An early morning telephone call from some students in Turkey. They are
using a book to learn English that has re-produced an article from The
Independent that talks about my dinners and mentions my telephone number.
These calls come from time to time from Turkey, Greece, Brazil, and even
France. I am warm and open with the kids and they are excited to be talking
with someone in English they do not know. I guess for them I am a kind
of celebrity. Barbara Sherman calls and I tell her that everyone loved
her dinner. Tell her we have left-overs, that she must come for lunch.
We were 77 happy diners last night. Galina arrives and rapidly A2 begins
to return to its state of grace. Over lunch, Barbara proposes to cook
lasagna next Sunday. Good. This means I can travel to the Book Fair and
not have to worry about returning before Friday. Dine in the evening with
John Calder in a Chinese restaurant in Montreuil.
A visitor arrives from Kiev today to stay a few days. Igor Kryklyvyi contacted
me via Anna Sinitsyna in St. Petersburg. Igor is a doctor and making a
holiday in Germany, Paris and Holland. Emily Howe, a beautiful actress
from Australia, has been staying here for a few days, and she left for
the airport to fly to Los Angeles this morning. Later she calls and asks
if she can come back. A problem with her flight that is never explained.
Of course, Emily, you are always welcome here. David Lucas, a fellow Australian
who is also staying here, agrees to go to Opera to collect her. Igor goes
A quiet afternoon. Slowly pack
a few things in the small suitcase Antonia gave me. Emily, David and Igor
return and we have a modest dinner. And then it is time for me to head
for the train. Take the No. 38 bus from Alesia and am soon at the Gare
de l'Est. Purchase a bottle of water and find a bench where I can sit
and wait for the train. Discover I am sitting next to an attractive young
woman. To my pleasant surprise, she asks me a question. We end up talking
and laughing until the departure platform is posted for the train to Frankfurt.
Her name is Selma Surbeck and she lives in Zug, about an hour from Zurich.
I give her the Chicago Tribune article with information about the Sunday
dinners. She gives me her email address and some Vichy mints. At some
point, Susi Wyss is mentioned. This results in a call to Susi and soon
the two of them are chatting away. Selma's train is scheduled to depart
before mine, but my platform is posted first. Tell her I enjoyed our encounter
and leave her. It's my favorite train compartment. One enters a small
space with places for eight. We are a real mix: a young couple from China
who are traveling with too much luggage, a fellow from India, a young
woman from France and yours truly. The young woman from France is wearing
an Edinburgh Festival Fringe T-shirt. I ask her a few questions. She tells
me that she wanted a job with the Fringe and to study in Edinburgh, but
it did not happen. We both agree that Edinburgh is wonderful. But unlike
sweet Selma, she does not have much to say. I manage to sleep in spite
of someone snoring.
Wake up when the train arrives in Darmstadt. Think of dear friends, Peter
and Ulli. The train slowly pulls out and some 20 minutes later we arrive
in Frankfurt on time at 6.59. Brief goodbyes to everyone. Find a locker
and put my bag away. Purchase a delicious pecan pastry. Slowly walk toward
the Book Fair. Find the Press Centre, but it is locked. Too early for
everyone. Discover a new locker system. Pick out one for my coat, cap
and scarf. Continue to Hall 8 and see Martin Rhodes-Schofield of Redbird.
We chat about Sabine Keitel-Smith and Harmony Rhodes-Schofield and learn
they are not going to be at the Messe this year. Harmony has her own business,
an agency, in Edinburgh. Sabine has enrolled in a university course. Walk
to Howard's Stand and no one is there. But do see Jan Wisemann and we
chat briefly. Walk to the Guardian Stand and again no sign of Helen or
Roy. Pick up a copy of yesterday's Guardian.
Back to Mosaic Stand and sit and wait
for Howard, Misha and Samara. Soon they all three arrive. Lots of hugs
and greetings. Samara has flown from New York City to be here for the
Book Fair with her father and brother. Sheila Bounford passes and I get
up and we embrace and have a good long talk. The same people shares the
Stand with Howard as last year.
Stroll to Random House Stand, but
no sign of Sonny Mehta. Do see Alexandra who is wearing a white apron.
She offers me a coffee and tells me that Sonny is at the Book Fair. Continue
on my way to row L and see Victoria Sutherland at her Fore Word Stand.
Her husband, Matt, is also at the Messe.
Now Roy and Helen are at the Guardian
Stand. Pick up today's Guardian and chat with them. Ben is here again
this year, but Mylène Sylvestre will not be here. I am introduced
to a fellow named Erik Perera, who is a new member of The Guardian Book
Publishing team. Anthony Cassidy stops me near the Guardian Stand and
thanks me for putting him into contact with Cornelia Kiefer. He is staying
with her. Anthony lives in Amsterdam and is a photographer.
Stop at de Harmonie and Jaco Groot
and Elsbeth Louis are there. Also, to my pleasant surprise, is Peter van
Straaten. And Peter's wife, Els Timmerman. But Jaco's wife, Elisaabeth,
has not come. Jaco passes a copy of the just published LUST by Peter van
Straaten. It is wonderful. I am a big van Straaten fan. We continue to
discuss an exhibition of his drawings in my atelier. Maybe next Spring.
Continue to stroll about and meet
Trevor Bounford. We have a catch up talk. Walk up row M and meet Tom Neurath
in front of his Thames & Hudson Stand. I have always liked Tom. He
and I first met in Long Acre in Covent Garden way back in 1966 or 67.
He has never changed from being a warm and attractive person. We talk
a bit and I show him LUST and ask if it could be published or distributed
in Britain today. He seems to think it could be. Leave a note for Kathy
Daneman at Soho Books. Sit and talk with Samara and show her LUST. She
thinks it is a giggle. We talk about her life in Brooklyn. Walk past Soho
Books again and this time Kathy is there and talking with someone. Say
hello, but keep on moving.
Over to Hall 6 and have a coffee with
the LavAzza team. Bump into Paul Harris and he wants a drink and to listen
to a lecture about the future of India. We go upstairs to Hall 6.1 and
find a nice café and talk about his wife's Manchuria Restaurant
(with Northern Chinese cuisine) in Malta. Their daughter speaks Chinese,
English and the local Maltese language. A woman asks if she can share
our table. Her name is Susanne Eversmann and she is an Editor with Kunstmann
Verlag in München. We think we have met before at a past Book Messe.
The lecture/debate is about to start,
so Paul and I excuse ourselves and move a few meters to the front row.
The debate is entitled "Rising India - which way ahead, which way
to go?" Two attractive Indian women, Sunita Narain of the Center
for Science and Environment and Malini Mebra of the Center for Social
Markets, discuss the positive and negative aspects of India's move into
the big league of the world economy. Dr. Clemens Spiess of the Heinrich
Böll Foundation in New Delhi moderates. It is not much of a debate
because the two women roughly agree on everything. But it is interesting
to hear two smart, attractive and articulate young women deal with the
problems of India's economic explosion and its implications.
Paul is hungry and wants an Indian
curry. I suggest we walk to the cafeteria near the entrance in the Forum.
We pass Feltrinelli Stand and I spot Inge, but do not stop to say hello.
I wonder if Alek Stefanovic has come to the Messe. But I do not see the
Jaco Books Stand. Paul and I join the queue and discover we are behind
a lovely woman. When I engage her in conversation, I learn her name is
Jasmin Aigner and she is from Salzburg. Of course I think of Robert Jungk
and ask if she knows him. Alas she does not. I mention the Institute of
Futurology and his most famous book, Brighter than a Thousand Suns, the
story of the development of the atom bomb. Jasmin has an Indian father
and an Austrian mother and the results of this union is remarkable. She
is very beautiful and very nice. We all seek a curry, but when we reach
the serving area, we discover they are out of chicken curry. I have a
vegetarian curry that is not very good. Jasmin has a salad. But Paul is
pissed off and decides to leave. I sit with Jasmin and we have a good
talk about her life. Afterwards I leave her and wander off to the Agents
Centre. Ask about Mary Clemmey and am told she has not yet arrived. Nor
is Jenny Brown at the Fair. But Elizabeth Sheinkman is here. So, too,
is Neil Gudovitz.
Howard, Misha, Samara and I walk from
Hall 8 to Hall 6 where I have left my coat in a locker. There seems to
be a big French publishers party going on in Hall 6. An attractive woman
says hello to me. It is Marie-Genevieve Vandesande. We have not seen each
other in years. She is now the Executive Director of the publishing division
of Sciences Po with an office in the Boulevard Saint-Germain. She tells
me she is living in Montrouge. Introductions are made and I leave her
with Howard while I dash upstairs to collect my coat. On my way up the
escalator I see Christopher MacLehose on his way down the escalator and
we exchange greetings. He is with an attractive woman.
We take the U-bahn to Marburger Strasse
and Hilton de la Hunt is waiting at the exit for us. He leads us to a
restaurant that has delicious German cuisine. We have a feast. Hilton's
beautiful daughter, Sara, joins us. Afterwards Sara and Samara will go
to sit on a roof and drink beer. I collect my bag from the station and
continue to Sophienstrasse. Sit and talk with Brigitte and Erich Bernhard.
They have hosted my annual Book Fair visits for years. We talk about mutual
Brigitte brings an express to me in bed. She says there is more coffee
in the kitchen. And then she is off to the German National Library. I
make myself a milk coffee. Shave, shower, shampoo and get ready to greet
the day. Ride the tram to the Messe. Walk to the Press Centre and happen
to meet a fantastic woman. Her name is Yaliz Akbaba and it was she who
sent me the Indian coffee cup. She calls over her boss, Anne Qureshi,
and we are introduced. Plus Anne's daughter, Sarah. And we four have a
great talk. I end up giving Yaliz copies of Everything Is! and Workers
plus my Edinburgh Festival newsletter and an invitation to tonight's party.
Yaliz is Turkish. I know so many great people from Turkey. Maybe I should
go and live in Istanbul for a while.
Go into the Agent's Centre and see
Mary Clemmey. She is busy, so wave to her. As I am going out, see Pociao
from Bonn. Stop to talk with her and she is talking with an editor from
Stock in Paris named Marie-Pierre Gracedieu. It turns out that she lives
at 71 rue de la Tombe Issoire - just down the street from me. Very bizarre.
This happened to me once before, in Cluj after a Goran Bregovic concert.
I dined with Maria Rankov (who looks after Bregovic) and with Bregovic
and with the Romania tour manager, Dan Chisu. When I gave him my card,
it turned out that Dan also lived in rue de la Tombe Issoire. Ed Victor
walks out of Agents Centre and we exchange a few words.
In Hall 8, head for Mosaic Books and
find Howard at the Stand plus Raul's son and daughter. His name is Mariana
Morales Torres. Sylvia has a new name and a new husband. She shows me
her wedding trip photographs and we talk about their visit to a Sunday
night dinner. I ask that my best wishes be sent to her father and husband.
Ask Howard if he would like today's Guardian because I am going over to
get one for me. Yes, he would like one.
Meet Gill Bailey on the way and we
meet almost every year at the book Fair. She reports she is still with
Judy Piatkus. We talk about our first meeting at the Traverse Theatre
in Edinburgh all those years ago. She still looks the same - young and
beautiful as ever.
Greet Helen Read and pick up a Guardian.
I think they should sell the Guardian for a nominal fee - say 50% of the
normal price. And give the profits to a local charity. Helen likes the
idea. She tells me that she does sell the Guardian at the Hay-on-Wye Book
Festival at full price and then gives the proceeds equally to the three
newspaper sellers in the town. What a nice idea. I spot Cees Nooteboom
talking with two attractive women. We exchange greetings. David Graham
walks pass with another fellow and I say hello to him. I wonder how he
is enjoying Granta. Continue to my secret toilet for a morning pee and
see Trevor Bounford. And we pause for a wee chat.
Walk to Canongate and no sign of Jamie
Byng. But do see Jessica Craig in deep conversation with someone. I talk
with Francis Bickmore who is an Editor at Canongate. Give him my Edinburgh
Festival report to pass to Jessica. Francis is waiting for someone who
is late so we are able to have an interesting conversation about his past
life in Oxford. We also discuss Granta and Edinburgh.
Back to Mosaic Stand and give Howard
a Guardian and a poster. Give Samara a copy of my Edinburgh Festival report.
Stroll again to Random House and still no Sonny Mehta in sight. Have a
brief visit with Kathy at Soho Books and we talk lovingly of Cara Black.
Over to the Guardian and Helen invites me to lunch with them at the Stand.
I accept and have a delicious cheese sandwich. Ben, Erik, Roy and Norbert
Pech also join us. We have a feast. Pick up another poster for Howard
and return to Mosaic Stand. There Howard introduces me to Yvonne Cochrane,
a Sales Representative of Digisource, a printing company in Scotland.
We discuss their printing Everything Is! and it really seems to be the
ideal system for me to use to keep this book in print. Give her a copy
of Everything is! and an invitation to tonight's party and tell her I
look forward to doing business with them. Jan Wisemann comes next to talk
with Yvonne about printing his opus. We talk, jokingly, about the film
to be produced from Everything Is! and who would play me. Alas, Cary Grant
and Fred Astaire are no longer available - so I suggest Harrison Ford.
More walkabouts. Chat briefly with
Jaco Groot and compliment his jacket and he reports Elisabeth purchased
it for him. Joke with Elsbeth Louis about my selling the Saudi rights
to LUST. Leave them and walk up row C and notice a fellow in a chef's
uniform. Pause to talk with him. His name is Richard Fox and he has produced
The Food & Beer Cook Book. We discuss his coming over to Paris in
the Spring and cooking a Sunday dinner. Give him the Chicago Tribune article
and we promise to stay in touch. Continue to Serpent's Tail. No sign of
Pete Ayston, so leave an invitation to tonight's party on his table. Head
for Agent's Centre and see Mary Clemmey. Mary is with someone but she
motions me to join them and I am introduced to Bridget Impey, who is the
general manager of Double Story books in Cape Town in South Africa. She
suggests I come to the Book Fair there next June and stay a week. Leave
them and pass Michele Laporte and we exchange smiles. Then see Isabelle
Laffont and we pause and exchange words. What a lovely lady she is!
Then it is another visit to the Press
Centre to see Miss Turkey, Yaliz Akbaba. She tells me her boyfriend comes
to the Fair tomorrow. She also says that she plans to come and visit me
in Paris and that Sarah Qureshi will come with her. What a good idea!
Chat briefly with the fellow who guards the door to the Press Centre.
His name is Daniel and I invite him to the party tonight and to dine in
On the ground floor in Hall 6, listen
to three publishers discuss how they deal with translations. The publisher
from India, Geeta Dharmarajan of Katha Books, has an interesting idea.
She has a contest and throws the translation open to anyone to have a
go. An interesting lady. After the discussion, I go up to her, introduce
myself and we chat about India. Tell her that I will be attending the
Calcutta Film Festival in November and will go up to New Delhi afterwards.
She gives me her card and suggests I call her when I am in Delhi. She,
herself, is from Calcutta. I tell her that I find Calcutta fascinating.
Give her my address if she is ever in Paris. Leave her and have a coffee
at the LavAzza Stand.
Back to Hall 8 and sit at Mosaic Books.
Talk with Misha. Then he wanders off to Japan. Howard introduces me to
a literary agent from Italy and to another from Beijing. Howard and I
also have our on-going discussion of Susi Wyss. We both think her autobiography
is astonishing and needs to be published. He says that if he cannot find
a major publisher for her, he will just have to do it himself. I keep
wishing that Paul Getty were still alive and that I could get him to assist
with the publication costs. He was a big Susi Wyss fan as well. Natasha
Perova passes and we have a catch-up talk. She gives me her new catalogue
and tells me that she is off to London with a number of writers and they
will tour the U.K. She says she plans to come to the party tonight. Victoria
passes and brings a fellow who is a part of her team (but based in Florida)
and he needs directions to the party tonight. Misha returns from Japan.
Sylvia Beach Whitman, looking absolutely gorgeous, passes to say hello.
She takes the night train to Paris and Howard and I suggest she come to
the party and have some dinner and a few drinks before departing. We discover
we came on the same train from Paris last Tuesday night. But she was in
a sleeping car.
Reader's Digest have a party in row
M. Barbara Budrecka and I have arranged to meet there at 6.30. The first
time I walk over, I have no success. Back to Howard's Stand in row L.
But the second time I am lucky. After we meet and have embraced, she wants
to introduce me to a publisher from Warsaw. His name is Andrzej Kurylowicz.
He is with his daughter and her name is Agniesta. She is a sweetheart.
Lots of talk. It is so good to see Barbara. She and I first met in 1981
in Warsaw. Barbara translated a book by Daniel Topolski about his travels
in Africa into Polish. I later met her husband, Lech Budrecki. For years,
every visit to Warsaw meant tea and cakes and good conversation with Barbara
and Lech. Barbara lives alone these days. Lech is no longer alive. It
is a sad fact, but one we all have to deal with at some time. Barbara
is a wonderful woman and a dear friend. I keep inviting her to come and
visit in Paris, but she has yet to accept this open invitation.
Howard, Samara, Misha and I leave
the Messe and ride the U-bahn to Willy Brandt Platz and walk the short
distance to the Künstlerkeller. I greet Erwin Schlochoff, give him
a warm embrace and then head to our space in the rear. Some people have
already arrived. Waitresses arrive, orders for food and drink taken and
another party has begun. All evening people come and go. It's a great
place. I am proud and pleased to be hosting it again. But I miss the fact
that a number of friends are not here: Martin Lehberger, Tanya and Carsten
Hansen, Stephanie Wolfe Murray, Inge Krahn and Wolfgang Determann and
some others. Still there are many old friends and a lot of new friends
in attendance. Meet Paul Fernandez, from Bangalore, who has co-produced
(with Peter Colaco) a book entitled Western Classical Music Re-Classified.
He is with a lovely woman but I cannot remember her name. Others who attend
include: Roy and Helen Read, Norbert Pech, Mike Shatzkin, Trevor Bounford,
Gwyn Headley, Cornelia Kiefer, Anthony Cassidy, Erik Perera, Candida Lacey
& Corinne Pearlman of Myriad Editions, Paul Harris and Igor Potocnik,
Mary Clemmey, Monika & Lilli Rosenkranz, Natasha Perova and a woman
who runs the Feminist Press in New York City, Sheila Bounford, Neal Gudowitz
and I am sure I am forgetting a few others.
Mike Shatzkin reads me a quotation
about Mark Twain that is so delightful, I insist upon repeating it here:
"Mark Twain took a democrat's view of fact and fiction; he privileged
neither above the other and let them mingle in his work without prejudice,
joking famously in later life about being able to remember anything whether
it happened or not, and about too much truth being an impediment to good
literature. This habit of mind produced good literature indeed, and left
biographers over two centuries stumbling into one another as they tried
to sort out what actually happened from what actually didn't." -
a quote from a bio published in 2005 by Random House and written by Ron
Very late wish the remaining guests a farewell until Paris or next year,
thank Erwin and the waitresses, and wander out into the night. Find a
taxi and soon I am delivered to Sophienstrasse. Go upstairs and find Erich
and learn that he and Brigitte did not come to the party tonight because
one of their cats was in pain and they had to visit the vet
Friday, 6th: I wake
up very early. Slowly get dressed. Brigitte enters with an express coffee.
She tells me that she is sorry to have missed the party last night, but
she had to go to the vet with one of the cats who was crying from pain.
I tell her I am sorry that she missed the party, but even more sorry that
her cat was in so much pain. Tell her that I am taking the afternoon train
to Paris and will leave the house keys in the post box downstairs. Thank
her once again for hosting me every year in Frankfurt for the Messe for
all these years. We embrace and then she is off. I quickly wash and pack.
And out the door with my bag. Take the tram to the Hbf, check my bag,
purchase another pecan pastry, and take the U-bahn to the Messe.
Walk briefly around the India exhibition
in the Forum. Walk to the Press Centre. Chat briefly with Daniel and he
says he was too tired to come to the party last night. Inside chat with
Yaliz Akbaba and she re-assures me that she is coming soon to Paris with
Sarah Qureshi. I tell her to email me so I can reserve the guest room
Visit Agents Centre and Mary Clemmey
is busy talking with someone. Manage to find Neil Gudovitz and we have
a good long talk. Tell him about Lyle Stuart's death and Neil is surprised.
He did not know. We talk about the lovely Carole and how amazing Lyle's
life was. I give Neil a copy of Everything Is!, my Edinburgh Festival
report, my autobiography proposal and Varda Duchovy's two stories. I like
Neil a lot. We seem to have a good rapport. I wish him well and continue
mmy walkabout. No sign of Elizabeth Sheinkman at her desk. Now Mary Clemmey
is not at her desk, but two people from India are waiting for her. One
is a woman named Renuka Chatterjee and she is the Chief Editor of Roli
Books in New Delhi. I tell her that I am going to the Calcutta Film Festival
in November and that the Director is a fellow named Nilanjan Chatterjee.
She laughs and says that Chatterjee is a common name in India. I leave
a note for Mary and a copy of Margot Berdeshevsky's manuscript. I feel
bad for leaving it without asking her first. I hope she will (a) like
the manuscript and (b) forgive me.
Walk to Hall 8 and say goodbye to
Helen and Roy at the Guardian Stand. Give Helen a copy of my Edinburgh
newsletter. She says that she enjoys reading my newsletters. I thank her
for the warmth of her welcome and for feeding me. Ask that my regards
be passed to Erik and to Mylene. Misha passes to collect a Guardian. He
and I discuss the Berlin opera that was cancelled. Walk to Mosaic Stand
and find Howard busy talking with someone from China. Later he talks with
a pretty blonde from Minsk. She and I are not introduced, but I learn
that her name is Anastasia Gameza and she is the Rights Director for a
publishing house called Popuri. Samara and I talk about her planned visit
to Paris in the Spring with her boyfriend. I tell her to be sure and email
me to reserve the guest room.
One last attempt to see Sonny Mehta
and again no luck. Stroll down row L and do see Gwyn Headley and Mike
Shatzkin. They thank me for last night's party and say that they enjoyed
it. Walk pass Canongate and see Jamie Byng talking with Marc Parent. I
elect to interrupt. Jamie excuses himself and gives me a warm embrace,
says that he is looking forward to the Sunday night dinner. I tell him
to be aware of Jim's "Law of Rising and Falling Expectations".
If he is expecting an "8" and only gets a "6", he
will be disappointed. But if he is expecting a "6" and gets
an "8", he will be pleased. Jamie laughs and says that is true.
He asks if I know Marc and I say that I do, that in fact I have a question
for him. I ask him if he wishes me to organize a dinner party after Suketu
Mehta's talk at the Village Voice Bookshop on the 24th of October. He
ponders for a few seconds and says "yes, please". I remember
reading Suketu's book, Maximum City - Bombay Lost and Found just before
I left for India in February 2005 and finding it fascinating.
It's time for me to head for the Hbf
and the train to Paris. Walk up to Mosaic Stand and chat briefly with
the father and son who share the booth with Howard. They are extremely
nice. They have print runs of 400,000 to 500,000 for their books. The
son's name is Reuben Anand and he is the Export Manager. Their company
is called AM Productions and it is based in Canada. Tell them to call
me whenever they are in Paris. After they have departed the booth, I kick
myself for not asking them for a copy of one of their publications. It
is Nita Mehta's Indian Cooking. (How many Mehtas are there in the world?)
I do ask Howard to get me a copy if he remembers. He says that he has
a book for John Calder that he wants to send to me for me to pass to John.
I tell him that John will be in Paris the 8th or 9th of this month and
will be giving a talk on Beckett at the Irish Centre. Thank Howard once
again for all his kindness and we embrace and I am off. (I talk with Howard
today, the 11th of October, and he has the Nita Mehta cookbook for me
and will post it in the next day or two. Tell him that John Calder's talk
last night was excellent as expected.)
Collect my coat and as I head for
the tram, I find myself standing at the traffic light next to a beautiful
woman from India. She is half-Indian and half-German and lives in Bonn.
She tells me her name and we talk about Calcutta. She was teaching the
German-language there last year. Somehow we discuss Gunther Grass and
I tell her he was in Calcutta just before me and that many people asked
for my autograph, thinking I was Grass. She says that people are not happy
in India and in Germany with Grass and his revelations of his SS past.
I tell her that I am going to Calcutta again in November. Give her the
Chicago Tribune article and invite her to dine when she is next in Paris.
We ride the tram together to the Hbf and she dashes for her train. What
a delightful woman!
Collect my bag from Left Luggage,
purchase another pecan pastry and some bottled water and walk to the platform.
Buy a stupid slice of pizza and as I am finishing it, I meet Jeff Gross.
He is on his way to Paris on the same train. We chat briefly and he excuses
himself to have another German beer before the train leaves. I find the
platform and make my way to it. Once I am inside I discover that a lovely
woman is sitting next to me. She is from Pantin, just near Paris, but
lives in Germany. She is going home for le weekend. She and I talk and
I find her to be extremely bright and attractive. I read and doze as the
towns fly past the window. Then at some point she has to move to another
seat and I am joined in Metz by another attractive woman. But this one
does not communicate. She reads and I look out the window and nap. Then
I elect to go to the restaurant car for a drink of apple juice. Notice
that the train is going 99 miles per hour (158 kilometers). Find Jeff
in the restaurant car and join him. He and I have a good long talk about
the Frankfurt Book Fair, publishing, movie-making and Lucy Allwood. We
also discuss the two Swedish nymphettes standing next to us and oozing
sexual hormones. Both Jeff and I understand a bit of Swedish. With an
hour still to go, I return to my seat and rest and nap until the train
pulls into the Gare d'Est at 9 p.m. Outside the rain is pouring down.
Cannot find a taxi, so walk to a bus
stop and take the No.38 bus to Alesia. Home shortly thereafter. Find David
Lucas and Olga Kovshanova. There are a lot of telephone messages, letters
and about 250 email messages. Mostly spam and people booking for Sunday
dinners. David and Olga give me all the news. Igor left for Amsterdam
and Emily is with her family in the South of France. I am completely wiped-out,
so it is early to bed.