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Back to School

It’s high summer. The children are bored. I’m keen to get back to work and increasingly using the television as electronic babysitter. I’ve got to do all the last minute shopping, uniform buying, pencil sharpening and book selecting which typifies Parental September. And everyone moves up one more year. Exciting for them. I just feel as if I’m getting older. Someone told me that after you turn 45, you put on 1kg every year! Aaagh! Why do you think I’m running the Royal Parks Half Marathon this October?!

Pushy Parent

So I’ve just done a radio thing on Radio Ulster discussing just how pushy I am with my children and how I forced them to go around the world eating iguana and singing the Marseillaise just because I wanted to….

Back in London


So, we’re back, and now people say things like “We thought you were to be gone for at least 6 months. Why are you back so early?”, and suddenly the giant epic journey begins to shrink before my eyes, as if I had eaten one of Alice’s little cakes. Read More…

Homeward bound much to delight of some


With only three more days to go, no-one can talk of anything else. When are we going to be home, and what we are going to do when we get there? I have already done an online shop at Sainsbury’s, timed perfectly to arrive within about two hours of us touching down at Heathrow. Cheerios, Marmite, Anchor ‘spready’ butter, Cheddar cheese, Darjeeling tea have all been ordered. And – with not a little nostalgia – a box of croissants. Interesting what you miss the most. Read More…

The Elephant in the Room


Well, the provocation behind the French Empire is les rosbifs, of course. Or at least, our langauge. Because English is so dominant it has made the French absolutely positive that it must hang onto its overseas domains, no matter how many billions of euros they costevery year or how useless they are, in economic terms.

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Cracks in the Edifice


Being here in French Polynesia, aka Paradise, takes some beating. There’s the emerald mountains, the boundless ocean, the oodles of tropical fish swimming around, and the perfect sunsets. Read More…

The sun never sets on the Tricoleur


The head of tourism for St Pierre, Martinique, pauses in his tour of the fomer capital city, largely levelled thanks to the eruption of Mt Pele, a nearby volcano, in 1902. We are going up the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ – or Rue de Ciel, so-called because there was a religious seminary at the top of the flight of stone steps. “And a lot of prostitutes too,” he jokes, “for a different type of heaven.”

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Why working with children is a nightmare


“When can we go and play at Restaurants, Mum?”

No, I love our children. And OF COURSE I’m delighted that they are here with us. As I said to Mr Millard “just think – we have three months unlimited time with our children, how lovely, no nannies, no aupairs”…and then REALITY hit. Read More…

Rosie and family getting at one with nature

Hoorah! Out of the cubby hole under the stairs in St Pierre and off on a speeding ferry to sister island Miquelon. On the way, the hardy family saw two whales and experienced one instantaneous vomiting, so I think that makes us slightly ahead. Visiting Miquelon, population 600, is like being at the end of the world. Or the beginning. Either way, its like a pioneer village with the ocean lapping at either side of the strip on which it is built, and seals popping out to say hello.
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In sunny St Pierre et Miquelon where even the milk is imported from 4000 miles away

1821328Here we are, then, visiting our first of the French overseas empire. And what do you know – it’s very French. By that I mean rude hotel staff, toilets which are broken and croissants which are utterly delicious. We are all staying, that is the children, Mr Millard, and myself, in a single room which is part of a Butlins-style motel. Well and good, except for last night. Read More…