Welcome to my world! My name's Nik, and I'm a British expatriate who has been living in Paris, France for the last five years. Even though I never planned to stay in Paris for very long, now I'm here I've no plans to leave soon - the beauty of Paris has never worn off, and so far it's been a five year long vacation! Enjoy my ramblings...

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Not so zen tennis

I'm struggling to stay awake today - we've taken advantage of the empty city and booked as many tennis courts as we can possibly get. Unfortunately I think our eyes have been bigger than our stamina muscles, as I'm already starting to feel the strain!

We played for only an hour yesterday in the jardins du Luxembourg, which was delightful as ever. As usual we were surrounded by tai chi enthusiasts, all wobbling around trying to be meditative. I've noticed that there's been more and more of them wanting to use swords and fans and things, and yesterday was no exception. I saw a guy turn up with a long black sackcloth bag, which I assumed was a fishing rod (ok, strange assumption, but it felt better than assuming it was a high powered rifle). It turned out it was actually a stick. Pretty much a broom handle really. Obviously a super-duper broomhandle, since it needed it's own bag. Either that or the owner was just trying to avoid looking like a BHV shopper.

After a while there was a whole bunch of broom-stickers, a veritable coven of tai-chi fanatics. It was definitely broom-stick day (much safer than oversized shiny sword day). It cynically struck me that all this paraphernalia was quite ironic in a way - all the totally zen tai chi chinese people are happy (blissful?) with nothing at all, just a small patch of open ground is enough. Here in our materialistic west, we need gadgets! We need things that do stuff, and in the western tai chi world, that means fans, swords, and broom sticks!

So, they all zenned away next to us, while I happily un-zenned them with every expletive I could think of (my tennis was not on-form that day I'm afraid). If they were really good, then they wouldn't have noticed.

One thing I'm sure we're all glad were not in the park that day, was the happy clappy brigade. Some misguided gang of oddballs have been meeting recently there to do 'laughter' exercises. At least I think that's what they're doing, although if it's not it must be some seriously good drugs. I'm sure they feel better for it, but everyone else in the park probably wishes it was high powered rifles in the sackcloth bags...