I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Signing off French style

FRANCE: SUMMING UP The last day and it's been a mixed bag. Chronic maladies have deflected me from several pastimes. And this time France has existed more as a theory than anything real and touchable. Not surprising. The villa isolates us as does the car and our Britishness.

Too often I have met the French - glancingly - over restaurant meals. There's a repetitive quality about these encounters however desperately I try to break up the rituals. Shopping too: last night I bought six bottles of fizz at a serious cave here in Aniane; attempting to make something (socially, linguistically) out of nothing I ended up insulting the two men working there.

I am pleased at having written 5000 words of the novel but that has little to do with France.

One big plus has been the way my daughter and her husband have cossetted us by taking over much of the drudgery that makes the villa work. Zach, too, has charmed us by his astonishing intellectual progress. Gosh, that sounds perilously like fond grandparent talk. Ugh.

Come on RR, you maudlin old waster. Let's have less of you and more of sturdy if inarticulate Barrett Bonden.

Why not? Driving home yesterday I saw a parked car at the side of the road and a man standing some 5 m away. At some distance I recognised what that car/man relationship meant. Reminded myself that a couple of hours before, at Le Point Sublime (see previous post), I'd experienced a distinctly un-sublime urge and had answered it in the same way. Was glad to do so. Felt enfranchised by that car-driver and a million of his predecessors. Disgusting? Possibly, probably. But damnit, it wasn't British! One reason out of several I holiday in France.


  1. Well, coming back alive and in one piece, wasn't for the want of trying otherwise. I have this lovely image of a maelstrom of hurt, injury and near death - not to mention certain altercations to which no further reference will be made - crossing the soulless land of Francia, with VR sitting at the eye of the storm, quietly reading a book. Bless you VR, that's the way to enjoy a holiday.

  2. Had a good laugh about you leaving your mark at Le Point Sublime.
    Did you do it in French or English?

  3. I know a man who is in love with his car, dotes on it as though it were a girl. Very odd. When I had a car I treated as a means of transport and nothing more.

  4. Tom: At home I lead a quiet, dull anchoritic sort of life devoted these days to writing fiction in the blog as well as the novel. Both are works of invention and I can if I wish travel to the moon in either. But some kind of stimulus can be useful as a reminder about the generalities of human experience: love, gluttony, intoxication, fear, triumph, etc, etc. Thus I have a job to do and am better employed in the driver's or front passenger's seat on the look-out for the harbingers of these other - minor - nineteen Shetland ponies of the Apocalypse, while VR has another job to do (achieving her target of 200-plus books per year) and finds the rear seat a more suitable location for Kindle-gobbling. We are entirely different people as are you and Lucy, neither is necessarily superior to the other.

    Soulless? Well it is a secular republic with supposedly 100% separation between church and state.

    Ellena: I hoped somebody would pick up on my boundary marking but I did write allusively because, by and large, my readership is a polite lot. Thank you for breaking through the reticence gap.

    Joe: But are you sure you aren't guilty of this vice in other areas? eg, nostalgia about cooking utensils, Moleskin notebooks, garden tools, the physical form of books.

    My attitude towards cars is this: the aim should always be to drive a car that is better - technically - than its predecessor. Thus one can warm to the new and beneficial qualities which have the secondary function of turning the earlier car into history. However I must admit that this "progressional" policy took a knock recently since my present car is exactly the same make and model as the one it succeeded. It is simply newer. It could be said I like it for its comparative newness.