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Bonjour Paree.

Bliss. Or as we say in France, l’exstase. It’s 11 p.m.; this evening I went for a great dinner with friends. I’ve just watched Jon Stewart on my computer (couldn’t get him in England, for some reason – I missed you, Jon!) while lying on my own sofa in my own (temporarily) living room. I’m unpacked and organized, suitcase put away in the closet, there are groceries in the fridge, it’s quiet, my laundry is drying on the rack, and, according to the scales here, I have only gained a kilo and a half.

What could be better?
After 3 weeks on the road, this is so very, very welcome – home. This morning, I awoke in London to a glorious sunny day – wouldntcha know, since I’m leaving. Cleaned and packed and checked and set off for St. Pancras station, to get the Eurostar. How easy travel is when things are familiar – I know how to do this. Only one tiny glitch – after locking Christopher’s door and slipping the keys back inside, I went out to the street with all my stuff and a last little bag of garbage. As I put the garbage away, I saw something sticking out – and found a knife. I had inadvertently thrown one of Christopher’s knives into the garbage, and was standing outside his place near Carnaby Street, beside the locked front door for which I had no key, holding a knife. So I had to take it with me.
The Eurostar is truly extraordinary – efficient, to the minute on time, smooth, painless. You get on, you ride through countryside, you go into a tunnel, you emerge on the other side of the Channel and arrive – London to Paris in less than two and a half hours. I ate my ham sandwich and read the “New Yorker” and here we are – Paris, in the rain. No, really? It’s now sunny in London and dark and pouring here? Yes. C’est la vie. Now I know the metro well too, so got to the flat in record time, and the key was hidden, waiting for me. This is the fourth time I’ve stayed here; the first was a disaster – the concierge wasn’t here and I couldn’t get in, and then everything broke at some point, including the toilet, the heating, the electricity, the phone and the internet. This time, there’s a new fridge, stove, microwave and TV, and I was on-line in seconds. Miraculous. And there’s tons of stuff here from previous tenants, like coffee, olive oil, tea.
Went out in the rain to buy some essentials – bread, yogurt, eggs, milk and 4 kinds of cheese, and paté for my friends later. Everything looked divine. England has come a long, long way gastronomically, but nothing compares to any little store in France, run by people with discerning palates. The rue Mouffetard is beautiful in any weather, and its shops always heavenly, drool-making. On the way back with my laden bags, I stopped at the tabac to say hello to the man there, who has become a friend over the years. But it’s a whole new place – much more spiffy, with a new, younger man. Le vieux monsieur must have sold it and moved on. Miss him too.
As perhaps you can tell, I am falling asleep as I write. More anon.

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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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