Thursday, 30 August 2012

A Life In Harness

Ding bloody dong
Finally the hands of the church clock are counting down the last hours of my freedom in my wonderful home in France. The U.K school bus awaits my tender touch. The final apero hour with neighbours approaches. Starlings click and whistle their autumn castle tower census. Why do they gather up into flocks like this? Is it just to count each other? Is it to see who has the most iridescent show off feathers?

OK, I know my life is wonderful and undeserved. Millions of folk live short lives and find no reward, let alone a proper diet. We all want more I guess.

Lucky the blinkers hid the romantic novelist rolling on the ground.
My last postcard from the paradise of Saint Savinien Sur Charente embodies my own sentiments as I return to toil. Because of the narrow streets and alleys, the bin trucks are of little use. The answer is simple and noble. You use a horse. A couple of days ago as I went to the boulangerie, I came across a beautiful grey mare pulling the town refuse trailer. I asked the driver for his name and he told me in French style "She is female." Well, to honest, I had not inspected the gender department of the beast for fear of being over inquisitive. The driver understood my Anglo Cavalleria Rusticana ignorance and told me the name which was something like "Chiche-Noix". I did not like to ask again and in any case they clip clopped off into the distance. If you look at the photos you will also the bin man's mate who is a dog. I did not ask for its name but a working title is Fido. 
He is a She Madame!

Does anyone actually call their dog Fido?

It was a beautiful morning and a lovely sight. The beast only does two days a week and I did not ask if he closes down every day for a three hour lunch. I hope he does!

And on the subject of long lunches, Anglo-Americano Shoppers will thrill to the news that more and more French supermarkets are staying open all day. If you hate crowded shops; go at lunch time. The only customers will be Brits. The check-out girls all look like they have lost the will to live and cluster at the end of the tills for a kind of low calorie chat-lunch. I think they should return to the proper French lunch break. Anyway - who needs all this stuff?

Emma thinx: There's no such thing as a free lunch, but there's still liberty at lunchtime.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Night Time Post Card from Saint Savinien

I'm still here in my beloved Saint Savinien Sur Charente. I know that beyond my time horizon lurks the cold darkness of the British winter. The swallows almost hovered in my face today as I walked up the narrow road past the castle. A journey lies ahead for them and now they must risk and gorge to put in the calories that will sustain their fragile lives on their pitiless migration south. I do know profoundly that all for my huff and puff, one of their lives values no less than mine and I have lived and gorged for so long.

I am posting a few pictures of the town at night. The Mayor, Monsieur Godineau, has pushed through a massive project to turn the town into something of a unique spectacle. I always have an admiration for folks who can do this kind of thing. Take a look and judge for yourselves.

As a writer, I guess that the thing I admire most about writing is a book that makes me forget about writing. I have just finished reading "Rebels On the Mountain" by Jack Durish. It is a ripping yarn about adventures during the Cuban revolution, a love story, a deeply educational piece of history and beautifully written and researched. To save repeating myself, here is my full Amazon review.

I have no hesitation at giving this book five stars. It is one of those stories that gives you a fix of everything. Having been born too late to be aware of the Cuban Revolution and all that followed it, I found this book to be educational and fascinating. Clearly the narrative owes a lot to careful research and also the military experience of the author. Beyond history, there is the fleshing out of historical figures and of course a part for Ernest Hemingway. In amongst all of this is a strong love story of Nick and Lucia set against the background of the period and confronting racial attitudes of the time. As I reached the last words of the book and I began to think of the review, I realised that I had hardly noticed that I had been reading and had not paused to take note of the style. The book romps along and reads itself as it goes. Whether it is an adventure, romance, history or everything combined, it was a joy to read.

Here are the links:

Emma thinx: Labour bears fruit, but not always the juice. 

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Flower Power

I cycled through empty untroubled roads from Saint Savinien to the nearby town of St.Jean D'Angely. The cereal harvest is in and ricks of straw create a temporary landmarks of corner and shadow. In France, when a field is fallow, self-seeded wild flowers are allowed to bloom. Just imagine if we left people fallow now and then and let them bloom! 

This truly is a wonderful land where growing things grow and grow as if with joy to be pushing up and yelling out their beauty. So, I'm putting up some flower power pix to pass on their cavalcade of ecstasy. 

In the town I saw a young guy making a film. Being the nosey old moo that I am, I went and asked him what was going on. It turned out that he was a Brit doing a promo for the village and its attractions. We had a bit of a chat and he told me he had just finished a music video for a fantastic yet unsigned group from North Carolina called "Steel Standing". It seems there is some competition to choose the best edit. Anyway, I checked out his film.  The music has stuck in my head and is driving me crazy because I keep singing it (wrongly I think). The problem is that on first hearing I thought the lyric went "A naked man is on this train and I don't think that I can make it through...." Have a listen and see what you think. If you like the show please click the LIKE button and help out all these young folk. Do you ever get song lyrics wrong? Does anyone ever get them totally right?

Emma thinx: Will the flowers always bloom their forgiveness?

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Colin and Coline

Colin (wearing the rings) and Coline in post coital pose
Anyone who read my recent post about the lost racing pigeon must be wondering what has happened since. The first thing is that I named the pigeon Colin because French for a dove is une colombe. I am sure that Colin is English because he's got that kind of sandals and socks Brit abroad look about him. 

Fellow bird lovers - I have great news. Colin has found Coline, a young local pigeon who was born here last year. Today, I spotted them shagging on a 15th century rafter in my barn. My guess is that pigeons have bobbed, cooed and spread their feathers in a mating flap on that beam since the time of "Green Gallant" king of France Henry IV.
A bird called Colin

At first it was just regular cooing but you get to know the sounds of love when you hang about in old French barns. So, I climbed up with my camera to be certain that it was indeed Colin. In the end I managed to get a shot of his rings, which of course, are not worn by local peasants. It looks to me as if he's gonna  see out his mortal span in Saint Savinien. And I sure don't blame him! Somewhere in't north of England, a pigeon fancier is scanning the darkening dusk willing his bird to clock in. Colin shrugs and shags.

Now, I am a francofilly if ever there was one. All the same, I'm not sure that they always drive as safely and wisely as possible....need I say more? A couple of days ago I was on my bike in a nearby town and spotted the driver of a car about to pull off. It's all done by smell.....

Emma thinx: When you get tired of flying - wing it.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The Fatkins Diet

Titanic cheese about to strike apple-berg
Ok - I'm a bit of a mug sometimes. I do so want to be nice and kind to everyone....(Well, let's leave my ex husband's mother out of this. Actually, once I found I could sweeten her up by sitting her down with a lemon to suck we got on quite well). 

I went to La Foire Aux Vins in my home of Saint Savien. This is a kind of wine tasting hard-sell for people who know far more about wine than me. In addition to wine, there is cheese. Yes Gromit; cheese! Now everyone knows about cheese don't they. It is that slimming product famous for being the perfect companion to Cognac or a glass of heart saving vin rouge. 

So lovely I could cry....and I do!
O! live live live
The wonderful peasant Fromagesse (don't worry, I made it up) behind the stall counter placed her revolutionary French guillotine  tool on a block of cheese which looked like it had once been the corner stone of the Roman Empire. First she indicated a possible chunk of about the size of Scotland, but I realised that the Romans had been so terrified of their untethered skirt covered ginger genitals, they actually built a wall to keep them out. 

Little by little she placed her blade on smaller and smaller chunks until it was about the size of The Titanic. I nodded agreement, feeling so mean and unkind that I only wanted such a small sliver. She reminded me that this was genuine cheese made from the milk of magical mountain top cows who would only release the gold of their udders for re-sale to a woman of the finest beauty and taste. Hmm - lucky I showed up! 

I plucked up courage to ask what it was. She drew a deep breath and uttered the magic word "Cantal" and I recoiled in puzzlement, handed over 30 Euros and staggered on clutching my brick of magical mountain cholesterol. Luckily I was able to purchase a decent brandy to accompany it so that the alcohol will wipe out any ill effects. To balance the whole matter I bought a selection of goat, donkey and wild boar sausage. I'm gonna call it the Fatkins diet.
Village des fleurs et du ciel, Utter utter JOY!

Seriously though, my fellow bon viveurs, France is the place for flavour and savour. To convince you of the absolute need you have in your life to come to Saint Savinien Sur Charente I'm posting a few photos today to show you what you are missing. Bon Apetit mes amis.
Old goats still make a stiff sausage

Before I go I must share with you a complaint about the standard of modern spelling and grammar. A fine upstanding gentleman has taken the trouble to ask me on Facebook if I wish to see his very large Denis. Seemingly my new profile picture has interested him enough to dub me as "Senior but Sexy". He is obviously a very inexperienced young man because ladies of my age know only too well that senior IS sexy. I'm sure that given time, his friend Denis will develop enough shades of grey to play in the senior leagues.

Emma thinx: Take the die out of diet and it's time for tea.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Mon Ami Le Pigeon Voyageur

What else is there to share with friends than the moment? Anything longer is contrived.

Homing pigeon - you can just see the leg ring on the right.
This evening in my French garden a lost homing pigeon has arrived and is perching on a beam in the barn. I guess by his accent he is English. Every few minutes he takes off and circles the town before being drawn back by some invisible magnet as sticky as the human soul to the beam in my barn. He/she is lost and miles from home. Maybe in the dawn the bird will find the way or maybe it will die, confused and alone. 

This life is a concoction of unseen beauty and unacknowledged suffering. Fly little bird. Please find your way home.

Emma thinx: Home - what the homeless have not. 

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

A Life On The Tiles

My Life on the tiles in deepest France
Summertime and the living is easy. Oh yes - you can't keep a good old hedonist down. Someone - take command, put away the sun, chain me to the desk, hide the oysters and the scent of roses on the Quai des Fleurs. Flatten the surf, sour the wine, give me guilt without guilty pleasure. I suppose I could see it all as research particularly when it's the first Wednesday and time for the Insecure Writers Support Group.

Well, perhaps it will be cloudy tomorrow. If something does not intervene then this is how things will end, in the late warm air from the South, glass raised to the moon in the dark star stabbed sky. 
There are mosquitoes, cellulite and sunburn of course. I think this is the path to tread back to work. I have been writing a fairy story in the way that hedonist romantics write - kinda in the head a bit. It will hit the page today I promise.

So, pretty insecure I guess and made even worse by the book I'm reading. It has galloped off like a full frontal sexy romance which had me considering what time I could get my man to bed. There's only one problem - the author is a bloke, un homme, a guy. Yes, it looks like the old monopoly might be slipping away. Now THAT does make me feel insecure. Better double up on the wine and chocolate - just to get some extra passion in the mix. The book is "The Gaze" by Javier A. Robayo.  I'll just have to finish it and the sun is warm on the Terrasse. As soon as I'm feeling secure enough I'll post a review. I think it will be hot.

Emma thinx: You get more sex out of a good book than there is in it.