Epilogue : Three Januarys


Fate has a sense of humour: Last year’s Xmas present form my friend Aude…

On the first of January 2011, my partner T left brutally. Thus started the story of this blog, and my journey through gut-wrenching heartbreak.

I have few memories of the early days, when this blog was born out of a the tidal wave of shock. My choked disbelief, permanent nausea, an endless free-fall into darkness…

What followed was a year of war between pain, and courage. Pain so bad it turns you into a terrified infant, pain that makes you hate, regret, and forget how beautiful life is.

Courage as deep and primal as the fear, courage that drags you back ashore kicking when you just want to sink, courage that feeds from your children’s silent plea, and the closed ranks of family and friends behind you.

After an exhausting year, marred in grief and self-doubt came 2012, and timid new beginnings. In early January 2012, I got a belated Xmas present from my friend Aude.

That day, we went through our usual ritual of tea and chatter, over the din of our offspring, joked, ate chocolate, and decided that the new year could only be a good one.

That night, I met Mr Nice…

… This morning as the alarm clock called the start of yet another glacial January morning, his arm snaked around me, and pulled me closer.

And so ends my story, and this blog. Even though I have no idea what the future will bring, the last few months have been the happiest in a long, long, really very long time, and I feel confident. A whole new chapter of my life has started.

Many, many thanks to my readers & faithful commenters for their invaluable support. You were all part of the force that drove me forward to a better place, and for that I am immensely grateful.

If you are just at the beginning of your own journey into heartbreak, know that, as unbelievable as it may sound, you will be happy again. I have been where you are, and I am nothing special. Our ability to heal and rebuild ourselves is something so banal, yet so very extraordinary.

Arthur H – La beauté de l’amour (what else ? )

Girls, here is a sexy voice alert over Arthur H, enjoy !


Foolishness World Championships

Ten days away from April fool, I am still the biggest fool this side of 2012.

And every time I move a limb, or so much as shift in my seat, muscles I never even knew existed sternly remind me of this fact.

In my defence, I have been deprived of a garden for the last two years, and got carried away with the excitement of having one again. In fact, planting tomatoes is probably my number one fantasy of the moment, and so I ordered 3 tons of good garden soil to be delivered to my scrawny, tissue-sized patch of weeds (also known as my beautiful garden), thinking that I’d have a shovel & rake party with lots of friends to help spread it when it came.

The only trouble is it arrived yesterday. And what with this being Easter week, and everyone being away on holiday,  there’s no-one around to help. Oooh, and it keeps raining, which makes the soil twice as heavy and about a zillion times as sticky… Hummm, need I say more?

On another level of spectacular foolishness, I don’t actually think my whole hysterical it’s-all-over breakdown registered on Mr Nice’s radar last week (thank you god, even though I don’t even believe you exist). In fact, Mr Nice is currently happy, away on holiday, and looking forward to our first ever weekend away together next week. Gulp.

So there was me going ballistic and jumping to conclusions because he was a bit off and distant, while he was just having a bit of a rough time. Re-gulp. How stupid do I feel on a scale of one to ten? Pretty damn stupid…

Anyway, these are the lessons from last week, that I will chant every night :

  • Do keep working on your self-confidence (yes, that’s me. How weird, I am addressing myself in the second person)
  • Do take a step back from Mr Nice when you feel insecure, let him take the lead again
  • Do make a list of the twenty top reasons why you’re great (thank you Jodi)
  • Do eat your body-weight in chocolate
  • Do not jump to conclusions.
  • In doubt, give Mr Nice the benefit of the doubt.
  • If doubt persists, call Separated Dad for male perspective – usually something to the effect of  “What?…I cannot believe you are even getting worked up about this? What is it about you women?” but said really nicely) .
  • Do not stop eating and sleeping. How is that ever supposed to help?
  • Do not under any circumstance let Mr Nice know how mad insecure you are.
  • Venting to the whole world by means of the internet might not be such a fabulous idea either (Yeah, alright, message received but I cannot let go of my security blanket just yet, ok?).

There, if you were still in doubt as to my degree of insanity, this nice little dialogue with myself should have confirmed all your worst fears.

I feel dramatically old and wise all of a sudden. No, wait, it’s only that my back is killing me.

Regina Spektor – All the rowboats


Spring is a stronger promise with each passing day.

But for now, night has come, and the traffic is humming outside Mr Nice’s flat. I am bundled on the sofa, feeling dozy and warm. Mr Nice is peeling potatoes, watching me, and singing along to this cover of Edith Piaf’s hymne à l’amour (who said men can’t multitask?).

I have found peace… And will be having it with a side of lovingly prepared mashed potatoes, thank you very much.

On a different note, here are the answers to my own tricky tag questions. Ho-hum, serves me right for coming up with them in the first  place!…

1. Why is the sky blue?

Because the sky fairies paint it that colour, what else?

2. What time did you get up this morning?

7.10. It was supposed to be 7.00 but I just could not. Forget about the Rayleigh effect, this is called the Mr Nice effect, which means I suffer from chronic sleep deprivation AND smilitis.

3. Shower gel or soap bar?

Depends… I have a weakness for le Petit Marseillais’ Lemon verbena, and Cottage’s Pink rhubarb gels at the moment , so I tend to go around smelling like a fruit salad. But I’m also partial to lovely soap bars at times. As with most things, I seem to go through phases…(possibly something to do with being a girl)

4. Favourite cheese?

Why did I have to ask that question? Honestly, choosing just one, what was I thinking? I love brie and camembert, and really dry goat’s cheeses, ooh and gruyère. Beaufort is my weakness, fourme d’Ambert is lovely, and don’t get me started on Mont D’or, St Marcellin, roquefort. Raclette, reblochon, anyone? Ok, I think we can safely conclude that I fail to answer this question.

5. Do you vote (I really hope you do. No pressure)?

Yes, I do. And I think the Australians, the Belgians, and whoever else have got it right: It should be mandatory. Ha.

In fact, France is in the throes of a presidential election campaign, so I’ll be exercising my voting muscles soon.

6. Have you ever tried to limit your carbon footprint?

Yup. Having worked on climate change literally changed my life, realising what we are doing to our planet made me want to weep, and guilt-tripped me into using cloth nappies, eating less meat, driving less, composting, and taking up recycling as a religion. I draw the line at turning the heating right down: I must have been an amphibian in a former life – wait, I still am a frog!- and when the temperature falls below 20°C ish, I stop moving.

7. What did you wear on your wedding day?

On my PACS day, I think I wore maternity jeans and a slightly less frumpy than usual top over my huge bump. Maybe if I do get married one day, I’ll make a special effort and wear shorts and flip-flops, or something… No, seriously, I’d like to make a real effort, but not sure how to look really good and feel comfortable at the same time.

8. Favourite cocktail?

Think I’m going through a caïpirinha phase at the moment.

9. What’s the capital of Burma (Myanmar)? No cheating.

It’s Rangoon, and humour me please, the nerd in me loves maps, so I know a lot of random capitals.

10.What was the highlight of your day?

See above. Having your boyfriend cook you dinner and sing an absolutely sickening classic love song to you while you do nothing wrapped in a duvet has to be on paradise’s trailer, surely?

11. Do you wear pyjamas to bed?

Yes and no. Depends.

I know, totally useless answer isn’t it? Oh well, shoot me.

Playing tag

Yes, I have been playing tag with the children in the park. And I have apparently been tagged by Life and other misadventures to answer a set of random questions.

Which is only slightly different, in that it doesn’t involve shrieking and running around with my hands in the air. Although come to think of it, that’s an idea…

Ok, so here come the answers.

1. What things do you like to do to unwind when you’re stressed out?

In no particular order: Eat Haribo sweets, have a bath, dance to very loud music, phone a friend, and a recent addition: Tackle Mr Nice into a very, very long cuddle.

2. What was your earliest memory?

Sticking my fingers into an electric socket. Educational stuff.

3. What was the best Halloween costume you ever wore?

I’m afraid my country is mostly unbothered about lacks in the Halloween department. I may have worn a witch’s hat once…I’m not even sure. Sorry, yes, I know, I’m a Philistine…

4. What’s on your “bucket list?”

Now, this could take a few hundred pages to answer. Excerpts would include trying kite-surfing, telling my friends how much they mean to me, making mosaics and paragliding again, giving up owning car, getting married, visiting my family in New Zealand, taking a year off to travel around with the kids, living in a zero-emission house, learning more about photography, forgiving T, finding my dream job, making a difference.

5. What’s the worst job you ever had?

I once worked for a really mean old lady who terrified me. She never got my name right, and never had anything nice to say either. All in all, a particularly joyful (and astonishingly long) four months.

6. If you could change one thing about life, what would it be?

The New Ms T would grow a green moustache.

Seriously? I don’t know, world peace, and the end of poverty, that kind of stuff I guess.

7. What’s your favorite thing to eat when you cook for yourself (or snack you eat over the sink when no one’s around)?

Most days, I have to think up and prepare balanced meals for myself and my two ungrateful brats children who will invariably proclaim they prefer E-number-loaded soups out of a brick to my lovingly prepared cream of courgette. Whenever I’m on my own, I tend to go for an ultra lazy, totally random approach. I root around and graze on whatever takes my fancy and requires minimal effort: Crisps, leftovers fish, toasts, salad, chocolate. No, not all mixed together, I’m not that crazy.

8. What’s your biggest motivation for getting up in the morning?

At the moment, strictly none,  which means that I tend to run late and end up nagging grumpy children through our morning-routine-on-speed, and promising myself that tomorrow, I will get up on time. Really, I will.

9. What song describes you?

Loads of songs, it entirely depends on the moment. I guess this last couple of months, it could be Rihanna’s “We found love in a hopeless place” ;)…

10. What was your favorite book as a child?

I used to be a fan of Grain d’aile by French poet Paul Eluard. It’s about a little girl who grows wings… Used to make me dream. And I should really read it to my children!

11. If you knew you would be stranded on a desert island for several years and you could only listen to music you’d brought with you, which five albums would you put in your suitcase?

Wow, that’s hard. I would probably go bonkers, and end up singing, taking up the guitar again, remixing the albums or something… Anyway, mmmm, I would take Grace by Jeff Buckley, Just like blood by Tom McRae, Dolorès by Jean Louis Murat, Bossanova by The Pixies, and perhaps something random like Shakira’s Sale el Sol…

Phew, that did get my brain cogs going, thanks Life and other misadventures!

I’m supposed to designate more bloggers to answer my dodgy questions now, so hahaha, don’t all look away and pretend you’re not here. My victims will be Kim, Pat, Separated Dad, Caroline and Big Red Dress. Good luck!

1. Why is the sky blue?

2. What time did you get up this morning?

3. Shower gel or soap bar?

4. Favourite cheese?

5. Do you vote (I really hope you do. No pressure)?

6. Have you ever tried to limit your carbon footprint?

7. What did you wear on your wedding day?

8. Favourite cocktail?

9. What’s the capital of Burma (Myanmar)? No cheating.

10.What was the highlight of your day?

11. Do you wear pyjamas to bed?

I think I’m supposed to answer my own dodgy questions too, but I am feeling a bit lazy, and don’t want to give away the answers, yeah yeah yeah, I saw you looking hopeful there for a moment… But no.

Tom Mc Rae – You only disappear, absolutely stunning song, prepare to be moved…

And the winner is…

The Laughing Cow

Image via Wikipedia

Caroline, for her suggestion of “Laughing Cow in France” as my new blog title… Yup, I know, almost as exciting as the Golden Globe nominations! Will she now grace us with a tearful, or at least emotion-choked speech?

Thank you all for the suggestions, they gave me food for thought and made me chuckle…

Ok, so let me clarify a couple of things : a- I have no intention of turning red or sporting ridiculous earrings, b- I don’t even have any particular affinity towards bovines, but hey, Poor Cow pretty much accidentally became the start of this blog, and so the cow will remain. c- I have every intention of laughing. A lot. Preferably to giggle idiotically at Mr Nice’s jokes.

Yes, yes, things are still developing, very slowly but nicely (hence his uninventive moniker) with Mr Nice… Even though opening up is making me hysterical with fear ahem, feel insanely vulnerable.

History has taught us both some tough lessons, and I hope we can avoid the traps we fell into in previous relationships, while not hurtling ourselves straight into the ones we hadn’t previously tried, just for a laugh. Whilst we have kept to intimacy standards, which would please queen Victoria, we have started getting into deep and difficult conversations.

I like that he resists me, and pushes back when I give easy answers such as “T left because he’d met someone else”. The sad truth is we both know that The New Ms T was the catalyst, but not the reason why T left…

I eventually had to admit that T left for a variety of reasons, almost certainly, and uncomfortably including the belief that he could no longer make me happy.

He left because I punished him (I didn’t make him sit on the naughty step- though this may have been more effective), by withdrawing my affection and expressing my disappointment in him every time he (probably mostly unintentionally) hurt me.

He left because I didn’t give him what he needed. Though I was keen to do so, he was incapable of expressing his needs, so I was left guessing and evidently guessed wrong (What do you mean, he didn’t need me to moan about my day, and tell him for the umpteenth time to put his dirty laundry in the effing basket?).

He also left because he was a weak man, who needed me to be strong and then accused me of treating him like a child, who blamed our relationship for his unhappiness rather than tackling the personal problems, which have been weighing him down his entire life. And this is clearly where my responsibility towards our relationship ends (phew).

JLS  – Innocence (Sorry, I know JLS again! Blame it on my son who will not allow any other music in the house)


I have decided to accept an award. Until now, I had regarded these chain mail-like nominations with much suspicion, but today I just thought, why the hell not? So, many thanks to Jacqueline who passed on the 7×7 award to me. She is a clever lady who blogs with a Scottish accent and great attitude…

Now, I believe I am supposed to select my 7 best posts, which is a really interesting exercise in über navel-gazing 😉 … Here’s a selection:

I’m also supposed to pass on the star, so after looking at my blogroll and scratching my head for a while, as a lot of the blogs on there have had the award already, here are my nominations:

  • Separated dad, who is my Washington-based heartbreak buddy and makes me laugh.
  • Big red dress, Deep fried balls and Mother interrupted, who sit on opposite sides of the planet but are all facing some serious crap and heartbreak, with an amazing sense of humour. You girls make me laugh, cry, and see myself. You rock!
  • Pat, who is lovely, wise and takes cool pictures.

That’s it for now…