Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lost in translation

Did I mention that I used to be the only French speaker in this family? Ergo, everyone was super impressed when I ordered coffee and pastries on ski trips to the Alps or asked where the toilets were in flawless French. Now I have children who correct my grammar while having a bloody good laugh at my expense.

I was about to send an email responding to our friends Eric and Corinne’s wedding invitation in the village next month. They took over our local pizzeria 18 months after it shut down and turned it into the perfect local restaurant – great pizzas, fantastic plat du jours, decent wine, amazing views from the terrace and a very warm welcome always. And very best of all, walking distance from home. I must have been overcome at the thought of going to a real French wedding, I have no other excuse for getting it so wrong.

Here’s what I thought I had written: ‘I am looking forward to your wedding. We will bring the girls to the ceremony and for the celebration drink at Michelangelo but then they will go home (subtext: leaving us to party late into the night.’) Literal translation: ‘I cannot wait to party at your wedding. The girls will come to the town hall and then the drink will flow at Michelangelo!’ I was obviously thinking aloud. Between tears of laughter as she read over my shoulder, Liv said, Oh mum, you sound like such a party animal....all I can say is old habits die hard.

This was on top of an attack of maternal guilt earlier. I had already told the girls I was going to Paris at the end of the month on a job and they were grrring through gritted teeth. After last summer’s visit, it is their favourite city in the world, although I’m sure New York in a couple of weeks will offer Paris some competition. Then today I was asked to do another job in Disneyland Paris next week. We have never done Disneyland Paris together, or Disneyland Florida (that was another job, or journos holiday as they put it so disparagingly) so the fact that their 40-something mum is going to hang out with Minnie and Mickey when they have never been is a bit of an issue. Clearly I will have to seek out famous animals for autographs.

I have never lived down the fact that I went to Lapland twice to meet Santa (purely in the interests of work of course) while the girls were left languishing at home. We spent the following Christmas in Lapland en famille out of guilt that I had met the ‘real’ Santa not once but twice, while they had to make do with stolen glimpses of an impostor on Christmas Eve.

Before I am reported to social services for neglect I should point out that before they reached 10, they had clocked up serious air miles in Mauritius, San Francisco, Canada, the Virgin Islands and various Caribbean destinations, to the point where they preferred camping trips in Dorset and the New Forest to long jaunts from Heathrow.

On the other hand, their mother never tires of jumping on a plane. This month is shaping up to be a good one...Paris, Paris, New York and Miami hot on each others’ tails. Work, work, pleasure (NY is for Liv’s 16th birthday) then work. It’s a lovely feeling to offer your 16yo the choice of how to celebrate and she eschews the big crazy party with all her mates for a family city break (although if I were her I would have tried for both. She has a lot to learn.)

Working in some of the most glamorous cities on the planet can hardly be described as work in the true sense of the word. Especially when you are staying at the W in South Beach and The Element, a new eco friendly Starwood hotel in Times Square. After a chilly winter, I’m looking forward to Miami particularly with Elle Macpherson and the latest batch of BNTM finalists. I hear the surf is pretty good too, but of course it will be observed from the balcony whilst writing up interviews rather than tested in the flesh....

Today’s pic is of the pool this afternoon in spring sunshine although it wasn’t quite bikini climes. Nonetheless it had the desired effect when I posted it on Facebook earlier....lots angry from Tunbridge Wells postings. We were just getting into the spring vibe on Sunday when Tony and Shan came for was so hot we ate on the terrace and only came in at sunset when it got a bit shivery. Since then there’s been a bite in the air which is not really cricket for almost mid March. I am trying to fly in the face of it (dresses, gladiators, goose bumps) but it’s not easy.