Tuesday, November 30, 2004

A miserably clean weekend

My birthday is coming up soonish, so Tom and I decided to treat ourselves to a couple of days in Paris. We had some air miles and managed to get a special deal to go first class on Eurostar. They give you a meal on the train and we got the 8.01 from Waterloo so they gave us breakfast, the full works. Tom ate the chicken sausage. I didn't. In Paris we wandered around and Tom started feeling queasy. We had lunch, which he managed to eat, but by dinnertime he was confined to hotel room, turning progressively greener. So instead of lovely romantic French diner a deux with yummy sauces and a bottle of burgandy, I found myself on my own in the cafe across the street having a glorified toasted sandwich and a nice cup of camomile tea. Poor old Tom was extremely sick in the night and then spent most of yesterday asleep.

I spent half the morning trying to get our Eurostar tickets changed to go back earlier, but they wouldn't do it. I did manage to undertake a few nice Parisy activities - notably shoe-shopping and buying some unusual bits of Debussy and Saint-Saens in a music shop on the Left Bank that hasn't changed a jot in 25 years (probably longer). Also visited the Cite de la Musique,the site of the Paris Conservatoire and the Musee de la Musique, which I heartily recommend. They have a permanent collection of musical instruments, including the dinosaur-sized Octobass created by Vuillaume for Berlioz (the particular instrument that I was keen to see, however, turned out not to be on display...long story...watch this space....). Currently there is a fabulous exhibition about music and the Third Reich, with extracts of film of Furtwangler and Richard Strauss conducting and exhibits including a programme from 'Brundibar' in Terezin, as well as Schoenberg's certificate of reconversion to Judaism, signed by Marc Chagall. Very strongly recommended.

Short version of above - I adore Paris, even if I have to go around on my own, but this wasn't really how I'd hoped to spend the past two days! I shall be writing a strongly worded letter to Eurostar about their noxious chicken sausages.