Monday, 14 March 2011

The Potentially Dangerous Story of: Noisette, A Moped & A Chainsaw...

Q. What can be more French than driving a left-hand drive Twingo on the right side of the road?
A. Driving a Scooter.

Q. And what can top my 'First Parisienne Driving Experience' episode with the bike and the open boot?
A. Riding on the back of a scooter....After purchasing a chainsaw bien sûr...

And this is exactly what happened.

I had just woken up, wandered into the kitchen, put the kettle onto boil and was asked by Stephane:
"Good morning! You want to come buy a Chainsaw with me?"
"Oui, why not?!"
I take out my beloved Marmite from the cupboard and reach for the baguette...
"Car or scooter?"
"SCOOTER!!! Definitly scooter, it'll wake me up!"

Sometimes I wonder how I get myself into these situations...
And then I remember the morning I confused my post for bread and all my questions are answered..
A bank statement isn't always good news I'll give you that, but is there really any need to spread butter on it and put it in the toaster...?

We head out on Stephane's scooter, (don't worry Mum I was wearing a helmet!) And make our way towards the DIY shop; as always Stephane hasn't the foggiest idea where he is going and relies on his i-Phone to guide the way.
We arrive, purchase said Chainsaw and walk back to the parked scooter.
Up until this point I haven't put two and two together. Infact, it wasn't until we approached the moped that realisation started to climb through the thick cotton of sleep and my brain started to perform several quick estimations:
Two People + One Rather Large Chainsaw + One Scooter = ...

"Ermmmm, Stephane..."
I stop in my tracks and look at what I'm holding: In addition to the Chainsaw that Stephane was carrying we had brought a 50m extension wire and a large bottle of oil.
"I don't mean to be pessimistic but I really don't see how all this is going to fit in your boot...and for that matter, the boot of your scooter..."

After a little bit of encouragement and various tetrus calculations, the chainsaw slides into the footwell. We climb on also and I shove the oil and the extension cable into my coat and zip it up quickly. We pull away, the engine straining a little bit but YESSSS!!!

2 Adults, 1 Chainsaw, 50m of wires and a rather heavy bottle of oil later and we're on the move!

I sit in amazement on the back of the scooter, cradling the wire and oil to avoid them sliping out the bottom of my coat and think: "And we have overcome the worst..."
But, as soon as this thought has floated it's way through my skull Stephane calls back to me:
"If I say 'jump' Hazel, you jump!"
"What?! Jump?! On a bike! It's already heavily loaded without me bouncing up and down on it too!!!"
"Non, the Chainsaw's on my feet. If there's a red light and I have to stop, it is highly likely I will not be able to stabilise the scooter by putting my feet down..because they're stuck.."

A vivid image of me jumping off the back of the moped and having the oil and wire escape from my coat has I fly back towards earth is conjugured. 
"Sauter. Sauter. Sauter!" is my only thought as I readjust my position for an easy launch exit...!

As we pull into the drive of the house safe and sound and all DIY equipment accounted for, I feel a slight disappointment for not getting to act out my 'self eject' evacuation scenario from the scooter!

Either way, nothing like an adrenaline-filled-scooter ride to wake you up on a Sunday!
It definitly reaffirms the rule of 'anything goes!' on the roads of Ile-de-France, non?

Sometimes I wonder how I get myself into these situations.
But for the most part, I'm grateful I do :)

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Donkey, Santi & The Elevator McFlurries!

If your name begins with a 'H' in France and you're introducing yourself to French people, I wish you the best of luck!
The letter 'H' is usually not pronounced in the French language and so my double 'H' attack name is alittle difficult.....No, let's be fair! It's impossible to comprehend for the majority of the French population is seems!

"Bonjour! Je m'appelle Hazel Hurst"
                                   or "Azel 'Urst" en français has resorted in much confusion.

Here are some replies:
"AXEL?! Your name is not really AXEL, non?!"

"Anzel? You are German then?"

And my favourite:

When I went bowling recently with some friends, the majority of whom were German, the man spelt my name as 'Hazen'...Which is the closest yet I'll give you that!

Perhaps, reassuringly, they also spelt Doreen's name incorrectly! Though personally I prefer the spelling of 'Dorine'; it reminds me of a brand of magarine! :)
After much hassle with this supposedly simple part of conversation (!) I have begun to clarify my name by resorting to: "Oui, Hazel, comme le noix, 'Noisette'"!
                         "Yes, Hazel, like the nut, Hazelnut!"   

And this seems to be catching on as some sort of a nickname! Though recently, another nickname that I have gained from my friend seems to be crushingly popular...

Santina is another 'fille au pair' and she comes from Germany.
She has helpfully pointed out that: "In German, 'Azel' means Donkey!"
Me: "....Eeeyoreeeee! Anyway as Donkey was saying: She is hopefully going to be living in 'La Defense' area, y'know where 'La Grande Arche' is?"
Santina: .......*Cackles with laughter!*  “...In German, ‘La Grande Arche’ means the big arse! And Hazel means Donkey...So...”
Hazel: "This is my future home!!! I'm going to be a Donkey living under a Big Arse!

What else are friends for?
Well, in Santina's case making interesting cake combinations, (Roll on our Peanut and Malteser Muffins!) and who else would I share my Elevator McFlurry Moments with?

:) Bon Nuit!
From, Donkey aka. First Mate Navigator Enzo aka. Noisette aka. Commodeur Frazzle aka. Axel aka. Hazen :)