Walt's in the air this morning, on an Air Canada flight. He should be on the ground at Paris CDG airport in about two hours. Then he'll race (I hope) into central Paris to try to get the 12:59 train from Paris-Austerlitz to Blois. It's a 90 minute train ride for him, and for me a 45 minute drive up to Blois to meet him.
The Télématin news this morning says, of course, to expect perturbations. Both the transit kind and the meteorological kind. They are predicting rain for this afternoon. As for transit, something like 75% the normal number the RER trains are running between the airport and central Paris, and approximately 67% of the mainline intercity trains are running. With any luck, Walt will get where he wants to go, even though passengers might be packed in like sardines.
A Fireball Tomato plant
Yesterday afternoon the neighbor from across the street came over and rang the bell. She and her husband were down here from Blois over the weekend, and some of their children and grandchildren were here too. As they were preparing to drive back to Blois, she came over to say hello and to bring me some foie gras they had left over from weekend festivities.
« On dit que le foie gras n'aime pas voyager », the neighbor told me, « alors j'ai pensé à toi et à Walter. » I had some for my « quatre-heures », which is also called le goûter, the French name for a mid-afternoon snack. There is more for us to have as an appetizer this afternoon when Walt gets here, and I also bought a bottle of champagne for the occasion. And I have a fig or two left over to go with the foie gras. Life is good, even when it's raining outside...
When I bought the champagne at the supermarket last Friday, the man ahead of me in line at the checkout stand looked at what I was putting on the conveyor belt and offered his opinion that the champagne I had chosen was one of the best I could ever hope to taste. "I tell you that because I know the Heidsieck Monopole well — I come from Reims," he said. Reims (or Rheims in English) is the big city in the Champagne region, where some of the very best sparkling wine is made.
I'm posting here a few more pictures of seedlings in the greenhouse tent, as well as a photo, above, of the elephant bush plant (Portulacaria afra) that has traveled several times across the Atlantic Ocean. As far as I know, this one started life in Salton City, California, sometime in the 1980s or earlier, spent about 10 years in San Francisco, and then came to Saint-Aignan via a new séjour in Southern California in 2003. CHM brought a cutting here in 2004, and I've kept it going.