Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Gospel Dreaming

I've just got home from an extremely boosting evening at the Eglise St Roch in Paris. No, nothing to do with Alpha; this was musical boosting, curtesy of Gospel Dream. They are a small choir of around 20 people with voices to raise even the heavy stone roof of St. Roch and the heavy stone hearts of the Parisians listening.
Their songs were upbeat, their style so clear and confident that I smiled and clapped along throughout the whole thing. For the encore, they performed a version of O, Happy Day, a classic, and I've been singing it ever since. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Strike two

We in the city of lights are currently experiencing the second strike period of the autumn. It started out in nice sunny, crisp weather with people rallying round and organising car-pools, cheerfully hopping on Vélibs and there generally being an air of acceptance, not agreement, but acceptance of the situation. In 1995 when Paris and the rest of France lived through 3 weeks of much tougher strike action (there was literally no métro), the general feeling was that the strikers were right and they should support them. This time, with the private sector dealing with retirement at 60 or 65, the public sector with its mid-life retirement age of 50 or 55, sympathy is much less readily available.

It's true that working on the railways was tough work with dangerous conditions and rail workers suffered much more than those snugly warm in offices. When the retirement age for these workers was being defined, it was a very different job from what it is today. Forgive me for my ignorance, but from what I've seen in the Paris underground, driving a métro train is little more than pushing a button or two. I can't speak with any kind of authority, but it seems to be not incredibly taxing.

So, whether they are right or wrong, the strike goes on. This week the weather forecast is rain and more rain, so I fear the cheery Vélibbers are not going to be quite so eager to get out on their bikes this week. I was going to be among them, but I'm counting on the driverless (so therefore not on strike) line 14 to get me nearer to where I want to go. However, I have the feeling the rest of Paris will do the same. Vive la différence....

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Dumb Dog II

This morning I was hurrying along my street and I saw in the distance the dreadful mutt that had bitten me a couple of weeks ago.

I actually had my camera with me and it was only a few metres away, but I was late for work and I rushed on to the metro to get there on time.

Now I regret it, but I'm determined to run into that scoundrel again, and when I do I'll be camera at the ready.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

A Weekend in the Country

I'm still alive and the bruise is gone, so the dog bite didn't turn out to be such a big deal. It has however given me lots of opportunities to tell a story and people are generally extremely shocked, not by the dog bite itself, but by the attitude of the owner, which to me is a source of continuing frustration.

Anyway, it's in the past now. Paris and the rest of France are enjoying a long weekend at the moment, it was All Saints' Day on Thursday, so most people took the 'pont' or bridge, which means taking the day between the bank holiday and the weekend off as well, to make a four-day break.

I went scooting off to Chablis on Thursday morning to see G and his family, which was lovely. Thursday brought blue sky and sunshine and even though Friday was a bit grey, it didn't rain. On Thursday lunchtime we went to a gorgeous restaurant called L'hostellerie des Clos, a Michelin starred restaurant famous in Chablis for its fine food and enormous wine list. We ate delicious scallops with Burgundy truffles, then pigeon in Pinot Noir sauce with puréed potatoes and finally a pastry with hot fruits and ice cream. It was all washed down with a delicious white wine from Burgundy and a red from the south of France. Living in France really does have its advantages....