Dear Mum and Dad,
It’s been a while since I wrote. I’m flat out drinking in views like this one taken on a misty morning at sunrise from the Juliet balcony of my new home:
I’m drinking a local cab franc from Bourgueil. It’s a bit like a pinot noir – I’m quite enjoying it now that I’m used to it. The sacrifices I make. My accomplished landlady/hostess is playing piano in her lounge room and the sound is drifting up to my loft. We are a very civilised pair of single ladies; she more so than me – she’s learning cello so she can play her mother’s magnificent instrument, she is perfectly bilingual in French and English and just read Harry Potter in Spanish. So you see what I’m up against.
No Euronews for over a week now and I do love it. But I’m making do with the full series of Breaking Bad which is an American HBO series (I think) so has some merit but you two would HATE it. However it has saved my square-eyed bacon in this television-free zone thus far.
I’ve been in France for just over a month and I’ve had a couple of revelations of late: I must change my routine to allow for early morning writing (which was always my intention but then early mornings here are when everyone in Oz is up and about and wanting to talk via Viber etc.) Non non et non! I must stop that and my early morning walk. That can become a late morning walk.
I tested the new regime out today and it worked a treat. I walked to Cinais for some fresh bread and dropped in at the Rabelais Museum on the way home. A round trip that took many hours but I had already put in the hard yards on the writing front so was and am feeling quite virtuous. And this was the payoff:
I’m just behind the chateau. My other revelation was as regards speaking French. I can go for days without speaking French so I’m just not that good at it. My friend who’s living in Paris goes to French conversation class every weekday morning. It gives him something to do other than lounge around and eat. It doesn’t appear to have done a THING for his accent. I thank Miss Foon for my ‘perfect French accent’ according to one shopkeeper – but then I was about to hand over copious euros so he would say that wouldn’t he?
In fairness to my friend in Paris, he came late to French so well done that man.
He is one of that breed (to whom some English people over here belong) who speak French as though it’s English spelt funny. And don’t seem to hear the difference. It reminds me of that nice piano teacher of mine – the one who lived on Glenferrie Rd. He said I had the knack of knowing when I played something incorrectly – for all the good it did me. I have asked my hostess for her suggestion of someone to speak French with me a couple of times a week on a paid basis. It’s money well-spent and won’t be anything like the squillions my Parisian mate is spending.
Tomorrow I go to Avrille – an hour’s drive from here – to hear my first hostess singing Vivaldi with her choir in some gorgeous little church or other. On Monday weather permitting she and I are going to the market at Lencloître – an hour in another direction. It’s a monthly market where you can buy chooks, donkeys etc. Helen got her girls (and Ivan the rooster) from there. Luckily I’m keeping my perfect hours – 6am to 9pm – and have never slept better. So I’m alarmingly energetic.
Hope Melbourne wins – whoever they are – and the Hawks don’t disgrace themselves. And that’s as much concession as I’m prepared to make to the illness that seems to grip all the other members of the family. Some more than others and of course depending on the success rate.