Wednesday, June 17, 2009

La belle France

So, work sent me on this terribly painful course for four days at a chateau outside Paris.

The food was amazing and there was wine with every meal (well, not breakfast).

There were opens bars all around the house, and they fed us every hour and a half.

There was pool and archery and a tandem bicycle and Wii and poker and karaoke and a hammam and tisane de rose boutons (rose bud tea). Isn't that just the best teapot you've ever seen?

And now I'm back to curled up sandwiches and manky machine coffee. Sacré bleu.

(All is not lost, they're sending me back there in November and most probably April as well.)

As penance, we have to do a team challenge, and the decision seems to be the Three Peaks. It seemed a good idea after a couple of glasses of vin rouge... The team is made up of English, French, Germans and Italians, but they are a good bunch and they all speak very good English. I always feel so bad when you go abroad for business meetings and everyone else there is fluent in three languages, although I suppose if English wasn't the international business language then we would be too. My French is coming along but it's still woefully clunky.

On the way, I met an old school friend in Paris. She's been living there for years and recently got engaged to a Frenchman. We all had lunch together and I am happy to report her man is lovely! They are very loved up, but I didn't mind being a gooseberry because I am sickeningly loved up too. After lunch us two girls went to investigate the wedding dress shops on the Boulevard de Magenta, which is right by Gare du Nord. There are some uber tacky and some nice ones, and dresses are much cheaper than in the UK. It appears we pay for having some customer service. Where in the UK you have a huge dressing area with pretty chintz curtains and a chaise longue for your long-suffering friend/mother to wait on for two hours while your helpful and cheerful attendant helps you trying on every dress in the shop, in Paris it's cubicles with formica doors and you have to use the mirror on the (spartan) shop floor. Getting a smile out of the staff is rare. Dresses rammed on the rails are shrouded in plastic like the chiller section in Sainsbury's. I'm happy to pay an extra couple of hundred notes to look back with pleasure on my dress buying experience.

That said, my friend has got hers already and it sounds beautiful, and very similar to what I'm looking for myself. Yay her!

No new knitting news other than I've finally finished the back of the cable and rib cardigan and have started on one of the front panels - with proper cabling. I thought the back was slow going... I fear this might have to go on hold if I want to ever start my summer knitting!! (It was supposed to be a spring cardi, but looks like being an autumn one instead.)

No comments: