About French politesse. The kissing on both cheeks. Very confusing, even for an old hand (or lips). In Paris one kisses twice, moving from (my) left to right. In Provence one kisses thrice, starting on and returning to the right. Always a few days of getting it all wrong and ending up in the middle, which is not done, as my US resident of a granddaughter discovered, when she kissed a second or third cousin over Christmas, on the mouth, shocking him mightily. But, I explained, my parents kissed me on the mouth, and I am pretty sure that in the UK people sometimes kiss socially on the mouth too. A fellow, but English, volunteer at the Soupe Populaire confirmed this yesterday as we were gearing up to serve lunch (Tuesday: fresh vegetable soup, boeuf bourguignon with potato purée, cheese + cakes donated by a neighbourhood patisserie, French bread, of course. A meal unaccompanied by bread is inconceivable in France. And "on ne jette pas le pain," children learned in the French school I used to teach in: "one does not throw bread out.").
The mornings are growing darker, but it seems to me that there are a few more minutes of daylight in the evening. I miss my September-October afternoons reading in the Luxembourg Garden. It's too cold and too wet and too dark for that now.
Off to San Francisco tomorrow. They are expecting a big rainstorm with flash floods. We live next to a creek that barely trickles most of the time, but can rise fast when it rains.