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my piece of the pie

Yesterday was actually a bit cold, and since I have a bit of a cold too, an easy day was prescribed. The mornings here have been chilly – as low as zero degrees – and then in the afternoon, very hot – layers are essential, as you remove bits and pieces. My plan was to climb the towers of Notre Dame, but there was a long line-up in a bitter wind, so I bought a purple beret and walked around the Ile de la Cité instead, those marvellous narrow medieval streets. Many things are closed Monday and it was very quiet – decided that I’d try, for once, to get a glace at the famous Bertillon there, since there didn’t seem to be a line-up for once – but there was no line-up because it was closed for the week. I discovered several quiet parks a stone’s throw from Notre Dame, one with a memorial to the many people, not only Jews but gypsies, political prisonners and homosexuals, deported from France to the camps during the war.

And then walked home, to find the doves back together on their antenna where they belong , if briefly. They’re obviously married – billing and cooing when necessary, and otherwise, business as usual. Had a tranquil evening of reading and work. I spoke not a single word aloud yesterday. The Banff Centre for the Arts used to be my ideal writer’s retreat – now I come to Paris. It seems a waste to sit in here, silent, with all Paris outside the door – but it’s also such a rare experience – no telephone calls, no friends or family, and I can’t even get the TV to work -just a big window onto a quiet courtyard, books and notebooks and the computer – and a lot of good food and wine. Ideal.
Today, feeling better, I found a museum on-line I wanted to visit, got the bus there, and realized I had the wrong museum. I’d decided on the Musee Cognacq-Jay, and ended up at the Musee Jacquemart-Andre. Those hyphens – so confusing! Ah well – there was an exhibit on Spanish art so I went in – the building itself is spectacular, a gorgeous mansion full of Italian art – the Spanish exhibition was in very small rooms and crowded, but good. I’d forgotten, you know, that Picasso was Spanish. Miro, Dali – and the older guys.
Went home for lunch – that’s the difference with last year, when I would have eaten my ham sandwich and then walked for another seventeen miles – and this afternoon, another excursion, a walk to the Institut du Monde Arabe, to discover Arab art and inventions. Only it turned out that the museum was closed and will be for some time. It was one of those days. I went to the 9th floor where there’s a terrace and a restaurant – highly recommended in the sun, with a glorious view of Paris and mint tea. I gazed at the view and walked home via Mouffetard where I bought dinner, breakfast, and at the bakery, today’s most special treat – a miniature lemon meringue pie. Just for me. You can’t have any, even if you ask nicely. Only three more days – I have to savour every bite.
P.S. My friend Margaret has given me the important news that this week is the 30th anniversary of Post-It notes. I was on my honeymoon in August 1981, staying at a wealthy American friend’s spectacular house on Vancouver Island, when I discovered she had these yellow things that could stick to the fridge or anywhere. Wow, I thought, these are really useful. I became at that moment a devotee of Post-It notes, or Stickums, as I called them, and always now have all sizes, shapes and colours. Essential. How did we make lists without them?
Scary that they’re 30. But then, the baby daughter who came with us on the honeymoon will turn 29 next week.

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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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