Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Boulangerie smells - 1st - 3rd June 2016


My fiddle and I in Montmartre, Paris.
Square Jehan-Rictus, Place des Abbesses, Paris - 1st June 2016
The square was closed today, and the elderly local lady with wrinkly stockings who was around most days couldn't understand why: Inside, gardeners had yanked out the spectacular foxgloves and were replacing them with what looked like calendula plants.
A friendly Frenchman with a grey ponytail and a large cream dog on a lead gave me two euros for my Irish fiddling (as he'd done the last time I saw him here), and two dark-complexioned sisters awarded me the same amount.
Baking aromas from the nearby boulangerie stunned my nose and a little brown-eyed, brown-haired girl shouted "Bravo, Madam!" over and over again as she danced full of joy to my music.
An à la mode bottle blonde in her latter years was sat impassively on the bench opposite for the entirety of my time here. I figured that if my playing had been annoying her she would've moved.

1st June was the day for a new display of flowers to be planted in Square Jehan-Rictus.
Corner of rue du Chevalier de la Barre, Paris - 1st June 2016
The young artist chap who'd positioned himself smack bang in front of me previously was here again, drawing a long-haired woman.
Most bystanders were totally unmoved by my folk fiddle playing, but a tourist filming me on his mobile made a contribution, and I observed the female artist dressed in a black ankle-length coat and green beanie who was always walking past me looking grave. Later on, however, I saw her smile for the first time while she was sketching a guy sat at a table on one of the many terraces of Place du Tertre.
As I was gathering my belongings together a baby pigeon with yellow feathers sticking out of its head was pecking in-between the cobble stones.

'Green beanie' artist in the zone.
rue du Calvaire, Paris - 1st June 2016
I set up at the top of a flight of sheer steps and almost immediately a vibrant lady with a severe orange bob and "Paris" printed in red on the side of her shopping bag gave me one euro and exclaimed, "Bravo!" about my Irish fiddling.
My cashmere scarf was rubbing the already raw eczema on the side of my neck making me feel feverish, and a classy woman in approximately her late 50s furnished me with coins as she crested the staircase.
A snowy-haired Frenchman humming French chanson asked me if my session had gone well. I think it was a sketch pad he was holding, and that he'd been subtly trying to get me to vacate the pitch he regarded as being his, then in timely fashion a guitarist and his mate took over from me and played cross-legged on the steps below.
Square Jehan-Rictus, Place des Abbesses, Paris - 3rd June 2016
Feeling slightly sick from having just devoured a greedy pig-sized bar of white chocolate, I paused to admire the square's flowerbeds which featured some cabbage-type foliage.
It began to rain and an American guy who'd been listening to my folk fiddle set from the bench opposite told me, "Sounds good," then with his donation made a comment about the importance of my coming prepared for the wet weather.
rue Cortot, Paris - 3rd June 2016
Having just had my head massaged and hair cut by charming Frenchmen (even I found attractive), and on hearing the low muffled chimes of the Sacre Cœur's bells, I felt like a queen busking on violin with my beloved Parisian kingdom spread out beneath me.
An ancient French lady who'd chicly swept her mahogany hair back off her veined forehead walked past me a few times and left - so I'd guessed, but there she was stood behind me with 50 cents in her hand which she wanted me to make sure was a "cinquante" for my collection.
Laughing and filming beside me were a bunch of what sounded like native Frenchman. Eventually the bearded one wearing a cap tipped me 50 cents as did a woman whose Indian male companion had been videoing me for ages without having dreamt of asking me if I minded.
I was given a euro by a man in a bright yellow jacket and a rotund old guy dressed in a blue suit surprised me with a grin, then whilst waiting for a bus exploded, "C'est merde!"
I carried on performing to lots of appreciative young people (including a woman with a smiley heart-shaped face) for as long as I could before another downpour forced me to stop, and mused upon how I'd experienced no pain in my arm since employing the 'wrist in neutral' technique to play my musical instruments.

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