Thursday, 28 January 2010

fear of flying


I’ve just returned from Paris, where I was visiting my daughter Anna. I took the scenic route – on the Newhaven ferry to Dieppe and then by train to Paris. Including a leisurely lunch in Dieppe with a fellow passenger, the trip took about 10 hours, during which I worked on my permaculture diploma and read a good novel. And for £70 return door to door, it probably cost less than any other public transport.

There’s so much to be said in favour of slow travel, and I needed to get away from Lewes and my own head and heart, feeling deeply upset this month about so many of my caring, intelligent friends flying long-distance despite everything we know about the real cost of flying. I despair for our future if we can’t let go of such things. Anyway, going away helped me get away from this great shadow and get some perspective and physical ease.

I love Paris. The sound of the French talking, the smell of rubber in the metro, the fuggy bistros, the awesomely beautiful architecture. Perhaps because I was born there and lived there the first year of my life, I feel completely at home in a visceral sort of way. Anna and I figured out how to work the fantastic Velib system, a bicycle hire with banks of cycles on every other block. You just swipe your card over the dock and the bike is released; the bikes are free for the first half hour. We whizzed around Paris, which is pretty compact, down the dedicated cycle lanes and weaving through the traffic jams. On Sunday, a crazy bookshop on the Left Bank where Anna hangs out, called Shakespeare and Company, has open teas in an upstairs room crowded with books and people. Our 70-year-old poet hostess, PanMella, poured us cups of china tea with ‘a dose of love’ while the resident Brit and Yank writers read their latest stories and poems.

There’s a daily fruit and veg market round the corner from Anna’s tiny apartment, which comes with her au pair job. We visited the organic stall in the market daily, then did the round of the flea market. Not that she can afford to shop; she’s living on 20 Euros a week, about £18. But, she told me, ‘I’d rather be poor in Paris than rich anywhere else in the world.’

2 comments:

Fr. Peter Doodes said...

You are not alone Adrienne, I am also unable to understand why clever educated individuals are either;

1.Unable to comprehend what is going on under their noses or
2.Comprehend but can still manage to justify their actions in some way “The plane is going anyway if I am on it or not”.

Please don’t let it get to you overmuch; you did the right thing in getting away.

I agree, Paris is amazing, I usually dislike towns and cities, and I come from London, an East End family, and couldn’t wait to get away from the place but Paris... that’s different! Next time I am there a visit to Shakespeare & Co will be on the cards, thank you for the link.

Due to your postings I have recently bought an Owl meter and some Seville oranges. Like you I thought that we were frugal with our electricity consumption, but if an Owl has made that much difference to you then perhaps it will here also, as for the oranges, I hadn’t noticed the latter were now in the shops.

You are obviously very, very proud of Anna; I bet that the feeling is mutual.

adrienne campbell said...

Panmelis! Love anna X