Tuesday, October 30

Three Zees

We get some sunny weather while the rest of the world concentrates on Sandy which hits the Eastern US with energy equivalent to 10,000 nuclear explosions.

Zebulon (far left) has discovered programming : he spends his free time making computer games and describes a creation where squares appear on-screen in various places and the player must "tap" each to disappear; their speed increases with the user's skill. Another applies a gravitational formula to mimic lift.  Zebulon did not sleep for three days while doing this.  Zakkai and Zephyr hold their own : the former into theatre and drama; the later football.

Theirs a suburban family that bicycles everywhere so I am surprised that none of the boys own a "chopper".  In my day, this was the ride : small front wheel, banana seat, "U" handlebars and back support with orange fiber-glass pole and flag attached (for the blind corners). Baseball cards in spokes optional.  No, today's yuf own mountain or racing bikes as sleek as their parents' SUV or hybrid. They might be more functional but where is the thrill in that ? Left in the 70s, no doubt.

Monday, October 29

Monday Morning

Madeleine at Starbucks.

Sonnet and I start the day at Cafe Nero, something we rarely do, and it is a good way to sync the various activities. The kids engaged in Week Two of their half-term break and so far neither has submitted to me their reports on various selected activities (museum visits, Kew gardens and etc).  The three Zs ("zeds") over for the night.  I am off to Canada tomorrow and shall miss the pumpkin carving.

Sunday, October 28

Sunday Run

On my Sunday morning loop of Richmond Park, Rusty jumps on a guy, Alex, in a high-tech lyrcra outfit  with dual water packs and sipping straws. He is on his way to 3X the park, 21 miles, in preparation for the April Marathon des Sables, a six day, 151 mile endurance race across the Sahara Desert in Morocco.  I learn 900 athletes driven by army trucks one full-day into the barren sand - no roads exist.  Runners carry their equipment - sleeping bag, vaccinations, gear - all this weighing 7 kgs before water.  Aid stations are 14 km as the crow flies and "the drip" for dehydration a disqualifier.

Four years ago Alex picked up running and completed his first marathon in 4:15 minutes, dropping 20 kg.  His next was 3:45 and a couple of weeks ago he finished Berlin in 2:55.  He is my age and encourages me to take another swing.

Elm Grove defeats the Fleet Colts 5-1, placing the All Starts tops in their division.  For reward, Eitan zonked in front of the TV for Manchester United v. Chelsea.

Saturday, October 27


The Enterprise faces a "beserker," a planet-eating machine made by a long-dead alien race

"Doomsday Machine" : my all-time favorite Star Trek episode including the movies which, other than "The Wrath of Kahn," are bunk, and excluding Next Generation and Deep Space 9, which I never got in to.

Episode: TOS 35 - Doomsday Machine
Season 2, Ep. 6
Air date: 10/20/1967
Stardate: 4202.9

NCC 1701

USS Enterprise NCC 1701

Star Trek hit hard in the 3rd or fourth grade, introduced to me by neighbour Todd.  The iconic, dual-phaser firing USS Enterprise was the perfect after-school pre-supper show. Todd and I drew the Enterprise in various battle scenes on printer paper (perforated side strips for 'grip') pinched from the earliest computers at UC Berkeley where Todd's dad worked in the sciences.

The Enterprise BTW designed by Matt Jefferies and no kid ever questioned its ability, with those gigantic thrusters, to zip around galaxies at 'warp speed' (I did sometimes wonder about 'Space 1999' whose out-of-orbit moon arrived, every week, at objects many thousands of light-years away).

The NCC 1701 registry, according to Jefferies, from "NC" being one of the international aircraft registration codes; the second "C" added for differentiation while the "1701" chosen to avoid ambiguity: according to Jefferies, the numbers 3, 6, 8 and 9 are "too easily confused". It also suggests the ship the 17th cruiser design with the first serial number of that series.  The "USS" should mean "United Space Ship" and the "Enterprise" a member of the Starship Class (all this explained in 'The Making of Star Trek').

"We've got to risk implosion. We may explode into the biggest fireball this part of the galaxy has seen, but we've got to take that one in a million chance. "

--Captain James T. Kirk in 'The Naked Time'

Friday, October 26

St James's The Divine

Eitan catches the 33 bus to Hammersmith where he meets Sonnet for the afternoon. Here he is at St James's cathedral to listen to pianist David Schofield  (photo from Sonnet).

St James's and St Martin-On-The-Field offer noon-time concerts which is one of my favourite things to do in London. The performances a tune up for an evening orchestra or students seeking an outlet for their hyper talent. I listen to Bach, Beethoven and Wagner in this fashion and have been introduced to the alphorn and the oboe, which has a clear and penetrating voice.

St James's bracketed by bustling Picadilly with its red double-deckers on one side and Jermyn Street  the other (Jermyn St famous for its shirts including Turnbull & Asser where Bond buys his - a classic two fold sells for £315). A stone's throw is Simpsons (now Waterstones) which offers five floors of books in a modern art deco building and Fortnum & Mason for a quick lunch (or late breakfast). 

Thursday, October 25

Generation Jinxed

Madeleine in Italy this summer

So here is another thing to consider : in the UK, pensioner income has risen faster during the past 35 years than the general working population.  Retired households, on average, had disposable income of £17,700 in 2010-11 or nearly three times the 1977 equivalent of £6,585 in today's prices or 2.7X.  Working income has grown £35,000 vs. £16,486 or 2.1X.  The pensioner's gain at the expense of young workers : an FT analysis covering 50 years suggests that living standards for Britains in their 20s overtaken by those of their 60 something grandparents for the first time.

There once was a fuzzy old bear
Who suddenly lost all his hair
And though he was sad
He knew it was bad
To cry and completely despair
--Eitan limerick (from 2009)


Voyager 1 a 1,592 lb probe launched by NASA on September 5, 1977 to study the outer Solar System and the interstellar medium (photo from NASA). Operating for 35 years, 1 month and 19 days as of yesterday, the spacecraft receives routine commands and transmits data back to the Deep Space Network. At a distance of about 122 AU (1.83×10 to the 10th power km) it is the furthest manmade object from Earth.

Voyager 1 now at the outer edge of the heliosphere where the sun's solar winds slow (called "termination shock").  In June, NASA noted that Voyager 1 may soon enter interstellar space becoming the first manmade object to leave the Solar System.  The primary mission BTW ended November 20, 1980, after the probe zipped by Saturn.

Voyager 1 a toaster by today's standards - recall the cars made by America back then ? Imagine what our kids will see. 

We watch Steve McQueen in "Bullet".
Madeleine: "What are those?"
Sonnet: "He's buying TV dinners."
Madeleine: "Do you have to eat them in front of the TV?"

A car spins off the road, top speed, hits a gas tank then explodes. The passengers shown burning in the molten metal.
Madeleine: "Are they dead?"

Wednesday, October 24

Slumber Par-tay

The boys up until at least 2:30AM or the last time Sonnet tells them to settle down (in the morning they brag about who sleeps least). Here are the little dears at breakfast : I offer flaxseed oil but no takers (Eitan rolls his eyes). Aneta and I watch them run around the backyard torturing the dog, whose tail wags away.  Girls not on the agenda but that tsunami coming.

Tuesday, October 23


Me and Kate in St Germain

Joe, Luke, Shahin and Cyrus (Jack cannot make it) over for Eitan's belated 12th birthday slumber party.

I arrive from Paris to find the little spasses shrieking and wonder, as every parent does, can the house take it ?  Now they watch "The Hunger Games" and, since rated 12, Cyrus (who is 12) must get mom's permission and it is 50:50 while the other boys shout : Violence !

Madeleine fits right into the scene, in a big arm chair, feet on the wall. I pay no mind and, since Sonnet at a swim team meeting, the kids get away with murder.

Shahin: "Mr Orenstein can we watch another movie afterwards?"
Me: "Sure, stay up all night. What do I care?"
Ensemble: "All right!"
Me: "This is the part where they kiss. Look away. Look away!"
Eitan: "Dad can you just leave please."
Me: "Cyrus I don't know about this kissing stuff. I might have to agree with your mom here."
Me: "I am definitely calling Liz."
Eitan: "Please go away now."  


Nothing says France like a gendarme - here, these happy fellows guard the elysée where monsieur de la presidente resides.

A gendarme different from your run-of-the-mill copper in that a gendarme a soldier employed on police duties. Not surprisingly, then, that they raise a certain emotional reaction for often the gendarme responsible for cracking a few heads together during your normal French protest against the elite or whatever.

Kate in Paris for a Board Meeting and we dine in the 6e - here we are at her wedding.

I tell the kids they have to test me three things they will do over the half-term break and then write a half-page report one each (I go light on them). Here is what Madeleine sends me:
"Stuff I'd like to do
1. Kew gardens with family
2. Go out to dinner
3. and i'm going to the VA, HOLLYWOOD THINGIE

Monday, October 22

A Polaroid and A Paris Taxi

Sonnet and Marcus, 1977

The first thing one notices in Paris, assuming one takes a taxi, is that the taxi drivers are clueless.  Last night, for instance, I go from Gare du Nord to the Hôtel de Crillon, as known a place as any and like the Waldorf or the London Savoye (for the record: I do not stay at the Crillon which otherwise serves as a reference point).  My guy asks : où ?  Mentioning Place de la Concorde and the American Embassy does not get us any further - the driver stumped without a postal code for his sat nav.  Of course he may have sized me up for a long-ride chump (most likely) but either way this would never happen in London

Saturday, October 20


Robert Plant in '75

Man - to be at Earls Court, May 24th, 1975.  Led Zeppelin at the height of their power and Robert Plant as close to God as any mortal could ever be : 111 million records sold in the US and maybe over 300 million total.  Plant's voice screams from somewhere else : hurt, pain, lost-love ..  I appreciate the band more today than then : I was never into the heavy metal stuff, which was hugely influenced by Led Zeppelin, and less so today.  But Led Zeppelin a mixture of Plant's alien voice, blues, and rock and roll ..  each song somehow raw and meaningful ("Going to California" stands out).  In any case, "Stairway To Heaven" impossible to navigate as a teenager - there you would be, rubbing up against some girl, and the song shifts from slow into high gear leaving everyone off-step and awkward.  Those are the good memories.

"Made up my mind to make a new start, Going To California with an aching in my heart.
Someone told me there's a girl out there with love in her eyes and flowers in her hair.
Took my chances on a big jet plane, never let them tell you that they're all the same."
--"Going to California" by Led Zeppelin

A Bone For Everyone

Rusty gets a bone.  I'm not sure what it is - a joint of something. A pig maybe ? But I think too big. So a cow. Rusty don't care. At first he does not know what to do with his prize and darts into a secret place in the backyard. He then wants to bring his greasy treasure, now covered with dirt, into the house so I put a stop to that,  rinsing the thing off first.  We sit around the table having lunch while the dog gnaws away : gnarly, too. And loud.

Sonnet speaks at some conference at the museum so I am with the kids - Madeleine to football practice and Eitan has an unusual day off since half-term. Our day goes well until about noon time when he ignores me and the backyard chores. I threaten with football, he tells me I always do so, and I call Coach and he is now off the team. Ka boom.

Madeleine wanders into the house sensing a bad vibe. She tip toes up to her room and .. .gently . closes. . ..the door.

Friday, October 19

Friday Half Term

Parisian walking her dog off the Champs Elysee

Concluding the week, it is Friday.  The receptionist watches the minutes tick backwards from 3:45PM.  I plunk about on my new Macbook listening to the rain hit the glass sky-roof..  The dog sleeps by the door (earlier he barks at some dude - bad, Rusty). The only people doing anything are Ralph & Russo whose army of seamstresses and models keep to their unusual hours.  Today begins the kids' half-term break : two weeks, no school.  (Working) parents across Southwest London exhale in a collective groan.

Eitan shows Sonnet and me a glass of liquid.
Me: "What's up?"
Eitan: "The oil is separated from the water."
Me: "Sciences?"
Eitan: "I am just double checking it is so."

Super Spinny Chair

Thursday, October 18

Fashion Dept

Young women at the V&A

Well, so much for the ease of Apple.  The last 36 hours spent synchronising IMAP, Yahoo, pop and Outlook with various mac applications.  I know how Grandparents feel (sorry Moe, Grace and Stan).  Apple has excellent customer service, readily available and, even if the dude did not call back as he said he would when he could not figure out the iCloud account , he was at least friendy (nor in Bangladesh).  To be expected from the most dear company in the world.

Sonnet hosts a round-table of Italian academics who fly in for a day of validating 'La Moda' joined by Christopher (who heads the Furniture, Textiles and Fashion Dept), Mark (head of the V&A Press) and other various do-ers and go-getters at the museum.  I hardly get a morning kiss these days as Sonnet out the door before dawn, with Madeleine, who she accompanies on the 337 bus to school (adding a further 30 minutes to her commute).

Wednesday, October 17

Hollywood Costume

Sonnet at the V & A

The main entrance to the museum transformed into a champagne cocktails lounge with red carpet to the bar under the chandelier.  Martin Roth, the "new" Director (though over one year) greets people in a charming sort of way : I like his white comb-backed hair and black glasses but I was there first.  (Sonnet introduces me to Martin who is nicely complementary of her. Maybe it is for me but more likely it is not) Over there is Tim Burton with Helena Bonham Carter. There are the Mittals. I recognise a few finance guys and Paul Rudnick charming as always.  I was hoping for Catherine, who considered being the museum's patron, but no such luck.

I can see why Hollywood Costume will set attendance records : it is fun and mesmerising and the best use of media technology I have seen in a museum exhibition. The displays enhanced with movie clips, tablets and 3D.

And what a collection. Sr Curator Debora Nadoolman Landis pulls every favour from her 30 yeas as film and theatre costume designer - notable films include Animal House, Three Amigos and Raiders of the Lost Ark  - Indy's fedora and whip on show, but of course.

Dinner follows in the Raphael Cartoon Gallery and I am next to Russian/NY former CNN journalist Vicki who now buys civic art for Palo Alto (married to a vc) and Heather, 20 years at the World Bank now practicing homoeopathy.  I talk to both at ease.

Tuesday, October 16

Tuesday Night Affair

I depart for dinner with Sonnet and the Good and the Great. We anticipate the opening of the Hollywood Costume exhibition which is expected to break attendance records (Superman's suit, Dorothy's slippers, Travis Bickle's army jacket). My cuff links and studs are from Stan.

I pick up Eitan, Luke and Joe from football at Hampton.
Joe: "Say 'grandma's under pants' after everything I say."
Joe: "England."
Eitan, Luke: "England grandma's under pants"
Joe: "France."
Eitan, Luke: "France grandma's under pants."
Joe: "Europe."
Eitan, Luke: "Europe grandma's underpants."
Joe: "You looked up grandma's underpants! Ha! Ha! Ha!"
Eitan, Luke: "Ha! Ha! Ha!"
Me: "That doesn't even make sense."
Joe: "Oh, boy, that was a good one Mr. Orenstein."
Eitan: "Dad it's not that complicated."

Monday, October 15

Sarah Vaughan

Sarah Vaughan, ca 1946

With one exception, the 1950s-'60s jazz scene (the golden era, my opinion) dominated by men. Sarah Vaughan often overlooked during a career that spanned from 1944's 'Sarah Vaughan and Her All-Stars" to "Brazilian Romance" in '87 and 53 recorded albums in between. She played with the Greats: Duke Ellington and Count Basie while her work with Clifford Brown in '54 accepted into the Grammy Hall of Fame; the National Endowment for the Arts bestowed upon her the highest honor in jazz, the NEA Jazz Masters Award, in 1989.

"One of the most wondrous voices of the 20th century.
--Scott Yanow, American jazz commentator in the '50s

Sunday, October 14


Madeleine gets a "bob". She shakes her hair into place noting "That's called a flick, Dad" and I could not possibly disagree.

Eitan and I place 47 and 46th, respectively, of 884 runners in yesterday's 5K race (Dad pips the boy but with no intention of doing so).  Eitan is 5th for Junior Men 14 and Under, and I am 7th for the 45-49 category. Our times are 19:17 and 19:16 - I'm just happy to be running injury free. The difference between me now and then, I observe over the last 500 painful meters whilst passed this way and that, is that I don't have the motivation to throw it into another gear requiring further pain.  I just can't be bothered.

In football action this morning Eitan's Elm Grove cranks a 6-1 home-field victory over the out-classed Woking Cougars.  The game notable for the glorious sunshine. I am accompanied by the dog and, unusually, Madeleine who does some homework in the car during the first half.  I give in to her request for "Millions" -" tiny little balls of candy" (her description).

Madeleine does her sciences homework: "Does a poisonous dart frog lay eggs?"
Me: "Do you really expect me to know that?"
Madeleine: "You can always guess."

Madeleine: "I am going to make a hat for Gracie and Moe."
Me: "That's nice. Just make sure I can mail it."
Madeleine: "OK."
Me: "And include directions."
Madeleine: "Directions?"
Me: "Yes, so when they open it they know what to do."
Madeleine: "Gracie and Moe: Put hat on head."
Madeleine: "What's so funny now, Dad?"

Saturday, October 13


Araneus Diadematus

I love these spiders, which appear for a month or so then gone until next time.  Sonnet hates them (of course) but I drop flies into the web to watch in horror : the spider races across its line onto its prey and stuns it with a violent sting. It holds the fly in place for a moment or two as the poison works then, in a professional fashion, wraps the victim in tight ball and lets it dangle until it can suck the juices.

Bushy Deer

Bushy Park settled for (at least) 4,000 years : the earliest archaeological records date to the Bronze Age. There is also evidence that the area used in the medieval period for agriculture.  When Henry VIII took over Hampton Court Palace from Cardinal Thomas Wolsey in 1529, it came with Bushy. He stocked it with deer so he could hunt 'em.

The old bucks groan (NB A buck grunts to express dominance, to threaten another deer and as a means of locating other deer. A soft or low grunt is used by both bucks and does as a first act of aggression. When a dominant deer uses the soft grunt and the less dominant deer does not move, the dominant deer will either charge or hit the less dominant deer with a fore leg. Rusty has come to know this). I can hear them in Richmond Park from our bedroom.

Me, over lunch: "So, Madeleine, how would you rank my parenting on a scale of one to ten?"
Madeleine: "Is this a trick question or something?"
Me: "No, how are we doing?"
Madeleine: "I don't know. Nine maybe. Eight and a half ?"
Me: "That's what I thought. You guys are having it too easy."
Eitan: "Madeleine, quick, say five or four or something."
Me: "Time for more work for you kids - Madeleine, you can start by cleaning off the table."
Madeleine: "Five wouldn't be a lie would it Dad?"

5K Qualifier

Eitan and I up early to run the Bushy Park 5K, which is every Saturday morning, 9:00AM sharp.  Eitan must qualify for the London borough championships which is coming up later this year and this the last weekend to qualify.

Me, jogging with Eitan: "So how do you think your mother and I are doing?"
Eitan: "Huh?"
Me: "As parents. Are we doing a good job?"
Eitan: "I guess so. . ."
Me: "Well, give us a score. Grade us."
Eitan: "Eight."
Me: "Eight?"
Eitan: "Eight out of ten."
Me: "So we could better ?"
Eitan: "Yeah, if you weren't so angry and stuff. Because your job is pressurised."
Me: "So your mom is a ten and I'm a six while the average eight."
Me: "An eight seems too high."
Eitan: "Too high?"
Me: "Yep. I'd better be tightening the screws. It's not all fun and games."
Eitan: "Whatever, Dad."

Friday, October 12

Self Portait XXVIII

And so another Friday.  This time, Sonnet to Devon to spend the weekend with Halley leaving me with the Shakespeares and, boy, it is non-stop : Eitan runs a 5K, both swimming and football practice and an Elm Grove match. Conveniently all these things miles apart and at different times.

I arrive home to find Magda, Madeleine's hair-cutter for years, in the kitchen snipping her to a bob.  She sits there grinning and I agree : it is a fab look. I tell her she looks like a Beatle.

For all those worried about Rusty, the dog has his wag back.

Thursday, October 11


Eitan with his swimming kit.

The dog is sick and looks at us with baleful eyes. I take him to the vets and they check his gums and tummy for hydration then give the pooch a couple of shots and some special dog food - £177.  Rusty rewards me by barfing dramatically in the zebra crossing.

Sonnet, in apron, prepares soup. Butter nut squash, which she roasts then peels then mushes and cooks with scallions and cream.  It is the perfect seasonal colour and ideal for a chilly London evening. With spoon to mouth "that is very satisfying", she says.

Wednesday, October 10


Madeleine after swim practice


Archimedes chillaxes ca 230 BC

Eitan comes home filled with physics. "We are studying Archimedes theory that if you put a solid object into a liquid, you can find the mass of the solid object by seeing how much the water goes up" (now he watches the Simpsons - the one where Bart buys a python for $5 a foot that eats Martin's hamster in show-and-tell).

It all started when King Hiero II was sceptical about his new laurel leaf-shaped crown. The king wanted to know whether the crown was solid gold, or if some other metal had been added.  It was up to Archimedes to figure this out. Only there was one catch: he couldn't destroy the crown.  Now 25 more 12-year olds in on the trick.

My physics weak at best for what I learned en francais at College de Candolle.  Too bad as I find it interesting - certainly more so than chemistry which I pursued through several semesters at Brown despite the miserable lab work. Any case, no need to know physics when I can outsource to Eric.

Tuesday, October 9

Sir John Wins Nobel Prize

Sir John Gurdon shares the Nobel Prize for his stem cell work

"It has been a disastrous half.  His work has been far from satisfactory. His prepared stuff has been badly learnt, and several of his test pieces have been torn over; one of such pieces of prepared work scored 2 marks out of a possible 50.  His other work has been equally bad, and several times he has been in trouble, because he will not listen, but will insist on doing his work in his own way.  I believe he has ideas about becoming a Scientist; on his present showing this is quite ridiculous, if he can't learn simple Biological facts, he would have no chance of doing the work of a Specialist, and it would be a sheer waste of time both on his part, and those who have to teach him."
--John Gurdon's school report from Eton, 1949 (age 15).
Photo Eddie Mulholland

Monday, October 8

Viking Kings

Eitan does his history homework which is "to make top trump cards for Viking kings of England."

Sonnet: "I'm trying to get the printer to work. For some reason, I can't get it to print."
Me: "Have Eitan check it out. He knows more about these things than I do."
Eitan: "Huh?"
Sonnet: "See, it's not working."
Eitan plugs the USB into Sonnet's notebook.
Me, Eitan:
Sonnet: "Well there you go."

Madeleine: "What would you do if I got a letter to go to Hogwarts?"
Me: "You mean delivered by an owl?"
Madeleine: "No, Dad. I mean would you let me go?"
Me: "Would you have to go to Euston Station and catch the train? Through that wall?"
Madeleine: "King's Cross. And yes."
Me: "And gone for a semester?"
Madeleine: "Longer than that."
Me: "Are you willing to sleep under the stairs?"
Madeleine: "Huh?"
Me: "Under the stairs. For when you come home so I can use your bedroom."
Madeleine: "You are so cruel Dad.  So would you let me?"
Me: "I could not bare for you to be away."

High Atlas

Sonnet in the High Atlas mountains, Morocco

We visited Morocco in '97 with Mary and Amado and some other MBA friends travelling mostly by train  and in several instances sleeping in our 2nd-class cabin waking in some new city like Marrakesh or Fez a bit strung out but happy to be there. The Atlas range a highlight requiring several days hiking into Toubkai National Park ending at peak Jbel Toubkai at 13,671 feet (Kilimanjaro is 19,341).  A warm up for the KKH.

Sunday, October 7

Top Turtle

Madeleine feeds Eric the turtle. Zara over post Sunday swim-practise to catch the action, which includes blood worms. It is gross, but at least they are frozen, and the turtles gobble them up.

Eitan: "Can I watch TV?"
Me: "No."
Eitan: "Why not?"
Me: "Have you done your homework ? Have you done any chores?"
Eitan: "I can do them later."
Me: "You know, I have had this exact conversation before with my father. When I was your age."
Eitan: "Yeah, so?"
Me: "Do you know what daja vu is?"
Eitan: "I just want to watch television."
Me: "Well, do your homework then."
Eitan: "That is so unfair."
Me: "Do you think I just make this stuff up? You know, as I am going along ?"
Eitan: "I dunno."
Me: "I've had plenty of practice. You should have heard Moe Saturday mornings : 'Jeff ! clean up the front yard. Cut the grass !' when all I wanted to do was read a comic book."
Me: "I've had plenty of practice at this, believe me."

Saturday, October 6

Opposite Sides of Saint-Honoré

Man pulls out wiring before the Chanel shop.

Women approaching the Hotel Crillon

Friday, October 5

Comme des Garçons

Sonnet photos a temporary exhibition at the newly constructed Cité de la Mode in Paris. CdG a Japanese fashion label founded by Rei Kawakuebo.

I recall Comme des Garçons when it hit the US (Macy's, San Francisco) the summer before college. I bought a pair of CdG khaki trousers for a fortune that had something like ten pleats and fell straight to the ankle. To make it work, I rolled up the bottoms and wore them with black espadrilles and a white La Coste. This the first day of classes. Oh, the weirdness of traipsing from my dorm room (Poland House, Keeney Quad, late summer, East Coast) to lecture theatre with everybody and everybody a stranger. The outfit worked in California but the Ivy League 'preppies' hated it. I could have cared less - all I wanted was to dance and have fun and study but, in hindsight, I probably could have left the fashion at home.

"I liked the unusual presentation of the blow up bubbles though it does make it difficult to see the clothes.  Rei Kawakuebo explored the colour of white in this collection"

Thursday, October 4

London to Paris

Here we are this morning at St Pancras off to France.  Sonnet has a number of museums to visit and tomorrow we will see the recently opened Islamic art wing at the Louvre.

Wednesday, October 3

Last Summer

A couple of French dudes enjoy the Indian summer in the 8e.

Summer is certainly over for French private equity as the Hollande government introduces an onerous tax framework that goes to the business like a laser guided torpedo : capital gains increase 45% to 65% (and may be considered income - if so, 75% over €1 M).  The tax deductibilty on interest for company debt to be reduced to 80% from 100%.  Then there is a social charge of up to 28% for every beneficiary of carried interest paid by the management company who oversees the funds.  In short, the socialist demand that the country's producers, who are also often rich, either cease operations or move to London (where capital gains fall to zero) or elsewhere.  France, one of the most attractive country's in the world for global foreign investment, may suddenly become the least.

I return from Paris to find Eitan, hair wet from swimming, hunched over his homework (Spanish : "I am nearly fluent" he offers, counting to ten) and Madeleine fast asleep - she puts herself to bed at 8:30PM which makes a big difference in the morning.

Eitan: "I thought I had turned in my chemistry homework two days late but actually I am two days early.  I am so relieved." [He hums]