Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Long weekend

For the rest of the weekend, we got working in the flat, which besides the bedroom, is still
a camping site. So we went to Ikea to get bookshelves, because for me, to display my books
and sort our CD collection is one very important item of feeling at home. So on Monday I fixed the shelves and started displaying the books. The Terry Pratchett were the first up on shelves, and that's all it took to transform the place into home. The drawers can hold 300 CDs of our 400 pieces collection, so I will take out our favorites of the moment, and sort the others by alphabetical order. I think I will give away my singles collection, because singles take up too much space and it's great when it's a favorite of the moment, but I haven't listened to them in 12 years. The bedroom could use a chest of drawers and I don't like the bedside tables left by the landlord, but it can wait a while, I want look for antiques in KL.

The papasan chair and floor cushions are great, and now I can't wait for the deep-seating sofa to be delivered to complete the living room. The sofa is in the colour of the cushion from the papasan chair.

Popoh's side tables and Kuan Yin have not quite found their places yet in the room, so I
will keep moving them until I am satisfied.

Reading Festival

Today is Ron's birthday so I made sure I gave him a call before starting the day; his horse Magic Rush is running at New Market, so I put a tenner on the horse for an each way (unfortunately, it did not win).

Since we had the car, we drove up to Reading, it was real easy finding our way there. The car is very smooth and easy to navigate and the enterior is comfortable. A brilliant car. I cannot believe it, I feel like I'm going to be returning the car to the garage, as if it's a rented car. but it's mine!!! It's got my name on the papers :))

The festival was far from being as good as the one in Hyde Park. The place was absolutely filthy and we were put off by the smell of spilled beer and other unindentified smells which could have been pee and puke. Furthermore, there was no bands playing that was of any interest to us, so we took refuge in the comedy tent, which was very fun, as comedians were making parodies of famous songs.

Most of the bands on the main stage were pussy rock/indie pop, I found it boring. The festival truly started with The Like, the rock chicks from Las Vegas, whom I discovered at the Festival in Hyde Park, followed by more comedy, then Jet, the Australian pop rock band, I liked them back in 2004. I ever only sung one song, and it was Jet's 'Look what you've done'. I really enjoyed that gig. Then we waited patiently and excitedly for Muse! They were absolutely amazing, brilliant, thrilling. He's got a fantastic voice and vocal range. The show was as good as Radiohead's, now we will have to source tickets for their gig in London in November, that's gonna be expensive but definitely worth it.

Oh, and I almost forgot... I got hit on by a very cute 20-year old. Alex isn't all that pleased. The kid, Chris, refused to beleive that I was either 29 or married, until Alex came back. Ha! ha! Come' on you can't blame a girl for being flattered.

Night out @ Bar One

Thursday, I met up with Orla, Sarah and Alison. It was great seeing them again. Sarah was lucky enough to go the Kasabian gig the week before; Alison is looking for a new flat to rent with Nikki (her sister), probably in Balham or Clapham South; and Orla has
been busy beeing a party girl and leaving John home alone every night (she said in-between
two giggles); I'd say she isn't feeling too guilty ;)
Michelle and Sarah Alison, Orla and me
Later, we were joined by Michelle, a college friend of Sarah's. Michelle is very cool and got some very exciting stories about her relationships. Being in a new relationship, she wanted to play it cool with her new man, so we moved up from Bar One to Islington, the Kind's Head, so that we'd be in the 'neighbourhood' from where he should have been. However, her plan did not quite turn out that way, since he texted her that he was in Maroush at Marble Arch (that's the Lebanese restaurant with the creepy waiter from last saturday). Anyways, there was a cool live band playing, the "Joe Haves Band" was into 50's and 60's rock'n'roll and gave a great ambience. However by 12.30, with no dinner, the white wine was making me ill, so I called it a night.

The Joe Haves Band

Fool for Love

On Wednesday night we went to watch Fool for Love at the Apollo Theatre in Piccadilly Circus; The play is from Sam Shepard, with Juliette Lewis in the lead. (I always liked Juliette since Kalifornia). She looked great on stage, and her co-star Henderson gave a good performance too. The play was very dramatic, it’s about those kind of very passionate love that is too hot to handle and where there is a thin line between love and hate. I remember feeling like that once upon a time. Except the story is a bit more messed up as it turns out they are half-brother and sister. Very sad ending, when he walks out of her life as abruptly as he came back in it.

Friday, August 25, 2006

For a full update, please check my blog next Thursday.

Updates will include pictures of the new ‘still messy’ flat and the new va-va-voom car. Upcoming reports will include Fool For Love, the play by Sam Shepard (with the very cool Juliette Lewis), a night out with the girls in London, the Carling festival in Reading (Muse is the star performance) and possibly a day at the famous Notting Hill Festival (on Sunday, if I am brave enough to do two festivals in a row). Oh yeah, and if I keep it up on track, another drinking, pampering session with Sarah on Tuesday evening (gonna get some highlights to liven up my head this autumn).

See ya all soon. Bisous!

Maman… I promise I’ll put loads of pictures. ;)

Monday, August 21, 2006



It is Sunday afternoon, Alex has gone to watch Chelsea play the first game of the season against Manchester City at Stanford bridge in Fulham. I stayed home to take care of the chores and tackle the pile of shirts that need ironing while watching the V Festival on tele, it's good to see they have so sunshine up North. I hope we'll have a fair weather next weekend at the Carling Festival in Reading. Then, I sat down watching Crash again. This movie is just so intense. It's the third time I am watching it, and it still leaves me on the edge of my seat, holding back tears a silent cry in my throat, and sometimes I let out a desperate "No!!!" even though I know exactly what's going to happen and that obviously shouting at the TV is not going to change the scene. There are no words to describe how brilliant that film is. It has got all the Thank God's and injustice of life. And it ends with one song that always make me cry anyway, (Stereophonic's Maybe tomorrow), so there!


We later met with more of Alex ex-colleagues from Chooi&Co. We had dinner in a Lebanese restaurant, Maroush at Marble Arch. The food was good but the service needs to be revised. The maitre d'hotel was a real prick. Firstly as we were being served the first course, some people walked in and he asked us to move table. I opened my mouth to tell him to FO, (if I had to get up I would have walked out), but his colleague rushed over to apologise and dismiss the statement. Then later, the cute waitress was serving us our main courses when the same guy started scolding her at our table, something to do with the other guests. I don't care who the heck those people are, it is just plain rude and unpleasant when a bloody arrogant maitre d'hotel scolds a waitress at my table, I gave him a despising look, and he winked at me!!! What the hell, the prick, he's disgusting. It really annoyed me that he treated us like we were not as important as the other guests, true, I am not important, but there is a thing called humility and I believe strongly that we are all born equal, now if someone has higher status, good for them, but that status does not make them any better or any more respectable than the janitor at Marble Arch Tube station. The three of them could have spoken in Chinese the whole dinner it would have made no difference. Gosh, when lawyers get started on their legal jargon, it gets real boring. Even Alex admitted the conversation was very lame to have over dinner. So, I spent most of the dinner day dreaming about what dress I was going to wear at Ascot and playing with the kid seating behind me.

Reunited with Agathe

I met up with my cousin Agathe, who was over with her boyfriend visiting the boyfriend's sister in Reigate. It was lovely seeing her again, she's such a sweetie and has grown very beautifully too. I bought them lunch at La Tasca in Kingston, overseeing the Thames river. Then we walked along the Thames with an ice cream back to my place, so she could have a look at the flat and report to mom and mamie. her boyfriend Pierre-Louis is cute and interesting, they make a nice couple. Alex and I bid them goodbye at Waterloo station and headed off to Oxford street for shopping. I got a nice autumn outfit for the office, it's gonna be a emerald green season; I was primarily looking for a dress but I did not find anything I liked enough.

Zinc Grill & Bar - Fulham Broadway

We had dinner with Philippa, Nadine and Jacob in Fulham Broadway. The conversation ran around Jacob and Nadine's wedding plans for March 17th and found out that Alex and I are invited for the wedding in Durban! How can Alex omit to mention that?! I know it's overly expensive to fly to Durban but it would be nice to consider the holiday. It's a shame it is not a reasonable expense at this point of time, but I'd like not to completely dismiss the idea. Philippa is almost set for her return home to Sydney. She offered to make me a hat before she leaves. I have to choose my colours. Since I don't have a dress, I'll wait for the Ascot head-dress to find a matching outfit.

Later we went out to a club called Lloyds over Fulham Broadwy tube station, and I'd say we are all still young around 30, nonetheless I could not help but feel old as we were surrounded by 16 to 22 years-old. You could easily spot the dirty old men in suits checking out the sweet 16 ones. Tsk Tsk.

Saint Helene's day

It was St Helene's day. I was pleased that Maman, Mamie Ese and even Ines Charmasson remembered to wish me a Happy Saint's day, I wonder why we wish people when we celebrate Saints days. Technically, I don't even know who St Helene was? Apparently she'd have been a lady who dedicated her life and donated her money to help less fortunates. I was really surprise by Mamie Ese since she does not usually remember to call for my birthday, I guess it is a boring and lonely summer for her; I should call more often.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A lonely night

Last night was dreadful. Alex went to a concert with Dan and Jamie. I could have gone out with Sarah and Alison, but I needed to go to the Renault dealer to sort out the car financing.

Usually, I look forward to a night on my own, to pamper myself, snugg up in my floor cushions with a cup of tea and a good book or a good film. On the way back from the garage, I bought some Chow Mien and Wan Tan Soup, called my mom to catch up, then chatted with Benoit (my cousin) for a while.

But yesterday I was not at my best, I was feeling a bit down the whole day; even Ron was concerned that I did not smile as much as usual, but then again, there isn't any reason for feeling down. The most cheerful thing that happened to me yesterday was discovering the blog of Hammer, because he's hilarious. ( http://whenyouronlytoolisahammer.blogspot.com/) I just hate that when I feel down for no freaking good reason. What does it take to be happy? I am a fairly cheerful person, I've always got something to rejoice about. But nowadays, I don't remember how to do it. I've just lost it. I hope it's just something to do with the weather and that it will pass soon.

Well for the cheering me up part, Agathe is coming over for a week, she'll be staying at her boyfriend's sister in London. It will be nice seeing her, I did not manage to see her back in France as she was away the weekend I was home. Plus, today work is getting a bit more exciting, so that's distracting enough from feeling blue.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Vermeer's Milk Maid

http://mystudios.com/vermeer/9/vermeer-milkmaid.html 14/08/06

I watched the movie "Girl with a Pearl Earring" last night. It is a very moving story; yet another complicated love story; but it ends fairly well.
One thing I particularly notice is that the pretty Scarlett Johansen is very good at making quiet characters interesting.

What I liked best is that I always remembered the painting of the milk maid, and I did not know Vermeer painted it, but I recognised his style instantly. That's the talent of a true artist, that prooves his style was unique to his hand. A brush genius.

Saturday Night Out

We had dinner with Alex ex-colleague from Malaysia Edmund and a few other lawyer friends of theirs. I remember Edmund vaguely from the KL wedding photos. Alex made arrangements for dinner at the Four Seasons Chinese restaurant in Bayswater. It was nice meeting most of them; but Edmund pissed me off within 5 minutes, I could hardly believe it, it's a record for me not liking someone (made some comments about westerners knowing nothing about Chinese food; and having lived most of my life in Asia and married to a Chinese; I got pretty mad); I turned to Alex and said I don't like him loud enough for the moron to hear. Then Alex leaned over and whispered something that soothed me instantly. He asked me "Why do you think Kevin beat him up?". Weirdly, I found it reassuring that Kevin had beat Edmund up. I like Kevin, he is cool, very nice and smart but as long as you are on his good side, I could swear he is a big guy in the Chinese mafia, but I've got no proof. Thereafter I did not pay Edmund any more attention.

I quite liked Natasha, a very sweet girl of Malay origin and another Chinese girl but I did not catch her name. I also had a heated discussion with Michael on French and Malaysian policians. I did not agree on everything, but it is madness to try and argue with a barister - arguing is his full time job and he is much better at it than I am. Soon I was a bit annoyed but he is a Chelsea fan like Alex and a member and he invited Alex to the next Chelsea game, which is cool for Alex.

Jacques' 6 Birthday

All grown up, Jacques with Nicolas in Mount Kiara Park

It's Thursday, Jacques is 6 today. On Monday I took the time to send him a birthday present, a card and money. To my surprise by 9.30 AM I received a text message from Maman saying "I spoke to Jacques and he said Tata Helene gave me money!", she also gave me Julien's new telephone number, so I called and managed to speak to Jacques. He was delighted with the money, I assumed his parents had kept the present aside for the birthday party; Jacques did not know what he was going to buy with the money. I also spoke to Nicolas who can speak much better now, he said "My name is Nicolas and I am two years old", he is turning three on the 29th, I'd better start find a toy. Then he went on saying repeatedly "I am too small". The cutie was referring to the fact that he was not allowed to play with his brother's lego toys. Brilliant day, last time I managed to speak to them was over two months ago. I miss them so much.

Something about love

On Wednesday I as on my own and there was nothing on tele, so I lay down on my luxurious pillow stack with a cup of tea and watched Kindergarden Cop. It was funny how simple the relationship develops, good cop and nice lady go on two dates and at the end of the film they are in love and it looks like they'd be ready to spend the rest of their lives happily together. And not so long ago, it was not that complicated, i.e. grandpa meets grandma in train, ask for address, exchange letters for a year, go on two dates, get married, have three kids and live happily ever after. Or again, grandma moves from Paris to small town to live with Aunt, meets charming young man who lives on ground floor, get married have three kids and live happily ever after. So simple.

Nowadays, it s a total contrast, on the way back from Bradford (same day) I was reading this article where men stated all the reasons which made them not proceed in a relationship even if they were attracted to the girl; in summary everything. If she's too straightfroward or too nice, she must be desperate; if she's too shy or too cool, she must be not interested, they also assume very quickly that she's too needy, she's too high maintenance, she's too independant, she's not pretty enough and she tries too hard. Oooh sounds like something is seriously wrong. And most of all, Whatever happened to I like you, you like me let's get together and see what happens next? Why do they make it so complicated? Because if they want complications, I can think of half a dozen valid reasons why a relationship can be complicated - on top of my head: distance, religion, values, politics, sexual orientation, social background, upbringing, health; these people are bored and just creating modern pub dramas. I wonder what happened between my grandparents stories and today?

Leceister City Vs Burnley

On Tuesday night, Martin and I were up in Leceister to visit Anand. I saw the warehouse, which never fails to impress me when I see how many Verbatim products are on shelves and the volume of products moved every day. I met Preety, Jay's wife, she's lovely, must be about my age and we chatted about her holiday being spoiled by her second-month pregnancy all-day sickness. In the evening, Martin and I were very disappointed that they did not want to go for the nice Chinese dinner Martin had planned. We were both hungry and sandwich at a football game was not up to our stomach's posh expectations. We met Vic at the Walkers' stadium and enjoyed the game; the corporate lodge is brilliant, nice view on the pitch and the Leceister crowd was exhilarated, singing, stomping their feet, clapping. The game was definitely not Premiership quality, even I could tell, but it was very entertaining (more than Italy Vs Germany game in the world cup, that was dead boring), Leicester controlled the game up to the 30th minutes, then Burnley became a bit more aggressive and scored at the 45th minute. The second half Leicester did not show any sign of equalising, Burnley played well.

After the game, I chatted with Mr. Anand (Jay's father) he came from India in 1962, he is from the Penjab. I told him about my years in Utah Pradesh, and how strange and wonderful the experience was. I told him about being schooled in the Maharaja's palace stables, which had been restaured into classrooms just for us, and how the Maharaja had put his summer palace at our disposal, and build a swimming pool just for us, and that some days, it was so hot, that we could not get in the water (it must have been 40 degrees). I also told him that although in my eyes it was great, it was not so easy, having barely any food to eat and no elecricity or water most days. But it is an extra-ordinary experience that teaches one to appreciate everything thereafter. Such experience is very humbling.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Moving in

Collected the van on Saturday morning, it was surprisingly easy to drive the large van. The first trip was easy enough. We picked up the keys and moved in to see a real mess, every single kitchen cupboards and drawers were filled with mismatched cookery, pots, pans; the living room had a collection of not-my-taste antiques, the mattress was all bumpy and worst of all, the toilet was black with limescale. Before we continued with the move, I went into waitrose to buy the strongest cleaners I could find; (I'm going to do a-minute promo here) Harpic worked, I used the whole bloody box and half the spray, but the toilet looks brand new.

Back to the old flat for the supposedly final ride, I could not lift the tele off the floor. In my best attempt Ilifted it one millimeter, and there was no way Alex could move it on his own. So we called Dan for help. Sunday morning, Dan came over to help carry the TV set instead of preparing for the BBQ he invited us to two weeks ago. Thank God for the extra help, or I was about to leave the TV behind and buy a new smaller flatter one. The BBQ was a welcomed break, it was great lovely to see Dan, Julie, James, Seema and baby Jaya as well. We took a walk in Battersea Park before lunch, which dragged on to start at 5.30 PM but we spent 6 great hours altogether.

Moving out (Back to work)

We're back from holiday more tired than before we left and we have twelve days to plan our move. It should have been plenty of time but an unexpected work project was waiting around the corner. Not only was it educating, interesting and challenging but it also took me to Oslo! Ok, not that cool since we only saw it from the plane, but still :P). And a week later I was going up North to Manchester with Martin to meet with our customers. So it left me little time to pack. I did everything just 3 days before the move.

'I do'


They did it; Ben and Emma are man and wife. Congrats guys!
Maryse (Ben's mom) is the assistant mayor of the town, so she married her son, which is very cool. Once the contract signed, we were greeted out of the mairie (city hall) by a raging hail storm (huge ice cubes falling down the sky); so the ceremony had to be moved to a hall. They had a lovely pagan ceremony conducted by a 'made-do Guru' friend and taking for witness their best friends. Alex fueled up on champagne, and could miraculously speak french fluently to the delight of my non-english speaking friends. Dinner was white sandy beach themed and soaking wet; but that did not stop us from having fun and dancing the night away.

The Wild River Adventure

29 years later and 24 summer holidays in Labastide de Virac and not once did I canoe down the Ardeche river; so this year I had to try it; not only because Alex would love it, but also because I have outgrown the fear of embarrassing myself. It was much easier than I expected to stay upright on the canoe; it was however more difficult to stir the canoe, especially past a rapid. I was glad Nicolas came with us, as he had a one-time experience, he could impart with his little knowledge.
Nicolas says the single person canoe is easier to stirWe did capsize in one rapid, the current was so strong that although we thought we were doing well, we suddenly were dragged completely off our track and into a tall rock in the middle of the river, our canoe went straight into it, slammed sideways and up and back down again upside down! It was exhilarating and fun and a little scary all at once. Nicolas who had come through dry, picked up our floating slippers, and items. Alex lost his wedding ring in the incident. Mireille said she will look for it; she finds hundreds of rings in the river at the end of every summer.We made it to the finish line - under the Pont d'Arc a natural bridge in the cliff

The Underground Adventure

I took Alex to the Aven d'Orgnac. It is a cave formed by a river that must have ran through over 2 million years ago and shows the passage of the ice age. It's mostly a forest of stalagmites (which pile up from the ground); but it also has some natural red drapes hanging from the ceiling. The red colour is caused by the minerals in the water. The cave is still alive and growing, meaning that we can see the water dripping down and you can't actually see the stalagmite going up but you know it continues growing.

The best bit is that we found out we can do speleology which would enable us to explore further into the cave galleries. That's a great plan for next year.