A day spent in the environs of Shakespeare & co. is a day spent amongst the weird and wonderful of Paris. And we’re not talking about our own librarian here. Our morning started off well, with us setting up the library and immediately being accosted by an old French woman with a very long cigarette holder, who talked to us alternately in French and English, said she didn’t have her glasses with her so she couldn’t read any of our books - but she would join the library anyway - and also that she was blind in one eye which affected her poetic appreciation. We read her free haiku to her, that she bagged as a new library member, but did not attempt to translate it into French so she could understand it better: we don’t know what mechanicalise in French is for a start. After this point library members came at us fast and furiously, and within 3 hours we had bagged a whole six live ‘ens. What stopped us in our tracks somewhat however, was the French dude with one left crutch, one 2 litre coca-cola bottle that sure wasn’t full of coca-cola, and an insatiable level of jealousy when it came to people talking. As in, as he told us in French (which we sensibly chose to pretend not to understand), why were we talking to people when he was trying to talk to the same people as us? Why indeed. We didn’t bother pointing out that shouting ‘ta gueule’ and pointing in a deranged manner at said people happily minding their own business and slash or perusing our library wasn’t quite what we might consider ‘talking’, but nevermind. So . . . we spent the longest hour known to librarians sitting next to this dude as he shouted at potential library member after library member and we were just about to give up and go when he did instead. YEEEEEEAHHHHHH! Librarian 1. Annoying French Geezer 0. Take that and shove it in yer gueule matey. Despite seeing off the competition, so to speak, things slackened off somewhat in the afternoon library session and although we became the latest Parisian tourist attraction - we counted thirty YES THIRTY photographs of our librarian being taken by assorted members of the public, who knows what got taken when we WEREN’T looking - we only bagged one more member Post Meridian, who was again possibly a member of the weird and wonderful we were talking about earlier. Why? Well, we wonder what you might keep in a bottle that you can: A. rub under your armpits. B. rub on your rolled-up cigarette and C. drink. In that order. Still, we generally don’t discriminate when it comes to signing up new poetry borrowers so we asked the chap very nicely if he’d like to join. He declined but did request a poem. So we read him one and gave him a receipt. At this point the French woman with the extremely long cigarette holder turned up again, and she seemed to have forgotten entirely that she had already joined the library, as she asked us what we were doing here. We explained (again) and pointed out that she had actually joined earlier that day. She seemed very surprised to hear this, and told us that this was very unlikely as she could not read very well. We said we knew as she was blind in one eye. She asked us how we knew this. And so it went on . . . And finally, as if our day wasn’t weird enough . . . there were also the 3 secret policemen who convened regularly outside the shop (and consequently, the library) front. How do we know they were secret policemen? Well, we don’t for sure, but since two of them were wearing wires in their ears, sunglasses, and covered in khaki we are making a pretty good guess. We don’t know exactly how secret they were meant to be however, as not long after we had first set up the library outside Shakes in the morning we saw the first khaki man stride down the street, briefcase in hand and enter the shop. We thought he might be doing a spot of performance art slash caricature too when he came out to look round a few minutes later. He was wearing a compass around his neck, a wire in his ear, a fat watch which must have been able to tell the time 230 million miles underwater, a badge with the initials DAE on it and a mean looking picture of his face, plus an army green coloured armband on his left upper arm with a load of zip pockets. He was startling similar to a geek version of GI Joe. Or maybe Ken after a stint in the army cadets. Anyway, we thought he was taking the piss. Turns out he wasn’t, and him and his two mates regularly had mini briefings outside the shop front for the rest of the day while our librarian looked on. She also saw GI Joe vs.II take a surreptitious picture with his camera too. So, if we stop posting regularly please do get in touch with our Head Librarian as something may be up . . . In the meantime, we’ve been reminiscing about Budapest as we had SUCH a good time . . . so here are some pictures to keep the memory fresh . . .
Balaton . . .
. . . Europe’s largest lake . . .
The Budapest Cows . . .
. . . were everywhere . . .
. . .and what with Munich lions . . .
. . . we are wondering what type of animal we may meet in Barcelona and Madrid
The real Budapest . . .
. . . as taken by a very real photographer . . .