There’s something a bit special about waking up in Paris, the rain pouring down outside, the sun not yet up and ending up in Bath, the sky clear, the sun set and everything once more dark. I might be a bit of an old romantic but I love it. I love being able to do it. And I hate that Brexit will mean we can’t do it. Stuff it, I don’t care if it’s selfish.
So, yes, it was pouring down with rain this morning in Paris. We could hear it through our double glazed windows. It had eased off a bit by the time we climbed aboard our taxi to Gare de Nord. Which was a good thing.
We had an amazing taxi driver. He was, single handedly, responsible for not killing a multitude of invisible scooter riders. Because of the strike, the traffic was awful and scooters, like suicicdal pigeons, darted through and alongside everything, almost daring someone to squish them.
Then there were the bikes and the vans and the buses. It was a nightmare of lights, wet and darkness. How our driver managed to deposit us whole at Gare de Nord is anyone’s guess but he did. An excellent Parisian taxi driver, if you ask me.
Of course the whole Eurostar business was painless. I received the usual star treatment owing to my walking stick. This is rather usual for France but I had to remind myself not to get too used to it as I was soon to return to England where walking sticks, like pregnant women, are invisible.
Not invisible were the policemen on the train. Again. I can only think they ride back and forth. I’m not sure why but it feels a bit reassuring.
The other thing that was immediately invisible in England was sight or sound of a taxi. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a taxi rank at a big station in London completely devoid of taxis but today at St Pancras, there was one.
Mirinda was not best pleased. She had me and Bob walk in very strong winds to Euston for a bus to Waterloo. At one point the wind was so strong that it blew my wheelie bag away.
Then, upon arriving at Waterloo, we realised we’d missed the train home by three minutes. Because of the stupid train strike, we had an hour to wait. We went to Carluccio’s for coffee.
Another train home then a final taxi to the house. As Bob said, it was the most public transport he’s caught in many a decade. In fact, he couldn’t remember the last time he actually caught a bus.
At home there was a brief turn around before packing Max and heading to Bath for the graduation. This is the whole reason we’ve been to Paris and back. The reason why we drove to Bath. The reason why Bob is here for a very brief visit.
The Queensberry Hotel is a delight. It’s also a five minute downhill walk to the Assembly Rooms in Bath where the graduation is to take place tomorrow morning. It was the perfect choice for a bed for the night.
It was originally four houses. This explains the extraordinary number of staircases in the hotel. I’d love to stay longer than overnight but not this time.
Bob and I sat in the bar while Mirinda made a work call then we were joined by Sophie who had left Tom at home studying maths for an exam tomorrow. Speaking of Tom, she told us all about his ‘kingdom’ which is in his bedroom. No-one, least of all his mother, is allowed in without express permission. Such a teenager.
Mirinda finally joined us and we all went off for a delightful dinner at Chequers which was just around the corner. They managed to squeeze us in before an 8pm booking.
The staff were excellent. The woman in charge was very good and laughed at my jokes. Actually she laughed uproarously when I told her she poured the wine a lot better than our waiter last night. When she asked why I said because he was drunk. She really thought this was extremely funny. Which it was.
After a delicious dinner we headed off to walk Sophie back to her car. We managed to reach the ice skating rink before heading back, leaving her to find her car in the dark. By herself.
It was a very big day and we soon crashed. Tomorrow promises to be memorable.