Had to take the car to the body shop yesterday. On the way back I stopped at new supermarket over towards Mountain View (Google HQ) with a great cheese counter and an amazing array of fruit and vegetables including a dozen--maybe more--kinds of fresh mushrooms, jumbo, tiny, separate and big enough to feed two people, in clusters. Some Asian women prodded them with a forefinger, as I had been poking at camemberts for ripeness.
But no cepes. Cepes are the great gustatory pleasure of Paris autumn. Expensive but you can buy a couple, a few grams, enough for two people, carry them home carefully in a paper bag, brush the earth off them, simmer them in a little butter or olive oil, and that's dinner, along with some good fresh bread.
Just finished Mrs Dalloway, went to the library and checked out some more Woolf. Went to the bookstore and bought a Queen-bed-size map of London, so I could see where the characters go. The funny thing about London, I've been thinking, is that I know bits of it--where my daughter used to live, where she now lives, around the British Museum, the Tate Modern, Waterloo and King's Cross--but I couldn't put all this together in my mind, the way I know Paris in my head as a whole.
Years ago, after several visits to Venice, staying in different parts of the city, but still not having the foggiest idea of where all these neighborhoods stood in relation to one another, or how to find again a street, a shop, a collection of paintings, a church that I had stumbled upon--these things had a tendency to vanish, making me wonder if I had dreamed them--I found a big street map of Venice that at last helped me to see how the puzzle fit together. Though, from the studio we rent--used to rent, because it's been a while--off the Fondamenta Nuove, I still haven't figured out which direction to go in to find the produce stand that is just a few steps but around a corner from the front door. Or the most direct route to the fish market, that living treasury of colors, shapes, eyes, flashing scales that should be visited right after, or before San Marco, preferable getting there on foot and with a traghetto.