I have high hopes that I'll post properly about this whole holiday once I'm back in Blighty, but then again I might just get too distracted by being surrounded by people speaking English to bother.
The plan today is to get the Metro up to the Arc de Triomphe, walk down the Champs-Élysées, cross over the bridge at the Place de la Concorde, visit the Musée d'Orsay, walk down the south bank to Île de la Cité, admire Notre Dame, and dine in a restaurant called Allard that I went to when I was last in Paris.
We have arrived safe and sound in Paris after a disgustingly early start. All very exciting; much reading out of shop names and street names. I'm aware the woman was only angling after a tip, but my unflappable cool (irony) was flapped when my French was complimented in the first café we patronised.
Our hotel is, um, basic, but clean and cheap. Bizarrely, they also have free (I think) wireless access, so both the young lady and I will be posting some of our experiences online as the days progress.
Must dash; the Eiffel Tower awaits!
This amused me no end.
In other news, we head for the Continent tomorrow. We spent a large proportion of yesterday and today clearing our backlog of washing (no fewer than four suitcases, embarrassingly) at out friendly neighbourhood laundrette. Now all I need to do is finish my writing for MacUser, and we'll be all set.
Ah well. I'm glad I have Jenny. And Green & Black's organic chocolate. That helps too.
Hick*: I'd have been in there on 9/14; blasted them all off the face of the Earth. They declared war on us first!
BBC reporter: They didn't declare war on anyone; that was Al-Qaeda.
Hick: [genuinely uncaring] I don't care. They're from around there.
Little more needs said. The only possible postscript is to point those who have not yet seen it to the Guardian's recent experiment.
* She wasn't really a hick; she sounded otherwise fairly intelligent. This might well be the most worrying part.
Friday night was wonderfully romantic. Jenny came into Dennis at 6 and we spent a couple of hours printing huge resources out for her school. (That's not the romantic part, don't worry.) We then went out for a meal at a Carluccio's off the top end of Regent Street. The evening was dark and crisp, but since all the tables inside were full, we decided to sit outside under the canopy. Warmed by the huge gas-powered heaters, on whose hot metal umbrellas the rain spat into steam, we started with a salty, tasty platter of salamis and cured ham. A soft, papery glass of Montepulciano d'Abruzzo washed down the main course (pork and beef lasagne for Jenny, pollo Milanese for me), and we rounded the meal off with a tiny, thick, spicy cup of cioccolata Fiorentina. We paid up and then scampered through the rain to catch the bus home.
Saturday morning came as a bit of a shock. Jenny's school had an open day, and we were both up at 6am to get in and finalise the setup before the eager parents came to look round. I'm glad I've now seen her school, and seeing 'her' classroom suddenly makes her seem very grown-up, professional and focussed. Her head of department is suitably manic - she's an art head, after all - but lives up to the very positive reputation Jenny gave her. I managed to finish a piece for work when I wasn't needed, which was very useful. When the open day ended, we went to Greenwich and sat in the Gypsy Moth (the pub next to the Cutty Sark), eating a rather delicious gastro-pub lunch and reading books and newspapers with a glass of Rioja not far away. We arrived back at the house around five o'clock, and promptly fell asleep. That's what red wine and an early start will do to you. I did manage to rouse both of us around eight so that we didn't wake at 3am and try to eat breakfast.
Sunday was the lazy day of the weekend. Up at 11. Breakfast of muesli. Jenny went for lunch with Lucy. I lolled and tidied. Dinner was glazed butterflied leg of lamb with tenderstem broccoli and Yorkshire pudding.
The date of the MacUser Awards approaches with alarming rapidity, and I suspect I may find my kilt even tighter this year than last if I keep going at this rate. Sigh.
My folks are off to Spain for a week; hope they have a fabulous time. Only a week till Jenny and I head Continent-wards ourselves.
Finally, a moment's silence please for the passing of Jenny's blog. She has good reason to, and haven't spend the day moping like I did when she canned the last one.
Night, all. x
I'm just in the final stretch of writing a feature, and my Mac decided to crash. This is rare. Since I've switched to OS X, oooh 3 years ago, I've experienced fewer than 5. The problem with this is that when your Mac does fall over – technically a kernel panic... it's a Unix thing – it takes you completely by surprise.
I very nearly lost all of today's work. Yes, I had been saving like a good boy, but due to the project- rather than document-based way the application I was using operates, I had to do some lateral thinking to recover it. It's all back now, and my heart has now resumed normal operation, but it was touch-and-go for half an hour.
A Mac crashes with such panache and finality, too. A transparent grey curtain falls over your screen, and this alarming, but very multi-national error appears
I'm writing this as I copy the file up to a remote disk so that even in the very unlikely event of this Mac going completely tits-up, I will still have a copy. I'll be neurotically hitting cmd-s at the end of every sentence now, I fear.
Never mind. I was kindly allowed to take the day off work to recuperate, and the day has been spent feeling comprehensively sorry for myself, listening to Radio 4, soaking my way through a superhuman-sized box of Kleenex Balsam (because I'm worth it), and being on the web whenever my eyes cleared sufficiently to allow me to squint at the screen.
You see that unassuming icon second from the left? That means I have access to a wireless network. And not just any old wireless network, oh no. The young lady and I are now fully paid-up members of the 21st century, boasting, as our house does, 512k broadband access. It's astonishing. I realise I sound like one of those poor saps for whom the iPod is a new discovery ("All my music? But it's tiny"), but it just revolutionises the way you use the web.
For starters, we can both be on at the same time, though as Jenny's AirPort Extreme card isn't being delivered until tomorrow, she is currently tethered to our ADSL modem/router by an Ethernet cable. Phone calls can come through, access doesn't have to drop after 2 hours, and it's blindingly fast compared to 56k dial-up. Plus, I had internet access in my sickbed today.
Now that I appear to have shrugged off the worst of the cold, though, I'm off to make a half-heated attempt to catch up on the work I missed today. Jenny is thinking kindly of her bed, I think. Well the poor little mite does have to get up at 5:50am.
Yes, I have been generally pretty good with my bike. It hasn't yet rained, and I've been commuting on it most days. My original complaint ("this doesn't seem to be having any effect at all; I don't feel stiff") was proved horribly inaccurate when, at the end of the week, I actually pushed myself just a fraction, rather than just sailing blithely along like I was some sort of Oxbridge undergraduate. Cue much groaning the next morning.
Jenny and I finally got round to booking a few days away in October at half term. In choosing Paris as our destination we are displaying such stunning lack of originality as hasn't been seen since someone last told the chicken/road gag, but it will be our first ever foreign holiday. We'll be nipping over the Channel courtesy of Eurostar terrifyingly early on Monday morning, and staying for three nights at some businessman's haven which appears to think that an oversize sink qualifies as an indoor pool. Though I was amazed at how much French came back to me when I was over a month ago, I suspect that a phrase book may be in order; I daresay my poor mother, who tried valiantly to guide me through Higher French, would wince at grammar so rusty no amount of linguistic WD-40 could fix.
The two of us scooted off to Eltham Palace today. We were both dressed very appropriately too – me in a white striped shirt under a brown tank top, and Jenny in her beautiful new coat with a fake fur stole from Oasis – looking every bit like extras from Jeeves & Wooster. We also bought a rather wonderful CD of 30s music, and are now warbling along to such hits as Cheek to Cheek, Let's Face the Music and Dance, Let's Do It, Mad Dogs and Englishmen and the immortal Marlene Dietrich oozing out Falling In Love Again. I'll be subjecting the office to that tomorrow.
Tomorrow sees us getting broadband activated at the house, an event which has had me squeeing with joy for a whole week now. We have a wireless ADSL modem/router too, so wireless broadband is on the cards for Monday evening. I suspect Jenny and I will never talk again, except through the medium of instant messaging. (viz: [typing] "Where are you, baby?" "On the pan." "Ah...")
Familiar though I am with Microsoft's Steve Ballmer's "Developers! Developers! Developers!" and "I love this companyy-yyyeah!" speeches, I hadn't before been aware of this clip in which he attempts to sell the benefits of Windows 1.0. Is this real? (You won't be as rich as he is, but you could check your ranking using the beautifully-designed Global Rich List.)
Staying with nerdy stuff, while one chap has spent time highlighting some of the changes in the newly-released Star Wars DVDs, another fan spent even longer writing out why no self-respecting fan would buy them.
Lots more has happened since I last posted. A page of early Apple advertising has been brought to my attention, as was the patently ridiculous Conference Bike. It would be almost fun but for that name, and all the connotations therein.
Someone posted a detailed page about making some of Escher's models in real life, and I was reminded of the LifeGem company which will make a diamond from your mortal remains. Part of me likes the idea.
On a lighter note, why not enjoy a quick game of the Independent's excellent Paperboy-esque little Flash game? Bone up on tricks of the trade? Read all about the BBC's plans for the weather bulletins? Or just have a snigger-ette at this or this.
Sleep well. x