I must leave the Centre Culturel Irlandais this Friday and I can't but help the feeling that living on my own is going to be a lot less comfortable in many ways.
I just started to really get to know people here and get into the swing of things when now I have to leave. I've made some good friends here already and that's a massive asset to have here in this country with it's crazy language and people and I'm sure I'll call back regularly.
Yesterday, I collected my keys for the apartment from my land-lady. I met her at the apartment and with all the furniture removed and cleaning materials strewn all over the place for the first time I was slightly less excited by the novelty of having my own place. It really reminded me of Brian Keenan's "Sugar Cube" cell in an Evil Cradling - there wasn't even curtains up at the time and the walls are absolutely plain white. I'm quite convinced I'll go mad there. I suppose it's only natural when I've become confortable where I am to dread changing my surroundings again. Hopefully when I settle into a rythmn there and make it a bit more personal a space then everything will be fine.
In terms of training, I feel I'm fencing a bit better this week. The long break over the weekend did me good and I feel fully recovered and ready to get right back into it. Again, last night I fenced a series of matches until I could fence no longer. I feel a bit sharper but I need to start fencing more cleverly and being more conscious of correcting the mistakes I'm making. Hopefully, that'll come with a bit more coaching as well as expanding my repetoir of tactics.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
I must leave the Centre Culturel Irlandais this Friday and I can't but help the feeling that living on my own is going to be a lot less comfortable in many ways.
My ability to "left-click" is torn away from me.
I've been having some computer problems over the last couple of days. Namely that my touchpad has been the latest aspect of my out-of-warranty Dell to have given up on me. For some reason the computer was convinced that I constantly had the left button held down. As a result, I could do nothing on the computer without going through the right-click menu or using tab to select different boxes on the screen. Basically, it made using the computer an absolute pain in the ass.
I tried everything and eventually I've had to disable the touchpad altogether and use the numpad a mouse (it's some sort of accessibility feature). It's still painfully slow and frustrating but then maybe it suits me that way...
Saturday, November 25, 2006
A member of the club very kindly gave me a ticket to a wine festival.
It was a ticket for two so myself and Phil, from the Irish College, went on our way to get pissed, under the vague pretence of sampling French culture. The festival was of independent wine-makers and was at the exhibition halls at Porte de Versailles. It is apparently quite a well known event that attracts huge crowds each year. This year was no exception except that two Paddies had crept in unnoticed beneath the radar of the French Cultural Police.
Details of the exhibition can be found at www.vigneron-independant.com under Paris 2006. There were roughly 972 stands. Each of the 12 or so French wine regions were represented.
The hall was enormous, stretching out in every direction along corridors and corridors of stands. At the door we were each given a wine glass for sampling. The layout was absolutely bewildering, with no order to it whatsoever. They weren't ordered by region or price or by reputation, just spread out randomly across this huge hall. In order to get what we wanted as quickly as possible we bought a catalogue and quickly headed out to our first destination - champagne.
As if to celebrate our newly found pig-in-shit status we stared by sampling one or two champagnes. You must imagine that it was quite evident to these wily vintners that these two student-types, although one of them spoke quite good French (not me), that it was perhaps unlikely that they were going to walk away with a few crates a piece. This seriously cut in to the samples we were given at some stands - most notably perhaps the €70 a bottle Armangnac where we given, after a considerable length of time left standing there, a dribble in the bottom of the Brandy glass. Colour, bouquet, taste, acidity all were carefully mulled over at each stand until we felt we had made it seem like we were considering buying but wanted to shop around just a bit more.
We sampled wines from every region of France - Alsace-Lorrain, Beaujolais, Champagne, Loire Valley, the South-West, Rhone Valley, Loire Valley, Bourgogne - or at least the ones we felt deserved our patronage. Eventually, with a much fuller sense of at least the great range of tastes in wine we decided to call it a day. Chuffed with ourselves, we wandered perhaps slightly less steadily into the sunset to get a Kebab to wash away the sense of pretension which risked consuming us in that place.
Friday, November 24, 2006
...On balance it's been a pretty good week.
I'm starting to feel a lot more at home in the club and getting to know people there a little better. Early in the week I got a lesson from Benoit and hopefully I'll be able to get one once a week at least. I think I've started to enter a bit of a transitionary stage in my fencing as I concentrate on adjusting some aspects to my game and tyring to get rid of lazy habits. I've had a slight dip in form against my team-mates as a result but I'm willing to work through that.
The most exciting news of the week though, is that I've finally secured an apartment. It's in the 11th arrondisement in between Bastille and Nation near Metro Charonne, just off ligne 1 (which will make sense to anyone who knows Paris). Bathroom, kitchen and decent living space for a reasonable price. I'm signing the rental agreement on Saturday evening. Maybe once the novelty of living alone wears off, I'll become ridiculously depressed but for the minute I'm very excited.
At the same time, things are going great in the Irish College and I'll be quite sad to leave, just as I'm getting to know everyone a bit better and really getting into the swing of things here. We went out last night to a local bar and spent the evening solving the worlds problems until the early hours of the morning. If only alcohol wasn't involved we could have written it down and presented it to the UN.
Mick O'Dea one of the artists in residence has asked whether he could paint my portrait in my fencing gear for his exhibition here in the Centre Culturel Irlandais and Kerry Hardie, the poet and author, is interested in learning more about fencing through me with the possible aim of using this information in a novel she intends to write. So even if I have abandoned my big fish in a small pond status, the Irish here in Paris still seem determined to my ego swollen. What could I say really? I couldn't be more flattered.
After a fairly intense first couple of weeks, i have a weekend off in Paris and intend to use it to the full. Saturday is going to be a day of sight-seeing aswell
as lease-signing and I've also picked up free tickets to an independent wine producers fair.
I'll let you know how it all pans out.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Tuesday night on the way to training I saw my first French strike.
I was trundling along in the Metro Ligne 1 minding my own business, as is advisable on the Metro. As we came closer to my usual stop of Point de Vincennes the Metro began to stop for longer then usual and announcements were being made which I didn't quite understand - something about "manifestastion" and "Place de la Nation". Luckily enough, at Gare de Lyon, three stops before my own, I ran into Naseem from the club. He told me we had to get out at Nation and walk the rest of the way because of the strike.
The strike was aparantly by homeless youths who got somewhat aggitated and set fire to some things. We wandered down the boulevard which was packed with firemen and riot police. The demonstration was very much winding down while I was passing but the police presence, in full riot gear was huge. After about ten minutes walk we reach Avenue De Arnould Netter where the club is located. A line of riot police blocked our path - who very politely told us to sod off. So we had to take a detour through a laneway and up to the club from the other direction adding another ten minutes to our journey and taking us by some smouldering rubble and crates.
Anyway, it was all very authentic...
And worth the journey because I had a good nights fencing at the club. A long series of 15 point matches and a lesson from Benoit, one of the maitres. All in all a packed evening.
Monday, November 20, 2006
A mysterious "blockage" in Rotterdam leads me on a mystical hourney around the train stations of Holland.
Upon arriving at Amsterdam Central Station this morning, I hear a garbled annoucement which mentions passengers travelling to Paris. Hoping to travel to Paris that day I stopped at a ticket booth to ask for some clarification of the situation. Sadly, I had chosen to speak with an idiot who informed me that I could still reach Paris directly from this station.
So I went to wait by the monitors for my train to be announced, bought myself a sandwich and generally relaxed trying to pass the time as best I could. All the while over trying to ignore the announcements over the intercom which were telling me that "because of a blockage at Rotterdam. Passengers wishing to travel to Bruxelles and Paris must depart from Utrecht". Eventually I cracked and went to an information stand.
Thoroughly dissinterested the teller at the stand garbled a couple of station names at me and told me to go up and get the train on platform 2 to Den Boesch, then change to Rotterdam, where I would be able to get a train to Paris. On the platform, none of the names displayed were Den Bosch, but eventually I asked a uniformed man where to go and he told me to take the next train to Utrecht. Myself and several lost Belgians borded the train and off we went for the first leg of our journey.
When we reached Utrecht we were told to stay on the train to Den Boesch. At which stage we would have to change trains to Rosenthal. After several hours I reached Rosenthall. There was no train directly to Paris from here. In fact the closest thing was Brussels. Having no time to ask I boarded the train to Brussels, which was packed and I stood for the slow journey to Brussels South Station.
At Brussels I hopped on the TGV and I was back at Gare to Nord in just over an hour in my first class carriage (I'd gone for First Class since I figured it was such a long journey). A four hour journey in first class, had turned into a 6 and half hour journey across the train station of the Benelux nations and the delay also meant that my arrival back in Paris matched rush-hour on the RER exactly. What fun!
I'm off to write a complaint!
Sunday, November 19, 2006
...more like snakes and bloody ladders.
In case you were all worried, I eventually met up with the organisers last night and had a very pleasent meal.
The pleasent atmosphere continued on to the next day at the tournament. I narrowly dropped one match in my seeding poule in the tournament and was quite pleased with how I was fencing. I was seeded 4th going into the DE and I had a buy through the round of 32. In the last 16 I was to face a random German...
This is when the pleasent feeling suddenly disipatted as I spectacularly self-destructed on the piste. My loss was nothing to do with my opponent, he might not as well have been there. I, having decided that I was surely in the next round already, seemed not to be there at all either (in fact it might has well have been an empty piste). A disappointing 9th place in a tournament I could have made at least semis.
Anyway it's only really a loss if you don't learn something from it...
Note to self: Sort head out.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
No, not the one with the drugs and the red light district. The one which is a random anonymous hotel on the edge of town. The one which is about as exciting as the Sandyford Industrial Estate.
I'm waiting for a phone-call from the organisers of the competition to see where dinner is this evening. Having no map, no idea of where the trams are and no idea of the restaurant, I'm not confident. The alternative is dinner alone in the Holiday Inn, so I may well be ringing people during my meal just to seem like less of a sad bastard.
To make things worse I've had no food to speak of, except a hotdog, since I left Paris at 8am. At this stage, I really want to stuff in to food in the hotel restaurant but I'm holding out on the off chance that the organisers (who I probably couldn't recognise if I do find the restaurant) follow-up and call me to let me know where food is. What a dilemma...
My stomach is eating itself...
Friday, November 17, 2006
...It's tough training in Paris.
In the wake of the competition in Damigny last weekend and the podium placement of our fencers, Eve Pouteil-Noble, in the women's competition, there was again a few bottles of champagne after training. This came on the back of a draining and dehydrating three-hour session so I made the best of the champagne I drank. I've promised to bring along some Whiskey to one of these Wednesday night gatherings.
It was a good nights training as well. I fenced a lot of matches again and already I'm starting to feel like a regular, thanks to the hospitality of my new team-mates. I've picked up some lazy habits in Ireland and it's going to take a conscious effort over the next while to correct these so I can really start to challenge my clubmates and eventually opponents at international level. That is why I'm here afterall.
Thursday, I set up my bank account with HSBC with in 30 minutes and if I recommend another customer I get some free gifts. So, if anyone wants to set up a French bank-account in the next couple of days, give me a shout.
Early on Saturday morning, I'm catching a train to Amsterdam for the Amsterdam Coup de Nord. It's a four-hour train journey but a hell of a lot cheaper than than by plane. I don't know how the hell I'll amuse myself for four hours on the train. Maybe they'll hvae internet connection on the train and I can post an endless stream of consciousness for the trip.
People are all very excited that I'm going to Amsterdam for the weekend. I try to explain to them my itinery -
8am Gare du Nord - Train to Amsterdam
12pm - Arrive Amsterdam Central. - Taxi to hotel
1pm Check-in Holiday Inn Amsterdam
2pm Go to weapons check at venue and get some lunch
7pm - Eat alone
9pm - Sleep
8am check-in at competition
4pm Competition over
7pm Eat alone
8pm Maybe a few drinks if anyone I know is around
12pm Train from Central Station Amsterdam
4pm Return to Paris
So, I'm in Amsterdam but it might as well be any other Holiday Inn, Train Station and Sports Venue in the world. I'm just being a bit of a moaney bitch this morning really. "Look at me, I have to travel the world - Oh, woe is me!" The Coup de Nord circuit is generally great fun and I'm really looking forward to the weekend.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
In what is sure to become a staple in everyone's diet, I reveal secrets of my steak with pasta...
Fillet Steak (only €3 here)
Too much Pasta
Balsamic Vinegar (Secret ingredient)
Marinade the steak in balsamic vinegar. Start cooking the pasta (with salt but never oil) and once that is well under way prepare a frying pan with a little olive oil to flash-fry the steaks to a perfect medium rare. Just as the steaks a sizzling in the pan accidentally engage the child-lock on the hob grinding all cooking to a halt. Attempt desperately to disengage the child-lock but to no avail.
Take the pan of pasta and the steak up to the next floor to finish cooking them. Drain the pasta and add the sauce without rincing the pasta (this apparently mean the pasta absorbs more sauce). Serve the steak on a bed of pasta for four. Bon appetit!
Those of you who have read the previous installment of Owen's Cookbook, may be interested to know that my second attempt at an omelette went a lot better. The reduction in the oil and butter content made for a much more omelette-like result. The only downside was that as a result of my fear of salmonella, the carbon content of the omelette was enough to give me a case of the squits. Almost there...
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
My plan for this week at training is to appear very enthusiastic and serious at training with the eventual goal of next week asking one of the coaches for lessons. To this end, tonight I fenced at least 10 15-point matches - I'm absolutely exhausted and my feet are badly blistered. Only two more days of this and then my plan will be complete. I'll let you know how that works out for me.
I've been trying to set up a bank account here. On the advice of a letting agent I went to BRED (yeah, I didn't trust the name when I heard it first either). Very kindly, she agreed to help talk with the teller and explain my situation. In the end, I had call a special international department since I'm a foreigner. After a brief phone interview, they agreed to end me the forms. They implied that the forms would be easy to fill in and that I could have the bank account within the week.
This morning, a bulging envelope arrived with about thirty pages in it. In order to open an account with this bank I had to post them (since everything had to go through there foreign office rather than just any branch) :
- Two forms of ID
- Two differnt proof of address
- Three last pay slips
- My last income tax statement
- My last three bank statements
- A letter of recommendation from my bank in Ireland
- A cheque so that fees could be immediately
And this was before I got to the 30 pages of forms that I had no idea what they were saying or even what their names meant:
- Fiche de reseignement confidentiels
- Document de demande d'ouverture de compte
- Carton de specimens de signatories
- Document d'option fiscale
- 1er feuillet du document denommé 'conditions particuliéres' inclus dans convention de compte
This was my first smack in mouth of French bureaucracy and I did not like it one bit. To collect all this would probably have taken me the best part of a month.
Just to see if this was the norm I rang HSBC. All they need is the ID's, Proof of Address and a bank statement from home. I'm setting up an account with them Thursday afternoon. What a waste of time...
Sunday, November 12, 2006
This was my first taste of French competition, how would it compare to that which I have experienced before?
As I may have mentioned before all the club members at US metro have been very welcoming to me. I already feel like part of the team and although my French is at times abysmal, my ability to laugh, smile or nod when appropriate is becoming quite awesome.
Damigny is a small Normandie Village just outside the slightly larger town of Anecon. The Senior Sabre competition was to be held on Sunday and there was to be a Veteran competition in Foil and Sabre on the Saturday. As it happens, both mini-buses that were hired to take the team there on Saturday evening were full. Hence, I took a lift from Jean-Francois (Jef) on Saturday early Saturday morning since he was entering the veteran's competition.
It was a two and a half hour journey each way with four French people with me sitting in the middle of the back seat (I got stuck with the worst seat there and back). The absolute exhaustion I felt from trying to listen to what each of them was saying, cannot be adequately described. That is not to mention the fear I felt when it seemed likely that one of them was going to ask me a question. Eventually I fell asleep to avoid having to concentrate on the French.
I got to take in the full weekend of competition and see how they do things over here. Not surprisingly, they do things well. It was quite a packed hall with 16 pistes and a seperate finals piste and bleechers in a seperate hall. Everything ran on time, the refereeing was for the most-part excellent (no fencers refereeing at all), snack and dinning facilities were excellent. Everything you could want from a tournament.
The day of veteran's competition dragged on but ran smoothly enough. That evening we stayed in the local campanile and watched France against New Zealand. Jokes were exchanged before the match generally at the expense of Ireland and Irish rugby but these tapered off as France were annihilated by the All Blacks save for a single wobbly drop-goal. I kicked myself when I didn't learn about Ireland's fantastic victory against the Spring-bocks until after we had all left for our rooms - I could have really made friends then.
Sunday morning, there were 119 in Men's sabre including a few French internationals and one or two ex junior world champions, apparently. I was very nervous going into my first few poule matches. I really wanted to impress my new team mates. Added to this the ability of my opponents and I had an abysmal start to the tournament losing to my first two opponents. My first win on French soil came against a slightly awkward left-handed fencer who I dispatched quite easily. Glad to get this under my belt I started fencing slightly better but I could only manage one other victory. I knew that a measly two victories wasn't goig to get me an easy draw.
Realistically, I should have been looking for 3 wins from my poule out of a possible six and on a good day I feel I could have got 4, which could have seen me quite well placed. On the day though the novelty of this new environment and wanting to impress my teammates got the better of me. In the Last-128 I faced another left handed fencer who ranked 43rd after the poules. I started the match well and took an early lead, in fact I was leading going into the break 8-7.
During the break one of the coaches from metro advised me, in French. Most of the break was spent with me trying to figure out in my head what was said to me. The basic gist of it was hit him on the head, not the wrist but I couldn't be certain. Anyhow, I can't say that this momentary confusion played any part. After the break, I lost concentration somewhat, my opponent capitalised and ran out 15-11 victore. I was pretty gutted.
To give this some sort of context the British no. 1 Neil Hutchinson went out in the Last-64. Alexander Woog (my US Metro teammate) and no. 5 in France went out in the last-16. Evangelos Efstathiou a US fencer and in the top 100 in the world went out in the last-16 also. It was a high standard of competition.
My final rank of 85th was very disappointing, not least because a top 50% result would have got me some money at the end of the season, but in the overall scheme of things has only strengthened my resolve to work harder. After all I have only been here for a week and I didn't come here to show off how good I am to the French but to improve through fencing them. Week 1 over and I feel I've accomplished quite a lot.
I'll keep you posted...
Friday, November 10, 2006
In what I hope will become a regular installment I will share with you my attempts at food preparation.
Whether you are on the go or just fancy a case of the runs, try Owen's First Ever Omelette Surprise.
Too much Oil
Too much Butter
Too much Milk
Half a baguette
Random Swiss Cheese
Half Litre Orange Juice
Simply whip the eggs into submission adding a bit too much milk and using a fork that you hope is clean that you found lying on the counter. When that's a bit yellow or any other primary colour get a frying pan, again hoping it's reasonably clean and then add too much oil and too much butter to the pan. When that's sizzling away pour the eggy mixture into the frying pan and gasp as it is envelopped in too much oil and butter.
Cook for what seems like an eternity before adding the random salami and random cheese, that you didn't realise was a soft tasteless cheese, to the egg. When your positive it is done. Slop it on a plate, garnish with half a baguette and wash it down with half a litre of Orange juice to ensure the taste is fully gone.
More cooking tips once I get out of the bathroom...
Maybe the title gives away the ending of this story but I thought I nearly had an apartment sorted out today.
While scouring through FUSAC (an english language small-ads magazine) for accomodation and after checking out a number of them, including Mr. nice-old-man-with-an-apartment-without-a-shower (see previous post), I happened across one that had been placed by a letting agent. The actual apartment I was ringing up about was gone but she lined up several others which were in my price range to view yesterday and today.
The one yesterday was so-so but today I went to see this apartment right beside the Metro Palais Royal - Le Louvre (Click here if you haven't already guessed it's a good location). It had a gym at the end of the road, a bakers just across the road, A laundrette was the shop downstairs, a supermarket round the corner, all two minutes walk from the main line of the metro and at a very reasonable price... it even had an up-market Lebanese restaurant and take away.
Even when I viewed the apartment it was small but sunny and plenty of room. The only downside was that it was on the 5th floor with no lift but I am supposed to be an athlete of some description. So, in other words it was perfect down to the very minute detail.
Remember this as I make a momentary digression...
The second apartment we went to see was very near Les Halles. We got the keys from a shop across the road and went to go to, again, a top floor apartment (again, with no lift). From the first floor up the lights weren't working. This didn't matter so much on the second floor as some light was shing but by the third floor we were both using torches on our phones in the pitch black to slowly climb the rickedy old stairs. When we reached the top floor all the keys were tried none of them worked. On the way back down we tried all the other doors as well, for the craic but nothing.
So, back across the road, the land-lady was phoned and it was explained to the best of my understanding that it was the door on the right at the top of the stairs and not the door on the left (I had actually thought it was a broom closet). Anyhoo, long story short, and you probably tell what is going to happenm up through the darkness with torches... and the door wouldn't open.
In the end, I only saw one apartment today but I didn't care because it was the perfect apartment and I busily went about preparing all the things I needed in order to secure it. This isn't as easy as it sounds as the ultra-bureaucratic French really don't like Jean-Francois-foreigner coming over 'ere and setting up bank accounts easily or stealing their hairy women and there bureaucratic jobs.
The process was bound to take a week by the time I had filled in all their forms. So I rang back the letting agent to ask her to hold the apartment for me and that I was getting everything sorted. Hating speaking in French on the phone (try it some time) I had a big long spiel written out but only got half way through it when she told me that the bastard landlord had let his friend have the apartment.
And just like that, back to square one again. At least over the next week I should have in place all the documents I need to secure an apartment when one does become available. I'm not going to mention anything positive about my search for a job just in case I jinx it. I leave for damigny tomorrow (I have no idea where it is) and no doubt there'll be more stories to follow. My search for a job and an apartment (sadly) go on...
Thursday, November 09, 2006
And All I've Found Is Alcohol and Lebanese CuisineMy search for an apartment goes on...
Today I saw a nice, small, cheap apartment in an incredible location. When I say small, it was tiny but I was prepared for that for this reasonable price. When I asked about the cooking facilities I wasn't impressed with a single electric hot-plate but I thought I might be able to bring in a microwave or maybe A George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine.
So, I asked about the toilet and he explained that it was just outside the room (again I could have lived with this for the price). I looked around the tiny bathroom which was to be shared with the whole floor and finally got the catch... I asked whether there was a shower, the old man told me there were plenty of swimming pools nearby. And that was the closest I've come so far to securing an apartment. ...
Life in the club could not be better. Everyone is really welcoming (as if to prove the stereotype incorrect) and there seems to be a really good atmosphere in the club in general - very down-to-earth and not at all pretensious as one might have expected. This evening there was a few drinks after training - free champagne, rum and whiskey as well as nachos and pretsels - something I think should be brought in to all Irish clubs.
My level of french came into play somewhat here again as I have no idea whether this was a regular occurence or whether it was to celebrate something. For that matter, I have no idea what anyone was saying for this hour or so of conversation - I think they were talking about the upcoming smoking ban in France at some stage, although I cannot be sure.
The actual training was again superb and I met the two main maitre d'armes this evening although didn't have the courage to ask them for a lesson quite yet - next week, once I've impress them at Damigny.
More about Damigny and my search for a job to follow.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
the half with decent fencing facilities.
I'm just back from my first training session with US Metro - it was brilliant. Going from a situation with very few sabreurs though, the sheer quantity of fencers alone would have been enough to really impress me. The club has six pistes and there was probably close around 25 fencers, all sabreurs and of a high standard, there this evening. I'm really excited at the prospect of getting to train with them for the next year, it's exactly the reason why I've come here - to get such a high level of competition on a constant basis.
It really takes you no time at all in this country to realise how crap you are at French. Luckily enough "Vous Tirez?" seems to be about as much as you need to ask someone to fence. Other than that though I'm bringing up an absolute blank on trying to understand their conversation and even if I did I'd have nothing to offer.
Language classes ASAP... You can check out the club website at http://www.usmetro-escrime.com/ although I think our own http://www.ucd.ie/fencing/ is of a comparably high standard, as a website at least. ... Aside from fencing I've filled my first two days with many little tasks to occupy my time. I've got a french mobile (which I'll text the number of around once I get a minute), started the search for an apartment and a job and sampled two different Lebonesse takeaways. Cooking facilities here at the Irish College are pretty basic but I'm going to try and prepare my own food tomorrow, as eating out everyday for a year is neither feasible nor likely to improve me as an athlete.
I spent yesterday evening chatting with some people from the Irish College they nearly all seem to be hear on Erasmus for a year studying in various French Universities. They seem like a nice bunch although I'm not sure how I'll really get to know them better since they socialise in the pub when I'm at training in the evening. Anyhoo, my plan for tomorrow involves getting up early for a run, so I better get to bed.
Monday, November 06, 2006
First of all, thanks to everyone who came out for my going-away thing on Saturday, it was great to see you all before I left and to those who couldn't make it I'm sure I'll see you soon enough anyway.
I've just arrived in Paris, two hours late after fog delayed the plane. I'm just settling in to my lodgings in the Centre Culturel Irlandais (or Irish College as most of you would probably know it). I'll be staying here for the first couple of weeks while I arrange more permanent accomodation (I'll keep you posted on how that works out).
Anyhoo, got things to do, people to not talk to because I'm afraid they'll laugh at me etc.