Gloomy weather.

IMGP7204There is no doubt about it, I am suffering from the absence of sunshine.

I await the arrival of the first flower of spring like a bird waiting to migrate……………I keep looking at the sky for a hint. I better concentrate on some writing, this is doing me no good at all.

Why am I here? What is it all about? Etc.

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.Tom 2001

Local criminals

If you want some light reading the local newspaper’s criminal court proceedings take some beating. This week they reported on some guy who used a false identity card and stolen cheque book to buy 15,000€ worth of bits and bobs. In his defence he said he was in need of a few small items. It’s all in the perception I suppose. As a defence it didn’t do him any good, he got two years.

You wouldn’t believe it if I wrote it.


A robber sporting a monster revolver, false moustache and wig was caught after robbing several shops in our local regional centre of Blois by police. They had been watching a suspect closely for some time because of his expertise in this type of crime and on checking his bank account found he made the elementary mistake of paying his takings directly into his bank account after each heist. He should have known better because he was the ex-crime reporter on the regional rag, the Nouvelle Republique. Now I would never dare write that into a book.

For art lovers everywhere.

For art lovers everywhere.

I have been up in Paris for a bit and had the great pleasure to have some very old friends from the teenage years to stay. He is an ‘artist’ in the sense that he paints and has taught art after art college. So he has accreditation as it were, unlike us folk who do it coz it is one of the things we like to do but would never dare to call ourselves artists. Make sense? I doubt it.

Well he has been a bit under the weather, poor dear, and now is back on track and needs to put a bit of weight on (ah the iniquity of it) and also nourish the brain. So we did the cultural bit!

The musée d’Orsay had a bash on showing what the male form looks like to artists who evidently love the male body and some who looked as though they didn’t. I had missed the equivalent expo on the female form, so much the pity if it took the same format. I don’t know about you lads out there, but I find only mild pleasure in inspecting my body in the mirror. In the mist of the shower perhaps I catch the magic of adonis through the plate glass and steam as I bellow a couple of verses of “Ol’ Man River”, but I rush past the detail when drying off.

Well there were no such inhibitions evident at that showing, I warned his wife to beware of overheating, however her reaction was that it was aimed at a different gender. I admit to a mildly uncomfortable reaction myself, which is surprising seeing I went to a boys boarding school.

Still good fun was had by all and we went on to get a good dose of Braque at the Grand Palais. Now I know it is a hackneyed phrase but I know what I like. Now this guy started out with life in his guts and went for it, then, for me he got stuck and got no further than when he was hanging around with Picasso and became an intellectual’s ideal of an artist. There now I will probably get hate mail.

Still a good expo and we enjoyed it, even if I got bored after two thirds. I’m a Neanderthal. Besides his colours got more and more DULL!

It was good for my old mate, he started eating and filled out noticeably even in the short time they were with us.

So back in the country for ten days, some planning permission jobs to catch up on and back to Paris for a week, where my new coat is waiting for me to go and have its final fitting. It better be good because it will have to last me the rest of my lifetime.