B and I promised ourselves a bit of a lie in on Saturday morning: after last weekend with everyone arriving early for the Crown Paints shoot and a week of getting up at 6.30am to get the kids to school and the house ready for work I was really looking forward to it..
Saturday morning 6.35am.
Brian: I think I might try a portrait in pastels. A bit like those pictures we saw at that exhibition last night. Dark, a lot of black, very loose and quite big.
B: I saw some programme with Waldemar Januszczak about this funny old shop in Paris that still makes pastels to the same recipe that they did in the 17th Century. All the impressionists went there: they use a much higher ratio of pigment to binder so the colours are really vibrant. It's hidden away somewhere in the Marais and hasn't changed in years.
B: We should probably go and have a look at the Degas in the Courtauld Institute at Somerset House too, except they'll have all been moved to the Royal Academy for that Degas Ballet show thing and you have to book tickets and they'll be coach loads of those people that go to that Country Living Fair. That's annoying.
B. Anyway, I fancy going to the shop in Paris.
Me. I'll get up then.
So, I went and fetched my coat; the 1950s one with the fur collar, the passports, the dog's passports and leads, poo bags, a few odd Euro notes and coins left-over from the summer and a flask of tea. We were all set. St Pancras International is only a 5 minute ride away.
The dogs were impeccably behaved on the train (unlike an uncouth bunch of rugby fans) and got lots of attention. It was heavenly strolling around the Jardin du Palais Royal in the sunshine.
We had lunch on Boulevard St Germain. So lovely that dogs are allowed right inside to sit next to us on the banquettes; Enzo had a fried egg. Then off in search of the Maison Du Pastels. Drawers and drawers of pastels of every hue. We chatted away in perfect French with the grand-daughter of the very shop-keeper that served Degas......
Course we didn't. We never went to Paris because dogs ARE NOT ALLOWED on the Eurostar; even though we can take them on buses, trains and tubes here in London. Dogs and cats can travel with you in your car through the tunnel to France, they can go on ferries, they are welcome on train networks covering the rest of Europe, they can even be flown all-over the world in the hold of planes without posing a danger to fellow passengers, SO WHY CAN'T THEY GO ON THE EUROSTAR??