(Edited extract from my Paris diary)Clairvoyant birds

Last night at F's an extraordinary gathering, a conference of strange birds emitting strange sounds pertaining to strange matters important to the bird-world and only distantly related to the human world. Graphologist, astrologist, morphologist, investigators of the spirit- world, and the turbanned clairvoyante F, a great heron towering above the others: fat bossy mother hen, shy little grey sparrow, confident canary, scary crow, and me, some kind of bird too, I suppose, but not part of their tribe. Their bird-eyes focused on me, encouraged by F who wants to help me emerge from my foggy state. I couldn't resist giggling inwardly at being the subject of such concentrated bird-attention but I was intrigued by some of their commentary.My face was read and I was pronounced a creature of extremes. My handwriting, closely examined, elicited insights like:

"Quand vous vous emballez pour une chose, demandez vous si le contraire ne serait pas aussi bon." (when you become enthusiastic about something, ask yourself if the contrary might not be just as good).

"Regardez plus haut pour descendre plus en profondeur." (look higher up in order to go deeper). Regardez en dedans pour voir en dehors (look within in order to see outside).

I was told I possess all the qualities of the Lion-Sun ("amour ardent") but am lacking a throne, stability. I am more affected by "coups d'épingles" (pin-pricks) than by "coups d'épée" (sword-slashes) and am too concerned with finding in the exterior world what I could find within.

They got me talking about the past, about my work, about Reg - I never had such an attentive, appreciative audience. But it was also uncomfortable. I wanted to say: enough already! Enough of all these ologies. Reality is something else. Those bird-people seem to me to lack something. They are quick and bright and perceptive but something's missing - I think it's the capacity for transforming thought into action. Into work. Their work is concerned only with interpretation, with dreams. They may be able to fly but can they walk, or run or dance? Since their activity is limited to the super-natural they don't function so well in the real world. I have that tendency too but I don't want to go that way!Taking a more down to earth approach, one of the guests, a wealthy businessman much older than me and not noticeably psychic, declared that I was a "cerebrale sensuelle", just his type, and invited me to join him on a trip to the Riviera. Definitely flattered but wholly unattracted to this man I declined in a bantering manner, letting him think that I would have accepted if only I didn't have such urgent business awaiting me in London. A lie of course. Nothing, or everything, was urgently awaiting me anywhere.

Natalie at that time.