Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Things To Do In Paris When You're Three (Part One)

I love Paris.

Before our recent trip, I had been once before and adored it.  We took in the tower, of course, and the arch, then the Pompidou, the Sacre Coeur, Musée D'OrsayPére Lachaise, Moulin Rouge, the Louvre and, one of my favourite stops, the very quaint Shakespeare and Company bookshop.

One place I had never before had the pleasure of visiting, however, was Disneyland; everyone's favourite Parisian suburb.  So, when Jasmine's Godmother invited us to join her on a miniature Disney adventure, we gleefully accepted.

Our journey began with a train, the first of many, from Lancing to Brighton.  Following this, we travelled from Brighton to London Victoria, then took the tube to Kings Cross before finally heading out of the country and arriving, two and a bit hours later, in beautiful Paris.

It had been raining, was grey, busy and smelled less than fragrant.  Travelling with a toddler somehow made the city appear less romantic and feel more dangerous.  We ventured through the bustling streets, trying to find our way to the hotel we had booked many weeks previously.  It was, inexplicably, situated slap bang in the centre of the Rastafarian district.  We were stared at, a lot, but this is nothing new for a redhead.

Upon entering the hotel, it quickly became apparent that this was not a touristy place.  The owner (possibly...he may not have been; we couldn't understand a word...) did not speak English and it took a while to check in.  Following this debacle, we gratefully unloaded the majority of our possessions into our bijou (ahem) room and headed back outside, eager to sample the delights of autumnal Paris.

By this time, it was approaching 5pm and we had somewhere to be.  Jasmine had been desperate to visit the Pompidou Centre ever since Daddy had shown her the photos from our trip, so we took the nearest Metro towards the unusual building and hoped for the best.

Of course, it is closed on Tuesdays!

Undeterred, we continued our Parisian adventure by searching for somewhere nice to eat with a three year old.  We looked for a while, looked at many a place.  Some were too expensive, others were McDonalds. Eventually, we came across somewhere within budget that looked perfectly pleasant and whose manager didn't baulk when greeted with a small diner.  I don't remember the name, nor the exact area, just that it was within walking distance of the Pompidou.  What I do remember, however, is the service.  Now, I do like to pretend that I speak French.  It's a fun thing to do, in England.  Unfortunately, it is a complete lie.  None of us spoke French, and could not read the majority of the menu.  Thankfully, the lovely young man who waited upon us that evening spoke very good English!

We were served our chosen food and drinks promptly and with big smiles.  Jasmine did get fidgety because there was nothing to do, no play area nor colouring books, but was pleased to be involved in a grown-up meal and was most excited to receive a slice of lemon with her lemonade...until she tried to eat it, that is.

One slight negative with this restaurant was the lack of choice within the children's menu - simply one main and one dessert, no other options.  And the dessert was strawberry soup!  When first presented with this information, we were expecting jelly or something similar and that the soup part of the dish was merely a Babelfish translation.  But no, a bowl was brought out to Jasmine, and within it was a cold, red, seeded pureé.  Strawberry soup.

Jasmine was not terribly impressed by this.  She was also rather tired by this point, after a long day's travelling followed by a wander around part of this new city, so we returned to the hotel and readied ourselves for a second long day in Paris.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Tilgate Park

Dear J

Some photos from our day:

There are many more, and I will send them to you as soon as this computer works out what it is supposed to be doing.  I am upset and cross that there are so many limitations to our contact.  Being unable to just hug you whenever I want or need to is difficult enough, but not even being able to call, text, video message... it's very hard.  Email is good but, sometimes, not enough.

Speak to you soon.

All my love

Saturday, 6 October 2012


Hubby is going away for a bit on Monday.  For good reasons, but he is still leaving.  Right now, it feels like he will be gone for a lifetime.  In reality, it is 40 weeks.  The length of a term pregnancy, which can feel like forever, but can also fly by.

I don't want him to go.  I don't want to miss all of the things I know I will miss.  I don't want to be without him for that long.  I don't feel guilty for wanting him to stay because I'm not forcing him to.  I want him to stay but I know I have to let him go.

I know that home, wherever that turns out to be, will not feel like home without him.  I know that stupid little things will upset me and remind me of him.  I know that every time one of our children does something different or looks at me in a new way, I will feel sad that he hasn't seen it.

I also know that I have a lot of other support.  I have found out that I have some truly great friends, willing to offer time and practical help - things you just can't buy.  I know that the children will adjust well and get excited about parcels and postcards rather than being sad about cuddles and kisses.  I know that we will write daily, electronically or otherwise, and nurture the bond we have formed over the past six years.

I know that he will come back to me.

I know that I will survive, I just don't know how happy I will be for the next few months.  I know I will feel like a part of me is missing, every day.

Yet I know there is a practical positive for every negative emotion.

And I know that I will be putting everything into saving up to go and visit him as soon as possible, for as long as possible and that when we are back together, it will be like he has never been away.

It will be perfect, all over again.

But, for now, we are looking at long distance.  Huge distance.  For ten months.

And I don't want him to go.