Advice to travelers: if you try to head south on the first weekend of French
school holidays it'll be worse that the M25 on a day when they declare petrol
is on special offer. Expect to travel at the speed of chickens. Once in a
while you may reach the speed of terrified birds but sure enough up
ahead...more brake lights. And for this privilege, the Authorities charge a
At the end of the conference we visited a collection of le Corbusier
buildings, which included a church which you may or may not see in a photo
here. I really like the guttering. The outside will be cleaned next year.
Apparently the architect gave little thought to how his building might age.
He also seems to have missed the point of a church-worship. It's very
beautiful inside but there's absolutely no chance a minister or choir can
function; every sound is repeated nine times. The only success with singing
has been Gregorian chant, with very slow transitions. I'd say the rest of
the buildings were similarly inept when it came to actual human use, rather
than theory. But interesting.
I'm glad to be done. After giving my talk I was up for cold leftover pizza
and a beer. L. pushed us towards going to a restaurant she'd identified.
Boy was she right; one of the best meals of my life. The waiter was stiff at
first, but a little chat and banter changed that. How good was the food? In
amongst all the bits and pieces-deconstructed egg, rabbit, fish and so on-
was a piece of pea shoot. One. The most flavor I've ever had in that
vegetable. How do you pick out at a market or somewhere the world's best pea
On the bus to the le Corbusier campus a girl suddenly collapsed, out cold. A
guy stepped forward, claiming he was a paramedic and telling everyone in a
loud voice that he knew what to do. While we were waiting for the ambulance,
he slowly backed off a bit and allowed L., who is a physician, to make some
suggestions. I ran through my head what the problem could be- no signs of
drug use...thin but healthy teenager...?short of blood sugar-but otherwise
left them to it. L. tried to wake the girl up, made sure her feet were
elevated. Everyone could see the girl was breathing and her color was good.
What we didn't do was what the paramedics did- give her a pretty hard slap
and *command* her to wake up. At that point a replacement bus arrived, so we
left them to it. And the guy who said he was a paramedic? He'd recently
taken a first aid course. And the girl? Last I heard she was telling them
she was fifteen and no this was not the first time this had happened.
On the bus home we agreed L. would take the quick way and I'd get off, buy
some groceries and catch the next one. Timing is everything. I arrived
home, up the four flights of stairs, watched the thunderstorm come towards us