Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Spring is arriving in fits and starts: lengthier patches of blue, the fountains are being cleaned out and turned on, more tables are appearing on the streets, and a transport strike has been called (probably in support of winter's retrenchment).

This morning's class began as a struggle after a poor night's sleep. A noisy neighbour 4 floors below,talking loudly out the window while on the telephone at 1am; and then an hour of thunder which brought 71kg of panting, upset dog onto the bed. In class we've been covering the conditional with conversations predicated on "in an ideal world...", "if I were given such and such awful present I would..." or "if I were...". One student's response: "If I were a woman, I would be a lesbian" has nearly convinced me that becoming a language teacher may be one of the most entertaining jobs going.

After lunch, I joined 4 of my classmates for a visit to the Sainte-Chapelle built in the mid 13th century to house various Christian relics such as the purported Crown of Thorns. The imposing but light-filled upper chapel retains 2/3 of the 6500 sq.ft of stained glass from the original construction. The top picture is from the lower chapel, the ceiling painted as a starry sky.

We retired to the Luxembourg Gardens for some gentle sun-worship. Although occasionally windy, it's now warm enough to just wear a t-shirt, but I need to keep my infant tatouage under-cover. I carry around a small tube of Nivea moisturizer, for regular application on the inked area. When I was being scanned for metal objects at the entrance to Saint-Chapelle, we were most amused to discover that the plastic tube registered positively in my pocket, but not so on the outside. I just caught a mutter of "bizarre" from the police officer before being waved on.

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