Monday, 24 November 2008

I'm being ignored (again!)

Two weeks ago, I ordered a book from Amazon for DS(15) which he needs for school. It still hasn't arrived. I contacted them by email - no reply. They've been paid, of course, so where's the incentive?

I've tried very very hard to open a Paypal account - 11 days later, it still hasn't happened. I defy anybody to make sense of their "help pages". Frustration doesn't even enter into it. It even had a message on there, in English, saying that English wasn't one of their "help" languages, so could I please visit my profile page and change the "help" language into English! I ended up viewing it in French - still no help. Can't find any way of contacting them, so I guess I'll just have to die wondering. I've tried asking at the bank. They don't open here in France on Mondays, so everything stops from Saturday morning at 11am until Tuesday morning at 9am, including computer banking, for which we have to pay €9 per month for the "convenience". Incidentally, they close Thursday afternoon's as well. No wonder there's no financial crisis here (yet), the banks are shut for half the time.

Not to mention the packet of envelopes I ordered from Viking. No sign of them after three days (they were on 24 hour delivery). I just checked their website - they think they've been delivered. I shall be the incredible bald woman at this rate.

One bit of good news, DS(13 will be 14 in two weeks) managed to sell a Pokemon game on e-bay - he was tickled pink! Unfortunately, the buyer can't pay us because of the above Paypal account fiasco.

How do I stay so cheerful?

Friday, 21 November 2008

Wedding Anniversary

Today was our wedding anniversary. 14 years, and it don't seem a day too long! We went off to Bordeaux for the day. Spent an hour in Ikea (it takes that long to get in and out!). Here is what we bought:

Here is the link of where we ate our lunch, the Cheminée Royale:,%2BBordeaux%26hl%3Den%26rlz%3D1B3RNFA_enFR250FR251&usg=ALkJrhhj67QCbNI6yIxkoMlqG95dnK7DOg

It should be in English. This was our first visit to the Royal Chimney (!) and it was remarkable because it had an enormous grill installed into a chimney in the middle of the restaurant! We didn't know that at the time, we just wandered into the place to get out of the rain. We had an excellent meal, chose from the €22 menu, but we could have had the all you can eat buffet for €11 or we could have had a three course meal for 15€ instead of the four courses we ended up with. They were very busy, but the service was quick, efficient and friendly. We had a sweet white wine on arrival, goat's cheese and camembert on enormous pieces of toasted bread with salad (that was enough to fill me up before I started). DH had the foie gras on toast to start.

For the mains, I had grilled salmon (cooked before my very eyes, as all the meat and fish was), DH had his usual steak. For puds I had the creme brulée, which was enormous and exceptional. I would definitely recommend this restaurant. In the past, we have had some very disappointing meals in Bordeaux, but this one's a keeper!

The weather was pretty grim, and worsened whilst we were there, so we came home having squelched our way around the shops.

Now DH has cleared off to a rugby match (the real love of his life) and left me to watch Corrie and get an early night. Oh, the romance!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Seemed like a good idea at the time

Talking of making rash invitations then panicking, my DH invited two of his (big) French mates, with their wives, to a "proper English breakfast", at our house at 9am this morning!

Comfort zone not even in it! The menu was as follows:

We started with champagne and orange juice, then the nosh came out. Bacon (of course), English sausages, Spanish black pudding, baked beans, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, scrambled eggs, sauté potatoes, toast, baguette and all the trimmings. We were going to do kidneys as well, but you have to draw a line! To finish, we had English tea (yum), toast with marmalade and marmite. Every single scrap got eaten. Pity we couldn't get crumpets.

The French are generally under the illusion that we eat like that every day. I had to explain that it was more of a Sunday morning treat.

Perhaps we should start charging for it. The language barrier came into it's own when I tried to explain what marmite was. One of the wives thought it was English chocolate spread - the French love that - so she plastered it on her toast. I had to admire her as she managed to eat it, though I guess it wasn't quite what she thought.

It all went extremely well, but I didn't half give a sigh of relief when the last pot had been washed!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Paid (I hope) employment - at last!

Well, theoretically, I do get paid by the business we run here in France. Unfortunately, I've yet to see the colour of the money as it all gets ploughed back into the business and everyday living expenses. It's been 15 long years since I last had a proper payslip backed up by money in the bank. All that however is set to end. This morning, I got offered a job!

And not just any old job, either - how does hem hem "Bi-lingual Executive Assistant - EU" sound? Too good to be true - I thought so too. Long story short, I registered with a website on which you bid for jobs (bit like E-bay). Things like designing websites, secretarial stuff, transcription etc etc. This firm in Philadelphia contacted me and after much discussion by email I've been offered the job. Downside is that it's only $8 an hour but I don't care - at least it's in the right direction!

Another job that came out of this website was "Despatching Packages - France". I get $4 per package, plus postage reimbursed for sending on Amazon books to addresses in France - I got my first one yesterday, but I can't tell you much more than that as I've signed a Non Disclosure Agreement - so I'd have to kill you!

Oh Hap-Hap-Happy Day! 'Course, I haven't seen ANY money yet! These things take time -thank God for Paypal! (Ever the optimist).

Monday, 17 November 2008

Busy, busy!!

Me again!

After 13 years, I've finally enrolled for some French lessons! Apparently, there's a new scheme just started where the French government will pay for the teacher, provided the ex-pats will help the school children with their English on "one or two" occasions per year. Sounds good to me!

In fact, I did go to the local language college - on four occasions to suffer "Intensive French". This was where you spoke only French for 6 hours a day. Talk about baptism by fire! It certainly stretched the comfort zone, but the only problem was that it was VERY expensive - I'm talking £400 plus per week, and that was 5-6 years ago.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Welcome to my New Blog

Well, I've had a bit of a to-do with my Blog the last few days. Long story short, I've had to start a new one, so here we go. I may find it in my heart to forgive you, Blogger, but I don't reckon much to your "help" pages!

Anyway, what's a new blog between friends. It's not as if anybody actually reads it, do they?