Di Mackey, visiting from Antwerp, writes:
"I'm not sure what to do guiltwise when staying with a hostess so gracious that the only job I am tasked with is drinking a glass of rather delicious red wine while she slaves over a hot stove, creating a lovely pasta dish that will accompany the light salad and crusty baguette dinner.
"As a New Zealander my exposure to things French had been limited before heading abroad. I have since learned that their wine is better than I had first realised, their food is often superior, both in terms of fresh produce used and preparation, that their bread is some of the best I have ever tasted and that I will never ever be fluent in this particular language.
"But I'm wandering ... something I do so very well sometimes. Ask Tara about conversation with Di. She has suffered quite some conversation already tonight.
"Anyway, I'm here at Tara's desk tonight, fighting a desire to pick up my camera in an attempt to capture something of the atmosphere I find here. Book titles that beg a reading, artworks that inspire and all kinds of bits and pieces that would bring out the artist in the least artistic among us.
"We have two more days to spend in this city she has come to call home. We've made such a lovely beginning that (guilt about being spoilt aside) I'm looking forward to seeing how things unfold."
Ed. note: I told Di she had to say nice things or she was buying dinner tomorrow!