The French Open, Maya Angelou, and the Leinster Arms

I’m not sure how these three are related to be honest, but I’m discussing all of them in this post.

Now that I have some time, I can share about our travels this past summer. For the past three years we’ve gone to Paris in May for the French Open. We usually spend three days there and visit the Open on one of those days. And each year the weather has been on the chilly side, but manageable. This year it rained off and on when we were at Roland Garros. Even though it rained, we still had an enjoyable time and it was rather amusing watching the grounds crew covering and uncovering the court. I noticed when I got back from our trip I didn’t take as many pictures as the two previous years. Maybe that’s a good thing. I remember observing a lot more this last time and not just clicking away randomly with my camera.

Here are some photos:

Around this time I was listening to Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. This autobiography is a wonderful, albeit emotional book. I know some have questioned the authenticity of her autobiographies since she changed parts of her own story more than once. As a historian I find this fascinating. And this is why history professors tell us never to rely solely on one source especially if the source is the subject of your study. But the variations in a person’s memory are quite telling. I should note that I haven’t delved too deeply into the aspects she changed. I do plan on reading the rest of her works and maybe I’ll be able to spot some inconsistencies. The author narrated the audio book and it was delightful to listen to her gravelly voice and sometimes Angelou would sing. Even with her soothing voice, this is a difficult book to listen to. She touched on many emotional subjects, including being raped at a young age. And her depictions of her life in the South made me shake my head a lot in frustration and anger. If you plan on reading/listening to this I highly recommend the audio book narrated by the author. It really adds to the whole experience.

I’m narrowing in on 100 books from my 1001 list. Granted that still leaves 901 books on the list I need to read. However, reaching 100 sounds like a major victory to me.

A few nights ago we met up with a friend at the Leinster Arms pub located in Lancaster Gate. It was such a lovely evening to sit outside so please excuse the absence of interior photos. The weather is getting chillier and if it’s pleasant enough to be outside I will opt to be outside each and every time. I sampled a gin drink that was slightly tart, but still refreshing. This pub is near Hyde Park and the people watching kept us entertained most of the evening. Have a great week everyone!

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast ( with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (, a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
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55 Responses to The French Open, Maya Angelou, and the Leinster Arms

  1. Amazing the bus in Paris is a typical red British one and the writing is in English! A pain watching tennis in the rain. Or not watching tennis in fact. At least when I went to Wimbledon the weather was good. I look forward to the end of summer here, cooler but not cold, you can still sit outside (too hot in summer) and actually DO things when temps drop below 30.

  2. Colline says:

    I enjoyed looking at your selection of photos TB. I find that you when visit a place more than once because you allow yourself to enjoy the ambience more as you are not so intent on capturing memorable photos.

    • TBM says:

      Yes, the impulse to remember every second isn’t as strong and I find that on our other trips to new places I’m not taking as many photos as I used to. I hope I don’t stop completely at some point.

  3. Oh how I love your photos of Paris!! I need to go back – I just didn’t have enought time in that beautiful city :).

  4. This reminds me – I recently finished The House of Mirth, which you recommended in one of your previous write-ups. I enjoyed it, but found the (accidental) suicide at the end very disappointing. I’d have preferred if the main character had found some way of adjusting their unrealistic life expectations after hitting rock bottom, rather than the author finishing off with a cheap cop-out. Still, it was a good book and I shall read more of Edith Wharton.

    • TBM says:

      I see your point and part of me kept hoping she’d “smarten” up, however I think Wharton’s point was to make a point and not have her character conquer all. I could be wrong, but the ending is better social commentary.

      • I was discussing this with a friend, and she pointed out that the “rule” was that social transgressions/misdoings had to be punished, whether they were intentional or nor, and the same (intentional or not) seems to apply to the mode of punishment.

        I read a Vita Sackville West novel a while back in which the female lead character, an otherwise morally “sound” person, who has relationship with a younger man (shock horror!), also died in the end (of an illness). Again, I found this very unsatisfactory…

      • TBM says:

        Very interesting. So it was radical for her to write about such a character but she still stayed within the bounds of society by doing away with the character. That’s food for thought. Haven’t read the other novel, but I’m intrigued.

  5. YOu have been busy! Glad you are back and thanks for sharing your pictures.

  6. I agree that one should always seek a number of sources for research. I think an autobiography is especially problematic as the sole source. It is hard enough to be objective, but particularly so if it’s your own life under consideration. Congrats on your reading progress!

    “if it’s pleasant enough to be outside I will opt to be outside each and every time.” Yes!

    • TBM says:

      And I have to wonder how many people actually remember everything from their lives and then has the bravery to spill all. I admire anyone who writes their memoirs and the lapses in memory or additions are very telling and almost just as important.

  7. Moritz says:

    I’m really jealous of your Paris trip. Especially when considering that you have to chance to watch some world-class tennis. Hope you had a very good trip 🙂

  8. I read Angelou’s book years ago and thought it was very good. Didn’t realize there were inconsistencies, but memory is a funny thing, and two people remember the same incident differently.
    Glad you enjoyed the trip to Paris!

  9. Rorybore says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a live tennis match. I may have to add that to my bucket list — especially since “see Paris” is already on the list. seems like a no brainer. We have some of those big red double decker tour buses in Ottawa too. And it’s funny, because since is in the capital; the sign writing has to be in both English and French.

    • TBM says:

      Yes watching tennis live is such an amazing experience. And I do hope you get the chance to in Paris. It’s not as warm that time of year, but it’s still Paris so it doesn’t bother us at all.

  10. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Another book I’d like to re-read! Great photos of wonderful Paris 🙂

  11. Almost only 901 books to go: I hope you intend to drink to that!
    Question: what was that milky white brew in the tall Johnnie Walker glass?
    I loved all your pictures of Paris, but possibly my favorite was of that bike in London with the sign declaring their butcher being the best in town. If that’s so, how are their burgers or should I be inquiring about their meat pies?

    • TBM says:

      One place we went had a special on White Russians. That’s the drink you see above. It was tasty, but you can’t drink too many in the same night, which explains their special.

      Haven’t had the food in the pub yet, but I did see three people order meat pies and they looked tasty. Not much of a meat pie fan myself, but I may have to try it to say I did.

      • When I drank white Russians, what now seems to be a lifetime ago (before I developed my intolerance for lactose), at my first visit to a lesbian bar in San Francisco in 1979 with a very sexy print machine operator named Debra while the Supremes played on the juke box, they were served in a very short glass. She introduced me to them. It wasn’t my drink of choice but I sure enjoyed her company.

        Good God woman, meat pie sounds like something served straight out of Sweeney Todd! Proceed with caution!

  12. Always enjoy your photos.. like you I have not been taking lots of photos but just enjoying where I am and not worrying about getting a picture. I went through a period over a year ago where I started with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and read through all of Maya Angelou’s autobiographies. I enjoyed them all.

  13. Emma says:

    I love Paris, thanks for the pictures. Lucky you to see a match at Roland Garros.

  14. Rewriting memories decades after the real events have happened is bound to change the details. Even history books are written by the victors and what is written in them may not be the actual truth. The book “Tell It Slant” explores the issue of elaborating fact in nonfiction. Have you read it? On a lighter note, what was the name of your summery gin drink at the Leinster Arms?

    • TBM says:

      Ah history and the winners. I was always more fascinated by the history of everyday life which is why I seek out books like Angelou’s. I want to know how the rest of the people lived. I’ll keep an eye out for Tell It Slant. Sounds like a book I would really enjoy and like I said, the elaboration in nonfiction is very telling.

      The drink was a gin and tonic with a splash of something. Don’t remember what the splash was but it reminded me of cranberry juice if that helps.

  15. Isobel says:

    A good relaxing day is time well spent. Am really enjoying autumn after the sudden chill at the end of August. See you soon.

  16. It’s been years since I read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. You make such a great point about “the variations in a person’s memory are quite telling.” Right now I’m in the midst of watching a 7-part Ken Burns miniseries on PBS about the Roosevelts (from Teddy’s birth through Eleanor’s death). Their memories about an event, or perhaps the way they wished the event had turned out were often quite different. For example when Teddy writes in his diary that he wasn’t disappointed after losing the election with the Bull Moose party, all the historians jump in to say, “Oh yes he was, and here’s why.” Anyway, I think you’d like this miniseries. Maybe it will air soon there.

    Congrats on reaching 100 books!

    • TBM says:

      I love that Teddy said he wasn’t disappointed. You only have to know a small bit about him to know he was extremely competitive. But that fact that he said he wasn’t is a big clue about his personality. I haven’t seen any ads for this series on the telly here, but I may have to see if I can rent or stream them. I’m a big fan of Burns. He hooked me with his Civil War series from many years ago.

  17. aFrankAngle says:

    You had quite the year for tennis opens! Love the Paris pics.

  18. Caroline says:

    Lovely pub. I wouldn’t mind having a drink there.
    I’ve still not read Maya Angelou. Well – of course our memory isn’t as reliable as we think but is that what happened in her case , did she mix up things or did she deliberately change. I think the latter is something people don’t accept easily. Maybe you’ll find out and tell us.

    • TBM says:

      Let me know if you’re ever in the area. I know many lovely pubs like this one.

      From what I read Angelou admits to changing some things and adding some things that were fictitious. I haven’t studied it too much as of yet. However, I don’t know many people who haven’t embellished stories. It’s human nature to do so and I love to find out when, how, and why. It’s the history nerd in me. And I think it’s also a part of faulty memories. I can barely remember everything I did last year so I can’t imaging writing a book starting with my childhood.

  19. cupitonians says:

    One of the many good things about having a weekly catch up post is that you get to mix three totally random things together and have it be really eye catching! I love those photos in Paris. You have such an eye for making regular things look postcardish! Hope you are all okay. Love to Miles!

    • TBM says:

      Ah thanks. I wish I could take more credit for the photos, but I’m usually snapping as I’m walking by. Not a lot of thought goes into them. Miles says hi or he will when he gets out of bed. He’s the first one in bed at night and the last one out of bed in the morning. He has the perfect life!

      • cupitonians says:

        I wonder if they think that about us!

      • TBM says:

        I’m not sure I want to know what my cat thinks of me. Miles yes since he’s a sweetie. I love Atticus, but he is grumpy and he would give me an earful of all the wrongs inflicted on him, such as living with two idiots and a dog.

      • cupitonians says:

        Cats always seem to have really strong opinions of us. It would be great to have a peek into their thoughts. I was having a conversation the other day – where I looked at this doggie just basking in the sun and wished I were a dog – my friend commented on how dogs must have it really easy. Then I wondered if dogs every looked at us and hoped they were human because we have it easy!

      • TBM says:

        We do have access to the food and outside, two things Miles always wants more of.

  20. Great to hear what you’ve been up to – and loved the shots of Paris. Oooh I need to plan a trip there soon 🙂

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