Day 84–Puttering Around

Got off to a late start today. Had to check the Blue Jay score, they having lost 3 in a row to Boston, and I see, again, this time to Atlanta by a score of 1-0. Disappointing, although I see that the incomparable Roy Halladay didn’t take the loss. And speaking of that, there’s a new Johnny Hallyday film called “Vengeance” on around the corner. An old French crooner/movie star (think Cliff Richard-equivalent, maybe), he’s got to be 75 if he’s a day. (Nope, checked. He’s only 66, not that old, relatively speaking.)

Lots of yelling in the Métro this morning. For some reason I couldn’t make out, a woman was yelling at a poor, homeless man. (Called, in French, un clochard; the word has an interesting derivation from the bell (cloche) that they rung when the Les Halles market closed, thus enabling the purveyors the chance to offer the leftover food to those who showed up.) Then, a troubled guy who regularly seems to end up on our subway car asking for money started yelling at the clock showing the next train. Then he started yelling at me. I told him I didn’t understand French (in French, however, so probably a mistake on my part) and he yelled at me even more. Then the train arrived and, fortunately, after an unsuccessful foray on our car, he got on the next car.

It’s taken 2 and 1/2 months but I have finally figured out the gym. You take the towel they give you, take a free newspaper, put the towel on one machine, the paper on another and use a third or, even, a fourth machine. Then go back to the first ones. Works like a charm.

Never mind. As I said a day or so ago, you really have to love the French. I bought a special edition (Hors-Serie, of which they seem to do many) of a magazine called “Lire” on Marcel Proust. Opened it at random only to find a recipe for madeleines. (What are the chances?) Mind you, again, everything is measured by weight (even the eggs) rather than capacity or volume but never mind…

This afternoon we went to a museum of which we had never heard until recently. In the 9th arrondissment, the Musée de la Vie Romantique,, is an Italian-style house, with lovely garden and tea salon, built in the 1830s for the painter Ary Scheffer, of whom we had never heard either. Anyway, he would have artistic guests over like Chopin, George Sand, Delacroix and so on. It houses paintings, drawings, sculpture, jewellery, etc. from the period including a collection of Sand memorabilia. As well as the permanent collection, it has periodic exhibitions, today’s being of the photo-journalist Marc Riboud, a really fascinating show. Riboud seemed to have met everyone famous in the 20th century. At 86, he even went to Obama’s victory celebration in Chicago. See

Stopped to people-watch at Au Sauvignon on the way back, read the weekend Financial Times.

Our friends Joe and Anna, who spent a graduate year studying in Paris, have popped over from London for the weekend. So, we went to the brightly-decorated, cutely-named, Asian-inflected resto, Ze Kitchen Galerie, 4, rue des Grands-Augustins,, for a superb dinner. Sandy and I had happily been there 4 or 5 years ago, but it was even better tonight than we remembered it then. A definite hit!

Had a nightcap at L’Hotel where Joe and Anna are staying. Although he died there impoverished, they have a photo of Oscar Wilde promimently placed in the salon.