False starts – Grave affair – Breaking & Entering

Sunday evening I started to pack my bag for my first day of school on Monday, or so I thought… A double-check of a letter from ENPC reconfirmed what Mary has suspected: that I wasn’t actually starting until Tuesday. Brilliant, a free day in Paris, and with my new travel card I could do absolutely anything! I could have started on the Louvre, go for a walk across town, walk across Henry’s bridge, even start a neighbourhood photo diary – obviously being inspired by Sunday’s exhibition. The important thing about being able to do anything is that you must finally settle on something.

I settled on making tomato soup for lunch with Andy and Liz who were staying with us at the time. To this activity I had alotted an hour, but anyone who knows me in the kitchen won’t be suprised to hear that it was ready only just in time for lunch. It was worth the wait though, even if I do say so myself.

In the afternoon, Liz an Andy invited me to tour our world-famous local cemetary Pere Lachaise. Amongst its ‘old members’ lie Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf and a whole host of nineteenth centrury notables including Proust, Hausmann (I will surely write more in the future about this legend of town planning) Berlioz and Chopin (I have heard of these latter two that they are now de-composing!). But I am never entirely sure what I am supposed to when I approach one of these heady headstones/town planner tombstones/composer’s coffins/celebrity sarcophogi. I don’t feel sad for someone who has been dead all my life, and whose great works are not contained this cemetary. It also seems bizarre to be happy snapping tombstones when there are freshly laid flowers all around for the much less famous recently deceased. Still, I am as guilty as anyone: here’s a photo of Liz and Chopin’s grave


So, with still half the day still to kill, we popped back to the apartment only to get the key stuck in the front door. It wouldn’t budge in, out, round or any combination of these. We were locked out and there was no one on the other side to help us out. We waited an hour and a half for a lock smith that never showed up, then found another who said he’d be round in fifteen minutes. Liz, Andy and I were shacked up in a bar next door to the locksmith’s store so I was waiting to follow him up the road to our apartment, thinking he would walk. Only suddenly he put on a helmet and disappeared off towards our flat on a scooter. I chased after him to no avail, but thwarted him at the one way system.

He couldn’t budge the dammed key and so he brought all his skills to bear on his crowbar with which he forced open the door. Though the door and frame were hardly damaged the whole lock had to be replaced. A nice one hundred and eighty Euro surprise.

By the time it was all cleared up, it was gone 5pm. Somehow, though I had had a packed day, it was not exactly how I imagined my free to day in Paris to have been filled!

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  1. Poor Oli! Seems like it’s the week for lock changing – we had ours done as Jocelyn had her bag snatched from her bicycle basket (note to cyclists: I D-lock my handbag to the bike when it’s in my basket).
    I thought you would be interested in this article, an excerpt from George Monbiot’s new book Heat.
    …See if you can effect change from within when you are civilly engineering – make more buildings super-duper energy efficient 🙂 And I thought you’d also like it for the killer pun half way down:
    “In the field of home insulation, Britain lags behind.”

  2. Liz is miming playing the piano over Chopin’s grave and not, as oft mistakenly believed, trying to raise him from the dead.

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