Tea with D’Artagnan: what am I doing?!

And so it is decided: on the 1st November, I will take up my pen. As part of National Novel Writing Month, I will write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. But why, I hear you ask? I thought you didn’t do fiction? Well, I do have a good reason, but it requires a […]

Ten things in Paris… that make me think I’m turning French

After nearly two months here (and four in France! That’s two Oxford terms!) I fear/ hope/ believe I may be going native. 10. People ask me for directions in the street. I respond in French even when I can tell that theirs is very wobbly (and they’re clearly Anglophone), and wait for them to capitulate […]

Just another Paris lunchtime

The silence is heavy, dusty, the stillness of a room neither intended for nor accustomed to being empty, silent. She is waiting for noon, waiting for the bang of the door and the cheery voice that will call out a greeting. As punctual as the church clock back in her hometown, he has become part […]

Napoleon and me

You know, after last week, I decided that it was important not to just concentrate on the big subjects, that they might be a bit too famous, and have already had a bit too much critical attention thrown on them to be tackled by little old me in a few hundred words. So this week […]

10 things in Paris… that remain mysteries to me…

After yesterday morning when I calmly stepped outside to cycle for half an hour, only to discover it was pouring with rain: where did that come from? 10. The positioning of cycle lanes. Who designed them? Completely at random, they may be on the left or the right of main traffic, on the pavement, separated […]

If only we were logical… Why our attitudes to immigration don’t make sense

I set out one day with the good intention of listening to or reading the news every morning, determined to find out what had gone on while I had been sleeping and what world-changing thing event might happen on that particular day. The problem, I have come to realise, is that when listening to the […]

Monet and me

The first in what will hopefully be a new weekly series, in which I will attempt to explain my interest in a particular artist, writer, historical or political figure or other cultural icon. To kick us off: the good old Monster… Monet and I go back a long way. Not literally, you understand, since our […]

Ten things in Paris… that are clichés but you have to do them anyway!

Considering myself a ‘real Parisian’, yet frequently still needing a map to get around, I think I’m the perfect person to compile this list! 10. Visiting the Louvre. Yes, there’s a queue half a mile long (don’t go on a Saturday morning then!) and a mass of people six feet thick putting their elbow in […]

Ten things in Paris… that make me smile

For this sunny Monday morning (the weather hasn’t yet realised that it’s October!) 10. People with ludicrously small dogs on the Métro. So small that they have to carry them in case they get trampled on. (Note: this only applies when I’m in a good mood and not in a rush, when their yapping really […]