Yesterday saw a ravenous and much needed storm in Paris, lasting several hours, and soaking any tourist who hadn’t taken shelter in a museum or bistro. This past fortnight has been quite hellish. When the sun comes it takes a couple of days, but consecutively hot days superheat the pavements, streets and courtyards, which in turn warms Parisian apartments to almost unbearable levels. Even when you’re almost stark naked, there’s been days where it feels you’ve been wrapped in four layers of sheeps’ wool and placed in a sauna. I can’t remember the last time I slept with a duvet cover. Friends in the city have been experiencing the same, and frequently take to having several showers a day. We have Sicilian guests staying with us at the moment, and they don’t mind it at all.
We’d planned to go and watch the Bastille fireworks from the bridge down the road, but Bébé Têtard fell asleep and I offered to stay at home and look after him. I could certainly hear the fireworks and celebrations. From the apartment it sounded like a fierce howling wind, as they launched wave after wave of fireworks in rapid succession.
Before I finish, I must return to our Sicilian guests. I don’t know any Italian but Madame Grenouille speaks it fluently. We were in the kitchen the other day when Giuseppe started looking at the electric kettle with fascination. I thought I’d misunderstood when Madame Grenouille told me he’d never seen an electric kettle before. His girlfriend has a sister who has one though, but it seems the majority of people still heat the water on a pan (which is no bad thing), and prefer to keep doing so… These differences in culture remind me that I must one day write about Mme. Grenouille’s father and grandfather who used to live in a cave (a troglodyte home) in the Loire Valley. Fifty years ago, it was quite common for many poor French families to still live in caves, and my father-in-law showed me around his former home (which he now uses for storage now) a couple of months ago.