April 30, 2007

another one turns 40….

We popped up to London on Saturday afternoon to celebrate Gabriel’s 40th on Hampstead Heath, followed by a great dinner at the Holly Bush pub. It was a quick trip, but we filled it to capacity. I was lucky enough to be able to not only enjoy the birthday but also catch up with my cousin Simon who was in London on business. We drank champagne and Stella on the Heath while the kids (and the not so young kids) played football and a simulated golf game with a Frisbee. Then we did a quick “which star lives here?” game on the way to the pub where we spent the evening in the back room with 30 or so of Gabriel’s friends eating salmon and beef and salads and cakes and more and more….

Saturday night Michelle and I found our way back to the Hoxton Hotel (a real treat) where we have wanted to stay for some time. It’s a great hotel, the bar and restaurant downstairs was pumping when we arrived around midnight to check in. Sunday morning we got up early for breakfast around Hoxton Square before heading off on a market tour of the east(ish) end of London. We started at the Columbia Rd flower market, where tulips were only £10 for a bunch of 50 and the art galleries and design shops lining the sidewalks were mesmerizing. We zig zag’d our way along, then headed down Brick Lane for all the second hand stuff, passed through the Sunday UP Market and then a brief tour through Spitalfields market before sprinting back up to Hampstead to have a late lunch with Milene, Gabriel and the kids and then dashing back to the airport by minicab.

The flight back was uneventful until we hit a thunder and lightening storm just outside of Paris. Turbulence was bad, then the RER’s had been delayed, we finally arrived home around midnight…. exhausted but happy.

filles at 6:20 pm

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April 24, 2007

Champagne

I think I could easily spend the rest of my days just drinking champagne. No truly. I think I could.

We went off to Reims by train last Friday afternoon with Michelle’s dad and Arlène. It was a lovely weekend, we hired a car on Saturday to follow the champagne trail south of Reims through Eperney stopping at small producers and distributors – tasting and talking and of course, buying champagne. The region is beautiful and only 90 minutes east of Paris (perfect for a country house!). The weather remained lovely, hot even, and we ate in some fantastic restaurants morning, noon and night. The highlight for me was the tour through Taitinger Champagne house where we wandered around the cellars and finished with a glass of their finest. We’ll go back. Certainly, but for the moment we have 2 cases of champagne to keep us going….

filles at 2:07 pm

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April 23, 2007

10 degrees plus!

It was up to 28 degrees here this afternoon… it’s been consistently high, around 26 degrees pretty much since Michelle’s father arrived 10 days ago. For the record, I’m not complaining.

filles at 5:26 pm

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April 16, 2007

Marathon…

Yesterday the Paris marathon was being run by close to 37,000 competitors (with 31,000 finishes). Our neighbour was one of them…. I went along the quai de Seine to see him pass around 10.30am and was surprised by how fit and how laid back he appeared after 2 hours of running.
Loic came in around 750th place, at just under three hours for the full 42km. Well worth the celebration to which I was invited to – lunch in the sun on their terrace.

While I was relaxing, drinking a light red in the sun eating Stohrer specialties, Michelle was on a day trip to Versailles with our guests. At 28 degrees it was a warm day perfect for visiting such a beautiful castle and gardens – and they returned home around 19h00 all red faced and ‘castled out’ but brimming with news and photos and tips for my trip with Mum & Pete next month.

filles at 5:54 am

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April 15, 2007

Society

I read an article in the International Herald Tribune last week that made me want to take action. The article is here and towards the end of the article there is mention that if you want to help to go here – if you don’t have access for whatever reason, let me know and I’ll email the article to you directly.

I was so moved I am seriously considering going to donate some time and energy once our current commitments have been met. There is so much wrong with this world, it’s no longer satisfactory to just block out the bad stuff and concentrate on the good. Values of our leaders are so messed up it’s becoming difficult to live with our heads in the sand, we have a moral responsibility to question the decisions taken on our behalf.

I hate preaching. But I also hate feeling helpless, and I’m going to try and do something about it…

filles at 1:14 pm

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April 14, 2007

it’s the disappearing act…

It’s been a busy week. First easter. Then a friend from Sydney popped in for 3 nights, then the following day Michelle’s father and his friend arrived for 10 days… we’re 2 days into the visit, it’s 18h45 and everyone is exhausted. Anything horizontal that isn’t the floor has been occupied (hence I’m sitting up at the computer) – my feet are ready to drop off.

It’s been a balmy 27 degrees today, following a week of mid 20’s and the forecast continues to look good. We’ve been doing a mad scratch pulling out summer gear and stashing winter coats but there’s always that niggling fear that it isn’t going to last, but we certainly have been enjoying it so far.

Today we started with an exhibition on the Treasures of Uzbekistan. A 3 day exhibition with local artists, tour operators and government representatives it was held not far from us and Maddy & I stumbled upon a flyer the other day. Would you believe the event was sponsored by Thales, Michelle’s company, who is also organising our trip to Uzbekistan in September and they didn’t even think of letting us know? How’s that for organisation.

We then wandered up the Rue Montmartre, rue des Martyres, passed Pigalle and the Moulin Rouge, rue Lepic and up to the Sacre Coeur where we stopped to visit in the shade of the marble before eating a lovely salad for lunch near the Place du Tertre. The descent was less dramatic. We stopped at au Soleil de la Butte for a pitcher of rose in the sun chez Ahmed, took a short wander around the markets near Chateau Rouge where you would be forgiven for thinking we were in Morocco, then headed straight down rue Poissonerie to our own rue Montorgueil where we did our groceries for a antipasto followed by carpaccio de beauf for dinner tonight.

as I said, my feet are killing me…

filles at 4:27 pm

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April 9, 2007

Afghanistan in Paris

Finally, we got to the Museum Guimet to see the exhibition “Afghanistan, The Rediscovered Treasures – Collections of the Kabul Museum“. It took four months, and we ended up having to make a reservation just to make sure we got there… 10am Saturday morning. It was so worth it. Fantastic. The rest of the museum is great too, particularly the Pakistan and Afghanistan rooms – from there we wandered around one of the best local markets we’ve seen in the 16th arrondisement, stopped for lunch and a read of the Saturday papers, continued on the left bank to Le Bon Marche where we found some figs (I know, out of season, but when your preparing hors d’ouvres for 30 at short notice, you stick to what you know…) and then dashed home to get ready for the party in the 14th.

Phew!

filles at 5:09 pm

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April 7, 2007

to diet, or not to diet…

I just love this article. It sums up my life perfectly…

filles at 4:02 pm

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April 5, 2007

Ullapool

You would never believe it but we had amazing weather in Scotland last weekend. Not a cloud in the sky…
The hillwalking went well, as far as I could tell from the limping I observed on Sunday, the drinking went well based on the overt trading of headache pills I witnessed during breakfast on Sunday morning. All in all a true Scottish success story.

Sunday had us zooming back to Glasgow in time to share a bottle of wine with a French expat chez Joanne & Dirk, pop a bottle of champagne at Julie’s and enjoy a feast at Mother India’s for dinner. We did well, the wine, the champagne and curry’s were all gobbled down and we were tucked into bed by 11pm, snoring by 11.06….

Pictures HERE (Note: I haven’t edited them yet, so you have ALL the pictures…)

filles at 4:08 pm

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