We retreated to the leafy suburbs of Croissy this weekend just gone, to dog-sit for some friends while they visited family in Spain. I love being in inner-Paris, but sometimes it’s good for the soul to re-energise somewhere spacious, where it doesn’t feel like the whole world is caving in on you. Our flat in the 11eme is tiny, and what’s more, our cooker exploded just the other day just like that, so it was nice to have the run of a commodious kitchen, as well as do things that we rarely get up to, like bike riding, eating al fresco in the garden, and taking long walks along the Seine, observing bucolic scenes where Renoir and Monet plonked their easels. In our care we had four delightful mutts in their dotage, a motley crew of characters with distinctive personalities and habits. I know you shouldn’t have favourites, but I fell in love with Saki, a comical dachshund from Japan who made the most bizarre noises, and like me, likes to kip in in the morning. My long held prejudices about small dogs have been somewhat impugned by Saki.
My prejudices about living in the idles beyond the périphérique have also been challenged, as I realised that life outside of the city might not be so bad. We certainly won’t be running off any time soon, and that’s not just because of a lack of affordability, but something about a more rustic and simple way of life suddenly appeals. I can picture myself cycling around country lanes with a baguette under my arm, writing crap thrillers in the afternoon, and perpetually wearing a straw boater, even when I’m in the shower.
Perhaps it’s old age or the fact I’ve been somewhat incapacitated for the last six months or so, but languid days stretched out ahead of me where nothing much happens seems far more alluring, than say, attending Nuit Debout, the nouveau occupy movement at the epicentre of Parisian life right now. Our little flat is just around the corner from Place de la Republique where it’s all been happening, and each night we eat dinner, or I watch football, and then we go to bed oblivious to the incendiary speeches, the star turns and the burning police cars down the road. I love the idea of political insubordination, but clearly the thought of staying up beyond half past 10 and having to mix with other people quickly negates the revolutionary within. Yes we… might, if we can be arsed…
We got back into town on Monday, and I went to visit my frère d’une autre mère Pascal in hospital. He’s just had another quite serious operation, and he was in fine fettle considering. Then I had another appointment with a different oncologist on Tuesday, who caused me to break out in a sweat on one hand, and feel reassured on the other. The treatment may be over for now (for good hopefully), but the process of surveillance is ongoing. I could move to the country, or move back to England, or bugger off somewhere else entirely, but there would be no getting away from this perdition, this minor inconvenience that may just save my life. I really should sound a bit more grateful. If I do end up elsewhere, I do hope I look back on my time in Paris and think about all the joy it brings me, and sometimes forget about the treatment altogether. I certainly hope there are chapters yet to be written where the only health mentioned is of the rude variety.Follow @jeres