Sunday, October 29, 2006
A nice Chianti
Yesterday I ran around Paris like a mad thing, I'd done what I do best, which is organise too many things to do in one day. They were all really fun things, but a Saturday start at 6.40am is enough to put anyone in a difficult mood.
My day started with my first interpretation seminar; part of my translation course at the University of London in Paris. It started at 8.30 so quite a lot of bleary-eyed ex-pats just like me, along with Parisians and people from other parts of France all met in a plush blue reception area with the BBC world service blaring out from the high-tech plasma screen perched on a wall. No-one said a word. It wasn't because anyone was shy, I discovered, it was because no-one knew what language to use. In a room full of people in that kind of context, it really isn't clear, and despite living in a mixed-language environment for six years, I still can't address an English person in French without embarrassment.
So, we sat and watched poppy-wearing presenters talk about the dangers of Halloween, all of us wishing we could just get on with the seminar. Finally our tutor came to pick us up and the rest of the morning was difficult but extremely interesting and my co-students turned out to be a lovely bunch of people.
Later that day I had planned to do a wine tasting lesson with my friend L who sings in the band with me. I rushed up just in time to write my (unpronouncable in French) name on a card in front of me and hear about cépage (varietals of grape), fermentation and what makes a wine tannic.
We tasted some delicious wines, a Sancerre (Côte des monts dannés), a basic Burgundy Chardonnay, some other reds from Languedoc and Bordeaux and one in particular from the Margaux appellation which was really delicious. As I was eating at a friend's that evening I tried to use the spitoon as much as I could, but the last Bordeaux was just too good. We took a bottle of G's family's wine which is really scrumptious and our friends made a fantastic dinner.
I finally got to bed at one, with the joyous words, "the clocks go back this evening..." in my head.