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Software techie and professional seamstress.

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Catching up, slowing down

Today was my first day on my own again. I had a very cool lady from work come stay with me in Paris and travel with me to London. It was her first trip to this part of the world, and she ventured on her own in both cities. I wasn't anywhere near that brave the first time I came her, so I'm impressed. I also got to know her better and like her even more now.

I got a late start today, which was fine since it was Sunday and most things didn't open until 11 or noon anyway. I decided to look for some more obscure places today.

It was a beautiful day, so lots of families were at the park.

My first stop was Shepherd Market--a small hidden set of streets close to Green Park.
Most of the business were closed, but it was a cool little area and I got a great lunch at "The Little Square". A great Italian restaurant. The family at the table next to me chatted in Italian the entire time.
Entrance to Shepherd Market
A house near Carlyle House
From Green Park I headed southwest to visit Carlyle's House, the home of a Scottish writer who was famous in his day and influential to other authors including Charles Dickens and George Eliot.
It was a long walk from the closest tube station, but it was a nice day and beautiful area of London (Chelsea).

The stairs--4 floors!
Possibly the most unassuming museum ever

Carlyle House garden

another house near Carlyle House

 My last destination was Woburn Walk, a Victorian shop street. I'm glad I saved this for last--it was close to the flat and not worth a long trip or walk. Only one shop was open, and it was a convenience store. It was a pretty street in any case.

I'll be in the London office tomorrow, so no posts unless something really interesting happens.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Things are going to get a little boring

sorry, but I didn't do much today and tomorrow I'm headed to the Paris office, so I won't be posting as much for the next few days.

The secret door (I thought it was a closet)
I got some fabric shopping down and picked up some treats for friends and co-workers.

The only photos (other than food photos--with my phone) I took today are of the cool little passage I had to go through to dump the trash.

I was able to catch up with emails and chats today, too.
The basement
The door to the back alley

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Sunday in Paris

There wasn't a lot I could or wanted to do today, which is good, because someone was playing horrible, loud music into the early hours and I didn't get much sleep.
Veggie seller at Marche Bastille. yes, those are mushrooms in that basket

Fish seller at Marche Bastille

I did, however, make it to the Bastille Market and pick up something for dinner. It's mostly a fresh food market with seafood, produce, baked goods, cheese, meat, game, poultry, dried fruits and nuts, olives and some prepared food. There are a few booths with clothes, purses, scarves, etc. I love seeing the long rows of fresh food.
I found a few tasty things at the market.

I came back, hung out at the apartment, enjoying the sounds of the bells from Notre Dame. Around 2:30 I decide to venture out since the sun had made an appearance and I needed to find somewhere to buy coffee.

Kids playing with sailboats in the garden pond

I got a late lunch in the Luxembourg Gardens, one of my favorites to visit on a Sunday to watch the children play. I didn't stay long, though, because about 3/4 of the way through my lunch, it got cold.
Pony rides!!

I did find an open shop on my way back--an M&S food shop, which is a British company. So here I am, in Paris, drinking Scottish spring water. I also picked up a bottle of St. Emilion for 8 euros.
Dinner in the flat.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Le Samedi a Paris

I got a later start than I had planned, but it was fine. I saw what I wanted to, and even got a little shopping in. The only problem is I forgot to pick up a few things at the market, and everything will probably be closed tomorrow. I'm hoping I can get some things at the Bastille Market, assuming it is
still on tomorrow.
I pass this market on my way to the metro...

This reminded me of buildings in Boston
but this is file, not copper.
I started off heading to an exhibit I just found out about--Balenciaga's Black Dresses at Musee Bourdelle. It was in the 15th and should have been easy to get to, but the metro line closest to the flat was not stopping at the station closest to the museum, and I ended up walking quite a ways.
I was disappointed in the exhibit. It was nicely done, but very small--2 cases with toiles laid out and another one or two on forms, and 4 or 5 complete garments. The ticket was 10 euros. Thankfully, the book I bought has photos of quite a few garments as well as sketches.

Candle holder, Musee Cognacq Jay
fireplace in Musee Cognacq Jay
A bed fit for a queen, Musee Cognacq Jay
Next I headed to the other side of the river (I was on the left bank), to Musee Cognacq Jay. I'd wanted to visit when I was last here two years ago, but it was closed for renovations.

This was a house museum, which I really like, especially when most of the original decor is in place.

I got a prix fixe lunch not far from Cognacq Jay. Roast lamb shoulder with rosemary and apple tart for dessert. Very tasty.
Really cool, really old watches, Petit Palais

Yes, I've got a thing for stairs (Petit Palais)

My next stop was another place I've been wanting to visit but never got around to it before: Le Petit Palais. The little place. Um, yeah, I guess for a palace it's petit, but it's still a palace. Lots of nice works here, and quite a range: paintings, furniture, objects d'art, sculpture. And the
building is beautiful.

My view for the concert
I headed back to the flat to put my feet up for a bit and drop off the huge book I bought at the Balenciaga exhibit.

After some shopping, I had a light snack at the apartment, then headed to a concert in one of the most stunning chapels I've ever seen: St. Chapelle. It's small, but mostly stained glass.

Notre Dame de Paris. Even prettier at night.
On my way back I found the one restaurant still open (really? 9:30 in Paris? that's what I get for staying in a primarily tourist area). Some apple sorbet and a pear brandy, and I was ready to turn in for the night.

Friday, April 14, 2017

En Fin!

I am in Paris. I keep waiting for the day I arrive in Paris and I'm bored with her. This is my 7th visit and I only love her more each time. Yes, I know, I'm only a visitor and she's not nearly as charming if you actually have to live with her, but I'm still happy to visit.
I love Meerkats.

But first, let me tell you about my last day in Edinburgh. I gave myself a break from art and ancient buildings and visited the zoo and then the Royal Botanical Gardens.

The zoo was easy to get to, and has very nice grounds. It sits on a hill, so there's some good exercise walking up and down the paths. It was cold (more of the weather I expected), so most of the animals stayed inside. Also, because of a bird flu concern, the penguin parade is suspended.
It was still a nice visit, and I had as much fun watching and listening to the kids and their parents as I did the animals.

This beautiful mansion in the middle of the zoo

One fine looking primate, no?

Some marsupial just chillin'

Prayer Plant in one of the Glass Houses

Next I headed across the city to the Royal Botanical Gardens. Again, not the best day and a little early in the season, but it was nice to take a break from city streets, and the glasshouses were fantastic.

Ferns--this was my favorite Glass House
One of the ponds in the Royal Botanical Gardens

I ended up finishing some snacks I had in the flat and didn't go out for dinner. I needed to pack and clean up since my alarm was set for 3:15. I needed to catch the bus to the airport by 4:09 to catch my flight. I made it, and it was good I got there as early as I did since security took quite awhile.

The view down from the 4th floor (that's 5th floor in US)
The flight was uneventful except for the young man sitting in front of me who had a panic attack as soon as the plane took off. The Air France crew was quick to calm and soothe him.

I was debating whether to take the train into Paris or grab a taxi, but I decided a taxi would take too long to get all the way to the apartment, and I was traveling light enough I wasn't worried about carrying my bags up stairs.

I ended up sitting with a very nice couple from Dublin, Ireland. I made it to the flat with no problems, and up the 4! flights of stairs. The apartment is small but nice and even has a dishwasher. The view is fantastic, and I'm pretty sure the windows and hardware are original.

Spring has arrive in Paris.
I hung out for a bit, then ran to Carrefour for some groceries. I came back and waited for the manager to give him my rent and have him show me how to work the washer. Nice man, Thierry, who I discovered after booking this place, was the same person Wayne and I rented from back in 2004.
After he left, I wandered to the Left Bank to find a patisserie because, well, PARIS. (duh). I picked up a few things since I hadn't had a proper lunch and because I'm in Paris and that's what people do. Eat carbs.

My hood this time.

Since I only got about 4 hours sleep last night, I'm staying in tonight. I've got a fresh baguette, good butter and brie, so don't feel too bad for me.
My plan is to get up early, get a fresh croissant and cafe au lait, then hit a market. At some point, I want to visit Musee Cognacq Jay. It was closed last time I visited.
A light snack from the patisserie/boulangerie.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A few more things

but my first task of the day was to ship off the gorgeous Harris Tweed herringbone fabric, cotton fabric, and some sweets.

I thought this sign was, well, a SIGN. 
The kitchen in Georgian House

The servants' room

I came back to the flat, had some breakfast then walked to the Georgian House nearby.
The stairwell
I ended up, by pure chance, to visit the various house museums in the correct chronological order: Real Mary King's Close, John Knox House, Gladstone Land, Georgian House. It not only showed the history of the city and how it evolved, but also how the lives of the people who lived here changed over the centuries.

I bought a few things at the gift shop at Georgian House, so walked back to the flat to drop them off.

The skylight over the stairwell.

unidentified lady

One of the mysteries I encountered was answered by a docent in this museum. While at the National Gallery, I notice one or two portraits of ladies in dress similar to Marie Antoinette, but with natural hair. What I learn at Georgian House is that both men and woman stopped wearing wigs around that time because of the high tax on wig powder.

Next I headed towards the bottom end of the Royal Mile (Canongate).
Have mentioned how nice the transport pass is? It's even valid for the express bus to the airport (which I'll be taking VERY early Friday morning)
Spinning wheel in the Georgian 

Stairs in the Peoples' Museum

I visited the People's Museum which covered the fight for better working and living conditions, the formation of labor unions, labor laws, public baths, wash houses and housing.

I had hoped to visit the Edinburgh Museum next, but it was closed. Depending on the weather, I may try to visit, but my other choices are in different directions.
Candy, obviously very important to the people of Edinburgh
The Tollbooth
Atrium of National Portrait Gallery

My next and last stop of the day was the National Portrait Gallery.
One of the things I love looking at in a portrait gallery is the say different artists depict texture, especially in cloth. Lace, gilt, satin, velvet. It's amazing how some artists can be so accurate that you are convince you would feel the fabric if you touched the painting.

I decided that I need to go a little lighter on food today, so lunch was a sandwich and salad in the Museum Cafe, and pizza from a place close to the flat that have great reviews online (and it was very good).

Pepperoni, mushroom and olives from "Dough Pizzaria"