Tomorrow marks one year since my arrival in Paris, and oh what larks we’ve had. There’s been laughter, tears etc etc. In that time I’ve written somewhere in the region of sixty blogs mostly expressing bewilderment and occasional wonder, and now we’re going to go through the whole thing again as I go to the same events and eat the same stuff. What will I write about? I’ve already used up all my bread stories.
A smog descended on Paris this week, which you may well have heard about. It doesn’t make any difference if you live here; you walk out of the front door as usual and automatically you’re in the slipstream of some miasmic little man smoking two Gitanes at the same time (or so it seems). It turns out that when Paris is polluted they open the Metro for free and only allow half of the cars into the city on one day and half the next, excluding them by number plate (odds and evens apparently). It doesn’t make much difference underground either, it just feels a bit more like London down there, only you haven’t forked out £8.00 for a travelcard for the privilege of being thrust together in a confined space with people of questionable hygiene standards.
Coming back from the cinema on Tuesday, we saw a young man – quick as a flash – pull out a marker pen and tag an adjacent wall from the escalator at Les Halles he’d just got on (before racing off again like a whippet). It was like Luc Besson’s Subway! We haven’t had such fun since we found a Mediterranean shop that sells halloumi cheese in Bastille at the weekend.
Incident involving actual real French people occurred this week when we were presented with a quandary. Our new neighbours, who we’d waved at for a few seconds the other day when their landlord introduced us, appeared at our door on Sunday evening when I was in my pyjamas (pyjamas are the new rock ‘n’ roll). Our voisins nouvelles are a pair of young students apparently, and they’d come to ask – not for a cup of sugar or to introduce themselves – but for our internet password.
“We’re only here for six months they said,” and as I ummed and ahhed I found myself scribbling down the digits and suddenly they’d whooshed off without a bye or leave before I’d even had the chance to wish them good luck. I didn’t think it would be a problem but Claire was furious that they’d had the cheek to do it, which I could sort of understand, but at the same time I figured denying them a little bit of free internet would be a bit Tory and I kind of admired their barefaced audacity. We actually had a bit of an argument about it, and Claire proceeded to poll everyone she’s ever met to canvas their opinion and the general feeling is that it’s not okay for strangers to appear at your doorstep and ask for six months of free internet piped into their flat for no recompense apparently.
I thought the good socialist thing to do would be to let it slide, or maybe I should have asked them to pay half, though I wouldn’t have had the brass neck to demand this despite the fact their request in the first place was far more brazen, but then that’s because I’m a frightfully reserved Englishman who sits in his house writing bollocks all day and never going out. I’m still not entirely sure what I think, but when our VPN connection wasn’t working last night and I couldn’t watch the iPlayer (on repeat like Noel Edmonds I hasten to add), I got Claire to change the password and cut them off. Everything seems to be in working order again this morning.Follow @jeres