Saturday was a little, how do you say, incroyable. Ridiculous. Pay the damn transport company staff a decent wage already so that we can have the trains run as usual – on time and with enough space to breath.

We didn’t know the strikes were happening until we’d already gone through the ticket gate and saw we had to wait 23 minutes. Usually three or four trains come in that period of time and the platform was already busy. I’m guessing the platform was busy at Massy-Palaiseau as well. We got on the train and then more people managed to squeeze on at nearly every stop between here and Paris. I had a seat, with Elena on my knee, lucky me. And Louis was in the pushchair, thank god, or he’d have been freaking out, if not crushed. Luuk had to stand, but so did a lot of other people – including me on the way back. And then on the way to Paris again. And on the way back again…

We went to Jardin des Plantes which is fantastic, though I saw only a fraction and will have to go again. We went to the menagerie and zoo parc bit:


The Rodents of Unusual Size, from The Princess Bride, are REAL!! The ROUS is not a myth. Who knew? (Luuk tells me that everyone who’s been to Hamilton Zoo in NZ would have known… and probably a few other people. News to me though.)

Admiring the Tortoises



Louis loved the tortoises  Among other things. Very cool old-style zoo, actually. Not too cage-like depressing. Lots of different animals and obvious modernising efforts (for the sake of natural-ish environs, etc.)

Luuk stayed on longer, bravely on his own with the two kids, because I had to dash off to get my things and get to writers’ group. I was hosting/running/facilitating – whatever you call it – and couldn’t be late! Only, I was late, by about five minutes. I spent 20 minutes waiting for the train, playing scrabble on my tablet (new favourite app), which would have been fine had it not made me late! Anyway, pas grave, as I’m always telling Louis when he panics over little things. Pas grave.

Coming home after writers’ group I nearly didn’t get on the train. I pushed my way on and people made faces, and I said, with a big smile and clunky French  ‘is it possible?’ And they made faces. And I squeezed in as the doors shut, banging into me twice while I literally pulled my body inside. Fortunately none of the later stations stop with the doors on that side, so I could safely lean against the doors all the way home.

Speaking of pulling our selves, Elena is pulling herself up, and I have video proof (primarily for the grandparents and great grandparents back home, but go ahead and enjoy if you like…)

Not sure about this whole playing INSIDE the toy box thing, but as it’s a microwave box, its destruction doesn’t bother me much. Pas grave. 

Now, I’m off to pull my monday-itis self together and get some writing done. No novel to work on, so I’ll have to be motivated and pick something else. Of course there are five novels to work on and none of them really capital-F Finished, but I need a break from novelling and there are so many holidays and interruptions in the next month or six weeks that I think I’d best do smaller projects for this particular period of time.

My shorter project ideas:

– a short play, possibly an adaptation of something I’ve already written as a short story, or something less developed, but not a new idea.

– editing my three short stories, possibly looking to self-publish these..? Not sure. Very uncertain really with regards self-publishing. With good reason, but I’m not going into all that here.

– writing and putting together Elena’s scrapbook for the first year of her life. I did one for Louis and have no intention of keeping up that kind of thorough record for their entire childhood, but I’d like to do a 1-year thing for each of them. That’s not biting off more than I can chew, I think.

– working on the query letters and synopses for each of my nearly-finished and most recent novels.

– new poems. Nothing long-winded. I’m going all commitment-phobic on new writing. Step away from me with your white picket fence. I have enough children already.

Obviously I need a chocolate or another cup of coffee to get me back in-balance, and then to work! Today, I’m going to look at the scrapbook thing. There’s writing in it because I’ll write a kind of story to go with the pictures, about the pregnancy and what was going on in our family when we were expecting Elena, and after she arrived, and all about her milestones and favourite things… Though I’ll be doing well to finish the pregnancy bit today. The kids are asleep now; must make the most of it.