… that you’ either getting photos or dictaphone entries right now – one or the other and not both.
But over the course of the next few days things will be brought up to date. But then that’s the story of my life these days, isn’t it?
For four and a half years I’ve been struggling through the underground labyrinth from the Gare Montparnasse to the metro station, going up and down flights of stairs like there’s no tomorrow, struggling with suitcases and all kinds of luggage.
Today, I walked up two half-flights of stairs and then up an escalator, and then you can see what I have to overcome in order to reach the Gare Montparnasse. Down at the end of the Rue du Départ in the distance you can see the station, one street that’s straight and level, with the only issue being to wait for the traffic lights so I can cross the road.
How easy is this compared to how I used to travel?
It might have been even easier had I had a good night’s sleep last night. But I don’t sleep very well at all in the beds at this place in Leuven and last night was no exception.
When I arrived in Leuven on Wednesday I had intended to take a photograph of the Martelarenplein in the daylight but I forgot and so I took a photo on my way into the station.
Of course, you can’t see the work very well because there is a fence and a covering all around it and I have to poke the camera through whatever gap I can find.
They are uprooting all of that now and it looks as if they are about to replace it with a different kind of paving block, and as for why they would want to do that I don’t know.
In the foreground we can see some more tactile pavement of the type that we saw on Monday, and in the background you can see the fence with the covering over it to stop nosy people like me poking cameras in to photograph the work.
Having completely forgotten that it was early on Saturday, I found that the next express to Brussels was at 06:33 and it was freezing. However there was a local stopper, an 08 class multiple unit, leaving at 06:08.
Although it arrives at Brussels-Midi at the same time as the express, it’s a lot warmer and more comfortable inside the train than sitting on the platform so I clambered aboard. And so I did, and we set off bang on time.
Our train pulled in at 07:00 and my train to Paris doesn’t leave at 07:43 so I had to loiter around in the cold for a while because like most railway stations, Brussels-Midi is a freezing, draughty station with nowhere to sit out of the wind and the cold.
The train was one of the PBKA – Paris Brussels Cologne Amsterdam – units and although these are quite old now, the are quite comfortable and I was glad to be able to be allowed on board early.
It was packed too, with hardly and empty seat. It seems that the 07:13 that I used to catch is no longer running so everyone piles on board this one. I had a young lady sitting next to me but she didn’t say a word throughout the whole journey.
Well, not that I would know too much about the whole journey because I was … errr … resting for about half of it.
As I mentioned earlier, the trip from the Gare du Nord to Gare Montparnasse was the easiest that I have had to date, but when I reached Gare Montparnasse, the wheels came off.
There’s already a 75-minute wait on the freezing, draughty concourse of the railway station but I did notice that the train that I should be catching hadn’t yet arrived from Granville. We were supposed to leave at 10:54 but it hadn’t even come in by then.
By now I was frozen to the marrow so I went of to buy a coffee and as usual, exactly as you might expect, while I was distracted the train pulled in so I had to struggle on board with a suitcase, a laptop bag, a bag with my lunch in it and a full mug of coffee and just two hands to hold it all.
It was 11:36 when we eventually set off and for a change I was feeling rather dynamic and I’m not sure why, but I actually did some work on the train back home which makes a change.
Another thing that I did was to finish off reading a book that I had started to read a long time ago, the account of Parry’s voyage in Hecla and Fury which resulted in the latter being left behind on a beach on Somerset Island in 1829.
Her anchors were recovered and regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we went TO SEE THEM IN 2014
First thing that I did was to take a photo of the front bit of the unit on which I travelled. And then I took one of the front of the unit that was pulling me along. That’s the one on the left.
Being so late they had hauled another unit, the one on the right, out of the sheds to do the return trip back to Paris.
On the way down into town I called in at the Carrefour. Whatever else that might or might not happen, I can’t do without my mushrooms for my Sunday pizza. Not at any price.
For a change I took a new route through the town centre to avoid the crowds and thus it was maybe a little easier to walk.
It was still necessary for me to stop a few times on the way up the hill towards here, one stop of which was at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour.
Marité is down there too of course and over on the far side is the trawler Philcathane, moored where the gravel boats used to tie up. It looks as if we’ve seen the last of them.
And on the quayside is another shrink-wrapped boat. This kind of work is proving to be quite lucrative for the little Jersey Freighters.
Accordingly I glanced down the Boulevard des Terreneuviers to see what was happening to the workmen’s compound. And there it was! Gone! And never called me mother!
What I shall have to do on Monday on my way to my physiotherapy is to go and see how they have finished off the work there.
Back at the apartment I struggled up the stairs into the apartment and crashed down in my chair for a good while to recover. I’d had a long hard journey.
Having backed up my computer with the files off the laptop I then went for tea. I had some falafel left over from Leuven so I finished them off with some pasta.
No washing-up tonight as the water is cold. And it won’t be warm until tomorrow. Anyway I’m too tired to do it so I’m going to vegetate for a while and then go off to bed. A good sleep will do me good but that remains to be seen.
And next morning (well, afternoon actually) I was able to bring up to date the journal with details of my voyages. On Friday night I was in my Welsh class. There was a teacher and a girl and then I turned up. That made two of us. At first I couldn’t understand what was happening because my screen was just so different from how it normally was but I eventually settled down. The girl had to leave nut another guy turned up. We were talking about going to the restaurant but he asked me “have you eaten anything yet? Are you going for a meal afterwards?” I replied “I don’t have any plans as such”. Then the girl came back by which time we had a man teacher, a change from a woman and we had to go back to read this article that we had just read a couple of minutes ago.
Later on I was with Shearings and a meal that we were having as though we’d all been away for a weekend somewhere, all the employees. I worked out where the girls were sitting so I picked a seat that was behind there so I could see them. I put down my stuff and went to find some bread to toast. Someone turned up and sat at my seat. I made myself some toast and went back and had them clear off and I sat down. I wanted some more but couldn’t find any bread. In the end, in the kitchen I found a pile of fruit bread and made myself some toast from that. Someone else came and sat down on my seat again. I thought that I would move them again in a minute. Then there was no coffee left, no orange juice left. In any case these girls hadn’t come down. I thought “this is turning into a right old mess, this is”.