Each morning on my way to and from dropping Nathan at his childminder’s flat, I walk past a block of flats that has a diagonal faÃ§ade above which is a square overhang. The space underneath is closed by a mesh shutter, and nothing has changed behind it since I’ve been walking past it these past few months. A layer of dust on everything tends to point to nothing having moved for longer still.
More conclusively, an old Pepsi machine stands there; it is no longer lit up to entice you to refresh yourself with a fizzy drink. The dust has even taken hold on the vertical face of the selection buttons. You can just see in the low resolution mobile phone photo I took this morning that the price for a can is 6F00. The euro became standard currency in France in 2002, which would suggest that the machine has been there for five years or more. The Franc is now resigned to be remembered as 1/6.55957 of a Euro, and Nathan won’t ever look at – or fondly remember – the colourful blue 50 Franc notes with Antoine de Saint ExupÃ©ry, or the big old 100 Franc notes with Paul CÃ©zanne on them, except in books or in the hands of old banknote collectors.