Airports are empty, planes are a cause for concern and travel is a long way away. Once it comes back, it may have lost that last shred of glamour it still held if you were lucky enough to be anywhere near the nose of the plane. I for one miss being on those planes. I particularly like the journey to Europe, the complete disconnection for a precious 12 hours from the world below, the calm efficiency of the crew on an airliner hurtling through the sky towards a different world.
I am looking through the photos on my phone reaching back to May 2015 when, as so often our dear friends John and Marie cooked us dinner. Well, Marie cooked and John ate. Many a times we have paid them back so very poorly for their effort, falling asleep at the table, having foolishly believed that we would exist and sparkle past 9pm on the day of our arrival when jet lag drags the brain from your head and puts it to bed in the room next door.
Marie, apart from being an artist is an instinctive cook. She produces great food out of her tiny, tiny kitchen and seems to do it effortlessly. If you’re a cook yourself, home or professional, you will know that the operative word here is “seems”, because all cooking is thought and effort and at least as much perspiration as inspiration.
So I am reliving the evening, travelling in my head to their lovely flat on Rue Crozatier, with the view of blue sky Paris in the late afternoon from a small balcony, the last heat of a mild May giving way to an asphalt scented breeze promising a cool evening. We would each have a glass of champagne, or better still an interesting crémant that John would have found on one of his trips as a travel writer to start the evening. I would describe us as sipping, but then we are really not the sipping types and one bottle would have quickly followed the next. We are neither of us rich, but bubbles and good wine are not expensive in Paris, a city where wine, like bread or good butter is a necessity, not a luxury.
The Baron Rouge, our local dive just a short walk down the road will fill you off a plastic gallon bottle of wine straight from the cask and though it won’t be a Château Margaux, it won’t strip your throat or rot your gut. The égalité and fraternité fought for during the revolution extends at least in part to the consumption of wine and grand-mère will have her pot of rosé with her dinner, even on a small state pension.
I believe it was Truman Capote who said that on a plane there are only two emotions; Boredom and Terror. He forgot Anticipation.