Diary 6 September 2017
Today Patrick and I went out for breakfast – pastries again, and again ate on the banks of the Seine. A white swan undulated past on the water – inspiration for a haiku at some stage. After taking Patrick upstairs – he wanted a lazy day – I walked over to the Hôtel de Ville area and found BHV, a department store. So began my shopping spree; two belts, one black, one red, and a navy blue thief-repulsing bag to wear across my body. I bought a sandwich lunch for us at Village Saint Paul, and some Vitamin D at a pharmacie (green neon cross – they are everywhere).
In the afternoon I took Patrick to Charles de Gaulle to catch his Eurowings flight to Dusseldorf and then on to Gothenburg. I learnt something new: you get off the RER B at Terminal 1/Terminal 3 and find you are in Terminal 3 so need to take the shuttle train to Terminal 1. All fairly straightforward. When I saw Patrick through the gate, at least I knew I’d see him again much sooner. In October, back home!
On the shuttle train back to Terminal 3 I encountered an Australian woman, a real Babe in the Woods, who was asking everyone she encountered in desperation if they spoke English. No one answered her so I did, and explained the need to change onto the RER for Paris at Terminal 1. When we got there I showed her where to buy tickets. Ethical dilemma: should I have helped her further, with buying tickets and onto the RER? I didn’t and felt guilty afterwards. Do we take responsibility for strangers or, as in my case, because I didn’t take to her, leave her with small assistance?
On the way home after I left the train I shopped for supplies at the small supermarket on Île Saint Louis, briefly visited the church on the island, then arrived home to find a message from my host, H., inviting me to dinner with the family at 8pm. Her mother, C., also came upstairs to extend the inviation in person.
How lucky was I? I had a wonderful dinner of artichokes, salad, salmon and a potato dish, followed by baked apples topped by a homemade cherry topping with five adults and two children. The wine was a smooth Beaujolais from 2000! I never drink such lovely wine.
All of them speak English, H. and her parents very well, but they mostly spoke in French and I did my best to keep up. Excellent practice!