Sunday, 12 August 2012

The Grass is Always Greener

I've been to both Paris and London in the past couple of weeks and now it's time to sit down and get on with some serious writing.  Well, as serious as The Ghost Hunters Return can be!  More on my adventures next week...

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in a bar in Paris with my pal from uni, watching the Olympic opening ceremony that was taking place in London.  Ohh, get me!  A bar in Paris!  I went to university in London, many years ago when it was still possible to afford it, even for peasants like me from a solid working class family, and it was still fun.  I went back to uni a few years ago and the halls of residences now have smoke alarms in each room, so you can’t smoke, cigarettes or otherwise.  I mean honestly, how are you supposed to get a degree in philosophy or English unless you are completely stoned?

I’m rambling, that’s what happens when you are in my profession and you have too much time on your hands during the summer.  The point was, the bar was off the tourist trail and we were in a little flea-pit with proper French blokes drinking pastis and smoking Gauloise.  We were getting quite drunk, mostly at their expense, but the French chaps were very good humored and were teasing us about the cost of the London Olympics.  Oh yes, you may have noticed that there has been some sport on TV.  I bloody love it, especially the random sports that you normally wouldn’t watch, such as diving, rowing and sailing.  I’ve seen the men in those sports, it’s a shame I’m scared of water or I’d be paddling like a shot.

Well we had a great time in Paris.  Apart from Luton airport, which I can only describe as not as good as Gatwick.  Apparently I am a security risk with a bottle of shampoo and some very small nail clippers and my poor friend was subjected to a security check that can only be described as foreplay.  We ate, drank and were merry.  We walked up hills, saw cultural things and mixed with the flora and fauna.  I even spoke French, I bought two chocolate croissants in a boulangerie.  I’ve got skills me.

The thing is, as much as I loved being in Paris, I kept watching the TV wistfully as I saw the streets of London via a French bird presenting from the top of a double decker bus.  It turned out that the French bird was in fact English, and that my friend knew her at uni.  I wouldn’t have remembered, I did a degree in English and took full advantage of my lack of smoke alarm.  I kept thinking, man I wish I was in London.  The streets had that comforting familiarity that made me want to be there.  There’s just something about the place that I love, it has a buzz that makes you feel that you are in the centre of the world and for the past two weeks during the Olympics, it has been.

We’ve put on an event that we can be proud of in one of the best cities in the world.  While I watched the opening ceremony in that bar in Paris, I was thinking, that’s mine that is.

I did go to see the Olympics, more on that next week but in the mean time, what is your favourite city?

The Ghost Hunters Return is being written as I err, write this blog.  And there will be a chapter in London and this time, they’re going international with a visit to Paris as well.  In the mean time, you can read any other of my stories from Amazon, with a new shortie ‘The Hare and the Gallows Tree’ coming out soon.


  1. My favourite city, I think it's a toss up between Barcelona and Monte Carlo. A lot of good memories in both places. And at the moment, zero chance of me ever going back to either city!

    And btw, I have no idea what pastis or gauloise are. I am so uncultured :(

  2. My favorite city, oh, that is a tough one! I can tell you my favorite town much more easily, so I'm going to do that. I love Eugene, Oregon. I have only been there once, but it is the only place that I have visited that I instantly felt was a perfect fit for me.

    Shampoo and nail clippers? If that doesn't spell international security risk, I don't know what does. Really.


  3. I know exactly what you mean about London (and the games). It's always the first place I want to visit when I go back to the UK, although I usually don't have the time.

    Paris is also fab, Monte Marte... Mexico city is fabulous, as is Antwerp. Melbourne is also at the top of my list, hopefully I'l be back there again for Christmas.

    This line really made me laugh:
    "Apart from Luton airport, which I can only describe as not as good as Gatwick."

    Cheers. :)

  4. I'm a bit late to the party, but I identify with your affection for London - I went to uni there too, again back in the days when it was still just about possible for us peasants.

    Paris is great, but I have to say my favourite city is definitely Rome. It's got everything: history, modernity, religion, sex, saints and sin. Just a spellbinding place.

  5. London is the most beautiful city in the world. And Londoners are the nicest people in the world.