I discover from ParisGirl that Kiki, the giant Seychelles tortoise, is male! My world rocks on its axis. I loved Kiki and spent lots of quality time with her (him!) in Paris, where I was busy being extremely miserable. It used to take me all my strength and nearly 2 hours to get all the way across Paris with a pushchair, a two year old and a 6 month old baby on the métro with a change (Etoile to Bastille, then Bastille to Gare d'Austerlitz. It sounds so romantic doesn't it? But for me it just means stairs. So. many. stairs.), but it was worth it. Kiki lives in the Menagerie at the Jardin des Plantes, which is an amazing and ancient institution, a tiny zoo in the heart of Paris, opened in 1795. It always held a particular attraction for me since reading a strange and compelling article during my degree called "And they ate the zoo - gastronomic exoticism in the siege of Paris", all about how they had to eat all the animals during the Paris commune in 1870. Elephants, giraffes, everything. Yes, people write whole articles about this kind of thing. This one is seminal. Honestly! As well as Kiki, it features the shaggiest afro horse on the planet, two crocodiles so consistently immobile that most people assume they are stuffed, and some rather sweet monkeys. Think what you like about zoos, I'm fairly ambivalent myself, but it was a day out and it made a change from having my outfit sneered at by the nannies in the Parc Monceau while being chased off the grass by a man in uniform.
Kiki himself is 120. I always imagined her (him!) as a sympathetic older (like, 100 years older) woman, who had seen it all, done it all, and would share her (his!) wisdom with me. A surrogate grandmother figure, if you will. Little did I know she (he!) is in fact a deviant sexually compulsive male whose mind was in fact on shagging everything with a shell as I silently communed with her (him!). One hundred and twenty years old and his libido is still undiminished; I am sort of awestruck, but also appalled.
("Nice ass" thinks Kiki "I'm gonna get myself a bit of that fine shell. Yeah baby, come on over here I got something for ya")
Kiki. What kind of name is that for a male tortoise. Though when I share my shock with the CFO he tells me that Kiki is slang for a penis. Who knew? Not me, clearly.
The window of Hermès is filled with colourful turbans. But every time I venture out to take their picture it rains. The turbans are shy. I persist. The picture is rubbish. But then, so are the turbans.
We discover yoghurts in our corridor of tedium fridge that are over 2 years past their sell-by date.
A pair of abandoned pants appears outside our front door.
I am on my holidays for the next two weeks, internet. After lenghty negotiation, the CFO has conceded that I am allowed 2 trips to an internet café per week. However, we are going to the Isle of Wight, a place so firmly anchored in the 1950s that computers have not actually been invented there, so this may be easier said than done. Do drop by occasionally though, as I have scheduled a few treats in my absence, like an neurotic supermummy with a freezer full of nutritious meals in tupperware tubs. If anyone wants to pop in to collect the post and feed the tortoises they are most welcome.