Paris when it sizzles at 38 deg C

“Along the Paris streets, the death-carts rumble, hollow and harsh. Six tumbrels carry the day’s wine to La Guillotine. All the devouring and insatiate Monsters imagined since imagination could record itself, are fused in one realisation, Guillotine.”

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

pantheon parisWe walked slowly, our eyes fixed on the domed roof. The headphone-thingy talked about symmetry, symbolism, liberté, égalité, fraternity. Léon Foucault’s pendulum swung back and forth beside us where it has almost always been since 1851. Christ looked on from his mosaic-ed position on the eastern wall, down at La Convention Nationale sculpture, as if blessing French nationalism … Continue reading Paris when it sizzles at 38 deg C

January writer’s block: stalking me like a monster

“He was the crazy one who had painted himself black and defeated the world. She was the book thief without the words. Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like rain.”

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

never give upI knew this day would come. It’s been lying in wait, holding on for just a Tuesday like this one to pounce – writers block! One writer described it as the bogeyman waiting in the mirror. I’m looking into the mirror now, and all I see is little old me, defenceless. January is one of those months – regenerative, scary and disappointing all wrapped into 31 cold, short days. It holds so much promise, but who can carry all that pressure without occasionally stumbling at the awesome weight of the load? Continue reading January writer’s block: stalking me like a monster

Parlez-vous français? The importance of learning a foreign language.

“If you ask the great city, ‘Who is this person?,’ she will answer, ‘He is my child.”

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

Comment allez vous mes lecteurs?

parlez vous Francais?

Whatever you do, don’t take the decision to learn a new language lightly. To slightly mis-quote from one of my favourite novels set in France, the journey of learning a language is “the best of times, it (is) the worst of times, it (is) the age of wisdom, it (is) the age of foolishness…”.

I was always considered the ‘language person’ in our family. I speak two languages fluently, though one more fluently than the other, and two rather poorly. To have an initial talent in something is not a recipe for success as I learnt rather quickly when I began a night class in French some years ago as an adult. Continue reading Parlez-vous français? The importance of learning a foreign language.

Foodie

“We might treat a rabbit as a pet or become emotionally attached to a goose, but we had come from cities and supermarkets, where flesh was hygienically distanced from any resemblance to living creatures. A shrink-wrapped pork chop has a sanitised, abstract appearance that has nothing whatsoever to do with the warm, mucky bulk of a pig. Out here in the country there is no avoiding the direct link between death and dinner…” 

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

I am a ‘wannabe’ foodie, but unsurprisingly making little effort to get the esteemed status. There, I’ve said it. Living in a city where you can go out for three meals a day for the rest of your life and never exhaust the options, some will consider my opening admission simply disgraceful. I’m sorry 😦

Continue reading Foodie