Wednesday, October 27, 2010


My blogging friend and writing colleague, Sarah, has just had her children’s book published, available from Amazon and the Bongo website. There is also a 'Story Builder' to accompany it. For details, check here

Slim, the Vegetarian Ogre is fun, educational and superbly illustrated so if you have children aged from 7-12, or nieces, or nephews or if you are just a Big Kid yourself, I urge you to take a look!

In the meantime, I’m sitting here biting my nails because my children are wandering around Gatwick without money, food or a plane…a frequent occurrence in the Baconnier family. It will, of course, be the subject of my next post providing I haven’t already dropped dead from apoplexy…

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Many of you may have read about the recent troubles in Grenoble – I’m talking about social disorder here, not my personal troubles. They didn’t make the headlines, funnily enough.

I live on a council housing estate, Teisseire, in an area euphemistically deemed sensitive. A couple of months ago, riots broke out on a neighbouring housing estate, Villeneuve, and these did make the headlines. Nicolas Sarkozy even paid a visit to tick off the Prefet – in fact, he removed him from office and put an ex-police chief in charge instead.

That night, I sat on the balcony and watched the search helicopter as it circled above Villeneuve. I felt pretty safe. Although I live on the Teisseire housing estate, nothing exciting ever happens in my neighbourhood.

I spoke too soon. A week or so ago, a young drug dealer (he was only 24) was gunned down…practically at the end of my road and at the time my daughter would have been walking home from one of her wild nights out (as I imagine them to be). Fortunately, she decided to stay with a friend at the last minute.

A few days later, a car was set alight a little closer to home but still not close enough to really worry me. Just as long as they kept their hands off my car… beautiful new car. It was a gift from somebody I love very much although I’m a bit confused as to why he bought it for me now – but I’m going off topic. Sorry.

My car hasn’t escaped completely unscathed. Not long after I had proudly driven it home for the first time, somebody keyed it. I was quite upset even though I’m not at all materialistic. A car’s a car and as long as it gets me from A to B (via F, M and Q – but that’s just my eccentric sense of direction), I’m happy. But I was very, very upset.

Then a few days ago, some drunken louts backed into it and drove off roaring with laughter. If I ever see them again, I shall beat them to a pulp.

Last night, I drove wearily home from an English lesson and looked for a parking space. At that time of the evening, there usually aren’t any left but I saw two, and I chose the first one I came to even though it was further from my flat. Actually, I often park in the other space, which was closer. I wasn’t thinking clearly, I suppose. I still had ’ow are you, I’m fine, and you ? echoing in my brain.

Now to this evening, when a series of explosions jolted me from my habitual reverie (I was fantasizing about Gérard Depardieu begging me for the lead role in the film version of my book). I ran to the window and saw that a car had been set alight and for one panic-stricken moment, I thought it was mine. It was right where I had nearly parked the previous evening – where I often park – where I shall never ever park again.

I called the pompiers and then hung out of the window, breathless with excitement, to watch.

Well – can you blame me ? Those pompiers are really, really hot...