Posted by: britgirl82 | March 12, 2012

More of France and a birthday

So BritGirl is quite pleased with herself, she has made her own brand new blog – all for her wedding!! Yep a blog to keep herself organised, but also to help her look back and remember what she did and when… although at the moment, with over a year to go, she is feeling that there isn’t all that much to be doing …. hmm hope that she is right!

March saw BritGirl and her boyfriend (ahem, sorry fiance) head up norf…. yes a long weekend was spent near Orbec in Eure with best friend Mrs McKenna, her boys and her parents, the lovely Mr and Mrs Nalliah. Although a combination of grey, windy, rainy and chilly, a lovely weekend was had!! Playing with the boys, outside on the scooters, the boys playing football (this being the grown up boys rather than the younger ones), a trip out to the local brocante market and bar (of course) and then the France – Ireland game – with a good mixture of supporters from the French residents (us and the Nalliah’s) to the McKenna clan rooting for the green… although at times, we did sometimes attempt to convert them…

Waving the french flag!!

So, after our nice sejour in the north we have the rest of the month to look forward to – the fiance has a birthday coming up so we have to make some plans for his last year in his twenties (he he he) and then we have a lovely weekend to the UK to look forward – where we will have time to see both sets of parents and even have a day out in London together!! YIppee!!! Numerous posts on here have reflected upon days in the big smoke on trips home – amazing how you visit your home country with a completely different outlook when you move away! So, yes, BritGirl and her fiance have a day out in London – with a hope of meeting a possible wedding photographer (see very organised) and one of the best men… but otherwise it is planned as a day of shopping, cocktails and fun – bring it on!!

Posted by: britgirl82 | February 20, 2012

BritGirl catches up online!

So yesterday Britgirl posted twice for the first time in over a year…. yes OVER A YEAR!

Wow, so feeling better and more interested in the online world again, BritGirl feels she ought to catch you up with life so far, perhaps something which she dropped in yesterday’s blog with little information… BritGirl is now engaged!

Engaged… to be married that is! Yep she has a nice shiny diamond on her finger, she now regular checks the never ending list of wedding blogs online, who knew there were so many of these online updates, fashion advice, wedding ideas and general wedding craziness to view, read, follow and think about!! There are many and BritGirl has spent the past few months as a regular viewer!

But hang on, what happened and when? So,  it was September 2011 and BritGirl and boyfriend were spending a long weekend in Switzerland – which must be noted as one of the prettiest places she has ever visited – mountains, sunshine, cows with bells on and log cabins. The photos just do not do justice to the place..


Les Diablerets, Switzerland

A skiing resort in the summer/autumn was the perfect location for a long weekend and subsequent surprise proposal -BritGirl had no idea and was very surprised…needless to say it was a lovely weekend, well removed from the hustle and bustle of city live, just BritGirl and boyfriend – some good food (cheese!!) and fresh air; what more could a girl need!

So, 5 months on, what progress has been made? Well, although somedays BritGirl and the now fiance think a quiet wedding on their own could be nice (and lets face it cheaper!), the venue has been booked – a nice hotel back in Essex (home pre Bordeaux) for April 2013…. so plenty of time to worry, plan and organise!

BritGirl is quite enjoying all the thinking about wedding thing, although does have to point out, it is all a little crazy – there is an unspoken pressure from EVERYONE about clothes, styles, designs, colours, music, dancing… phew! At least she is doing it with the boy, who after ten years, she knows better than herself sometimes!

So here we are; finally photo for today… the ring – very special xxx

One very special ring

Posted by: britgirl82 | February 19, 2012

A chill in the air!

So, BritGirl wants to start blogging again … a year off and she is back! And quite happy about it as well.

Quick update on 2012 to date; a fab Christmas at home with friends and family, this included the NYC trip, which meant that BritGirl and her fiance had 3 weeks travelling… phew!!

2011 was a year without travel upset (unlikely the well blogged 2010 experience), however, 2012 did not start so well with a 4hr delay at Gatwick en route back to France et vie normale!! Humph!

January saw work beginning again, BritGirl did start to grumble about even that! Honestly, for those who read BritGirl’s 2010 complaints about no work and needing to find SOMETHING to do you, you might wonder what is wrong with BritGirl!! It seems that teaching English often means working until 20h30 every night, most weekdays, BritGirl might have a few hours free in the middle of the day, but will then find herself working until 20h/20h30 with lessons – which is sometimes less than ideal and less than social! But, it is still a job and it means that the better half can work without feeling guilty about BritGirl being home alone a lot.

February arrived and brought with it a Siberian winter – minus a million degrees and snow – yes, even in Bordeaux! The Bordelaise themselves were surprised about it too- but a week of -9 in the daytime was ridiculous and not an easy experience – public transport inevitably means waiting for a bus or a tram which is not pleasant in such temperatures plus a windchill…. so that was a winter experience BritGirl never really expected in Bordeaux (didn’t someone tell her before she moved that it never snowed??)

Iced over pond at the Jardin Public

Temperatures are now more normal in Bordeaux and the sun is out again – we like the plus 0 temperatures!!! BritGirl and her fiance even managed a small picnic outside by the river yesterday! still with coats on, but in the sunshine it was blissful to enjoy time outside again and just to relax and watch the world go by!

It is something BritGirl has learnt since moving to Bordeaux; outside time is precious! Time walking, eating, sitting outside a cafe (even this was done in the snow)… it is something she didn’t really appreciate back in the UK and is something she hopes to keep up in the next two years here and when she gets back to the UK.

Yes… even though its two years away, BritGirl is starting to think about life after Bordeaux and France…. it seems that BritGirl can never stop making plans or thinking about the future…. will she ever learn to enjoy today and worry about tomorrow, tomorrow?!

Posted by: britgirl82 | February 19, 2012

Where has Britgirl been for the past year?

Well…. yes it has been over a year since Britgirl last made an appearance – after months of posting notes about her vie en France, the language, the loneliness, the attempts at finding work, her friends and A LOT of complaining – where did she go for a year?

A year without any blogging… well BritGirl thought that 2011 should be a more positive year so decided to give up the blog, to stop thinking about things so much and to see what happened… so what did happen??

* BritGirl spent 2011 working as an English teacher in Bordeaux – meeting new students, learning more English grammar, even widening her French vocabulary as a result.

* BritGirl and her boyfriend became BritGirl and her fiance!! He proposed in the mountains in Switzerland on a weekend getaway! Very romantic and very un-expected – so BritGirl now has a wedding to plan as well (who would have thought that after 10 years together!)

* BritGirl had a few trips to the UK, as ever to see friends and family – as ever, lovely to go home and see people.

* Friends and family came to Bordeaux… with trips to the beach in the sun, trips to the beach in the rain, trips to St Emilion, trips to chateaux… BritGirl realised she lived in a beautiful part of the world and was pleased to show family and friends around.

*BritGirl went to New York City!!!! Yes, her younger sister was lucky enough to get a job in NYC for a year (she is much braver, stronger and more confident than BritGirl -she has made this epic move on her own and LOVED every minute of it!!). NYC was an amazing weekend, with both BritGirl’s sisters, some good food, lots of walking and sightseeing – what an amazing place to live!!

December 2011 New York skyline

So a year has gone by and BritGirl has decided she is going to make a return to the online world… hopefully she will bring you back up to speed on live in the Bordeaux bubble without too much grumbling.

It is still hard, harder than she ever imagined it could be…. the fiance (still weird to call him that) still works a lot – lets face it, this was the reason for the move in the first place. Although happier in her work, BritGirl still doesn’t really have many friends of her own and still struggles without a lifeplan/goal, but she has achieved two years in France, she has got a  job which has now become semi-full time, her French is vastly improved and she lives in the wine capital of Europe…

BritGirl has learnt (in her year of absence) that there will always be days when she is lonely, misses friends or wants more excitement in her life (but who doesn’t!).

Posted by: britgirl82 | January 4, 2011

Christmas en Angleterre

So the run up to Christmas was a mass of Christmas shopping, BritGirl’s lessons (surprisingly these appeared to continue right up to the Christmas period) and surprise additional work for BritGirl as she started to help out on the admin side with the teaching business she taught for. It was a complete surprise for BritGirl to be asked, but something else to keep her busy, integrate her more into the French way of life and also something else that BritGirl was secretly quite proud of having achieved on her own in a foreign country…..after a year she was starting to see the things that she had achieved and overcome!

But Christmas was here and that meant a trip home! BritGirl had been worrying for a week about the trip home…snow and severe cold weather was still causing travel chaos across both France and the UK, Heathrow airport was shut for practically 3 days, Eurostar had been shut on and off for days!!! The snow was at levels not seen for hundreds of years and BritGirl had packed so many jumpers to battle the UK chill that she didnt have room for all her presents…but it looked good – all was melting and on the day BritGirl headed to the airport with all her bags and belongings there was no snow and the t’interweb assured her the flight was going.

But guess what, this was still 2010, still the year where BritGirl could not make a trip on a plane without some delay/cancellation or problem…so as she arrived at the terminal what did she see? Luton – annule. In other words cancelled!!! WHAT!! She had so many plans and people she wanted to see….her nerves all week had been replaced with excitement today for this?!!? Whilst BritGirl’s boyfriend went to weigh the suitcases to make sure when/if we could get to the UK our hundreds of jumpers and presents wouldn’t be a problem, BritGirl rang round to find someone online to help her…but where was everyone?! No one at home was answering their phones!! HELP!

BritGirl resorted to ringing her little sister at work (not the done thing, she does NOT like personal calls at work!!) but she worked her magic…..the flight, according to the Easyjet was still running!! Hmmmm could this just be a French mistake? Was it snowing in Luton? What was happening?!

There were no staff in the terminal, so BritGirl queued at an empty office along with everyone else waiting for someone to arrive, she tried ringing Easyjet but after finally getting through the automated voice recognition stages of the call and hoping to reach a real person she was left on hold for ages…… in the end her Mum in England took the baton and went on hold with Easyjet. More people were arriving and were as confused as BritGirl, but then her little sister came through with the news….the flight was cancelled…due to bad weather, Easyjet now confirmed it.

But, her little sister had also managed to transfer BritGirl and her boyfriend to the flight next day, so all they had to do was go home and return again at the same time tomorrow!!! Sigh! BritGirl did shed a few tears, it was frustration, worry but also just the excitement seeping away!!

Thankfully, the next day, saw no more snow and a flight take off from Bordeaux to Luton, if an hour late! BritGirl did not mind…she was just glad to be en route to friends and family! There was quite a bit of snow in Luton and Stevenage – where BritGirl was staying for the night which did worry her a little as she had planned plenty of road trips on this now shortened trip in the UK.

Christmas was lovely, meals and time with friends and family, BritGirl got to spend time with her godson and is amazed at how quickly he has grown up…..he will be a heart breaker, that is for sure! Christmas meant time with family which was brilliant, parents, sisters, brothers, friends….. BritGirl loved her time in the UK!!

Christmas en Angleterre

No more snow hassled her on her trip…..she managed to see all the friends she had planned to even with one day less, it was great going to pubs, sharing nice meals and drinks with friends and family, catching up on their news, talking about the year just gone and the year ahead…..lovely!! A surprise panto was experienced too…nothing can quite beat the fun of a pantomime and the excitement on the kids faces as they laugh at the jokes and boo at the baddies…in this case the two ugly sisters!!

BritGirl even managed a trip back to Cambridge, a quick recky past her house to check it was still standing… as her boyfriend commented “It looks just like it did when we lived there” …what was expected?! A quick history lesson with a friend was had in the town that BritGirl had lived in for over 4 years, who knew about the battle ditches and other things…..if there were signs for these things BritGirl would have known all about them…perhaps next time she is back in the UK she will have to go to the museum!

2011 started well with more time with friends and family, what more could a girl ask for! But 2011 also meant….flying without problems! Yes you read that right, BritGirl opted to stay in a hotel near the airport in case of bad weather and also to avoid a silly ‘o clock start…she awoke to a heavy frost but thats it…….an easy check in, breakfast and boarding the plane… BritGirl left the UK on time and arrived in a sunny and crisp Bordeaux on time!! SHOCKING!!

No more will be said about the increased flight luck…BritGirl heads back to Cambridge in 2 weeks and does not want to risk any further continuation of her 2010 luck…shhh!!

Posted by: britgirl82 | January 4, 2011

The French run up to Christmas

Well….with fairly non-wintery weather in Bordeaux Christmas felt weird…it was cold but that was it!

BritGirl visited the Christmas Market in Bordeaux a number of times, beautiful wooden huts all offering different arts/crafts/jewels for presents, very pretty….and of course “Vin Chaud” – a form of mulled wine which BritGirl couldnt resist…. one simple route to feeling Christmassy!!

BritGirl’s younger sisters came to visit for a weekend…which meant a trip to the market, more vin chaud and………a Christmas Tree! Yes, BritGirl is now the proud owner of a real Christmas tree all nicely decorated in tinsle, baubles and drippy white papery stuff…unfortunately, BritGirl forgot how much mess real trees make and is forever finding pine needles across the flat!!!

However will BritGirl’s boyfriend manage to get rid of that tree in the new year without reaching the bottom of the 60 odd steps from BritGirl’s flat to the ground with a simple spine of tree and all the needles carpetting the ground nicely?!?! Hmmm… one suspects it will be messy!!

Christmas shopping was fine, French shops wrap presents for you which is always unbelievably pretty and saves BritGirl an enormous worry about her poor and childlike wrapping skills! However, presents are not always easy to find….surprise surprise, everything is in French which BritGirl doesnt think friends and family back home will be too impressed with…..although she does have to admit one of her friends was quite pleased with the pile of sweets and snails that he received for Christmas!!!

Lots of sighs and grumbles were had as a result, but thanks to the internet and lots of looking around, French Christmas shopping done – another task to add to BritGirl’s list of new French things!!!

Posted by: britgirl82 | December 10, 2010

Whats happening to the weather?

Now BritGirl realises that it is very British to write about weather – to moan, comment, complain or show surprise, but feels it has to be done!

Whilst late November – early December saw the UK battle mass snowfall, snow drifts, ice build up and the usual general chaos we expect in the UK when the weather turns cold and the white stuff arrives…this was even the case in North France with school buses being cancelled, lorries being banned from towns – it was certainly winter and cold.

But in Bordeaux? Strange days…one day we had snow (again BritGirl will remind readers that she was told, premove, that there would NOT be snow in Bordeaux) which caused complete transport chaos for a morning…no buses, no trams and general cold wintery weather – it appeared that not only the UK couldn’t cope with snow! But BritGirl did not expect France to struggle as much…..

The snow came and went in a morning – by 1pm there was no snow in town to talk off and the temperature had strangely jumped up… that evening it was wet and grey…nothing but rain and BritGirl doubted there was a need to worry about overnight ice which was the constant battle in the UK at the moment. A trip to Ikea was on the cards for BritGirl – one of her boyfriend’s colleagues was heading there in the car and BritGirl was hitching a lift up to the industrial park. At 8pm it was horrible, dark, cold and very very wet….ironically when BritGirl arrived at the industrial park not only was it dark but even the shops looked dark! The silly words “it looks like all the shops have shut up because of the weather, are we in England” were said….. BritGirl appeared to be right!!

After a mad dash from car to Ikea – BritGirl and friends were wet…but it was OK a trip around Ikea would be lovely and dry them off too…or not! BritGirl was greeted by a member of staff from Ikea who proudly announced that the shop was shutting early because of the weather. “The rain?” BritGirl asked a little confused? But no apparently over fears of ice at 10pm the shop was going to shut early and therefore no shopping would be happening…what a waste of time!! BritGirl was amazed that a shop would shut because of the weather here in Bordeaux. The weather was not nearly as bad as other countries and nowhere near cold enough for snow/ice! Wow, it seems that not only England struggles with a chill, so too does the southern part of France!

Needless to say there was no more snow or even ice for Bordeaux, in fact since then it has warmed up – whilst England faced -10c for days on end, Bordeaux saw 16c this week – two days running!!! As Paris ground to a halt amidst more snow fall with the Tour Eiffel even closing due to the weather, Bordeaux was enjoying some sunshine and a little more heat…althoug a 10c change took place in a day as temperatures went from 16c to 6c overnight… but BritGirl hopes no more snow or ice will hinder her final Christmas shopping!

Bordeaux warming up a little

Posted by: britgirl82 | December 10, 2010

More plumbing problems en France

Yes, that is correct, you have read another blog title about plumbing problems. Throughout 2010 BritGirl has explained that her life in France has been continuously speckled with problematic plumbing…and it seems that the last month of 2010 was no exception.

BritGirl’s sisters had been and gone after a lovely weekend…but BritGirl returned from the airport to find the toilet leaking….. after some huffing and puffing the problem was found….it appeared to be a loose washer. So BritGirl’s boyfriend took the matter in hand, “he would sort it”.

BritGirl left him to it and called home…a nice recap of the wekeend with her Mum..or so she thought? Mid-way through the conversation, BritGirl was told to “get off the phone and come and help”…..BritGirl walked into a disaster; water was spraying every which way…it seemed her boyfriend had not tightened the washer…oh no, he had loosened it!! With water gushing across the floor, up the walls and all over BritGirl and her better (?) half. BritGirl stifled a laugh! Perhaps not appropriate at that exact moment, but it really could only happen to them!!

The funniest part was, not only that BritGirl’s boyfriend could NOT re-tighten the washer – it apparently wouldnt budge amids the flow of water, but he was doing all of this in his dressing gown….why or why BritGirl will never ever know!! So mid-panic he decided to turn the water off….again one might wonder why this was not his first move before playing with the washer, but we wont dwell on that. So BritGirl’s boyfriend ran out of the flat and down the 3 flights of stairs to turn the water off, leaving BritGirl to just watch the water fly out of the pipes and run along the floor and into the kitchen – a towel just wasn’t enough.

BritGirl felt like she had been left for hours on her own just watching the water create a nice stream across the kitchen floor…eventually her boyfriend returned, but more panicked than when he left…he COULDN’T turn the water off – he hadnt taken a wrench!! (SIGH!) One last attempt at the washer in the toilet seemed to work, the waterfall slowly pettered out into a dribble….at last!!

But water was still dripping from the walls and pipes; now flowing along the floor at speed (not helped by the somewhat wonky floor). It took BritGirl an hour to mop everything up….whilst BritGirl’s boyfriend sat in stunned shock on the sofa….he was worried about what could have happened or perhaps nearly did happen as he attempted a plumbing job in his dressing gown with the water still on!!

BritGirl is still laughing after this and was nearly curled up on the floor (now sparkling clean) with laughter when her boyfriend embarassingly explained that not only was he down in the corridor trying to turn off the water in his dressing gown…but our neighbours merrily bumped into him mid-panic in his dressing gown!!!!! How funny!!

No BritGirl’s boyfriend is right, it could have been far worse – we could have flooded the flat and others…but luckily we didnt!! And it had to have been one of the funniest things that BritGirl has seen in a long time!

As you might know from earlier blogs, BritGirl’s luck with plumbers has not always been great, but thankfully, this time everything worked! The letting agent was prompt, the plumber arrived the next day…..and of course, turned off the water before tinkering with anything – this is the lesson BritGirl’s boyfriend should follow in the future!

So it seems France has not educated BritGirl or her boyfriend on plumbing…they are still as clumsy and unlucky as they were in the UK!! 🙂

Posted by: britgirl82 | December 6, 2010

The last month of 2010….

An English-French Christmas

So December is here….it really now is nearly a year since BritGirl moved here.

A year ago, BritGirl came to Bordeaux and spent a horrible weekend looking for her flat and surprisingly finding the right one, a year ago BritGirl was arranging electrical tests on her home in the UK ready for renting, BritGirl was spending days Christmas shopping for the last time in a few years with her friends, BritGirl was busily packing boxes full of memories and love, BritGirl was busy stressing about leaving her job, her friends, her home, her family….yes a year ago BritGirl was FULL of emotions and fear.

And now…a year on BritGirl is looking back on her year, reflecting and remembering (scary as that might sound). But at the sametime BritGirl is getting very very excited about going home to the UK for Christmas….time with the family, lots of good food, good drink, laughter, conversations and days out with friends!!

Although BritGirl was lucky enough to spend the first weekend in December with family. Her two sisters came for the weekend….braving the snow in the UK to reach the airport, with a plane which luckily was still flying to France, if a little late – thankfully BritGirl’s travel luck is not catching!! BritGirl spent the weekend showing her sisters around the city, the Christmas market and even had time to put up a Christmas tree and decorations.

BritGirl was happy…she felt at home showing her sisters around, her flat felt like a home….even in the cold and her sisters seemed to enjoy their brief visit…perhaps a trip in the summer with sunshine and warmth will also be planned!

BritGirl wonders what the rest of the year in Bordeaux will hold but more importantly, what the rest of the year will hold in the UK when she sees her family and friends!!

Posted by: britgirl82 | November 23, 2010

A philosophical note from BritGirl

BritGirl is sitting in her living room pondering her life and the approach of a cold, dark winter…what is on her mind? Well actually, this time last year is her current pondering…what feels like a lifetime ago. In November 2009 BritGirl was trying to deny her move to France was actually happening! She was planning un petit sejour in Bordeaux to find a flat, she was making new friends from her job and was not really looking forward to leaving friends and family for a new city and new country, but it seemed that that was exactly what was going to happen.

And now…nearly a year later, BritGirl is settled in her new home – and it does feel like home now. BritGirl is even starting to get used to la vie en France – the pace of life, the food, the drink, the bad TV and sometimes (definitely only sometimes!), even the language!! Her job is increasing every week, more and more students are coming on board – some only for a few weeks/months, but all are creating more work and a new challenge for BritGirl – she just hopes the students appreciate her hard work and enjoy her lessons. Britgirl is realising that feedback is not always easy or regular in teaching….of course, as you see the students improve in English that is feedback in itself, but a little bit of reassuring is what BritGirl is missing.

The main focus of BritGirl’s current thoughts…. BritGirl still misses her friends. She is not nearly as sad or low as she was many months ago, but sometimes, just to sit and have a cup of coffee with a friend, a glass of wine and opportunity to put the world to rights, a day out with friends and family…this is what BritGirl yearns for. She has the BEST friends in the world, she really does- she wishes she could tell them this more. They are all supportive, they keep in touch, read BritGirl’s dull and dreary post when it is sent, phone her, email her, text her and reassure her whenever needed. Britgirl is unbelievable grateful for all of this. But would like a little more proximity to friends.

The impending Christmas visit will give BritGirl just over a week in the UK – but her week is becoming a timetable of events and places to be….to ensure she sees everyone it is becoming a very regimented trip – just relaxed time with friends is all she wants.

So, not really a whinge (we hope) or really a homesick plee, but BritGirl is sitting here thinking about her great friends and wanting to thank them all. You are all very much appreciated and BritGirl would love to spend more time with you all. Right, before BritGirl starts to feel maudlin……she’s off!!!

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