Woke up this morning back in England. All I want to do is wish people bonjour but it just doesn’t have the same impact as it did in Paris. It doesn’t help that I’m home alone. I really wanted to be able to regale my family with the tales of my travels but nobody is about to listen. I might tell the dog, he seemed happy to see me.
Went downstairs to make myself a cafe au lait and found a manilla envelope with my own handwriting on it. It’s my first rejection letter for my novel. It reads as though they don’t think it’s commercial enough, but it’s just a standard response, there’s nothing specific about what I’ve written, they didn’t even bother to print my name, it’s just handwritten. Guess it is just not the right agency for me. I know there are thousands of others out there and that eventually someone will see in Situation One what I see in it, I know it’s a good story, and that it could have a market, just got to find the people who know how to forward that on for me. It’s not a disheartening thing, it’s quite uplifting, it’s just another person to prove wrong, another little obstacle to overcome. I read yesterday (in Patti Smith’s Just Kids) that when you hit a wall the best thing to do is kick it down and that is what I intend to do. I’m in the process of submitting two short stories to Dazed & Confused, I’m working on an article for an online magazine, there’s a Rocliffe New Writing competition for comedy writers coming up, and there are other agents and publishers who might get me.
Until then I’m very happy in the universe I inhabit.
Yesterday was quite the adventure. There were still a couple of key visiting Paris hot spots that we needed to check out and from what I can tell we hit them all.
We set out early for Notre Dame in the hope that the place wouldn’t be full of tourists (yes we appreciate the irony in being tourists ourselves). We were there just after nine and it wasn’t too bad. We sat through some of the service, lit candles and made our own version of prayers before realising that to go on the tour of the towers, belfry and rooftops you had to exit the building and join the queue of people down the far side of the building. We queued for about an hour, in sporadic bouts of rain but kept ourselves amused by watching a funeral procession.
When we got into the tower we were told that as we were under 26 the tour was free if we had proof of ID. There’s a lesson here. Take ID with you. Kate didn’t and I had to seriously flutter my eyelashes to get us both in gratuit. It’s definitely worth doing, the individual gargoyles are beautiful, the whole thing is like a gothic dream. The views were impressive and the Disney version of events will come to mind.
We then set out for Sacre Couer which is set into the hillside overlooking Paris and is therefore also worthy of a visit. They are quite strict on their no camera rule inside the cathedral itself but the external is the real treat. The overlooking steps and platforms were used to brilliant effect in Amelie alongside many of the local buildings and roads. We managed to find the cafe Amelie works in and while it took far too long to get served because one waiter seemed to have an inability to wait I wasn’t going to let it spoil what it felt we were a part of. Cafe Les Deux Moulins is just around the corner from the Moulin Rouge which is another iconic Parisian landmark secured on film via Baz Luhrmann.
We then headed for the Louvre but by the time we arrived and saw the queue settled on sitting in the surrounding gardens and dipping our feet in the pool above the gallery. In hindsight I believe this was a better decision. The only piece we could name in the Louvre was the Mona Lisa and to be honest I’ve seen more pictures of the Mona Lisa this week than I care for.
Once rested we took to the Latin Quarter for another brilliant meal, this time shrimp cocktail and moules et frites. We couldn’t resist another quick trip to Shakespeare & Co so I’m going home with more unread books than I came out with.
I have titled this post ‘Francois’ for the pure and brilliant reason that it is what Kate thought I was saying to the hotel staff as we returned the other evening. It has since become one of our many jokes. I was of course saying bonsoir for those of you wondering.
Yesterday we spent a thrilling and exhausting day at Disneyland where we expertly and efficiently managed to get on Space Mountain, Star Tours, Big Thunder Mountain, Rock n Rollercoaster and Tower of Terror amongst others. At first it was fun to see how excited the swarms of children were, and to watch their parents try to keep them in check but after queueing in their midst for an hour to get on Big Thunder Mountain I’d had quite enough of people. Luckily the queues improved as we made our way to Tower of Terror and Rock n Rollercoaster so I can stop writing like I didn’t treasure the experience.
The incredible thing about Disneyland is that even at 25 years of age I am still completely overwhelmed by it. You see Mickey and instantly you are five again, those twenty missing years of having your feelings pushed in on yourself vanish and you realise how nice things can be. For a lot of children Disneyland is ‘the dream’. It’s all they could ever want and the park know that, their staff know that. Even in the incredible humidity they put on a great show, and a grand day out that I’ll tell my children about (they aren’t allowed to go until they’re 1.2 metres)
I am sat at breakfast, the most important meal of the day. Today we are going to the happiest place on Earth but I’ll write about that tomorrow.
Yesterday we made it to the top of the Eiffel Tower, this involved an hour long walk in the rain where we just laughed at the mad Parisian drivers and tried to spot groups of tourists. When we got to the famous tower only one of the lifts was open so we joined the ever increasing queue. About half an hour later we realised that we could walk up the other side and that there was no queue for the privilege so that’s what we did, seven hundredish steps and then a lift to the summit. I tried to pretend I was perfectly fine with the ever diminishing blocks of girder around us as we breached the heavy cloud and fog and stopped. It was beautiful but not the kind of height I like hanging about at.
We then got some lunch and headed on to Père Lechaise, resting place of Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde and Edith Piaf. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited and Kate shared that sentiment which I was quite pleased about because it’s hard to explain a penchant for hanging around graveyards. Once we had wished them all well we headed out to the Latin Quarter and found a little Greek restaurant that had a really good menu. It turns out that it doesn’t matter how many times you offer Kate your snails she isn’t going to partake. It’s possibly the only time I’ve ever seen her turn down food.
We then went to Shakespeare & Co where I found the music section and got lost and wrapped up for a while. Kate found a brilliant book on Plath that she purchased and then we walked round Notre Dame and headed back to the hotel. It’s incredible how tired you can feel after a day of walking and admiring.
It’s raining. I’m in Paris. This is just brilliant.
Yesterday we spent four hours on the Eurostar and then checked in at our hotel which sort of reminds me of the hotel in Home Alone 2 (Tim Curry is working in reception). I took Kate on a sprint round Paris, from Tour Eiffel to Notre-Dame. We have taken a million pictures (well Kate has) and I’m having a brilliant time.
In an attempt to show off I had oysters last night at dinner. I don’t know how they’re supposed to be an aphrodisiac when it feels like you are eating something that snuck aboard Prometheus.
We are off to the Eiffel Tower and Pére Le Chaise.
We are sat in Ebbsfleet International, it has already been quite the adventure. Due to a miswiring in Kate’s brain she likes to be everywhere about two hours early so we are just sat having a coffee and being hilarious.
Kate was impressed that the car park barrier had my name on its LCD screen as it let us in but she was more impressed with my suitcase which is about double the size of hers, mine looks like that kid who hit puberty before everyone else and is always looming around in the back of class photos.
We got to security and I worried that I smelt of weed, and then I set the alarms off because I’m just so flipping metal! Kate was through like the breeze, and rolled her eyes at me stumbling around and crying as they performed the scissor and twist manoeuvre inside my rectum.
Kate got me a coffee to make up for the fact that we were here far too early and that’s where you find us, sipping Nero as the only people in the departure lounge.
I should really be packing. I’m going to Paris tomorrow morning. Instead I’m on my bed watching Arrested Development and eating lunch.
Packing is one of those horrible and thankless tasks. I like to leave it to the last possible moment. The closer I am to leaving the surer I am that the stuff I pack will be the stuff I need, not that I really require much. I should just got up and sort myself out. That knitwear won’t pack itself.