My dearly beloved entered his 61st year on the weekend – yes he turned 60. He reckoned it was really only his 30th birthday, just the second time round. That made us think how different this birthday was compared with the first 30th. For a start there were offspring present to celebrate with; 30 years ago was the era Before Children. We were on our “Youth OE” then, living in Manchester, England in a converted three-storey terraced house in the central city not far from the university (for his study) and the Manchester Royal Infirmary (for my work). We didn’t have a telephone in our flat but there was a coin phone box on the footpath right outside. We would arrange a phone call with our parents back home in New Zealand by post and then queue up outside the phone box at the pre-arranged time to call collect, or use up the 50p pieces we had saved up to phone home.
Now on our “Senior OE”, daughter Katherine and her boyfriend Steve came over from Dusseldorf for the weekend to celebrate and we had a Skype date with son Sam in Auckland. With our fibre connection package we have lovely industrial strength wi-fi and free voice-over-internet telephone calls to landlines in NZ (and other places) included, so with all this wizardry we linked up with siblings, friends and my Mum with Skype, phone, email and Facebook. Soon I will share this story with you all too; no queing outside, no aerogrammes, no stamps, all done in the click of a button.
Saturday evening the four of us dined at Ripailles a great little restaurant in Rue des Dames in the 17th arondissement. The menu is interesting with tasty seasonal treats and it has been getting good reviews. I had made a booking, en francais over the telephone a few weeks ago so I was hoping my French really had been up to it and that they would be expecting us! No worries; we were welcomed as expected and the food was delicious. I have to mention the dessert of “Coulant de Chocolat, Glace au Poivre de Sichouan”; oh la la, every mouthful was bliss and well worth the calories. With food like that and the pleasant friendly owner (Philippe) running the show it’s no wonder the restaurant was completely full – as is usual.
Sunday all four of us visited the exhibition “Chagall – Between war and peace” at the Musee de Luxembourg. It’s a fantastic exhibition – literally. His works are gloriously coloured fantastical images, like a crazy mixed up dream that really does make sense when you un-jumble the picture.
And that was the 60th birthday weekend in Paris. Not bad!