lundi, janvier 24, 2005

Adrift in suburban Paris

So many people have said to me over the last year or two that I ought to write a blog; when I found out we were moving to France it seemed like the ideal moment to start one. Welcome to Planet France, everyone! Where everything looks so familiar, and if - like me - you speak pretty good French, it all sounds fairly familiar too - but boy you are so wrong! I am now living in a universe parallel to the one I formally inhabited in London.

From the depths of London's lesser known Kentish Town (the posh bit, admittedly - up by Dartmouth Park, which if you didn't look too closely at the map might be just on the edge of Highgate - but nonetheless scene of at least three murders in the last six months) we have risen so high in the social stakes by coming to live in the ridiculously bourgeois town of Maisons Laffitte that I hardly recognise myself. I haven't, admittedly, actually become chic or elegant or anything like that - my wardrobe is still exactly the same and I looked pretty ropey in London, to be honest - but here, man, I just look, well, like 'une anglaise' - at best I might hope to be considered a bit boho, but in reality they all probably think I look like a terribly troubled character out of a Mike Leigh film. I am suddenly really self-conscious about all the holes in my clothes, and the raggedy bits on my kids' trousers; the kids here are as well turned out as their mothers (there are no fathers at the school gates at all), and there's a lot of makeup, which begs the question as to what time all these women get out of bed in the morning. Slack Mum doesn't get you any brownie points. This could be a suburban thing, or it could be a French thing. This is one of the things I am determined to find out over the next three years.