Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Holiday detox

Paris was fabulous. We walked an average of four hours a day. Breakfast was good strong coffee, lunch was salad or an omelette, after which we didn't much fancy dinner so just ate an ice-cream on the hoof (or, in Milly's case, chocolate mousse with bananas and milk).

We walked all around the Latin Quarter (Rue de Bac is my favourite street) and visited Le Marais for the first time. One day we did nothing but shop. Particular treasures we brought home included coriander bath salts (they smell divine) and a box of novelty sugar lumps for my mother, in the shape of tiny colourful buttons and figures. My better half bought shoes, and Milly got a whole new spring wardrobe of pretty clothes. Paris brings out the girl in her, which is rather lovely. On our last day, we stayed out late and walked through St. Germain after dark where we saw Greek diners smashing plates and a juggler with a glass jar of goldfish on his head. Milly wanted to know, 'Is this a dream?'

I brought home a three-day migraine that I suspect was prompted by caffeine withdrawal. The answer to which, I always feel, is more coffee. Something along the lines of Baudelaire's advice to never be sober. Anyway, three cups of strong English tea on Monday morning failed to compensate for the hole in my head left by the abscence of one small cup of French coffee. So I limped along yesterday, carrying this demon migraine until it finally lifted overnight.

Holiday reading was Anne Enright's Making Babies, a gutsy account of her experiences in motherhood, oddly footnoted by a passage about her earlier struggle with depression. I have an idea in mind for an article contrasting Enright's book with Rachel Cusk's on the same subject. Two very different books, but I like them both for their honesty. Oh! and we saw Anna Gavalda signing books in Le Bon Marché - very exciting. Now I have to wait for her new book to be translated into English.

I managed to write 500 words towards the novel this morning, and spent the afternoon re-reading my notes and plotting, to orientate myself back into the hard work of the second act.

8 comments:

Tania Hershman/The Short Review said...

Ahh, waves of jealousy coming across the web! I lived in Paris for three months before university, and for one month I was in a little studio just off the Rue de Bac. It's all so heavenly, and it sounds like you all had the most wonderful time. No pictures - of the bath salts, the sugar lumps, Milly's new spring wardrobe? Sorry to hear about your migraine but incredibly impressed that you have written 500 words despite it all. I'd still be in some post-Paris trance....

Sarah Hilary said...

The jealousy is mutual! Three months!! How did you ever leave? I'll see if I can't google some images of the bath salts etc but sadly I'm between cameras, so no photos of the trip itself.

Women Rule Writer said...

Ah Paris. It's so wonderful. I second Tania's jealous twinges, and I was only there in January. Did you go to Shakespeare & Co? God, I love that shop.

Sarah Hilary said...

I did indeed go to Shakespeare & Co - twice in fact! Such a treat. Do you visit Paris often?

Gay Degani said...

Congrats on the 500 words. Well done. And Paris, yes, jealousy if floating eastward across the continental US and over the pond. I love Paris and would like to go again some day.

Anyway you were missed at EDF, you and your lively, insightful comments, but at least we got a great story from you! Love love loved Angel in a Plane Tree. Made me realize everything I write ends up with a dead body. I think it's time for a change!!

Glad you're back save and sound. I can almost smell those bath salts.

Gay Degani said...

Whoops! Please forgive my typos. I've set an egg timer for my internet break and it's about to go off. And I forgot to thank you for posting such a sweet kind note at my blog!

Sarah Hilary said...

Thanks, Gay, I was chuffed by your kind comments on "Angel..."

Sarah Hilary said...

My goodness - you time your internet break?! You are a woman of discipline and virtue! One day I shall tell you the story of how I became a slave to the internet. Actually, scratch that. One day I will rewrite the novel about that experience...