A Boucherie Chevaline: The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Pt 2

  • The golden horse’s head outside the Boucherie Chevaline where the carcasses hung yellow gold and red in the open window, and the green-painted cooperative where they bought their wine; good wine and cheap.

Dinner with Rex (BR, p. 156)

If I had to spend an evening with him, it should, at any rate, be in my own way. I remember the dinner well — soup of oseille, a sole quite simply cooked in a white wine sauce, a caneton a la presse, a lemon soufflé. At the last minute, fearing that the whole thing was too simple for Rex, I added caviar aux blinis. And for wine I let him give me a bottle of 1906 Montrachet, then at its prime, and, with the duck, a Clos de Beze of 1904.

Living was easy in France then; with the exchange as it was, my allowance went a long way and I did not live frugally.

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Poetry Thursday: Csilla Toldy

Self met Csilla at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig, which has introduced her to so many wonderful voices.

From the collection Red Roots — Orange Sky (Belfast: Lapwing Publications, 2013)

A FRAGMENT

In Parc de Luxembourg,
hiding under fallen leaves —
A fountain — messenger
from a sea of amber — Verdigris.

Its well-stone, formerly
Neptune’s set of teeth, now
water-pouring standstill
tossing threat for dragons.

In its far angle a more
Humanoid structure,
a spun-into-form world-element.
It longs, broods and hovers —

above all that is left.


Csilla Toldy was born in Hungary. She escaped from the socialist bloc through the green borders at the age of eighteen in 1981. She now lives in northern Ireland.

Niall in THE PARASITES, p. 164

The song hit the ceiling, and echoed from the walls; it was fun to do, it was play. But he did not want to write it down. He did not want to have the sweat and toil of writing it down. Why not pay someone else to do that part? And, anyway, once he had thought of a song, and played it, and sung it to himself and Freada about fifty times, it was out of his system, he was bored with it, sickened of it, he did not even want to hear it any more. As far as he was concerned, the song was finished. It was like taking a pill, and the pill having worked, he wanted to pull the plug on it. Finish. Now what next? Anything? No. Just lean over the balcony under the sun. And think about the foie de veau there was going to be for lunch.

Niall, 18, a precociously gifted songwriter, has just run off to Paris with Freada a much older woman, a friend of his parents. He is secretly in love with his stepsister, but that’s apparently more of a taboo than running off to Paris with a friend of his parents, so that other love goes unrequited.

Self loves how taboo-breaking this book is. Not to mention, the writing is drop-dead gorgeous.

When Niall and Freada take the evening air along the Parisian boulevards, no one gives this May-December pairing a second glance, it seems the most natural thing in the world:

The sky turned an amber colour, like Freada’s scent, and an amber glow came upon the city, spreading from the west, touching the roofs and the bridges and the spires.

Gorgeous scene-setting. Self hasn’t read a novel like this in a long, long time. Maybe not since Once Upon a River.

Stay tuned, dear blog reader. Stay tuned.

 

Throwback Friday: Raindrops, Paris (Photo-a-Week Challenge)

For only her second post participating in Nadia Merrill’s Photo-a-Week Challenge, she has to go back, waaaaay back, to 30 December 2017. She’d just spent one of the loneliest Christmases ever, in Paris. Lo and behold, when it was time for her to leave, she realized she’d come to feel comfortable in Paris (after spending two weeks holed up in a hotel just a few blocks from the Arc de Triomphe, where a very discreet hotel staff never asked her a single personal question, and only interfered with her routine once, when they insisted she go to the Louvre on Christmas Day — No lines, Madame!)

This week’s Photo-a-Week Challenge is RAINDROPS.

She thinks that’s what’s going on in these pictures. Or mebbe she was just too tired and it was too early in the morning and her hand was shaking. She was in a cab headed to the airport, where she was going to fly, first, to London, and then to the Philippines.

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Paris, December 2017

My Love to Paris

CNN Breaking News: People are mourning “the loss of a good part of Notre Dame Cathedral.”

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On This Day, One Year Ago

Self happened to be in the City of Light. This is what she did.

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2018 is SO 1461

  • In Renaissance Florence, a number of designated boxes placed throughout the city allowed citizens to make anonymous denunciations of various moral crimes — in 1461, for example, the artist-monk Filippo Lipi was accused of fathering a child with a nun.

— Claudia Roth Pierpoint, “Angels and Men” in The New Yorker (16 October 2017)

The article is a review of the Walter Isaacson biography of Leonardo da Vinci, called Leonardo da Vinci. One of the biggest surprises in the piece is the discovery that “one of the last remaining complete notebooks, the Codex Leicester,” is in the possession of Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Also: “Leonardo was illegitimate, gay, vegetarian, left-handed, easily distracted . . . ”

Dear blog readers, last year self saw the Mona Lisa. It was May or June. A Spanish woman asked self whether she knew where the famous painting was located. Then she asked a museum guard, and the two of us went looking together. And we found it. And she asked self to take pictures of her standing in front of it. And insisted on taking a few of self.

And here’s a wide-angle shot of the gallery housing the Mona Lisa and then self making a horrible face because, honestly, she dislikes having her picture taken (not when the humidity has done things to her hair) and the crowded gallery full of people aiming their cell phones in one direction was so disorienting.

 

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: Manderley Forever, p. 85

The next day, a walk in the Tiergarten pales beside Daphne’s memories of the Bois de Bolougne: the passersby all look so dour and plain, and while the Kaiser’s former palace in Potsdam is undeniably impressive, as is Frederick the Great’s Sanssouci Palace, it still isn’t Paris.

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