it rained in Lille

“Take off your flip-flops and climb up barefoot,” I said to my 8-year old godson as he began his ascent up the “arraignée” (the spider). I do not know what it’s called in English.

Mais non,” he protested mildly, “J’aime bien mes claquettes.”

No, I like my claquettes, he replied, which is what flip-flops are called here.

“Well, you’re not wearing your claquettes on the streets of Paris, that’s for sure.” I said. “Why not?”
“Because Parisian boys wear proper shoes,” I said. “Or sturdy sandals.”

He and his big sister are coming for 4 or 5 days during the third week of July. Like last summer, their father will put them on the train in Lille and I’ll pick them up at the other end in Paris. It’s an hour’s trip. Just up the road from where I live there’s a lovely Aquatic Center complete with sundeck, several pools, slides and stuff. I imagine we’ll spend a lot of time there. Like everyone else, they’ve been in lockdown for months, poor things. Kids shouldn’t have to be deprived of fun, movement and the freedom to run and play outside, is my opinion.

Neither he nor his sister are big walkers. Last summer we walked a very short distance from the grocery store back to my apartment. “Are we there yet?” So, I guess bus and metro travel will prevail. I don’t own a car.

It rained all day Saturday in Lille. Life is quasi-normal with the exception of facemasks: EVERYONE WEARS THEM, no one complains that its a violation of our civil liberties. Au contraire, it’s a significant protective measure for everyone. Social distancing is practiced: only a certain number of people allowed in a shop. I have two white cotton masks that I actually like (provided by the mayor). Every night I handwash one of them then hang it up to dry over the bathtub. Oddly, I like this ritual, don’t ask me why.

The park re-opened on June 2nd after its Covid closure. I missed its lawn and magnificent chestnut trees.

And that’s about it, really. The weather is beautifully cool here; hope it lasts.


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