I was woken at six o clock by the sound of a blackbird singing his heart out in the tree outside my bedroom window in the courtyard.
Because of the acoustics his song was amplified so the depth, sweetness and power echoed gloriously round the enclosed space. I lay for some time in the lessening gloom as the sky lightened and the city slept but the bird sang. At the back of this building at this time of day there is no traffic noise which seems quite remarkable since we are situated between two very busy roads.
Finally a cup of tea beckoned so I, the tea, the blackbird and a plate of beef teriyaki,( bought the day before from M&S at St. Pancras) sat and greeted the day slowly.
A slow morning of unpacking and getting to know our apartment followed: the bedroom I thought my friend might like. It is her apartment after all!
the view from her window:
my room, after I had slept in it!
finally, at about 11.35 I ventured forth with a shopping list (rubber gloves, washing powder, loo rolls, cooking oil, fruit, veg etc.) to revisit some old haunts and see what was the same and what had changed. To be met by a gaggle of children going home for lunch from a school on our road! Parents and grand parents were releasing excited charges to home and Déjeuner, what used to be, and perhaps still is, the most important part of the French day. Children charged past, Vélos putted and spat in the distance and the familiar smells of a french town permeated, all while the sun shone down. Ah, to be back in Paris!
People smiled at me as we danced the dance of pedestrians everywhere, too many feet, too narrow a pavement: I walked to the Place des Vosges, and apart from the bare trees, it was as if I had never been away. On Rue Saint Antoine the shops I was looking for were still there: the health food shop with gluten free products and organic produce; the wonderful pharmacy; the specialist cheese shop which nearly knocked me down with the superb fragrances flooding from the door; the coffee supplier; the chocolate shops with windows full of Easter treats. All still there, but to my sadness The Red Wheelbarrow book shop had gone. In its place a shop selling up market leather goods.
When I walked past an outdoor rotisserie surrounded by housewives buying lunch I gave in: they had free-range chickens all crusted with herbs, oil and salt until they were nearly black. The aroma was simply out of this world. So a hot, crisp, crunchy, chicken came home with me for lunch today and I fell on it like a woman possessed. I also brought veg to make a thick soup with the carcass, so that is me sorted for a few days.
This afternoon I shall go out again since it is such a lovely day, to buy more necessities and the things my friend has requested, and hopefully a bunch of flowers to make the rooms look homely. But it will be mundane supermarket shopping this afternoon, although I shall look at the clothes in Monoprix. I found the most darling black beret here last time, felt with a sweet bow on the side. Now, I am not a bow kind of person, but this one is not small, childish or twee, and it just looks sophisticated. I bet you never thought a bow could look like that!
Well, rain happened in the afternoon. And looking for hats, all Monoprix had were rainhats:) Very appropriate I suppose. So it was a quick dash round, loo rolls, washing powder, rubber gloves etc, then to buy some flowers, and home to cook and have a very early night.