Lockdown 2.0. That’s what they’re calling it over here. Which is weird really. There wasn’t a Lockdown 1.5 – although I guess the three-tier system could be classed as that. Actually, in a few areas of England they reached that point; it was called social contact restrictions as generally the shops remained open – a few leisure services had to close, though. We all had the 10pm pubs and restaurant closure, too. But would they need a 1.5 anyway? Why couldn’t they simply go straight from 1 to 2? Because then they wouldn’t need to create the decimal placing. Which was actually just me.
Anyway, with the national lockdown looming on the horizon, I took a leap of faith. I booked tickets on the Eurostar for December. Just after Paris closed the doors on her citizens. But not a full lockdown. The curfew has been lifted but non-essential businesses will be closed as well as private gatherings being stopped. Despite schools remaining open, sworn declarations will still have to be provided upon request.
The excitement has already begun; there’s no denying that. My blogging site is followed by two people, myself is half of that figure. But Instagram is slowly building up. My 16 posts have 21 followers. Two are my own accounts, one is a friend, and another is ma petite amie. Yes, we’re back together and yes, she’s coming with! Anyway, seventeen are real, unpaid people that either enjoy my content or have shared motivations. I’m enjoying the latest stage of my experience – simply adding photos to ‘the Gram’. And now with this second trip to Paris making its way closer, I’ll be able to get more photos and even visit some of the places that I need to see for my final assignment. I don’t know how much extra I’ll be able to get, but some is better than none. Especially as it’ll be the last trip before we totally leave the EU. So many highlights in one trip. It’ll even be the first trip that doesn’t have her working at any point – simply an us trip.
I did a little digging around on t’interweb recently and managed to dig up a department in France that sends out paperwork regarding businesses. For some reason. I decided to grab myself a registration document for Au Père Tranquille. I get like that at times. I take a project that I have an interest in and go to town with it. The main issue that I have at present isn’t simply the financial burden nor the storage requirements. For my Masters, I’m required to write a fresh piece of fifteen thousand words. And for this, I want to delve deep into a single strand of thought. I know this won’t happen. Okay, I can encompass it all by saying it’s Paris, but that’s a cop out. I need it to be meaningful insight into one aspect of Paris. Again, this won’t happen as my mind loves a diversion and my writing indulges in diversifications.
Cop out is a great example of this. I know it means to take the easy option, but I was unsure of the spelling. Which led me to wondering about the origins of the expression. A quick Google check later and there are so many definitions as well as many variations to the etymology of the phrase. This happened, not at a convenient break of time, but quite literally moments before writing this paragraph. I catch a thought and run with it. This, dear reader, is the problem.
I wanted originally to write about fountain pens. This was last year. My fountain pen collection has since increased from the original one that I bought in order to write my second book and the gift I received for my first Father’s Day. I have acquired just shy of two dozen more in the space of eighteen months.
The idea of fifteen thousand words on fountain pens, in a similar style (if possible) to Umberto Eco ended up being a daunting task. That’s why I started this little book back at the end of last year – in fact, just a few days short of a year ago, now. I’d even titled this notebook ‘Le Book du Paris’ although that page remains blank, save for the squiggle that is my name. Paris, in fifteen thousand words. Easy when it’s a diary. Not so easy when it has to be of a certain quality in order to impress both academics and tutors. This is why my mind wondered around Paris and her arrondissements. Although it was my feet that did all the walking. Now I’m sat at a desk, lamp light hurting my eyes and my mind is struggling to focus on what I want to say. I know the destination, but the journey isn’t easy this evening.
So, back to it, fifteen thousand words of encapsulating writing means that it can’t be just a Paris journal. And the way my mind works, this isn’t an issue. I found my writing spot in Au Père Tranquille and it gave me my focus. The history and even patrons of this fine establishment. Yet, the more I dig, the more my mind wonders. Au Père Tranquille is located around the Westfield shopping centre at Les Halles. Westfield wasn’t always here. There are postcards showing me the area, represented in what I imagine to be the 1930’s; was it like the depiction? Who knows? More research and I find different views of Les Halles from prior times. These are photographs. A flick through eBay and some more use of my PayPal account finds me with even more photographs. And a book. It is of photos by Robert Doisneau who took photos of many things throughout his career. And a lot of these were of Paris. There is even a specific book about Les Halles. I now also need to look into Au Père Tranquille more than simply the match book that I bought from an American collector. I have to learn the history behind Les Halles aside from market day. I should investigate Robert Doisneau to create a singular human focal point to my fifteen thousand words. All the while, I’m still writing with my fountain pens (and adding to my collection) and have even purchased three typewriters; two of which need to be renovated in differing amounts.
I wonder if my other 19 followers will ever read my blog?