Paris has a lot going for it. We got to spend three days there. Three full days taking in the great city of light.
Mostly spent walking around eating and drinking. Which isn’t a bad way to spend your time anywhere.
We spent the first night with my Cousin who had he comfiest sofa bed in Europe. Then we went off to our flat we had rented. A small dusty studio flat with unvarnished wooden floors and french windows opened up over the rooftops. If you pressed your face to the wall you could just get a view of the Sacre-Coeur.
We cracked a cheap bottle of wine, tore a crust off a baguette and got excited for the things to come.
Luton is Luton.
You can scrub the dirt off a potato, but its still a dirt apple.
A Pomme de Terre for you Francophiles.
But a big fat chunk of my extended family lives there because of many reasons. All the family living there is probably number 1 on the list of reasons. Being born there, another reason. A slight shrug could be the third reason…
Maybe there aren’t so many reasons at all.
So, anyway, Dad lives there, thats his toolshed at the top. Dad loves hammers.
We had a party because he had been around the sun many, many times. It was quite a big deal. All the various generations of family assembled in a hall and had a big party, with a few impromptu parties thrown in. It was nice.
Between all that I showed my partner the center of town and a couple of Pubs. I felt terrible because this city was her introduction to Europe. She was polite and was overly positive about the town and my Family who can be a bit full on.
On our last day a fat homeless man passed out in the bushes outside a pub we were drinking in and Paramedics had to revive him and take him away. He was so overweight that they had to use a special stretcher apparently.
It was a really lovely day.
Shit the water was freezing. Fucking freezing. Howling Nor-easters had whipped up the cold currents. Thats the Coriolis effect at play. Winds pushing directly against the Counter clockwise currents bring up the deep, bitter, cold, cold water for unprepared surfers like myself to suffer in as we paddle about in boardshorts whilst everyone else rocks thick wetsuits at the start of Summer.
Lips getting a nice shade of blue.
Campsite had heated showers though, so that was nice.
And I got to borrow a Wetsuit in the end.
So it was all pretty good.
It stunk out. A stiff northerly kicked up a dust devil as I stepped out of the car and walked to the drive thru bottle-o. Grit’s whipped into my eyes. They weep as I’m peeling the shirt off my back, I step into the cool room and quickly find the cheapest slab pale ale.
“Cheer up mate, cant be that bad” the bald mad with stubby digits says to the chuckle of a small crowd of local boozers queuing up at the counter.
Back in the lot. Looks like a wreckers backyard. Cars parked haphazardly wherever they’ll fit across the potholed mosaic of asphalt and broken glass. Its always been like this since I’ve known it.
But it wont be forever. No.
A passing glance reveals a wee tsunami of gentrification washing through the streets of old Palmy. Shiny white Cafes, Hip restaurants, boutique shops and trendy barbers. A dozen or so popping up in the last year. The pissheads with the blistered coupons wont be chuckling when they cant afford the rent anymore.
The slabs in the boot. I spark up and sink back into the cab.
Suns getting low.
Lighting up the faded pastels of the highway motels real nicely.
Lights go red.
Lights go green.
Lights go red.
Traffic backs up and we all crawl along in this beautiful stinking postcard afternoon together.
There’s chocolate on my keyboard. Been spending more time watching movies and television on it than anything else. Been getting some bad habits from this sedentary life.
Last week I slammed my head on a quarter-pipe and probably needed a stitch or two but my medicare had expired. So I got a few longnecks and some KFC. Cleaned the cut with those moist towelettes on the drive home.
Thats my exciting story of the past week. That, and I ate 5 whoppers in 5 days.