Monday, March 21, 2005


My legs are hurting rather a lot today. Not only did I have a semi private yoga class on Friday - two of us turned up and there's there's nowhere to hide behind the mat you just have to go for the stretches - but like many other Parisiens I took to my roller blades yesterday afternoon.

Frog and I headed off to Bois de Boulogne for an afternoon of skating. I have only skated in Paris once before and the last time we went out it all ended up with a head injury, ambulance and trip to casualty for the Frog. (If you ask nicely he'll show you the scar.)

So we were both a bit wobbly to start with but ended up spending several beautiful sunny hours speeding around the park. I say speeding but I'm not really being very accurate. I prefer to meander.

I pride myself on the fact that I learnt to blade in Central Park. My friend Aaron took me to the top of the Great Hill and listened to me scream as I sped down the incline. We used to pass many afternoons on the path down the West Side of Manhattan, only stopping for refreshment at Chelsea Piers with a bottle of Vitamin Water.

I realised yesterday that Central Park is rather different to Boulogne. In Central Park the cyclists shout at you, the bladers pose and the runners ... well they run. And it's only two years later that I realise there were never any large numbers of children in Central Park "on the road". Unlike in Boulogne. In Bois de Boulogne everybody is part of a family who are roller blading, cycling or scootering. And the anarchic French like to put their little kids on colourful bicycles, helmet securely on head and set them off to learn how they will eventually drive one day. Like maniacs.

I swear the little blighters see you and then aim right at you. I swerved, I braked and yet I never quite hit one. I did witness others' crashes and tears and laughed out loud when a screaming six year old who had just narrowly missed me, once again turned her head to talk to her friends behind her and say "when you look behind you, you lose control". Really. No flies on that one.

But I had a lot of fun. We sat by the water and read and then headed off to find a café for my first citron pressé of the summer. A perfect Sunday afternoon.

No comments: