At least it’s Paris!

It's winter. She arrived in Paris two weeks ago. On the first night she discovered that her apartment had been rented to someone else - "Je suis desolée madame. Ce n'est pas de ma faute". Her new job (10 hour day nanny at €8 n hour) starts the next day - "The 4 children can't wait to meet you!" Her luggage is still somewhere at the airport and her French sucks. She's friendless. She's been paying for a hotel room, the cost of which is eating shark-like into her credit card (the one she has for emergencies). As she crawls into bed she checks her Facebook page to look for support from the loved ones she desperately misses back home. Among the kisses and hugs glares a frequent comeback from most in response to her plight:

At least you're in Paris!

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Oh Paris! Really?

Parisians and Paris never fail to give me something to write about. I find humour, quirkiness and curious disbelievement wonderment in practically every encounter, person and situation I come across. I walk past tiny shops and enter. I breathe in the history of those who were there before me and bought what I buy, decades before.

And then I open my mouth and shatter the illusion.


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Trippy Tips for Train Travellers

Here are my fabulous tips for those who take long haul train journeys. I'd consider an hour and a half the minimum for it to be called 'long haul'. That is based on my experiences travelling a myriad of miles from cities across Europe (and the increased level of whining by children per 15 minutes of travel). The longest direct train trip I've taken was 12 hours by day from Paris to Florence via Milan. I don't have any knowledge of night travel. No wait, I have travelled Melbourne to Sydney by night train...

Don't ever do that unless you want to end up rocking back and forth in a corner sobbing your eyes out and calling for your Mummy.

Teddy anyone?

Teddy anyone?

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Ignorance is a disability – not bliss.

In an online newspaper some time ago, a person known as a ‘fitness writer, trainer and nutrition consultant’ (hereafter known as Mr D - as in, well, I'll leave it to your imagination) was quoted as saying this to inspire his clients:

'Think about people with disabilities who would give anything to have the use of your body for a day'

This advice was his way to motivate people to get off the couch and get fit. It was in fact ignorant and insulting. He completely ignored the obvious fact that if a person is overweight, unmotivated and unfit then they could be seen as disabled. Why not just tell his clients to honour the body they've been given and not treat it like crap? He made it blatantly clear he views disability in a very limited and old-fashioned way. In his view, fitness equals perfection and you can't be fit (or perfect) if you have a disability. (more…)
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