The dear old iMac, the one that looks like a pumpkin cut in half, is getting a little sad. I keep it because the screen is a comfortable size and it has an old copy of photoshop which I cannot transfer to a later machine, and I’m damned if I am going to fork out the zillions of bobs they demand for the programme nowadays. So I have been shifting through the piles of images stored thereupon. I don’t know if you have ever embarked on that mission, but is soon becomes a hazy meander through lost memories, a honeyed passing of time.
I have been wondering lately why I am here in this small French town not very far from anywhere really, surrounded by friendly folk who have no connection with me whatsoever. Some of my friends, and I can call them friends, close friends some of them, can casually refer to a great grandfather who lived in a house I have passed a thousand times and never really taken note of, which was left to him by his grandfather. They mention this in a casual conversation, perhaps regarding the butcher that used to be in the same street, little caring that they are talking about events that happened two hundred years ago. This fact has no relevance to their line of thought, it is of no importance if it was yesterday or the century before the last, it is just their daily existence, just part of the fabric that makes up their lives. It is then that I realise I am not from here. I have no memory, direct or passed down that equates to the house down the road that was ………..
So I question myself, do I belong here? Or perhaps, most disturbingly, where do I belong? In fact does it matter? Perhaps not, there are many millions of people who have no roots where they live and a completely content with the fact. I am of that frame of mind, but I still find I am floating in the little bubble where my friends have anchors to the place that can be traced back centuries and I do not.
It was with great joy therefore when I found photos that gave me a sense of belonging and I will drag some of them out to bore you with my memories. This first one is of summertime in France, when it is best to be in the cool of an old building and even better to have a friend bring in a carafe of wine from the sun soaked courtyard. Not long now till summer.