Paris: Day 1 - Sunset over the Eiffel Tower

One of those perfect evenings where even the weather cooperates. We went for dinner at a restaurant in Montparnasse round the corner from our last flat and then went for a walk back behind the Hotel des Invalides and along to the Eiffel Tower, where the sun was setting. The pictures nearly manage to capture the beautiful colours!

Paris: Sunset over the Eiffel Tower

Paris: Sunset over the Eiffel Tower

Paris: Sunset over the Eiffel Tower

Paris: Sunset over the Eiffel Tower

Paris: Sunset over the Eiffel Tower

Paris: Sunset over the Eiffel Tower



Death-deserving blood-sucking bastards. Should they all die, in one fell swoop, I would cheer. I itch, I have huge hot red welts on my legs, and did I mention how much I itch? I hate mosquitos. With my luck, I will have caught dengue fever, too.


Home Sweet Home

Home at last. Internet still works, Oscar is still alive, though he's been seriously pruned, poor thing. And all his budding oranges are gone. The flat is clean, though it doesn't look any different to when I left it, except that they've reorganised the furniture (and, one assumes, cleaned under the cooker...)

Landlady is coming round later to teach us how to do things like clean the air conditioning filter (apparently legionnaire's disease grows in air conditioning filters if they aren't cleaned regularly. Wonder if that's what's made me ill.) and god knows what else. Oh, and our bathroom needs to be gutted and retiled, since water has apparently been leaking into the wall under the tiles. Nice. Workmen all over the flat for at least a week. Just what we need.

Now off to lunch and the beach. Hope you're having a good weekend!



There were tanks driving up the Promenade des Anglais this morning as we were sitting minding our own business reading the newspaper in the sunshine, with coffee and croissant, as one does.

Anyone have any idea why? They seem to have gathered in Place Massena, with jeeps and Red Cross vans and all sorts, and all covered in American flags.

If no one else can suggest a sensible alternative, I'm going with the little boy who turned round in the tram, his eyes wide, and said "Mummy, are we at war?" The answer is clearly yes, we are at war with 1940s America. Unless today's some anniversary I don't know about, which is entirely possible.

I shall try and get photos for you all on my way back from the library. Assuming the air raids don't start up between now and then, obviously.

We're going to the fireworks tonight - they were postponed from the Fete de l'Assomption on 15 August, because of bad weather and stormy seas. (It was a bit windy, admittedly.)

For those of you wondering, because I certainly was (obviously, I expect you to already know this Fran...) the Fete de l'Assomption apparently celebrates Mary's ascent to Heaven without having to go through that messy dying phase. A gift to her, given the inconvenience of having to bear God's child without really being given any say in the matter. Though I suspect that latter part isn't strictly part of the Catholic teachings on the matter...


Paris: hotel pics and the Parc Montsouris

More pictures. I told you you'd miss the days of actual text and real things to say. Today's photos are from the first day in Paris, and feature our hotel and the Parc Montsouris, where we had lunch on that first day. Parc Montsouris has lots of ducks, which don't seem at all scared of people. Bastards.

More (proper!) Paris photos follow tomorrow, but I figured I might as well break them up and avoid overwhelming you. Not that most of you are interested in my holiday photos, I'm sure, but it's my blog, so tough. ;-) (More Day 1 photos can be found here, in case you're really a glutton for punishment.)

Hotel pics:











August Exile Photos: London

Day 2 of the August Exile was in London - we went to Greenwich in the morning, then took a boat up the Thames to eat Chinese food and go to the Royal Academy of Arts. I've finally got my photos up, so here are a selection. (Yes, there are a lot of photos of the buildings in the Docklands. I like them, and someone clearly went to a great deal of trouble to design them. If you don't like it, wait til tomorrow when you get ducks.)

The Royal Observatory at Greenwich


The Octagon Room, designed by Sir Christopher Wren:

London's only planetarium, apparently

The oldest object I'll ever touch:

Buildings along the Thames:




Tower Bridge (Twitter account here):

The Tower of London, with Traitor's Gate coincidentally apparently just in shot:

Royal Academy of Art:


Weddings and Names

So. Traditionally, when a woman gets married, she changes her surname in the UK. Not so much in France, where legally I gather you keep your birth surname come hell or high water, though you can choose to use your new husband's surname socially, if you feel like it.

I'm still undecided, and at some point, I'm going to have to make a decision, aren't I? Should I keep my current surname, or change it? The advantages of mine are that it's short, it's easy to spell out to French people, and I've had it for the last 25 or so years. The advantages of his are that it's Brand New And Exciting, and feels like I'm dressing up, in a costume of Wife. Also, it shows that we're properly married and all that, which is probably worth doing, after going to the effort of having a wedding. Downside is that it feels a bit like I'm stealing his family identity and, well, it feels a bit like dressing up as someone I'm not. Which is silly, I realise, but still true.

(For various reasons, not least The All-Seeing Google, those of you who know what his surname is, please don't mention it here. Let's keep this a discussion in the abstract.)

Women who are/have been married, did you change your surname? Why/why not? Men who are/have been married, did your wife change her surname? Why/why not? If you've not been married, do still feel free to share your thoughts - would you change your name/expect your wife to change her name? Why/why not?


Menton rehabilitated

OK, so, Menton has never been my favourite place on the Riviera. But my last trip kind of made me nearly like it. In the sunshine, it's almost nice - perhaps this is by comparison to Nice, which really isn't...

Anyway, some pictures, so you can see some of the pretty bits. (More can be found here, if you're interested.)

Coffee in the sunshine:

Possibly the worst shop name I've ever seen:

Flesh-eating fish (For real, this time - it's their job):

Old town in Menton :


The sea, obviously:

The aftermath of lunch:

In Menton old town:

The church:


Photos! Rochester, Canterbury and Whitstable

OK, so, none of these are in Nice. Or near Nice. Or, indeed, in the same country as Nice. But those of you who have paid attention will know that on the first day of our August Exile, we went to the Kent countryside (careful for spoonerisms, saying that) and now I've finally found somewhere that lets me upload photos. So, photos from Kent today:






Whitstable and the Oyster Festival












More photos can be found on my Flickr page in the August Exile collection.


Church bells

Spoke too soon. The thing that looks like a church bell tower just outside our balcony is, indeed, a tower with bells in. And they do ring. Just not every week. They rang today, for example. And they are loud.

We're escaping the heat today and heading into the mountains. Enjoy your Sundays, all of you!


Rain and assorted ramblings

Our August Exile Flat is very boring when it's raining. I wrote a thousand words or so of my new story (up to 8k now!), got bored of that, had lunch, got bored of that, and then sat there staring at the ran waiting for it to finish.

When it looked like it might have actually stopped for a minute, I made a break for it, only to find that in the time it took me to get downstairs, the sun had come out fully and the whole town is now hot and steaming slightly. Nice.

Below are some pictures from sunnier days.

Fountains in Place Massena. These are a lovely place to go when there's proper summer and it's baking hot; not so much when it's pissing down with rain...



Sunset from our Exile Terrace the other night:



The man who guards the library toilets said I was trop mignonne the other day. This would be fine, if slightly irritating in the way that unwelcome compliments usually are, if it weren't for the fact that a) he's 90 if he's a day and b) he guards the library toilets, which is the only place with relatively reliable, free, internet access I've found in town. (ETA: the library is the place with internet access, not the toilets per se. Just to be clear.)

I cannot wait to move back to our proper flat.


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All photos and text are mine - ask me *before* you use them elsewhere. Don't just copy them and hope I won't notice, it's theft.

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