I do sing under the roar of my hairdryer however and I always sing 'Silver Dagger', so that's what I chose to do. (When I'd finished they said they really liked the song and asked me what it was, I was surprised they'd never heard of it.)

At the end of my audition they asked me what I was doing with myself, why I wanted to go to drama school etc. Then it was back into the waiting room.

We didn't have long to wait. They came into the waiting room about ten minutes after I'd finished my audition, with a list of who was coming back for a second audition. Before they told us who was on the list, they told us not to be disheartened, they told us how there were two thousand people auditioning for just twenty five places, so it didn't mean we weren't talented... There were just three names on the list.

And mine wasn't one of them.

I can't even remember who got through now, because I was sat near the door so when they'd finished I just said thank you and then we were all standing up to leave. I walked out of the building with the French boy and this Italian girl I'd been chatting to. We all had comedy sad faces, pure disappointment pulling our mouths down, eye to the ground.

That's it then, no drama school for me.

I always knew it was a long shot, I always knew it was a lot to do with luck.

But I felt lucky!

After my audition I went straight to Sophie's and had a long chat with my mum on the phone. She was out of hospital by that point and everything was fine (the moral of the story is- if you feel really sick, for no reason, for two weeks, you should go to the doctor's).

It's hard to talk to my mum about what I want to do with my life because whenever I say 'nothing, really' she gets annoyed, but she was really nice on the phone. She suggested I move back to England and do acting classes for a year, then apply for drama school next year. A lot of people apply three times before getting into drama school, I guess I would have been extremely lucky getting in on my first attempt.

But It's hard to think about the fact that I didn't even get a second audition, anywhere. Not getting in is one thing, but not getting past the first round?

Nobody's ever told me I'm good at acting.

As it was my last audition for my last school, of course I felt a bit shit because it meant the drama school dream was over, but after talking it through with my mum and my cousin, I felt ok about the whole thing, I guess. Although saying that, as soon as I got to my cousin's house we went to the pub and I've been drinking nearly every day since. It's been almost two weeks of drowning my sorrows and I feel like absolute shit.


Friday, 24 May 2013

The Meaning of Life

It's not stopped raining since I got back from London. How can that have been five days ago?

Friday already??

It feels like a Tuesday.

I've just reminded myself of something... Olivia once told me a 'non-joke' that I like to use as a humour test:

Once there were two hippopotamuses in the African Savannah who lost their only son, he was killed by a lion I think, not an uncommon occurrence for hippos, but still sad, unbearably sad. Life was cold, life was long. They couldn't see a way out of the grief and each day was as painful as the last. They barely spoke to each other, they never laughed. The pain turned to a dull numbness. The two hippos wondered if life would ever be the same again. Then one day, many months later, the two hippos woke up to a beautifully sunny morning, everything seemed brighter. They decided to venture down to the water hole, for the first time since... for the first time in a long time. The two hippos waded out until they were stood knee-deep in the warm water. They looked at a flock of birds taking off on the other side of the water hole. One of the hippos turned to the other hippo and said:

"Doesn't it feel like a Tuesday?"

HAAAA.

Of everyone I've ever told, I can only remember my mum and my brother laughing. (Actually I've never told my friend Claire and I've got a feeling that she'd laugh as well.) Most people look at me, perplexed, when I tell them the 'punchline' and then proceed to snigger at my own joke in a very unflattering way. But people who laugh at the end don't laugh at 'the joke'. They laugh at themselves, at their own expectations...

If they're surprised at the outcome, they then have to ask themselves: What did I think the punchline was going to be? Where did I think the story was going? Did I really think that life was more meaningful than one sad hippo stood knee-deep in muddy water, remarking to another sad hippo 'that it feels like a Tuesday'?

BAHAHAHA.

Look, you don't like the joke, I get it. Let's move on, just forget the joke.

Forget it.

I need to tell you about my third drama audition anyway. Third time's the charm...

For my third audition I was supposed to have learnt a third speech, but like a fool I left it until the last minute and so was still learning it the night before. I was a bit worried about the fact that I hadn't had the chance to practice it in front of anyone, but I'd performed my other two monologues plenty of times and thought that they might even be a bit stale as a result; maybe it would be a good thing for my new piece to be fresh and under-rehearsed?

Sometimes on the Eurostar I feel like I can't leave my seat in case I get lost on the way back or fall over- it depends what carriage and mood I'm in. Last weekend was one of those journeys (I was in the last carriage and was in an edgy, nervous mood) and by the time I got to St Pancras I was busting but there was a massive queue for the toilets. I considered wetting myself in front of the ticket office (not really, come on) but then thought better of it and decided to Hold It In until I got to a cafe.

Hold on, just realised that it's Friday night and I'm sat here blogging about how I needed a wee but I'm going out in a minute, promise, let me just finish this RIVETING account of needing a wee at St Pancras...

I got the tube to Moorgate because I knew it was close to my audition and there were a few coffee shops there. I went into Eat and ordered a coffee and then I did that thing where you're not ready to order so you panic and say the first thing that comes into your head- I ordered soup, at eleven in the morning. It was only after I'd paid that I found out there wasn't a toilet.

I felt cheated and abused- I'd just spent five pounds to use a toilet that didn't exist. I blinked back tears (a slight overreaction perhaps) and sat down in the empty cafe, with the cup of soup I'd ordered by accident and the cup of coffee I couldn't drink as it would make me need the toilet even more. I tried to read my book ('The Corrections' by Jonathan Franzen- it's really good if you're looking for something to read) but I couldn't concentrate because my bladder was behaving like a Sinister Pervert that sits next to you on the night bus and keeps poking you, saying "Why won't you look at me, ey? Why won't you look at me, ey?"

BECAUSE YOU'RE SCARING ME!

I put my book away and jumped up, leaving the two cups half full. I knew there was a toilet in the nearest Marks and Spencer because it's near Lauren's office, but I felt as if I had to walk around pretending to 'browse' polka dot neckerchiefs before I could legitimately use the toilet.

If you've been reading this thinking that I've finally snapped and let my all-encompassing ego take over my life to the point where I think it's o.k to spend Friday evening detailing a trip to an M&S loo- then bear with me, this story isn't actually about having a wee. It's actually a philosophical analogy that helped me understand the Meaning of Life- I swear down.

After I'd had the best wee of my life, I wandered out of Marks and Spencer's and saw there was a Big Issue Man outside.

I didn't buy a Big Issue off him because I had no change (don't look at me like that) and as I walked away I realised I'd just effectively thrown away a fiver on coffee and soup that I didn't even want- most of which had been thrown straight in the bin- and that I could have given that same fiver to the Big Issue man. Then I started thinking about everything I waste money on and homeless people and once you start on that train of thought the only way off is to throw yourself, very hard, preferably in front of a train of thought going very fast in the opposite direction.

I was in London on my own with nothing to do for a couple of hours and nowhere to go. Life was shit, so very shit. There would be someone else wandering around London at that exact moment, with nothing to do and nowhere to go, but they would be homeless and the only difference between me and them was Sheer Dumb Luck.

I felt sad for homeless people everywhere, I felt sad for myself because I knew I probably wasn't going to get into drama school and I would have to do something I don't like for the rest of my life. I felt sad for everyone everywhere because I realised life was shit. What was the point in anything?

I was also lost.

Lost as fucking usual, always lost and late and miserable for No Reason.

Without thinking, I asked the first people I saw where The Barbican was (it's right next to the drama school I was auditioning for). I was surprised at myself, I didn't remember making the decision to ask for directions. I'd asked a red-haired couple, in their fifties and happy to tell me that they were going to The Barbican too.

"You can follow us!" the man said cheerfully.

I started to walk with them. A few seconds passed in silence and just when I started to think it was going to be awkward, they asked me if I was going to the show at The Barbican and I told them about my drama school audition. They asked me how I was feeling and I admitted not good, then the man told me his nephew has been auditioning for drama school for years. We chatted about that, then they asked me where I'd come from so I told them about Paris (the woman had been a few times on holiday) and when I asked them where they were from I found out the man was from Walton in Liverpool, a few streets away from where my nana lives.

On our way to The Barbican we saw the drama school and they dropped me off at the gates. (I actually walked back out again as soon as they left because I was two hours early, but I thought it would spoil the moment to mention it.) Good luck, thank you, have a nice day, nice talking to you etc etc.

I felt happy, so happy, my faith in the world restored.

And then I realised what life is all about, seriously, the answer to life's biggest question began swelling up inside me like a balloon, before suddenly exploding with a 'pop' of enlightenment...

Life- it's just about having a chat and that.



Wednesday, 22 May 2013

LAMDA Audition





















This is the blog post I started writing on Sunday:

I left mild skies behind in London this afternoon, then three hours later I arrived in Paris to grey clouds and torrential rain. It's that nice summer rain though, the kind of rain I could have happily walked through for hours, if only I hadn't been wearing ballet slippers and carrying a heavy bag...

This weekend the Eurostar seemed quicker than usual.  No queues at security, arriving with just enough time to buy a coffee before it's time to board and then sleeping through the tunnel on both journeys... waking up on the other side of the sea, trees flashing by and suddenly pulling into the destination city...

At that point I stopped blogging to go out and didn't come home until Monday night. I've felt a bit sinister ever since. Today I feel as if I could happily never go raving again. It's all fun and games until I wake up not knowing what day it is, wondering who that crackhead is in the mirror, wishing I was at my gran's house eating lemon slices and watching Cash in the Attic.

Sigh. 

I'm not sure how to begin telling you about my auditions now... They seem like so long ago but I feel like I have to blog about my auditions for Continuity's Sake (I know I always say that when too much time has gone by for me to legitimately blog about something); and for the sake of any desperate drama school applicants out there who may be scanning the internet this very moment (or at some point in the future) for 'first-hand audition experiences'.

Alors.

Two weekends ago was my LAMDA audition. They weren't as nice as they were at RADA: the students who took our names and sat with us outside the audition room were quite chatty (one of them was actually from Menilmontant in Paris); and the man on my audition panel was smiley enough, although he didn't speak to me; but the lady on my audition panel really threw me off- as soon as I walked in to the space (it was a small black box theatre with tiered seating) she asked me if I had a VISA to work in America, because on my application form it said I was auditioning for the one year post-grad course and this was aimed at American students...

Oops. I applied for LAMDA in a rush and had clearly missed the most important thing- that the one year course was designed for American drama students. The showcase at the end of the year is even held in New York.

The woman was quite old and spoke really slowly, taking breaks between words to blink. I had to concentrate really hard on what she was saying. As I was a bit flustered I said:

"No, but I live in Paris at the moment, perhaps they thought I was French?"

The woman just frowned at me and I could barely believe the words that had come out of my mouth. What was I talking about? (I think because Paris is so full of Americans I subconsciously associated 'American' with 'Paris' and spoke before questioning my reasoning.)

 I shook my head- as if to shake my own stupidity off- and tried again:

"Actually I wanted to ask if I could audition for the two year course as well, I know you audition for all courses at the same time."

They said this was fine, then looked at me as if to say 'Get on with it then.'

I pulled a chair into the middle of the room and did my contemporary piece. It was quite a good space to audition in as I could look out at the empty chairs and pretend it was an audience. However, I couldn't help but flick my eyes down to the audition panel, because they were whispering and writing notes, pointing things out on my application form... It was really distracting but I think it happens a lot, I guess I was just lucky that it didn't happen at RADA.

They stopped whispering and looked up when I did my crying bit, then I went downstage to do my Shakespeare piece and they didn't whisper this time, perhaps because I was standing a lot closer. After the audition they told me to go and wait outside where another student would collect me and take me to my interview.

The interview was weird, it was deceptively informal and the woman who interviewed me- an ex-student who now works for the LAMDA admissions department- was quite cold. I don't think I made a very good impression. I'm normally quite confident in interviews, but at LAMDA they didn't ask direct questions, they prompted me gently, but so gently that I didn't take the bait and missed opportunities to sell myself . The next day I kept thinking of things I should have said. Damn it, Janet.

After my interview, I called my mum, who was still in hospital. I was surprised at how sick she sounded, she's never ill.  I felt a bit snide being in England and not going to see her, but it just wasn't possible. I told my mum I'd call her when I got on the coach, then I met Beth at Euston (after shaking off a very chatty boy who had been at my audition and had suggested we get the tube together- I felt really mean because he was so young and was just being enthusiastic about life but he was quite posh and annoying) and we went to Lauren and Claire's for tea.

My coach wasn't until 9.30pm, so I had plenty of time to relax. We arrived at Lauren and Claire's at about 6pm and I didn't have to leave until 8.30pm. At first I wanted to leave at 7.30pm but everyone told me I was being ridiculous- Victoria Coach Station was only 25 minutes away and there was no need to check-in an hour early for the crummy coach...

Lauren had roasted a chicken that we ate with salads and lovely bread, then we had cheesecake and put candles on it for Claire's birthday... then all of a sudden it was half eight and I had to leave. I packed my stuff and said my goodbyes, then set off for the station with Beth, who was going to her hotel on the other side of London. I had a horrible feeling that I'd taken quite a long time saying goodbye to everyone, but I didn't want to know what time it was.

We got a bit lost on the way to the tube station, then I had to buy a ticket.

Panic started crawling up my throat, slowly, slowly, itchy red panic...

"It's 9pm." Beth told me when we got on the tube, "And my phone says it will take us twenty five minutes to get to Victoria."

Victoria Coach Station is quite a long walk from Victoria Tube Station.

I couldn't understand why I was in this mess, I was going to miss the coach. I was going to miss my fucking coach, for no reason.

I tried to calm down and think about my options, but it was too late to get the Eurostar and I had to be in the nursery at 9am the next day.

B had told me on the Friday how she'd missed her flight to England the week before and she'd had to splash out on a First Class Eurostar ticket- just listening to her story had made me feel as if I too was going to fuck up somehow. Now I was going to miss my coach, as punishment for exclaiming:
"I can't believe you missed your flight!"

We had to change tubes twice and we ran through both stations. Beth had a big bag with her and she told me to just run away from her when we got to Victoria. I felt sick. We were really lucky with tubes- one pulled in each time we arrived at the platform.

Finally we got to Victoria. I had no idea where I was going but remembered from last time there are signs for the coach station. I followed the signs out onto the street and down the road, then the signs disappeared. I saw a driver standing outside a coach that was parked up, so I asked him for directions and I ran. I was gagging because I was really thirsty and out of breath. I realised I'd left Beth behind but I just had to keep running, I had no idea what time it was.

I got to the coach station and saw that the Megabus going to Paris was still parked up. The bus was full but the driver was stood next to the door, thank you, thank you.

"Have you checked in?" he asked, looking worried.

I shook my head, unable to speak.

"Go and check in, quickly." he said.

Obviously there was a massive scrum of people trying to check in. The people at the desks were yelling out for people going to Paris at 9.30pm, but every time I tried to push in, French people swore at me and said they were on the same coach as me. I felt instantly relieved- if everyone was on the same coach as me, surely it couldn't leave without us?

Then I heard one of the girls on the desk arguing with people who were trying to check in- they were on a  Eurolines coach and she was only checking in Megabus people. Thank God I heard her, otherwise I'd probably have waited in line, only to be told I was trying to check in on the wrong coach, idiot.

After quickly checking in, I pegged it back to the coach and ran smack bang into Beth, who had come to see if I'd made the coach. I gave her a quick hug and then ran to my bus. The driver was sitting in his seat, ready to set off. He told me I'd just made it.

Arghhh I'm never doing that again.

On the plus side, I was so happy to have made the coach that I didn't mind the nine hour journey. We arrived in Paris half an hour earlier than expected, meaning I had time to go home and have a shower before work. I felt a bit spaced out in the nursery because I hadn't been able to sleep for long on the coach. It didn't help that the nursery now has its own Snail Farm and the children were taking them out the box and putting the fat snails on their hands and arms. Ergh.

A few days later, I got an email from LAMDA... I wasn't successful.

Now I have to go, or I'll be late for my lesson.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

My Second Audition

Every time I get on the Eurostar or fly anywhere alone, a sick part of me wonders (even though you all know my theory about the L-word*) if this will be the journey that I am seated next to the Love of My Life...

On Saturday, when I was waiting at Gare du Nord for my train (I got there an hour early, having learnt my lesson last time), my eyes were drawn to a man sat a few seats away from me, because he was doing a big yawn and stretching across three seats. I recognised him from somewhere... then I realised, when I went to London for my RADA audition, he was sat next to me on the Eurostar and when I got off the train he chased after me because I'd left my pen behind.

I was sure it was him. I remember sneaking sideways glances at him on the train because I couldn't see if he was good looking or not. Unfortunately I was asleep for most of that journey and kept waking myself up by making funny little mouse noises...

I did fancy him a little bit, but I am suffering from a mild spell of Mass Boy Hysteria at the moment so fancy most people. But then he ran after me to give me the pen... a normal person would think 'that was nice of him' and forget about it, but I recognised the scene from the movie of my fantasy romantic life that plays in my head throughout long journeys, editing itself as I watch, constantly rewinding and fast-forwarding to the best parts...

She looks down at the pen, confused for a moment. Then she feels his large hand stroke her shiny hair.

"Oh my god," he says, turning red, "I did that without thinking. I couldn't stop myself."

She mumbles something and walks away, her head tingling as she remembers the soft pressure of his hand.

"You remind me of my cat." he shouts after her.

She turns round, a big smile on her face. He walks towards her and she waits for him, purring inside.

Bizarrely, the above scene has never happened in real life. (Once somebody told me that I look like Maria from 'The Aristocats'. They were being deadly serious so I'm inclined to believe them. They had taken magic mushrooms, though.)

Anyway, when it was finally time to board the Eurostar, guess who was in the seat next to mine? Pen Man.

I wondered if he recognised me too and if he believed in Signs and Fate. We were both reading books and he kept laughing to himself- he likes books and laughing, I like books and laughing...

Then two Australian people in the seats across the aisle struck up a conversation. They didn't know each other but it just so happened that they were from the same city. The guy split his time between London and New York oh my god no way so did the girl what a crazy coincidence, I love that bar, I don't know that area you'll have to show me round...

I realised that this would be the journey that some other girl met the love of her life. They chatted on and on in an annoying way for the entire journey. I had to close my book and put my headphones in just to drown out the sound of the guy's boasting:
"I have two sofas and a double bed in my room, it's pretty sweet." (That's an actual quote.)

They were both irritating and privileged, but I'm happy for them: even rich kids need 'love', I suppose.

Why do I always found myself sat behind two complete strangers who instantly click and spend the whole journey engaged in embarrassing, self-conscious 'banter' and 'flirting'? It's happened to me on the coach TWICE... at least the train only takes a couple of hours.

When we got to London, they were making everyone show their tickets for Some Reason and I'd left mine on my seat like a dickhead, so a woman had to question me and even though my passport looks like a counterfeit made by a wet dog and I couldn't remember when I'd last been in England or when I was coming back, she let me through. Unfortunately she didn't pass on the message and this HUGE woman, built like Miss Trunchbull, stopped me from getting past her and yelled in my face:

"TICKETS! TICKETS! BILLETS! BILLETS!"

Before I could answer the other woman hurried over and explained about my ticket, but Miss Trunchball's eyes followed me suspiciously as I walked past. I felt like an illegal immigrant who had been hiding in the engine.

Lauren met me off the Eurostar and we went for lunch at Navajo Joe near Covent Garden and then, even though Lauren was really hungover, she dragged herself round the shops with me. In Central London. On a Saturday.

I really wanted to look in Topshop, as I didn't get a chance last time. I'd forgotten how insanely big the Topshop flagship is on Oxford Street. At one point I got a bit tripped out and felt like we were in a club- I'd barely slept, they were playing techno music and there were people pushing past us in all directions.

It was a good shopping trip- I was dreading looking for new jeans (if they fit me on the hips, they're too  tight on the bum and if my bum fits into them then the waistband is too loose and sticks out from my hips like clown pants) but I bought the first pair I tried on and... I found another magic ring!!

I was looking at all the sparkly rings, dismissing them because they didn't look like 'real magic' but then I spotted one that looked similar to my Magic Ring. I picked one up and looked into its turquoise depths... there was real magic in there, I couldn't believe how lucky I was! Lauren agreed it was just like my other ring, only more magic in a way because it was handmade in Africa (it wasn't actually a Topshop ring, it was one of the concessions) and each ring was slightly different. Also it is magic how I managed find exactly what I was looking for in the sprawling chaos that is the Topshop flagship.

Shit I have to go and teach now. Today I was supposed to be learning a new speech for my next audition as well... Oops.

*How it is a Made Up Thing and how, when people smile at me condescendingly and say 'You say that because you've never been in love', they are wrong because I 'love' my mum and I 'love' my eyebrows (sisters, not twins™) but I'm telling you it's just a word and what I actually feel towards my mum and my eyebrows is a strong mixture of emotions including attachment, concern and fondness. 

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Catch Up

My five days by the seaside weren't too traumatic in the end, although after blogging about how sunny it was, the weather took a turn for the worse and was shit for the rest of the week. My boots have still got sand in them from playing on the beach with the toddler, trying to build castles in the dark, damp sand whilst wearing my huge I Know What You Did Last Summer Coat.

Looking back, when I walked along the beach each evening- with the hood up because it was so windy and with my arms folded because all Northern girls walk very fast with their arms crossed*- from far away I probably did look like a sinister, murdering fisherman. I wondered why the beach was so empty.

It was all right, you know, my obligatory holiday. The mum and dad were sugar and spice and all things nice, buying me crepes, waffles... and prawns. (They just handed me a plastic bag with cooked prawns in it one day and said it was for my dinner. Strange but thoughtful and they were really nice prawns.) I feel bad for slagging them off now, especially as the mum gave me an extra seventy euros on top of my wages for the week. They were even asking me about my auditions and I ended up performing my Shakespeare piece for them on the beach.

Apart from the impromptu beach performance (they said it was 'jolie', in other words: 'that was shit and now we feel awkward'), I didn't practice my speeches at all, which is ridiculous because I was soooo bored. If I know I have to do something though, I just won't do it. The impending task becomes this huge field of energy, like the invisible force between two magnets, forcing me away from productivity and pushing me to paint my nails, or rearrange my books in height order.

I was glad to get back to Paris. I met up with B for a catch-up and a drink in La Fourmi at Pigalle (I don't know why we don't go there more often, it's so cheap and just round the corner from where we normally drink). One drink turned into a carafe of wine and a very strong rum punch. Suddenly I felt drunk. And scared- B told me terrifying stories about where she used to live last year when she was an au pair...

She lived in a chambre de bonne on the top floor of an old building and she never met her neighbours, even though she'd hear them quite a lot, laughing and walking up and down the corridor. Her friends also heard the voices and they all wondered if the guy who lived next door, who always had friends round, might be quite fit... One day B's friend went to use the loo in the corridor because B's was broken. She came running back in the room and told B to follow her... the door to the apartment where these mystery boys lived was slightly ajar... Inside the room everything was covered in a thick layer of dust and obviously nobody had been in there for years. Also one night B heard footsteps coming down the corridor and then she heard them pass round her and go down the stairs... but there was nobody there.

Perhaps because we were then both too frightened to go home to our spooky chambre de bonnes, we decided to stay out and go to Chez Moune. But when we got there it was ten euros to get in!!  

So so so scandalous.

I used to say that Chez Moune is always a sure thing because it's free and open late, but the bouncer told us that now it's ten euros every night. You get a drink with your entry price, but we weren't planning on buying any more drinks anyway. It was getting on for 3am and we couldn't think of anywhere nearby that would still be open (Le Carmen had stopped letting people in) so we decided to do something that I swore down I would never do again...

Go to the Blue Note.

B has never been though and I knew it would be open and free, so we trekked through deserted streets up to Barbes in search of free samba music and creepy weirdos... 

It was bloody closed, wasn't it?

Part of me was glad because I was scared Smelly Charver would be there (remember him? So-called because he smelled really nice, we nicknamed him the Cheryl Cole of Paris because he was a scally and had dimples?) but also I was quite looking forward to showing B the horrors of Blue Note.

Further up the hill we saw a bar that was still open and looked busy, so we went in to use the toilet. We guessed the toilets would be downstairs, so walked down a spiral staircase and found... a club!

It was rammed with people and the DJ played a very random mix of cheesy French hip hop and UK Indie dance music, but it was a club and it was open. We danced for about an hour before calling it a night. We went back to B's for 'tea and chats' and at about 5am, when we really should have been sleeping- B had work the next day and I was going to London for my audition- we started watching Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I'd forgotten how good it was! I'd also forgotten how horrendous the clothes were...


Anyway, it was a terribly naughty thing to do. When I had my RADA audition, I didn't go out for a week beforehand, including one whole weekend. I guess it's like starting a new job or something- you start off getting up early, showering every morning and carefully choosing a smart outfit to wear, but a week down the line you're rolling out of bed, spraying your unwashed body with perfume and shoving on the first clean thing you can find screwed up on your bedroom floor.

Or is that just me?

I'll tell you about my audition tomorrow, as now I'm tired and have to clear loads of shit off my bed before I can go to sleep.

By the way! Today I bought that kimono jacket I've been dreaming of! It was quite expensive but I LOVE IT and I'll wear it forever and ever and ever. 



*To support this fact/thing I made up, I put forth the opening scene of Rita, Sue and Bob Too as evidence. Also, if you're not familiar with the song 'We're Having a Gang Bang' you nee to watch the whole film...

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

On Holiday, On Me Own.

Day 2 of being on holiday on my own and things have taken a turn for the worse- whoever is staying in the apartment above mine has decided that tonight they are going to 'rock out' to very, very loud music.

At first I thought they were practicing the guitar but after twenty minutes of strange, discordant guitar sounds, a jazzy piano kicked in... from this I can deduce they are listening to 'Prog rock', the most selfish, disgusting type of music in existence. (It's selfish because musicians get to play utter shit for hours and hours, the musical equivalent of making all your friends and family buy a ticket to your one-woman show entitled: 'Reading Aloud Autobiographical Essays I Have Written Exploring How I View Myself and How I Think Others View Me.'*) It's disgusting because... have you ever heard Prog Rock?

Arghhhh.

Trying to counter-attack them by playing the 'Mala in Cuba' album very loudly has made me feel a bit scared and freaked out. I keep thinking I can hear knocking underneath the music but pretty sure it is just some crap drumming on their hour-long Prog rock piece of horror.

For fuck's sake.

So far the 'holiday' has actually been ok- yesterday I even made a friend! She's called Chloe and she's the au pair for the distant cousin (or something) of the family I work for. I met her on the beach yesterday and we got on really well straight away- she's also applying for drama school this year and she's from Leeds. Last night we went out for a drink when she finished work so I didn't spent the night wandering up and down the beach, wailing, like the selkie who had to marry a fisherman and live on land...

The bad news is that Chloe went back to Paris today- she'd already been here for a week. If only we were here at the same time!

Now I'm alone again. Tonight I went to the supermarket to buy wine and chocolate... made dinner and read my book... then walked along the beach as the sun was setting...

It was all very romantic and actually quite a nice way to spend the evening but then I got home and realised it was still only 10pm. Then the 'Prog rockers' kicked off their evening upstairs.

The novelty of being on holiday alone has officially worn off.

Apart from being a lonely, friendless freak, I don't think this week will actually be too bad. (Touch wood.) The dad's not here yet and the mum's been really nice- yesterday she bought me waffles with Nutella at gouter time and today she bought me a crepe. It's been really laid back- I've just been playing on the beach with the three year old each afternoon, then when he goes home for his bath at about 6.30pm, I'm free. (Chloe couldn't believe how good my hours were, she's basically been working all day, every day.)

ARRGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. CAN STILL HEAR THEIR MUSIC!!!

On the plus side it's been really hot and sunny here, I even got a couple of hours sunbathing today when the toddler had his nap.

On the down side, I arrived wearing jeans, boots and a massive coat, because it was raining when I left Paris. I haven't brought many suitable clothes with me but France is the only place you can get away with sitting on the beach in black jeans and a black jumper while people walk past you in bikinis. Maybe people will just think I am very, very Parisian...

Sigh. It was so fun when Olivia was here- going to restaurants, seeing fireworks and firemen throw firecrackers at people in the street, being drunk in the sea, falling over and pretending to be asleep while the au pair dad sang to us in the car and made us want to die a little bit- and this week the weather and my hours are even better than last time. It felt like a little holiday last time. Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside! If I had a friend here they could sunbathe on the beach all day while I play with the toddler, then we'd have a few hours to do something in the afternoon and later we'd have all evening to go out.

Oh I do like to be beside the sea! The little studio I'm staying in is actually on the beach, but my window is on the side of the building so I have to stick my head out of the window to see the sea. It's weird to think England is out there...

If only they did fish and ships in France.

I really want to buy mussels and cook them but can't be arsed doing it on my own, will probably fuck them up somehow or buy way too many and end up eating them all (I still don't understand why you have to buy mussels by the litre- they live in liquid, they're not actually liquid).


*That's not what my blog is... is it?

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Paris Forever... Probably.

As the sun sets on another weekend in Paris, I'm struggling to answer the same question that troubles me every week:

Can I be arsed trekking to the shop for chocolate biscuits?

Like most existential dilemmas, there is no definite answer... but as I have no intention of leaving my Cinderella Room and there aren't many shops open at this time on a Sunday, we can deduce that there probably almost certainly won't be any chocolate biscuits on the menu tonight.

It's times like these I wish Dial-A-Tramp was up and running. Me and Kayt came up with the idea one Saturday afternoon when we were hungover and leaning out of the window, looking at homeless people on the street down below... We discussed rigging up some sort of pulley system which would enable us to pass money down to them, then the homeless people could go to the bakery for us and pass the goods up to us...

Now whenever I'm at home, hungover and hungry, I imagine calling up Dial-A-Tramp (I know it's a provocative name but it would generate publicity and gosh, it would really capture people's imaginations wouldn't it?)- "We've got Friendly Fabien or Violent Vincent in your area at the moment, do you have any preference?"- and then lowering the Goods and Cash Basket, which would be issued free to all registered members.

Kayt actually told someone about our business plan and he said it could work if we used young boys instead of homeless people. You know, the job would be akin to Paper Boy or Car Washer.

I'm not sure what kind of clientele 'Dial-A-Young-Boy' would attract, however.

'Dial-A-Tramp' sounds really offensive but I think the homeless people would get a good deal- we'd pay them a monthly salary, on top of which they'd probably get to keep the change and people might stick an extra baguette on to their order for the homeless person to keep.

Nobody steal our idea!! We will probably pitch it on Dragons' Den.

Anyway, after all my moaning and worrying, I've actually had a really nice weekend and feel all happy about Paris again.

(What's French for fickle?)

On Friday night I did indeed get drunk on my own as promised, in bed with Chinese food, but it was a stupid idea because G.Shore and his visiting Lady Friend Megan asked me out for drinks and I couldn't go because I was already drunk and wearing pyjamas.

G.Shore originally said that me and Kayt weren't allowed 'anywhere near' Megan but he changed his mind and we all went for drinks on Wednesday (we went to Earth's Kitchen, where cocktails are two euros for girls on a Wednesday). Then when G.Shore was at work on Thursday, we took Megan to the Rose Bakery for lunch and on Friday I met up with Megan for an afternoon walk around the Marais... I think meeting us was probably the highlight of her trip.

Girls are so nice, aren't they?

On Saturday I went to my au pair job and played imaginary crocodiles with the toddler for a bit. Now he is a bit older we can play really good games like the ones I used to play with the five year old of my old au pair family. The toddler isn't quite ready for Invisible Monsters and Dragon Babies, but we have a really good 'bit' where we've just finished fighting off the crocodiles and are congratulating ourselves (chanting 'On a gagné! On a gagné!) and I ask him if the crocodiles are all gone. He says yes, I can go swimming. I ask him if he's sure the crocodiles are gone and he promises me it's safe to go swimming, so I jump off our boat into the water and- would you fucking believe it- I've barely time to do a width of the lagoon when the crocodiles come back and I have to hurl myself back onto the boat, screaming.

After my au pair job I went to Oysho to try on a lovely swimming costume but it was too small and I couldn't face getting the next size up. (It's that Chinese traiteur! They put something addictive in the nem!) I don't know if I'll need to wear a swimming costume this week when I'm on holiday with the family, but the girls are so judgmental that I don't know if I can face them in my bikini. I know that sounds ridiculous because they are twelve and ten years old, but... ok, no. That's just ridiculous- if it's hot enough I'll wear my bikini and I'll eat bread all day so my belly sticks out like a round drum and they can just deal with it. I might not shave my legs and armpits either, just to annoy them.

I can't believe nobody can come with me, what a wasted opportunity! It would have been really fun with a friend and I bet now I'm going alone the au pair family will make me work more hours, because they'll know I have nothing better to do.

Positive thinking, positive thinking...

Last night I went to a party with Julia, in this apartment that used to be a brothel. You go through huge doors off the street, expecting to find a cobbled passage that leads to an apartment building, but instead of apartments there's a little house sitting in the courtyard all on its own, with circular windows and neon lights flashing from within. Inside, the high walls are covered in mirrors and there's chandeliers, an old piano, a sofa and not much else. One of the boys who lives there told me they have to get on a ladder to clean the walls with glass spray every week.

The mirrors, chandeliers and the piano are leftover from when the building used to be a maison close. The three boys that live there found it on the internet and had to do all the work themselves- they put a new floor in, got rid of the rats and- I didn't fully understand this last part- threw away something that had a massive penis and used to lurk under the piano...

Today we intended to go for brunch, but didn't meet up until 5pm by which time all of the brunch hotspots we wanted to try had stopped serving. We were so hungry that we ended up just slumping down outside a random cafe near Place de Vosges where we each had an ok but over-priced salad.

After Place de Vosges Julia had to pick up some stuff from Belleville- she's doing an internship at the moment for a street art project. The place where she is doing her internship is amazing! We went through a door off the street, down a long corridor and across a playground decorated with colourful murals. Then Julia opened a door which I thought would lead into an apartment but it opened into a beautiful courtyard filled with trees and plants! There's a big shipment container/Portakabin thing split into artists workshops and one of them is Julia's office, filled with books, art materials and half-painted canvases.

We went for a drink at Aux Folies and the sun was really hot on my face, aaah. Julia told me she is moving in with two friends next year and they really want to live in the twentieth. She said if I stay in Paris they can look for an apartment for four people.

I'm tempted... I told you, it's May! May makes me stay. The weather is nice and I know I have to make a decision and I always end up staying in Paris...

Obviously if I stayed I couldn't be an au pair again, I would have to get a Real Job and a Real Life.

I don't know. On Friday my mum was rushed to hospital because she has an infection but they don't know where it is. I don't know whether to be worried or not but I really wish I could be in England right now. I do miss my family and friends back in England. Is it time to go home?

My mum's feeling better but has to stay in hospital for a few more days. It's weird because I'll be in London next weekend for my audition.

Really can't be arsed going to the seaside with the au pair family tomorrow. I wish I could go home instead, I've not seen my mum for ages.

Also, realised the other day I missed my dad's birthday, it was in April. I've not spoke to him since Christmas and I felt a bit bad, so I sent my nana an email asking her how my dad was. At Christmas his girlfriend moved back to the North East and took their three kids with her... awkward. They live in council accommodation and at the moment the UK are bringing in this thing called Spare Room Tax where anyone in a council house who has a spare room has to move or pay a lot of money. Anyway, my nana got my dad to email me back from her email address (he doesn't have a computer which is why it's hard to keep in touch with him) and he said:

it's dad. don't worry about me because i am pure of heart. i may LBM have to downsize though. i am currently employed in the shadow economy as a foreigner. would love to see you before i move. love you LBM xxxx

Hmm. What is he talking about, exactly?

Like the chocolate biscuit dilemma previously mentioned, I feel there can be no definite answer to this question.

Ok I should go to bed now so I can get up early and pack for my holiday to the seaside... the holiday I am going on ALONE.

P.S Just found an orange. Maybe if I eat it while sniffing my bottle of chocolate syrup (it's for coffee, it's not made of real chocolate otherwise I would drink it, obviously) I can pretend it's a spherical, juicy chocolate biscuit...

Friday, 3 May 2013

Paris is Dying

I had no hot water for eleven days. The au pair mum was horrified that I left it for five days before telling her- I think she thought I just hadn't been washing- but it was so hot last Monday and Tuesday that I didn't mind having a cold shower... For the rest of the week I'd like to say I showered at Kayt's every night but in reality I just made do with Squat Washes (splash on the face, splash a bit more under the arms, done). I did shower at Kayt's over the weekend though...

Look, I didn't start this blog post to convince you of my cleanliness...

(My cousin Sophie braved two freezing cold showers while she was here, ever the fan of personal hygiene.)

I'm blogging because I've been cuckolded into an embarrassing and awkward situation and I don't know what to do...

After a week of no hot water, I thought I better mention it to the au pair family and they arranged for their resident handyman Monsieur Fixit to come round on Monday morning. (He's not technically a resident but whenever they have a problem with the house he's appears in ten minutes or less. The ten year old once rolled her eyes and told me: "He love my mum, it's annoying me" but she also told me that Beyonce is white and that Lana del Ray is 'big, really big' so I take everything she says with a pinch of salt.)

Monsieur Fixit told me it was very grave and that there was a spare part he had to find. He said as it was half term, most people he worked with were on holiday and it was a shame it didn't happen a week ago... Oops.

He came back on Wednesday, which was a bank holiday, at 9am. Obviously I slept through my alarm and had to leap out of bed seconds after he knocked on the door. At the back of my mind I'd wondered if he would bring with him a really fit, shy apprentice (the 'shy' bit was very important- I've never forgotten the time Olivia was sexually assaulted in her own house by a horrible pervert who was supposed to be painting her balcony and he told the police that Olivia must have been drinking alcohol because of the type of cup she was using- it was a pretty espresso cup with gold edges) well, all I can say is, be careful what you wish for...

Monsieur Fixit did bring someone else but it was sadly just another Monsieur Fixit-type, not the cripplingly-shy, twenty-five year old apprentice I'd been hoping for.  (In my head he'd be so timid that he'd never dream of flopping his Whatsit out and if anything, I'd have to assault him. Also he'd be really unaware of how good looking he is and therefore flattered by any female attention, even if the puffy-faced female in question had just jumped out of bed and was wearing unflattering, mismatched pyjamas...)

It felt very weird having two random men in my bedroom, while I just sat on my bed in my pyjamas, not knowing what to do with myself. They talked to each other about the heater/boiler (the thing that heats water up, I don't know what it's called) and just as I was considering climbing out of the window because I couldn't take the awkwardness anymore, they announced that they had to wait for all the water to drain and would be back in twenty minutes.

I got dressed, tidied up a bit and turned my laptop on. Monsieur Fixit and his mate came back after twenty minutes but it still hadn't drained, so they went off to get a coffee. I texted Kayt to see if I could meet up with her, even though she working. She said I should come and meet her in the park, but when Monsieur Fixit and his mate came back, they said they didn't have a key so I should probably wait  until they'd finished.

The boiler-thing still hadn't drained completely so Monsieur Fixit struck up a conversation with me while they waited. He asked me if I was leaving Paris soon, what I was going to do afterwards, how I was getting on with my French etc etc. It wasn't awkward or weird at all.

We started talking about how the best way to learn French is to have a boyfriend or girlfriend who you only speak French with, then Monsieur Fixit asked me if I speak in French or English with my boyfriend. He sounded so certain that I had a boyfriend and looked so confused when I started talking about my friends (I never know if people mean male friend or boyfriend) that I asked him if I'd told him I had a petit ami and he said yes- once he'd asked me and I told him my boyfriend was la bas. God knows when he asked me this or what I thought he said to me...

I told him I hadn't understood so then we talked about how I should get one as it would be a good way of practising my French (I love how everyone seems to think that I can just pick up a French boyfriend like a bottle of wine or croissant) then I told Monsieur Fixit and his mate how sometimes French boys text me in slang so it doesn't help my French anyway. They laughed about it and when they went to get the new boiler from the hall, Monsieur Fixit (the au pair mum must have given him my number) sent me a text saying: Coucou ca va le plombier est a la maison.


At first I didn't know who had sent it so I didn't say anything, then they said 'Oh she doesn't understand' (a lot of French men say that when I don't laugh at their shit jokes) so I asked Monsieur Fixit if he'd sent me a message...

They said it was for 'a little laugh.'

Ho ho.

Monsieur Fixit's mate suggested I get a language exchange, someone I could talk to over Skype in the evening. I said yes, that was a really good idea. Then he said maybe I could find someone to text in the evenings, just to practice my French, we could talk about anything, about cooking, did I like to cook, he read cookbooks but didn't think you could learn to cook from books, so could we do that then, put my number in your phone, could you put my number in your phone?

Go on then, put my number in your phone.

Nicely done, plombier, very nicely done...

What else could I do? It was a combination of the language barrier, the way 'we' can be confusing ('we' as in me and you or 'we' as in everyone, people in general?) in French just as it can be in English, the fact that Monsieur Fixit is a friend of the family I work for and so the conversation had felt nonthreatening, almost laddish... I was trapped, metaphorically and physically.

I put his number in my phone and thought, perhaps he generally thinks it's a nice thing to do, helping me with my French and I'm being an arrogant bitch, reading too much into it. They left and I wanted to die a little bit. More than anything I was worried that Monsieur Fixit would tell the au pair family that I took his dodgy mate's telephone number and they'd think I was into old, pervy plumbers.

Two seconds after they'd left, there was a knock on the door. It was the plombier again. He'd forgotten to take my number. Ohhh of course. Here you go then... That was my last get-out card and I didn't use it. What was I supposed to do, really? Slam the door in his face?

This week everyone is either in England or working. I feel like it's the summer already and everyone is leaving Paris. It feels shit. I could have practiced for my audition or looked for jobs online or planned my lessons for after the half term, but after Monsieur Fixit and his mate left I lay on my bed and slept for five hours.

When I woke up it was raining so hard that my window looked like one of those glass water features you get in tacky restaurants and I had two texts from Plombier:

Hi how are you, is the hot water ok?

then sent ten minutes later:

Have you got hot water?

I thought maybe he generally wanted to know, because they'd said it would take five hours for the hot water to work, so I texted back saying yes it worked, thank you.

Straight away he texted me saying:

Good news, I'm at my aunt's house if it won't disturb you too much I'll contact you at 1h30

Why hadn't I slammed the door in his face? I got the metro to Kayt's and when I got to her house, I checked my phone and there was another message from him (just saying coucou) and a missed call from him. Kayt agreed with me that I should just ignore him and hope the whole awkward situation went away on its own.

Last night I was babysitting and he sent me a really long message. I'll translate what I can:

Hi, I hope you are well. I want to tell you that I was looking to chat with you, certainly not in a bad manner, but with a very good intention and with lots of respect and maybe I was a bit forceful because I wanted to get to know you without thinking that maybe I have created an uncomfortable situation for you and if you didn't just refuse my proposition, that's because of your honour and if that's the case I'm sorry. One last thing, with my colleague I don't discuss my private life. I want to continue chatting with you and I only meant well, I thought we could talk about stuff, or if you have a French problem or something, we can talk about everything and nothing hahaha 

I don't know whether I'm being a horrible bitch or if he is actually being a massive weirdo but in any case, I decided to be the grown-up... and just completely ignore the message, as if  nothing ever happened.

Paris is dying. It's a sinking ship and everyone has saved themselves, apart from me and a few old men.

I keep having dreams where I'm walking through the streets of Paris at night time, really rough areas but I feel safe and happy... then I turn a corner and I see the sea and I sit on the shore and the waves wash over me. In the dream I am in Paris, but Paris is on the coast.

You know I love Signs.

I think it's a Sign that I should move to Marseille. I can't stop thinking about it and I don't know why. I do want to move to London but now that summer is creeping up on me and it's almost time to leave Paris I'm freaking out...

Also!!

Last night, I babysat for the au pair family because it was the au pair dad's family. The mum went upstairs with the toddler and it was just me and the dad. I asked him if it was his actual birthday and when he said yes I wished him Happy Birthday.

"Thank you. Give me a kiss" he said, pointing to his cheek.

I know it's really embarrassing and that it makes me look like an awkward teenager, but I really didn't want to lean over and kiss his cheek, on demand.

"No, I can't." I said.

"What? Go on." he said.

I ended up running away from him, into the kictchen, shouting 'No, no, no.'

"Sorry, I hate it. I hate it. I'm so English, I hate it at parties, doing the bisous, sorry I'm so English."

I was babbling.

"I'll blow you a kiss then." he said and then he actually blew me a kiss, like I was a four year old.

The awful thing is, I didn't really know what to do so I just kind of raised my hand to my mouth like a baby who hasn't yet learnt to control its movement.

Argh.

It's definitely time to leave Paris.

Nobody is here this weekend so my plan is to drink a bottle of wine tonight, wake up Saturday lunchtime, go shopping to buy a blue, silk kimono-jacket I've been dreaming of and actually saw in a shop yesterday, it's like I dreamt it into being so I have to buy it- then get Chinese for dinner, drink another bottle of wine, pass out and wake up Monday morning, when I will be going to the countryside with the au pair family.

They said I could bring a friend but nobody can come. This will have been the loneliest two weeks of my life. Maybe I shouldn't have been so quick to ignore Plombier.