I’m a bit behind, a bit flustered and not quite together. We were away, then had visitors, then away again, then had another visitor. On Monday said visitor biked into Paris for the day and left before I did (to take Louis to halte garderie) so I thought it might be something like an ordinary day. And it was, until the evening.

I’ve been meaning to go along to Spoken Word in Paris for a while. It’s connected to the writers’ group I attend and a bunch of people go to both. Ayley, who was visiting us, was really keen to go and so we said we’d meet there – at a bar in a part of paris I’m entirely unfamiliar with.

I was late and she was even later, but we made it and enjoyed an evening of poetry with a sprinkling of song and prose. It wraps up at 11.30 and we had to dash for the Metro, with the bike… which we got away with just fine. Metro trains run till midnight but aren’t a sure bet after that so we were glad to get that train. Then we had to change trains at Chatelet-Les Halles, which is the biggest station in Paris, two stations really, and easily a 10 minute walk to change trains. We were switching to an RER train, which are the lines going in and out of the city. RER trains run later, but I wasn’t sure how much later exactly.

Cycling through Chatelet-Les Halles

We were on a bit of a mission and my crazy friend at one point rode the bike on a travellator, and then lost any time she’d made up by being scolded by RATP staff… but we got to our second train. Whew.

And all was well with the world (for us), munching away on a squashed pastry, reviewing the evening, getting in everyone’s way with our bike in the middle of the train.

And then everyone got off the train at Bagneux, a tiny stop six stations short of where we’re meant to get off… There had been an ‘incident’ on the tracks at Bourg-la-Reine, no prizes for guessing what. The staff at Bagneux couldn’t tell us how long till trains would go again.

At half past midnight we were strangded, with half an hour to wait for a bus, or we could walk for over an hour… or we could take advantage of the bike.

So I jumped on the back, with my notebook for cushioning, and we bumpety-bumped our way (mostly downhill, thank heaven) the six kilometres home. At one point a middle aged Frenchman called out ‘Ooh-la-la!’ And that’s why I love living in France.

Or that’s one of the reasons. The other reasons were waiting for us at home: a midnight (or well-after) snack of fresh-ish baguette with fig and walnut boursin (cheese), a glass of white wine and petit-pots of dark chocolate mousse.

Voilà. C’est la belle vie.

I’ve spent the remainder of the week too tired to function properly. But I did manage a little writing and finished my play, which I will shortly expose to my writers’ group in all its 2nd-draft roughness. I’m hosting the group again this evening, which I’m pretty excited about. Can’t have done too bad a job the first time. And I’m boldly taking a play where I’ve never heard one read before. So that’ll be fun. Better toss back this coffee and get out of here.