Wednesday, 14 May 2008

A tale of two cities

Observations after a weekend in Paris (The Doctor and I having Eurostarred it over to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary sans kids.)

  1. Hardly any Bugaboos and no Phil & Teds in Paris. Even the smarter Parisians seem to be wielding different pushchairs, usually fairly basic and functional. Perhaps, as with their cars, they snub brands not made by the French (Bugaboo is Dutch, P&T hails from New Zealand). Alternatively, all the really label-conscious French have actually moved to Chelsea or Battersea (and judging by the number of French accents in the local playgrounds recently, this theory holds some water).
  2. Mini Micro Scooters: nulle points. Didn’t see a single one, whereas the current spell hot weather this side of the Channel seems to have spawned an even bigger proliferation. French teenagers seem to ride on the adult versions, but there were no toddlers speeding along in the Jardins du Luxembourg.
  3. In true Continental style, babies, toddlers and small children stay up late, late late in Paris on a hot summer night. One tiny girl was manically dancing away to an impromptu Bob Marley gig on the banks of the Seine at 11pm, her parents picknicking nearby. In London, they would all be tucked up by 7pm as per Gina Ford’s instructions, the parents vainly trying to block out the daylight with blackout blinds and persuade them it’s bedtime.
  4. But then, there is also an innocence about Parisian nights that London just lacks - exemplified by entire families queuing for ice cream at almost midnight. The only thing you’d queue for at that time of night in London is clubbing, and the idea of taking the Littleboys to the West End on a Saturday night is frankly terrifying.
  5. Hotels, however smart, otelsHoteHoare essentially noisy places – so our much looked-forward-to night of peace was not exactly peaceful. Other guests came back raucously at 2am, bottles were crashed around at the back of the building and baths were run in the early hours. However, as The Doctor remarked the next day, the fact that none of these sounds actually compelled us to get out of bed was in itself enjoyable.

Back in London, the Littleboys were expertly cared for by Aussie Nanny for the weekend. Aussie Nanny looked after Littleboy 1 when I was in hospital for weeks on end prior to the birth of Littleboy 2, and she is our regular babysitter. But I am a little worried that now we may have scared her off. Not due to the Littleboys – although I am sure they gave her a run for their money. No, the problem is that her more recent clientele live in the rather smarter areas of Nappy Valley in more glamorous houses. During her weekend at our house, not only was she was kept awake by some of the less salubrious neighbours arguing in the street (not a regular occurrence, but hot summer nights do seem to bring out the worst in people), she also spotted a “deformed” (I quote) mouse cross our living room floor. Luckily Aussie Nanny's Aussie Boyfriend was there to dispose of it, but I get the feeling her usual laid-back-Aussie composure was somewhat jarred. This is perhaps not something that would have happened in the more leafy environs of this area. Will have to think of a way to bribe her back……

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