Kissing Valentino

A little Manic Monday for you… today was a little manic!

It was bound to happen – that I would end up with the Bangles as my Monday tune. I love this song. I love Susanna Hoffs. She’s just so cool. So cool and so tiny with such great Californian hair. I did not know Prince wrote Manic Monday, but it makes sense. Pint-sized people stick together. I spent a lot of time listening to the Bangles, Voice of the Beehive and to Suzanne Vega in 1992. I always think of one particular cold Sheffield flat where I slept under about 10 blankets in an attic room and read all the heavy-weights of English fiction because we’d covered up to the Victorians the year before, then the Victorians up to 1914 in my second year. Different Light and EverythingHoney Lingers and Suzanne Vega played along on an old cassette player I plugged in on the landing – no power in my room – and I read Bleak House and Middlemarch under a great layer of blankets.

So today another Monday rolls around. Where on earth do my weeks go to? It’s half term here next week and I’m hoping for a little respite, though I think that is far away. It feels like I’ve been working for just about forever and I’m looking forward to a day when I don’t have to do anything other than things that I won’t get payment for! This is a good thing though. It’s a thing to love. Work in rural France is hard to come across and it’s taken 18 months to get to this point. I also love the fact that my work is so diverse here. In England, it was just endless cramming for GCSE. 20 hours a week of exam preparation and a few hours of less intense things. If it’s not GCSE, it’s A levels and SATs.

So, what am I loving this week?

I’m loving Tilly, of course, who is half cut. She now is a lollipop head with long ears and head hair and a trimmed body. She has little fur Ugg boots, too. She looks silly, but I love her anyway.

I’m loving Jake’s weekend – he spent the afternoon at a young girl’s house for a party and he was the only boy there. His comment on this was ‘Don’t girls scream a lot?’

I’m loving our little conversations in French. Steve has no idea what we’re talking about. Even better. I used to have a Croatian boyfriend who would talk to his mum in Croatian and his dad and I couldn’t understand. It’s infuriating to be an outsider but lovely to be an insider!

I’m also loving my teacher blog getting SO many hits. Writing about English Literature is one of my very favourite things to do.

Today, Madame Verité had organised a very wonderful baby shower for a friend – and what a sterling job she did! Everybody brought loads of wonderful food, of all kinds of persuasions, though mostly savoury since Caroline has pregnancy diabetes. She’s taking a Mars bar with her to the hospital and says when the baby is out, it’s the first thing she’s doing. What I love about Mme V is that she is a very people-y person. And she buys me teapots. We played loads of baby shower games. I’ve only ever been to one baby shower – the one Jen and Nush arranged for Jasmin, and it was fab – but it was nothing on Mme V’s. If anyone wants any games for baby showers, I am now replete with baby ideas. Technically, I should have won some chocolates, I think, if I’d only managed to get through the event and not say ‘baby’. I didn’t last. I was telling the story of a crazy woman in Heywood who used to have a doll she kept in an old perambulator. She’d push it round and if you didn’t realise she was two sheets to the wind, you’d have thought she really had a baby in there. Mostly, she used it as a ruse for shoplifting. She used to stash tins in the pram and then smack the doll and say ‘Naughty Baby!’ when caught. She also used to push the pram in front of bus drivers and sometimes, the bus would crash into the pram and I guess a good few bus drivers on the Rochdale-Bury routes thought they’d killed a baby. Anyway, in retelling this story, I said ‘Baby’ too many times, lost my safety pins for saying the B word and even though I made a fabulous nappy baby, I lost out. This afternoon was as bizarre as all the above makes it sound. What was lovely for my Much Love Monday are there aren’t many other ways to spend a Monday and feel so smiley and in such good company. What I like is finding so many funny, wonderful, amazing women here in France. Not that I thought I’d be leaving funny, wonderful, amazing women behind, but it seems a lot of people find life very lonely when they move countries. So much love to new friends!

I’m loving more and more La Francais… I thought the other day now I just look at a text and I don’t have to translate it in my head. When did that happen?! I have bits of dreams in French, but not a full dream. It’s strange. I had a dream in Japanese in Japan and I felt almost at home. It’s funny because my love is very linguistic – I love finding connections that I didn’t know were there, and I love forgetting words in English. I love not being able to say my phone number in English, or my postcode.

I still am feeling a little…. hmmm…. reaching for the Emily Dickinsin for my Much Love Monday poetry corner. I had to put a stop to that, so I’ve gone for something simple and beautiful from Carl Sandburg, one of my favourite American poets. I love Mr S.

The child’s wonder
At the old moon
Comes back nightly.
She points her finger
To the far silent yellow thing
Shining through the branches
Filtering on the leaves a golden sand,
Crying with her little tongue, “See the moon!”
And in her bed fading to sleep
With babblings of the moon on her little mouth.

Really, I wanted to go with Chicago, which reminds me much of my wonderful Manchester, but it’s a little intense for non-poetry-lovers.

Much Love to all my readers

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