in Paris, and a day spent catching up on emails and filling the fridge. Now home and watching it grow dark outside at 5pm, which makes it much harder to spend the late afternoons reading Borges on a chair under the Luxembourg Garden redwoods, even if the weather is warm enough to do so. 

There were pumpkins "for jack o'lanterns" in the supermarket--a first. In the south we observed the Toussaint (All Saints, Nov 1, the day of the dead) in advance by doing a little cleaning up of my husband's parents' grave, reminding me of the year we visited, by ferry--extra sailings in November--Venice's island cemetery over All Saints. Whole families sweeping tombs, picnicking on and beside them. My husband says he was dragged as a boy to Marseille's cemetery every year in November, and hated it. 

Chrysanthemums--France's traditional cemetery flowers--everywhere, huge sprays of them in autumn colours. Once, as a young bride in the south of France I took a bouquet of chrysanthemums, then just pretty flowers for me, with perhaps Asian associations, to a dinner party, and my hostess looked at me strangely. Later my husband explained. Couldn't he have told me ahead of time and saved me the retrospective embarrassment? Not the last time someone in France was to look at me strangely--say for sitting on a sofa with my legs curled up under me, or, running around the house barefoot.

Finished reading Elena Ferrante's Story of Those Who Flee and Those Who Stay. Two more volumes of hers waiting on my doorstep last night. And that it one thing about Amazon--I can buy Italian books, which would otherwise be difficult to obtain, as easily as if I were living in Italy.