Category Archives: France

where we are now

apart from the waltz

I don’t know why Barbary organs and this one in particular sound so amazing, beautiful and out of this world. Whatever the reason, I was enchanted by the waltz the old man played yesterday, walking up the street outside our window. It sang away in my bones for much of the rest of the bank holiday and still slightly echoes now… Marvellous!

Anyhow, the serious news is that I have now completed most of the formalities needed to be a freelance translator. I’m wondering whether I can tap into a basic business training of sorts via the ANPE and what to do about a website. I’ve got leads as to people who have the know-how to set up a website but I would like a domain all my own rather than something free that’s full of adds… Hmmm.

Watch this space.

a good day’s work!

Especially for what was for most of you A BANK HOLIDAY!

Being French means not having bank holidays moved to Mondays, so our was Saturday, while nearly no one works anyway! The French government know what they’re up to 🙂

Anyway, the important news for today is that…

I passed my theory!!! I passed my theory!!! I passed my theory!!! I passed my theory!!! I passed my theory!!! I passed my theory!!! I passed my theory!!! I passed my theory!!! I passed my theory!!!

I passed my theory test first time and am very proud of myself.


Not right now…

I’m sad to say I didn’t get the job. It was a very exciting time and both Fabrice and I would have loved to move to such a beautiful town, but Bordeaux is not for now. I can’t say I’m not sad, but I know there’s so much of Lyon and the area yet to discover and I’m quite glad to stay near my sister and her kids, so I’ll survive. Also, having little choice now but to go freelance, that’ll keep me out of trouble I’m sure. Fabrice is the one who most needed the change I suppose and I think he’s far more disappointed than I am.

We spent this week on holiday there visiting and discovering the town, the area, the wine, and we enjoyed that and the sun which warmed each day in spite of the nippy wind.

There’re proportionally more British tourists and expats in Bordeaux than in Lyon, probably because of the wine and the sea.

Tuesday was spent on the beach in Arcachon, lovely long sandy… then St Émilion on Wednesday afternoon and Château Pape Clément on Friday afternoon. The rest of the time we mostly trod the majestic streets of Bordeaux, noses in the air and  sun on our backs and found many nice places to eat and stop a while.

Are you scared yet?

I thought I’d ask just in case…

In fact I hope you are getting over the shock of me writing more than one post in a month, let alone more.

Well, I simply decided that you all needed to know that I’m learning the (French) highway code and doing mock tests and lessons and that I even have my first driving lesson booked for in a couple of weeks.

Now you must be really scared. Shhh! Breathe…. In… Out… In… Out… Slowly, that’s it. In… Out…


Round TWO!

I’ve had a reply inviting me to the second interview. It’ll be 29th march and I yet have to book my train ticket to confirm the time.

I’m mighty excited.

Oh, by the way, I admit it, I’m trying to get the job simply because of the beautiful lamposts on the bridge.

Now to get dressed and have breakfast in time to get to a mock driving theory test in town… Chocks away!

building castles in Spain… erm… Bordeaux

Sounds OK doesn’t it, as long as you forget that it’s one large swamp they’ve built on 🙂

What a beautiful city!! I’ve said that about ten times or more in the past 30 hours and could carry on. I spent most of my journey from the large stone and ironworks station to the interview with my nose in the air. Think of Bath and Leamington Spa and you’ll have an idea of the kind of majestic buildings I admired (without walking into any walls or people).
I’m not kidding about the swamp bit though. The cathedral is built on wooden pillars so I suppose you could say it floats on the swamp in a way. 😛 I love the picture of a very large stone building like a cathedral ‘floating’.

The interview went well as far as I can guess, with a number of things on my side, like the fact that out of the 20 interviewees I was the only ‘anglophone’ from birth and the only one to have spent half my life on either side of the channel. I want to be one of the 5 to be told on Tuesday ‘come back for round 2’! God knows I had enough time to make plans off the tail of a comet during the 7 hour journey home today plus the time I took to fall asleep last night.

I love the idea of a nicely paid open-ended contract doing one of the things I enjoy most and haven’t really got round to yet, with all the training I can ask for and all the guidance 3 translators (2 Rosbeef and 1 Frog) can give who’ve been at the game for over 15 years.

And then it’s **** scary because I’m in the middle of doing my driving theory, have only just settled into all my little Lyon routines and am not quite sure I want to move miles away from the little people when I’ve not long managed to move close to them.

There, that’s about it, apart from the test/transition period ( I will make a nest in my pocket for my lovely to travel with me during that time), finding a new house (seeing the buildings make that great but scarier), Fabrice getting a new job (in a time of crisis), seeking out the markets and shops to get all the yummy things imaginable and all those other practical things.

Here’s a toast to castles in Bordeaux (Oh Yes!! I’ll be 1st taster) and comet-tail plans!!

Bring on Tuesday so I know a little more.

Recylcing at last

It’s not that I don’t want to write, rather that I don’t get round to it. 4 months… Hmmm.

That restaurant was brilliant. The kind of restaurant that has a small choice of dishes but where you can guarantee that any one dish will be perfect, so the meal was nice, the wine was very nice and the champagne, well, we regretted ordering a glass each and not simply a bottle instead of the wine.
The thing about the restaurant though is the view!! It is on the top of the hill next to the basilica and even with mist you have an incredible view of the whole of Lyon and at night, of course, all of it’s lights. Lyon is the city of lights. We didn’t have a clear night but, sat in the bay window with a 20 metre drop below and the hill vanishing steeply below that, we could still see so many lights twinkle, I was enchanted.

A VERY nice way to celebrate my first year in France. Thank you my lovely Fabrice!

There are so many highlights to the past three months that I’ll have to pick out a few favourites and sadly forget most.

SanSeverino was certainly great fun. I don’t know anyone else capable of singing quite as madly and rapidly as him while coming of with the daftest things all the while 🙂
The guy who did his first half was manic: air guitar with the guitar and all the excessive mimics.
Yodelice was brilliant. Truly! We saw him in first part of Tracy Chapman this summer and loved it and December’s concert was just as enjoyable. So much so that I actually went out and bought Fabrice the CD full price, something we hardly ever do since by waiting just a few months you can usually get most things for peanuts in a sale of some kind.

Little people: Fabrice and I visited a few families with kids, amongst them his God-daughter (11) and God-son (1) (for whom we had fun Christmas shopping for bath-books) and my nephews and niece. I could write so many things about them all. Fab kids!!
My niece tops the lots with two grand acts. She regularly rings Maman to tell her all about the latest scratch, bump, argument with brothers, telling off by parents etc, warning them beforehand that she’s going to pack her bags and move to her nan’s.
The second had me in stitches. I rang one afternoon when everyone apart from her was having a nap (‘sieste’ is nearly as important an institution in France of a weekend as it is in Spain any day). She called her mom and dad who didn’t move and called them again, then she said something about handing the phone to her younger brother, 18 months, who usually eats it at the best of times, and I could hear her counting to 5. Older brother comes running, bullet-like, and ends up with the phone instead and I was able to say I’d ring back later and said bye. At this point it dawned on me what she was doing 🙂 counting to 5 like mom does and about do the equivalent of sitting her parents on the naughty stair: giving the phone to godzilla. I love it!! The little lady absolutely rocks!!!

Ever the eco-warrior, I’m recycling ME. It’s taken me years to truly move on this.
I’m sick of waiting for the paperwork I need to get enrolled in the NVQ validation process for a job which may be decently paid but seems promised for extinction or at least is becoming increasingly rare. So I’ve finally made some of the initial steps needed to begin working as a translator.
I’ve sent out my CV and that sort of thing and put in the translation/interpreting criteria on my ‘job-shop Français’ account.
I’ve had one interview which was a shot in the dark by a company who needed a PA desperately but failed to tell me that. The guy did give me a couple of tips though including reminding me that I need to sort out the equivalent of self-employment asap.
I’ve done a couple of test translations (Fr to En + En to Fr) for an American company called ITC which has a branch just down the road whom I don’t recommend to any of you for your translating needs. They had the nerve to reply to both texts with the same misspelt and badly punctuated email words to the effect of: ‘Thank you for applying your style doesn’t suit us’! I raged at the lack of respect and tried to convince myself it must have been an automatic reply sent out by a machine.
I have an interview on Thursday in Bordeaux for full time translating job. Oh my…


There could be more but this’ll do as a run down of the main events of the past 4 months.

Oh no! I forgot: my little sister is getting married! She’s going to look like a fairy princess in the dress she’s thought up. Wehey!!

À bientôt!

going out tonight

I like going out: restaurants or concerts, walks, visits, picnics, it’s all good.
Tonight, Fabrice is taking me out to a restaurant to celebrate my arrival a whole year ago, and it’s a surprise. I’ve been trying to figure out where it might be but not asking because I actually like the idea of it being a surprise this evening when we get there,,,, I’ve been itching to ask Fabrice or people I know he’s told, but I haven’t.
I’ll wear something nice and hope it’s very yummy 🙂