Friday, 16 November 2007

When the words don't come so easily...

Unfortunately the 's' sound is a bit difficult for him at the moment.

"Tendy, say box."
"Tendy, say socks."
"Tendy, what is that animal?"

Thursday, 15 November 2007

This is Paris..

This past weekend I had the opportunity to visit Paris and she did not disappoint. I have come away enchanted and enamoured, once more. I have always thought of Paris as the lover that I was slightly unworthy of touching and so I ignored her beauty, preferring instead to wax lyrical about my current life in London or my previous lives in Massachusetts, or New Mexico, my childhood home. I know that after three visits that suppressing your desire for Paris is like holding your breath indefinitely: it cannot be done.

Paris does not have the finest restaurants in the world, unless you are in the know. I believe that most in the centre of Paris are overpriced and lacking in culinary imagination – I’ve had more value for money from Pizza Express in East Dulwich. However, even in the most average of brasseries along the banks of the Seine, there is a feeling that you are stepping into a timeless culture of civility, intelligentsia and decorum, and I certainly believe that ambience overrules food, in this instance.

People watching opportunities abound and the cafés encourage it – facing the outdoor chairs to the pavement. There is intensity in the Gallic body language, which infected our party of American ex-pats; after two bottles of Pinot Blanc and another bottle of dry white, we discussed even the most trivial issues with fervour. Legs crossed, elbows on tables holding imaginary cigarettes and sipping cups of coffee and snifters of grappa, we only lacked berets (except Chanson who very wisely brought hers) and polo neck sweaters. We joined the leagues of world travellers who, momentarily, believed they were part of the French Revolution, the egalitarian dreams of Socialism, Marxism and the Republic, and the joie de vivre of inhabiting such a vibrant city with its natives, even for a few short days.

With the construction of faster rails in the UK and the opening of St Pancras station as Eurostar's new London home, the train ride from the UK to Paris Gare du Nord has been cut to just over two hours, which, as I heard on the radio the other morning, means that it is quicker to ride to Paris than it is to the north of England. I will not wait as long to visit her next time, and I hope that she will let me love her a bit more.

This is Paris, and she is a lady. She is savvy, well-dressed, discrete, and smart. She was everything beautiful last weekend. Any flaws she has only perfect her. I am in love again.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

What I've been contemplating...

A quote from Czesław Miłosz's book, 'The Captive Mind'.

When someone is honestly 55% right, that's very good and there's no use wrangling. And if someone is 60% right, it's wonderful, it's great luck, and let him thank God. But what's to be said about 75% right? Wise people say this is suspicious. Well, and what about 100% right? Whoever says he's 100% right is a fanatic, a thug, and the worst kind of rascal. -An old Jew of Galicia