Au revoir Paris

Breakfast in the rain
Breakfast in the rain

24 November 2014

Monday morning was our last in Paris but, as our train didn’t leave until the afternoon, we’d planned to explore Montmartre, maybe relax at one on the cafés in Place Du Tertre and take in the glorious views from the Sacre Coeur. When we woke up it was raining which put a dampener on things. Wrapping up against the wetness we left the hotel. The rain was pounding against the cobbled road, water gushing along the gutters as we dashed to the little café on the corner for breakfast. Continue reading Au revoir Paris

Doing the tourist thing

Mmmm baguettes
Mmmm baguettes

23 November 2014

Commando collects football scarves from every city we visit and, once he’d had a shower, he wanted to go back to Boulevard Saint Michel to look in a shop he’d spotted where he thought he might be able to get a Paris St Germain scarf. With all the getting lost and the extra walk around Jardin du Luxembourg time was getting on and, when we found ourselves back on Boulevard Saint Michel passing La Croissanterie St Michel, we realised we hadn’t had any lunch. The display of baguettes and cakes was mouthwatering and, after a lot of drooling, we finally settled on a chicken salad baguette to share and a muffin each. Delicious. Continue reading Doing the tourist thing

Reunited

Dancing faun bronze by Eugène Louis Lequesne
Dancing faun bronze by Eugène Louis Lequesne

23 November 2014

Just as I was about to sink down onto the steps where we’d sat the day before watching the toddler playing football and put my head in my hands in despair there was a tap on my shoulder. When I turned around there was Commando. He’d been sitting on one of the green chairs in the sun waiting for me and I hadn’t noticed him when I passed. He was pretty cross but I fell, sobbing into his arms, so relieved to see him. Continue reading Reunited

Lost in France

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23 November 2014

Everyone knows I have a talent for getting lost. It’s something I do with monotonous regularity and, usually, it doesn’t bother me. In fact I’ve found some pretty interesting things that way and I always know it’s only a matter of time before I find my way back to somewhere familiar. Ok, so there has been the odd time, in the middle of the woods, when my stomach has tightened momentarily and I’ve had visions of being found as a skeleton under a tree.  GPS has often been my saviour but, on Sunday, it was a different story altogether. I was lost, frightened and in a state of panic. Continue reading Lost in France

November’s Coastal walking miles

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With frosty pavements, cold and rain, November was always going to be a tough nut to crack in terms of the hundred miles a month. If I had a really good month I knew I could make it across the border into Scotland and, at the beginning of the month, I was determined to try. Did I make it or did I fall flat on my face? Read on to find out. Continue reading November’s Coastal walking miles

The end of an era – first published August 18, 2012

Brewed in Percolator

The Mad House experience was well and truly over. The last call had been taken the last sale had been made, the last person had gone through the turnstile and swiped their card for the very last time. The Mad House building was officially closed for good. No more stats, no wrap time or call length, no more side by sides or QA forms. We’d all said goodbye to morning ‘cuddle’ and Tuesday afternoon team talk at the pub, briefings, system crashes, team nights out and Thursday afternoon fire alarm checks. There was just one more thing to do… Continue reading The end of an era – first published August 18, 2012

From ossuary to graveyard in one afternoon

L'avenue du Général-Leclerc
L’avenue du Général-Leclerc

22 November 2014

Leaving the catacombs behind we wandered, slightly dazed, onto L’avenue du Général-Leclerc, quite some distance from the place we’d entered l’empire de la Mort. Our first priority was finding somewhere to eat. We found a little place called Indiana Café where we thought we might get a snack and a coffee and went inside. The snack turned out to be a huge meal, a beautiful hand made burger that surprised us by coming with salad and fries. Of course I had coffee too. Continue reading From ossuary to graveyard in one afternoon

L’Empire de la Mort

Fontaine de l'Observatoire
Fontaine de l’Observatoire

22 November 2014

The walk to objective number two took us through two more small parks one after another, Jardin des Grands Explorateurs and Jardin Marco Polo. We passed the Fontaine de l’Observatoire, designed by Gabriel Davioud and opened in 1874. The four female sculptures by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux represent Europe, Asia, Africa and America and the horses bursting out of the fountain were the work of Emmanuel Frémiet, but the thing that really drew my attention were the turtles sitting in the water. These gentle images full of movement and life were in stark contrast to the dank tunnels filled with old bones that lay ahead. Follow if you dare! Continue reading L’Empire de la Mort

Bonjour Paris

Wet pavements and sunshine, bonjour Paris
Wet pavements and sunshine, bonjour Paris

22 November 2014

On Saturday there was a plan, of sorts. This involved finding our way across the city armed only with a map and three separate objectives. We emerged from the hotel to wet streets and sunshine, it had obviously been raining at some point but the sky looked reassuringly blue. We got off to a good start, we knew which direction to go to start out. Continue reading Bonjour Paris

Under the sea to gay Paree

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21 November 2014

Friday morning began with a latte in Costa Coffee and a long wait on the cold platform of Southampton Central Station. We’d arrived way too early. The lesser of two evils, it was that or leave later, get stuck in rush hour traffic and possibly miss the train. In my time I’ve spent many hours on platform one of this station. As a teenager I worked in the offices above and caught the train to and from work every week day for five years. On Staurdays in the summer I helped out on the platform, guiding people to their connecting trains. Some of the announcements are imprinted on my brain. Continue reading Under the sea to gay Paree