Welcome to my world! My name's Nik, and I'm a British expatriate who has been living in Paris, France for the last five years. Even though I never planned to stay in Paris for very long, now I'm here I've no plans to leave soon - the beauty of Paris has never worn off, and so far it's been a five year long vacation! Enjoy my ramblings...
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Bonfire of the brits

Last night was the annual bonfire night at the British embassy, which is a nice bit of home nostalgia - I suppose it's like how all the american expats feel obliged to inflict thanksgiving turkey on everyone here in celebration of something or other that happened in their country, so we try to introduce people to our celebration of torturing and executing a religous-political terrorist from way back when. It's a great night, and for the kids really. Lots of fireworks, burgers (sadly no baked potatoes though), and most importantly a big bonfire with an effigy of ol' Guy Fawkes burning away on top.

Ok, I'm making light of the gruesome roots of this little tradition, but it is a really great night (I'm not kidding about the effigy burning though). Even though it's obviously not as big an event as christmas, it's far more powerful at invoking those childhood memories - the smell of woodsmoke and fireworks, freezing cold nights but being warm by the bonfire, and learning the hard way that you don't pick up a dead sparkler by the wrong end...

So last night was the embassy's fireworks. A bit late, being on the 10th instead of the fifth of November, but considering the hangover I've got this morning it's probably a good thing that today's not a work day (still had to check some people into an apartment near rue Mouffetard though, and that was a struggle! I hope they didn't notice my bloodshot eyes). I'm going to blame the mulled wine for that, although it's probably the countless pints of beer that followed it really. I remember the girl who was serving the mulled wine grinning broadly and saying that there was a whole bottle of brandy in the big pan of simmering wine in front of her. Is that a usual ingredient? I'm not sure, but there weren't any complaints...