finally back home after a lot of toing and froing, and also finally getting to the end of a horrible coldy-fluey bug i picked up on the eurostar coming back from paris.
my parents are staying with us at the moment (and both getting over the same bug as me, which i so very kindly gave to them), and we've been having a bit of fun.
djeli & i went over to paris to spend a week with them, staying in the montmatre flate they rented, which, while rather small for four people, was a marvellous spot to stay - close to the metro and all sorts of fabulous food shops, and of course the famous 'butte' which we walked up and over and back again about 4 times over the course of the week. and i finally got to see the centre pompidou which was terribly exciting - the first time we went to paris, in 1998, it was closed cos all its famous pipes were apparently falling off the building, then when we went for new year, we timed it all wrong and it was shut for the public holiday, and last time i was sick as a dog and someone told me that apparently they'd sent off all their most interesting artworks to exhibitions elsewhere, so it really felt like quite an achievement to actually get there this time round. and there was some lovely stuff there too. some nice dada bits and pieces in particular.
we also made our way out to monet's garden at giverny which i've been wanting to see for a while, and which was lovely but absolutely crawling with tourists. i can't imagine what it must be like in august - there was barely room to move in mid-june! admittedly, it might have been better to go on a weekday, but our planning wasn' that organised.
i learned two new words too on this trip: paille (straw - that you put in your drink) and poivron (capsicum), both of which i am sure will stand me in good stead on future trips.
i also went to cornwall for a few days with the parents. it was supposed to be a week, but with the bug(s), the whole thing had to be shifted back and shortened, but we had a lovely time anyway. we stayed at a b&b on the lizard peninsula and drove about all over the place - a day in st ives, penzance for mazey day, the minack theatre (really amazing - we'll have to go to a performance there when i take djeli down), and the eden project (fantastic) being the main things we saw, so a nice selection. but so flipping freeeezing! i ended up having to buy a new jumper cos - silly me - i'd packed for summer - short sleeve tops, cossie, light cardigan, and then it turned out to be mostly cold & grey and pouring with rain. heigh ho. fun was had though, and many photos were taken. maybe one day i'll get around to sorting through them.
the day after coming back, djeli had a job interview in birmingham, so we went up together and i wandered round birmingham art gallery (some very fine stuff in there) while he was interviewed, and then we went for a stroll in the cold rain down by the canals and had one of the best burgers i have ever eaten for a rather late lunch. cold and damp, but enjoyable nevertheless. birmingham looks like a nice city to live in really - the centre has a great feel to it, even if the bullring shopping centre is scarily enormous - not too much for a tourist to peer at for more than a couple of days (correct me if i missed something!) but a nice place to drift about and shop and eat and so on. they had a completely bizarre urban beach set up in the square outside the art gallery - very peculiar! they had a huge billboard-sized photo of a palm-fringed island, with sand and beach chairs, and people sitting in the beach chairs under the grey birmingham sky looking at the palm tree photo beside a very victorian fountain that they weren't allowed to even dabble their toes in.