This is the view from the car window as we arrived at the farm in the Vienne at 9pm on Tuesday evening. It wasn’t quite as bad as the lowering skies that greeted me at Chatellerault station an hour earlier:
but it was far from ideal. Especially as I left London in the grip of a heatwave, after weeks of bloody rain. Still, it’s not like I come here each summer for the weather. I come for my friends, the conversation, the deeply calm joy that comes from being in the company of people you love.
I had such an easy journey here too – I left my London flat at 1320 for the 1402 train (okay, I thought it left at 1415 but STILL made it on time), and was at the farm by 2100hrs, having taken a tube, two trains, a taxi and a car ride across two countries. The Eurostar from London St Pancras to Gare du Nord, a no-queue taxi through the centre of the city, past the Louvre on August-empty streets to Gare Montparnasse, and then on to Chatellerault.
And I love the Gare Montparnasse. The billeterie guy didn’t try to speak to me in English but actually had a whole 15 min convo in FRENCH and, such was the empty traffic-free joy of the city, I was an hour early for my onwards train, and managed to haemorrhage money in the pharmacie (La Roche-Posay SPF50 face cream), the librarie (A Visit From the Goon Squad), and the boulangerie (snacks + a box of technicolour macarons from Paul for my hosts) whilst being delightfully excited by being in France again.