It’s been a while since I’ve sat down to write. I’ve typed, but not written. And what I’ve typed, I’ve already written. Like last week when I was in the Admiral Hardy in Greenwich waiting for Nev to finish work. It was the third table I’d sat at and I finally settled with my iPad and keyboard case. I think I’d edited and posted three entries but hadn’t gotten around to popping them on Instagram.
What I have gotten around to doing is arranging the December visit to Paris. I’ll be taking Nev and then boys as their Christmas present. It’ll cost a fair bit but they’ll have New Year’s Eve in Paris rather than on Southend seafront. It’s for four evenings during the Christmas break which means the boys won’t be missing school. Unlike their next trip after that which will be a joint birthday present for them. I’m going to do the half marathon (part of the ‘big 3’ over there) so I’m going to attempt to get them out of school on the Friday – otherwise we’re losing the Saturday with travel and bib collection. That’ll honestly be a waste of their time and my money. They wouldn’t complain about it as we all love spending time together and thoroughly enjoy any little mission that we face. I’ll be coming back on that Sunday after the run as my legs won’t be in such a state this time around. Not that they ever have been after a half. The full marathon, well, that’s different. The next one I do won’t be running, won’t be a timed effort. It’ll be getting Nev across the finish line whilst I’m taking more photos on the way to getting her a finisher’s medal. I’ll think about a proper run in 2024. I know I can complete marathons, I even know I can run marathons; challenge complete. But to have the three Paris runs under my belt alongside the London ones, well, that’s topping it all. Of course, she may decide not to do the marathon in which case, I’ll be signing her up for the 10k which I know she’ll do – I’ll even carry her, if I have to. I’d like to run all three of course, but the medal and t-shirt set are the goal this time around.
I’ve been getting through The Only Street in Paris – Life on the Rue des Martyrs by Elaine Sciolino and to be fair, it’s not a bad book. I know I must’ve walked up or down this street numerous times, but I can’t place it when reading about it. However, my trip in August will ensure that I travel here and will definitely be taking photos. Probably on the second day before I make my way back to Gare du Nord. I have to dine at le Jardin du Roy on the evening of my arrival.
I’ve started to buckle down a bit more properly with Duolingo. I know I still treat the XP and leagues as a game, but I’m now starting the lessons afresh and making notes. Which is what I’ll be doing after I finish this entry in the New Fairlop Oak.
I’ve treated myself to a wood burner for the garden. In my head, I’ll be out in the garden during the evenings reading, writing, studying. This way, I’ll be warmer and just now realising I’ll be ever so slightly nearer to Hemingway’s methodology… Fiction beckons, I fear. As does a large supply of logs. And charcoal for the barbecues. Alas, I fear another new pen is on the horizon as this nib feels a little too broad for me. Which is a shame as it has just just the right amount of scratch on the page as I like. The ink flows nicely and it’s beautifully weighted. It’s a red and gold embellished Jinhao from Too Shiny For Ya, my regular supplier of Chinese imported fountain pen.
Talking of regular suppliers, Mr T’s Shirts have produced some outstanding badges for me with my new An Englishman in Paris fonted logo. They are absolutely gorgeous.
I realised t’other day that not only am I getting to be a regular (albeit still too infrequent) visitor to Paris, but I’m also attempting to immerse myself in little Frenchisms. I’m slowly becoming a Francophile. Possibly it’s more a case of a localised Parisianophile. I’ve not been outside of Paris except for my very first visit to the country when I was 18 and we hit Calais. That was more of a social event (including that infamous ferry trip) for my mates to grab a load of booze and fags. Each time I’ve been to Paris, my list of wants has increased. Now my regular bring-home list consists of grenadine (from Monoprix), French stripey sour strips, St Michel Doonuts (all of the aforementined goods are for the boys), syrop de menthé, Adopt perfumes, Doliprane, savon de Marseille, various cakes and biscuits and Monoprix olives in herbes de Provence for my uncle. Oh, and either a bag for life or a little folded pocket one. I first obtained Adopt in Westfield, Stratford but there’s nothing like French perfume from Paris. Even if it costs less than a tenner a bottle. And I’ve had a delivery from Chateau Du Savon, an English company specialising in French soaps. There are some lovely flavours that I’m looking forward to using during my post-run showerings.