Preoccupations du Jour, Back from Travels

It’s a sad affair to arrive home, look out of the window and suddenly have the terrible presentiment that when the caretaker said he was going to have someone come and trim the trees he was understating it. A whole half of an ash tree gone. I could cry. It also reminded me that, since we moved to this new place and despite being surrounded by a sea of green and a few meters away from a National Trust wood, I still haven’t found a huggable tree. I, a certified tree hugger, left my beloved soft and warm redwood just a few miles away – no longer on a convenient path for a cuddle.

(the joy of living in a town of hippies and new agey people is that no one ever doubts that you have good reasons to hug a tree)

Had a brief Romeo and Juliet moment just weeks ago with the most wondrous copper beech which is unfortunately inside private property. I am in the market for an ancient oak but it’s all saplings these days.

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I’d love to understand what is it about Dublin – a city which I should objectively dislike – that makes me feel at home. Possibly the wonderful food which I always manage to find despite the low expectations. The cab drivers who point out locations mentioned in Ulysses. A certain grim sense of humour that pervades the place. Still wondering what they sell at the gift shop of the Famine Museum.

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(at Dublin airport))

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R. never laughs as hard nor ever to the point of crying other than when he is with his brother. So there, a wonderful memory of two silly spanglish speaking Californians crying on a sidewalk cafe on Boulevard Poissoniere while conjuring a sitcom situation involving their unsuspecting father, thousands of miles away.

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Another Arsene Lupin volume from the quay bouquinistes. That was me, right there, being overcharged for a paperback just like a proper tourist should be.

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R. running down in Pigalle to catch À l’Étoile d’Or open and running up again to climb Rue Lepic with us after being wooed by Denise Acabo into buying unreasonable quantities of Bernachon chocolates.

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I don’t know what is it about London that makes me lose my patience. Too many people? Streets and streets that look like clones of each other; a marvellous city turned into an open air shopping mall; no spontaneous behaviour accepted as everything must be booked months ahead; brick buildings destroyed for some megalomaniac glass building as if Shanghai was supposed to be a model for anything.

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Juicy, tender octopus steaks for my birthday lunch because there is no octopus like the Portuguese octopus. At Rosinha de Sao Paulo.

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Reading a novel in Portuguese – something I hadn’t done in years – has been incredibly pleasant. I think I am distracted by the language novelty rather than the plot but hooray for M&P for my birthday gift. And hooray for Northern Italian friends who send Barolo.

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Quince! There were quinces at the grocer’s. I grinned at them and almost did a little dance and the very proper people of this town thought I was mad. But they don’t know that when there is quince, there is quince paste. And when there is a big blob of quince paste bubbling like lava in the pot and I am jousting with it – for it has a burning will of its own – my grandmother is standing right next to me no matter how long she’s been dead, cheering me on.

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