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Is the love over so soon, my little dove friends? She waited anxiously for an hour tonight, perched on the television antenna looking hither and yon, and finally he arrived – I assume it’s the he who arrived because that one’s a bit bigger, and because, let’s face it, how often does the male sit around waiting anxiously for the female to come over and play? He flew in and great was the fuss, much cooing and billing, grooming and entwining of necks. Awwww. Then he mounted her in a flurry of feathers – over quickly, perhaps too quickly? – and that was it. They spent the next two hours two feet apart, beaks buried in their own feathers, paying not the slightest attention to each other, and now she has flown off. To see her friend Muffi and complain about him, no doubt.

The death of romance on a television antenna in the pink-blue dusk sky of Paris, with a jet trail a minute, way way above.
Today was market day in the Bastille, two huge markets about ten minutes from each other, one the usual, every kind of food plus hardware, clothing, jewellery, African art … and the other, all that plus a brocante, a junk fair. Junk – music to my ears. Both jammed, full of fantastic smells – cooked chickens, oysters, cheese, lilac bunches being sold by the Roma on every corner – and the vendors shouting about their wares. The second was really fun, tons of junk, old magazines, books, pictures, clothes, lace … I couldn’t resist an old pewter sugar bowl for 5 euros. What a steal! Just what I need – an old pewter sugar bowl! Oh well, junk fairs are not for the rational.
Back to my very own Mouffetard market which was also bustling, as usual, plus of course music and dancing on the village square – to the great bakery, where I bought a piece of eggplant pizza for today’s lunch, a piece of leek quiche for tomorrow’s, and some sour cherry clafoutis for as soon as possible. It was hard to buy so little. And some reblochon and morbier at the cheese vendor next door.
After lunch, which I ate (pizza and clafoutis divine) listening to a French radio station play music from old American movies – had to get up and dance to Debbie and Gene singing “Good mornin’,” one of my favourite songs – I was off again, wanting to go somewhere by bus and get my money’s worth on the last day of my seven day transit pass. Walked to Luxembourg to buy the Sunday Observer and le Journal du Dimanche, sat in the Garden reading, and then just got on the first bus that came along. Got off at Pont Neuf and walked over the bridge, stood looking at boats on the Seine and strolled into the most graceful place – square – encircled by tall graceful houses and restaurants, so beautiful my heart hurt, my heart hurt with love for the beauty of this city.
There was no line-up at the imposing Conciergerie nearby, so I went in. The site was a royal palace from the 6th century on, turned in the 14th century into a parliament and then used also as a prison, especially for prisoners during the Revolution. Marie-Antoinette spent 76 days here until her execution in October 1793; Robespierre, on the other hand, was held overnight and executed the next day. It’s macabre: they’ve recreated various kinds of cells, including the Queen’s. She’s there in the cell, a dummy sitting in a chair with her back to us – you almost expect her to whip around, like Norman Bates’s mother, and be a grinning skull. There’s a list covering three walls of almost 3000 people beheaded during the Revolution, most of them driven in tumbrils from this prison to the Place de la Concorde, to be executed in front of thousands of screaming citizens. Quite horrendous.
My history lesson of the day. Final bus pass ride home. The rest of the day spent reading, working and Skyping, watching the fading of dove love with the fading of the day, and eating supper followed by much cheese. The sky is dark blue now, a few birds still singing, the antenna empty, my fingers tapping. My sugar bowl gleaming dully. There’s the night’s first star.



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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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