End of April and Beginning of May

I don’t know if it is the date –   the 27th of April or the fact that it is the Monday in the week  when May starts…. But the fountains are going! Or running? Or working? What does a fountain do anyway? It fountains! And brings my heart great joy.2015-04-27 09.39.31  This photo is a quick shot from the bus as I was on my way to the Musee de l’Armee. Seeing the water was quite a surprise and my heart did leap. Someone in Paris is declaring SPRING.

Of course, they didn’t communicate that well to the weather gods. The high today was 58. And it won’t get over 65 these next 10 days and many of those days will be rainy. Still, the water fountains. Maybe the fountains flow.

2015-04-27 15.12.07 2015-04-27 13.40.05I bought freesias at the marche yesterday. These are the first flowers I have bought this stay which is unusual for me but . I don’t seem to have a close local flower shop. But I finally got up early enough for the local Sunday market and had a choice of many. Freesias are my favorite. Sadly, these do not have the wonderful – or any – fragrance. But they are still beautiful.

The other flower I see a lot of is wisteria. It was one of my mother’s favorites and so I am reminded of her often.

T2015-04-27 10.07.06he Musee de l’Armee is located at the Invalides, where you can also find Napoleon’s tomb. I have visited both before; neither interest me enough for a return visit. My niece spent hours and could have spent even more time at the War museum. You see one musket, or one spear, or one uniform… it’s enough for me. But Churchill. That’s a different story. Of all wars, I find that WW2 interests me the most. Intrigues me. And I am not as knowledgeable as I should be. My US history class in high school labored slowly through the years, reaching WW2 in May. We had a week for the war, I believe, and sped through it. I am reading a variety of books on the subject and any recommendations (fiction or nonfiction) are appreciated. Just include them in a comment to me; I will keep it private. Thanks.

Churchill has always been a hero for me. I recall a question posed to class I was in the States  after returning from my two years in Britain. The teacher wanted to know who our hero was. Apparently, all my classmates wrote the name of the current astronaut – I wrote Churchill.

When you lived in a city such as London at a time when you can still see the rubble left from the bombings, hear stories about the dud bomb that crashed through the apartment your family lived in, and have real black out shades still on the windows – it does give you a different perspective on the war. I spent 4 hours in the Churchill/War Rooms museum in London several years ago. And as a professional speaker myself, I admire Winston as an orator. Great book: Speak like Churchill, Stand like Lincoln by James Humes. One of Churchill’s techniques was to write his speech out as if it were a poem, with spacing to help him in his presentation.

This exhibit, Churchill and De Gaulle, was small but still took me 2 hours. I was avidly reading most all the exhibits, but at one hour and fifty minutes, my brain shut down. I was in front of a interactive screen and had clicked on two people – read very interesting stories. And as I reached out to click the third, I heard a loud clanging noise in my brain. As if the doors to the museum input room had just banged shut. Done. Complete. Full. Go somewhere else. Now.

Good timing as I only had a few exhibits left and none that took great energy.

Leaving was easier than entering. And I don’t just mean because of security. The Paris bus stop put  me  at the back entrance. I walked all around to the front where I was told that entrance was closed today. The gendearme waved me around to the left. By the time I found a possible entrance, I was back exactly where the bus dropped me. But that was the entrance to Napoleon’s tomb. The gentleman there waved me to the left. Follow the signs. I did. There the gentleman waved me back to the front – I had to buy my ticket somewhere else. So as I retraced my steps I was getting more and more confused. I stopped another gentleman who could finally give me more information – the ticket office was near the cafeteria. The cafeteria is quite easy to spot. Hidden behind it – tickets. I was wearing my FitBit. I literally walked 1.25 miles extra trying to buy a ticket. No matter. Now I was ready. I did have a sweet interaction with an army guard – with his machine gun – who had tried to help me but he wasn’t a museum employee, obviously. He was a warrior. I came back with ticket in hand and gave him the thumbs up sign. He grinned.

It turned out there was some kind of ceremony, maybe a funeral, for some Russian who helped the French. That’s the best I could get out of the ticket seller. So that is why all the other entrances were closed. Bless him.

Another bus incident… as I stepped out of the museum to find the bus stop, I saw my bus drive by. Shrug. At least I could see where the stop was. While I waited, I had an encounter with a German lady who needed bus directions to the Eiffel Tower, I love it when people think I am a local. Wait. I am a local! With my handy RATP app, I could show her the map and point out her stop. I initially responded in French as she tried to speak French. At some point she realized I wasn’t ’French; she preferred English to French. When I told her I was from California, she was effusively complimentary about my fluency. I smiled. Accepted the compliments. And recalled my last two conversation exchanges where my French friends seemed to correct my every sentence. Fluency is in the ear of the beholder!

After a break at home to catch up on my blogging, I ran off to the Trocadero area – it’s across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower. A friend was going there to take pictures of the fountains. He is leaving on Thursday. We would have had dinner, but we never met up. And the fountains were actually off. I had seen them earlier today on my bus trip to Musee de l”Armee, but at 7 tonight: Off. Still, other fountains were active. So he will have to get photos next time. His next time has to be at least 3 months from now. Without a special visa, you can be in the European Union for only 90 days in a six month period.

Starting to plan for my household and pantry needs.  Friday is “Le premier mai” or the first of May.  It’s French Labor Day and from what I hear, everything is closed.  Everything.  We’ll see how that pans out.