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a change of pace

Started my day off with a bang, literally. I bought a can of Illy coffee yesterday, since the delicious stuff is far less expensive here than at home, and when I pulled open the top this morning, a spray of coffee hit me in the face and flew all over the kitchen. After sweeping up, I read the top of the can. “Open slowly,” it says, “to release the gas.” 
Who knew you needed instructions on how to open a can of coffee, or that cans of coffee contain gas? The world is a mysterious place.

My friend Tony had a good day yesterday. “I bought an early seventeenth century bassoon,” he told me, “for six and a half thousand pounds. A good deal. And three metronomes – one of them from around 1815, the first metronomes ever made.”

At supper, last night, among many other fascinating topics of discussion, I heard the history of the metronome, its “pyramid shape” and inner workings.  It’s wonderful to see a man who so enjoys his life and his work. There he sat in his second-hand shirt – from the British equivalent of Goodwill – and his Swatch watch, talking with relish about the great wine and champagne he buys in Paris and ships home to London. He recently purchased cases of Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet, two of my father’s favourite Burgundies. I wished that Dad were here to enjoy Tony’s company and my adventures in the city and country that he loved so very much.
Last night’s meal, you’ll be happy to hear, was not as excessive; we found a little bistro in the Rue Mouffetard. Tony insisted I have a glass of champagne as an aperitif, though, and I now like this little ritual very much. Champagne used to gave me a headache; now I find it goes down very smoothly. “Une coupe de champagne,” he said, and there it was, a slender, sparkling flute. And then a bottle of wine and dinner and talk, talk, talk. Tony thinks the bailouts are unfairly rewarding the greedy and incompetent and will leave us forever in debt. He also recommends, when you are in New York, that you go to the restaurant in the Trump Tower on Central Park Circle for lunch. “It’s a $28 special, a very good deal,” he advised.
I admired the dark wood beams in the ceiling of the restaurant, and the waitress told me that they were original, the building dated from the seventeenth century, the stones in the walls too. In Europe, hundreds of years old doesn’t seem old at all, any more. Whereas at home, it’s a matter of some incredulity that my house dates from 1879 – pretty damn ancient, for Canada.
Speaking of Canada, one thing that I am missing a lot here – the sound of the geese, honking overhead as they return home.
And speaking of returning home, I am now half-way through my stay in Paris.  Time is fleeing; I’m hanging onto every moment. And so, my dear friends, I am going to try to stop for awhile writing here every day, love this as I do. I need to focus inward for a bit, rather than outward, to you. I will still take notes and think of how to share what happens with you, but not on a daily basis. Even as I write this, I’m sorry – because sharing with you sustains me. But I fear that too much energy is going into this travelogue, and not enough into the other work I am here to do.
Thank you for accompanying me on this journey; it means a great deal that you are out there, following me through.  I’ll talk to you soon, very soon, but not tomorrow. 
PS. See? Even as I announced that I’d take a rest, I thought of something else to tell you. Tony explained that late eating on the continent came from the days when people ate a huge lunch at midday and then rested for an hour or two. Shops closed late – at 7 or 8. And I remember Lynn telling me that her kids had school, often, till 6. So supper at 8.30 or 9 makes sense in circumstances like those. 
Okay, that’s it. Over and out, for now.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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