Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Note From My Sick Bed
Yes, I am back in bed, this cold is taking ages to go away. I went to the doctor yesterday, and came out with a very long prescription, including antibiotics, since this is apparently not a virus. I've only had antibiotics about two or three times in my life before, and these are HUGE! As are the paracetamol that I have to take as well.

The doctor is at La Defense, and I took the opportunity to go to Nature et Decouvertes, where I bought myself a lamp for luminotherapie, I've wanted one for a while, and they had a travel size that goes up to 10,000 lux - this will be good if I get stuck in some backwater of Northern or Eastern Europe where there is no light from November to March. I was telling David about this, and he seemed quite interested, he is on the point of getting me posted to Poland so he can borrow it! He's a bit down, both his sons are doing their army service (David and family live in Israel), and the elder one is a combat soldier, so obviously he's worried. Not sure what the younger one does, I think he is in an army office job, as he didn't have the physical requirements to be a combat soldier.

I had to go back to La Defense today, to pick up some pills that they did not have yesterday - and I have to say that the pharmacie is great now, the medical fund has sent us cards that mean the payments are done directly when we buy medicines. Before it was only the government part that was paid directly, and the medical fund would credit our bank accounts about a week later, but yesterday I was standing there with my credit card out, and the pharmacist was saying, oh no, madame, there is nothing to pay. Anyway today I also bought some candles at L'Occitane, as scented candles are one of the ways I am getting through this illness.

I also called into rue Chabanais, and fortunately Des Fils et Une Aiguille was open today (NOT tomorrow or Friday, in case anyone reads this and plans a trip). I needed another skein of Gloriana Charcoal for my "Home is Where You Hang Your Needlework", which I plan to finish tomorrow. It's really all I have been doing in my waking moments, stitching and watching DVDs - Inspector Morse, Lark Rise to Candleford (that's good, I recommend it for anyone with a family of girls, it's just the sort of thing I could have watched with my mother when I was ten and also now), and Emma. Also "Coco Chanel" has been on television last night, with the second part tonight. This is interesting in parts, and I do love the clothes. If I were extremely rich, I would dress head to toe in Chanel, dream.... I always look at the Chanel boutique at Le Bon Marche.

The weather is now vile, cold AND wet, with occasional bursts of a horrible sleet...
posted by Ally at 8:13 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments
Friday, December 26, 2008
After Christmas
Today is Boxing Day, or would be in New Zealand or Cyprus, but this holiday does not exist in France. Shops will be open as normal, and some people will even go to work. I am officially on holiday as of yesterday, although I did not even go to work at all this week - having unfortunately caught a horrible cold that laid me low on Monday and Tuesday, and is still lingering.

This meant that Christmas was very quiet, I spent it at home, stitching - I am half-way through Homespun Elegance's "Home is Where You Hang Your Needlework", which is capable of being done even by someone who has to blow her nose every three seconds, thus losing her place in the chart. I've also watched the DVD of "Cold Comfort Farm", very good indeed, I recommend it. And I'm in the middle of re-reading "Persuasion", WH Smith having had a sale of the classics in nice, small hardback editions. No Christmas dinner as such, I couldn't have cooked anything elaborate, all I had was herb sausages with mashed potato and peas! Still, at least it was hot and relatively healthy!

Today I am still in bed, but intend to get up soon and do a few essential things. I am still in the middle of the great tidy-up, which is going quite well, in that I no longer have about ten piles of papers etc towering about the place, I am down to one pile, with everything else being in the correct place, more or less. I should have shares in Muji, the number of their storage drawers that I have bought. Today I want to try and get some fresh air, though, and it will be off outside, to the drycleaners and to buy some food. Then back home and settle down to the stitching again, as the top temperature here today is forecast for 3 degrees.
posted by Ally at 11:15 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments
Friday, December 19, 2008
Nearly The End of The Year
Well, I gave my talk yesterday without disgracing myself - although I did realise afterwards I had not combed my hair, so it must have looked like a bird's nest. Evidently the thing that most impressed the students was that I live mostly in a hotel and hardly ever do housework! They have seen a lot of different jobs this week, and apparently are most impressed by the salespeople so far, which I guess is good, because they should be the most impressive if we want to sell our products. Also they can earn a lot, so that impresses the students too, as far as a future career is concerned.

I've realised that it is nearly the end of the year, only a week and a half to go, so I have to make a list of the things I want to do before then:

- all my housework!
- finish another embroidery project
- and maybe another one as well
- finish a knitting project that consists of beret, scarf and mittens (this is already quite close to finishing, just boring bits left)
- consume just the right amount of smoked salmon and champagne

Actually I made a start on the latter today, by having salmon rillettes with smoked salmon as my starter at lunchtime (main course was a rather nice paupiette of veal with what I can only describe as dead courgettes). And there may be some champagne later, as someone is leaving today.

Tomorrow and Sunday I am going to try and be more active than last weekend. The weather is cooperating, it is 10 degrees today, as opposed to about 1 or 2 all last weekend, so I should be able to go out for walks etc without feeling totally frozen. I don't have to do any shopping, apart from food, if I don't want to. I also am not sure if I will come into the office next week, I don't think anyone will be here. Maybe one day, if I want to print my current large document that I am writing, as I don't have a printer at home (no room).

This is probably enough wittering on for today...
posted by Ally at 12:55 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Depths of Winter
I am still here, although I have not created or done anything very noteworthy in the last week or so. It has been very cold, and actually I spent the weekend inside, wrapped up in quilts, reading my new books that I ordered, plus a few more that I picked up from WH Smith. So I am very well informed about Jane Austen plus sequels - I even went out and got the Claire Tomalin biography, so that I could be a real expert and figure out what is invented and what is not.

I have been coming to work every day, and working on the documentation I have to do - there is as yet no sign of what will happen to me after Christmas, so I am getting a little annoyed. I have not heard from Yehiel all week, despite numerous emails and attempts to phone him, so I am really rather annoyed with him also.

This week we have work experience students here, they are really under the care of our marketing director, learning what it means to work in marketing (they are about 14 years old) - tomorrow I am giving them a talk about what it is like to be a consultant! Shall I tell them about weird clients who pick their noses? And weird PDs like Yehiel and our strange man that we first had when we went to Cyprus?

Editted to say - no, of course I won't tell them stories about their relatives! Actually these ones are not related to anyone I work with on projects, their parents are all perfectly normal support engineers or salespeople, as opposed to the lunatics in professional services. In fact I do have a mental list of all the times when David has said "please don't tell my wife I said that" or "please don't tell my wife I ate that", and so far I have not failed him.
posted by Ally at 12:05 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments
Thursday, December 11, 2008
My Office in Paris
This is the second day I've come to the office here - it's not actually in Paris, it is in a suburb about 20 minutes train ride away, so I have to catch the bus to the Gare St Lazare first. It takes a good hour usually, but it is not specially taxing, I do get seats unless there are buses or trains cancelled so that everything is crowded. So I can read or do mindless knitting, I have a moss stitch angora scarf at the moment that is perfect for this. And I have lots of Jane Austen mysteries to read.

At least I get a decent lunch, the cantine here is not bad, and it is fairly cheap, you can get a three course meal for less than ten euros. But today I had only a main course, wild boar with roast potatoes and green beans, it was about five euros. It's a Christmas cum Winter dish, the other choices were turkey, foie gras, etc etc.

Still no idea whether I will go back to Cyprus, Yehiel is dithering as usual. One of the PDs here was very happy to see me, his eyes lit up and he said there could be work in Paris for me, fortunately NOT at the place where I was totally miserable last year. Who knows?
posted by Ally at 1:22 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Awake Again
I really felt low after the trip - it was OK as far as the airport in Larnaca, I have a very nice taxi-driver, who came with me to check-in and saved me hundreds of euros in excess baggage charges, I was allowed to take five suitcases on without having to pay extra. It helped that the check-in guy was one I had met before.

But in Paris, the driver was a total pain in the neck who grumbled about each and every case he had to take up the stairs. I was exhausted with listening to it, after I had specifically told the company it was four flights without an elevator, and I had a lot of luggage. and it was cold and raining, and my flat was disordered, and even more so after the addition of the luggage.

So I've spent most of the past three days, either asleep, reading or watching DVDs - I've watched "Love in A Cold Climate" (the 2000 version, not as good as the earlier one or the books) and "Lost in Austen", which I highly recommend.

Now I have woken up a bit, and am getting used to the cold again - goodness, it is freezing - so I shall start working again on the stuff I brought home with me. I'm going to do my Christmas shopping today, all the shops are open.
posted by Ally at 10:44 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Last Minute Panic
Of course when you know that your software company consultant is going away, the thing to do is to drag out all the problems that you have shelved for the last year and demand that she handle them before Tuesday, then have fits of hysteria when it proves that there is not enough time to do this..... plus invent a few more problems in the vain hope that she may remain to solve them.

So I have been frantically busy with this, as well as the packing and so on, which explain why I have not been writing or stitching - in fact, I am looking forward to tomorrow when I can get into my seat on the plane and take out my stitching, but gruesomely I have to hand over my five suitcases at the check-in desk first, I hope they don't have a fit. I have warned them I have a lot of luggage, and they didn't seem too concerned, so let's hope. I have booked the taxi service that will carry my luggage upstairs in Paris, I shall watch them carry it up, then I shall have a nice long rest....
posted by Ally at 1:53 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments