Who ate all the fromage

Oh oui oui bloody OUI, readers! J’ADORE PARIS!

Flaming arseballs, it was amazing. Why the hell did I wait until I  was 32 ?

Well, I suppose I know why. And yes, as reasons go it was on the slightly silly end of the scale but since I outed myself at least five girlfriends and several blog readers (hell, they’re my girlfriends too!) have mailed me to say that they too have been waiting for lurve to arrive in their lives before going.

If you are reading and you are one of these people, allow me to inform you that you’re making a mistake. Just like I’ve been doing for, erm, more than a decade. Please just go. Don’t miss out on Paris a day longer than you need to!  Allez! Allez!

So, here are my highlights.

1. Guess what: cheese. I’ve mentioned before that I have a bit of a problem with cheese. And that when I visit France the problem tends to get out of control.

My addiction rages on unabated. I just couldn’t stop eating fromage. My great friend Marge,  with whom we were staying, found me gnawing furtively at her comte at 7am the morning after we arrived. By my body clock it was in fact 6am. No-one should be eating cheese at this time of day, particularly if they do not have permission from the cheese’s owner. I reckon I ate more cheese (fat in general, actually) in four days than I’d previously eaten in four years. It was disgusting and amazing. I bought extra luggage with which to transport cheese home to London.

2. Discovering that I am, after all, excellent at Spanish. Remember how in Argentina I lamented (repeatedly) my seeming inability to learn the language? How, when I was in my most desperate need of a bit of Spanish (for example when trying to flirt) I found myself dumb?

Well, good news; it appears that I was learning Spanish all along. The bad news is that I appear to be able to speak it only in countries where French is required. EVERY TIME I opened my mouth in a shop or restaurant, expecting my trusty GCSE French to serve me, a stream of Spanish came out. Only in a French accent. All day, every day, for four days. Spanish in a heavy French accent. Did you hear me? I spoke Spanish in a French accent. It was awful.

3. The one euro vintage shop. Wow. That shop was something else. A dangerous battlefield in the alluring guise of a cool shop. It fooled me! It fooled me good, readers! I got assaulted twice in fifteen minutes first time round; second time round a woman actually wrestled me for a jacket. Which I owned.

After Marge and I went there on Saturday I told The Man about it (he’d stayed in Montmartre to watch the rugby) and he remarked that he’d rather impale himself on a blunt fork than go shopping in a place like that. The next day, though, he intimated that he wouldn’t necessarily be averse to a one euro bargain himself if we could, you know, arrange to go at a time when there was low risk of assault from crazed clothes-buying females. And so I took him.

As soon as we were in, I sharpened my elbows and got to work. And then a few minutes later I looked up and saw him. He was standing in a corner looking forlorn.

“What’s up, The Man?” I asked.

“There’s a thing in that box…” he whispered, pointing to a large chest in which mad women were ploughing through clothes with their hands in claw shapes.

“..but I can’t get to it.” He broke off, staring fearfully at the women.

My heart melted. Men just aren’t used to combat in a retail situation.

“Just barge in!” I whispered encouragingly.

But he couldn’t.

Soon after, I removed him from the shop, a traumatised frown on his face, clutching his 1 euro G Star Raw trousers and muttering about needing a nice glass of Beaujolais. I felt awful. I should never have taken him there. Here he is in calmer times once I had given him some wine. The poor boy. I should have never done that to him.#

Anyway. There were a million lovely sparkly moments – birthday dinner at La Fidelite, amazing fromageries in Montmartre, awesome bookshops, fashionable brunch events – I could go on forever. We had so many delicious meals in tiny little Frenchy places, saw so many beautiful buildings, squares, churches… we heard brilliant music and even made friends with some mad locals in a funny bar who inspired me to get up and dance (stone cold sober) to rock n roll on my actual birthday night. The sun sparkled on the Seine, my feet didn’t fall apart even though I wore heels more than once and The Man and I spent four whole days together rather than passing like ships in the night. Oh and my fabulous Marge was the best hostess ever, obv.

We have decided (just like everyone else in the world) that we are going to have to go and live there for a bit. Next Spring, we reckon. Vive la France!

Now, in more pressing news, I have been giving you incorrect information about the launch of my novel. It’s not coming out on April 26th – it’s coming out on April 12th. Just to be clear: MY FIRST NOVEL IS BEING PUBLISHED IN 2.5 WEEKS. Arrghhh! I get a weird feeling in my stomach whenever I think about it. What if I turn out to be an international worstseller?

I suppose I’m going to have to just trust the people who’ve read it. Penguin say it’s brilliant, the retailers who’ve been buying it say it’s brilliant and the small number of friends and family to whom I’ve finally given in and lent a copy to have reported staying up all night to finish it. Even The Man, who rarely sits still for longer than twenty seconds, spent an entire day in bed devouring it. I am going tohave to believe them, rather than believing myself. (My head, obviously, says that it’ll be a disaster/everyone will hate it/nobody will buy it/my parents will disown me. You know. the standard stuff.)

Anyway, I’ll let you guys be the judge on this one. So: roll up, roll up. It’s time! I would respectfully ask you to consider pre-ordering my book, which you can do right here.

And, to whet your appetite, I’m very proud to unveil the trailer for said novel. This is a Marie Claire premier! Toot toot! Ding ding! ARGGHHHH (vom). Watch it here.


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