Today is Toussaints – all Saint’s Day and it is a holiday. I was going to go to Amiens today and visit the Jules Verne house. He married a woman from Amiens and then settled there until he died. I never knew that. But being a holiday ( the schools have neen off for 2 weeks, not quite sure why that is) everything will be closed so I will slog away at the computer and go tomorrow.
Halloween is a non-event here. A friend I have made explained to me that they tried to make it like in N.A, tried to commercialize it but the French wouldn’t have it, so ne marche pas – it’s didn’t take off! Everyone seems relieved. Being a bit of a Halloween grinch, I commend their actions!
Now that November has come I’ll have to get organized if I am to see much else around here and even Paris and maybe other cities too. I leave for Penn in Buckinghamshire (30 miles west of London) where my cousins live on the 3oth. I am so settled here in many ways that it seems alarming almost that I have only a month left.
I wished I’d felt like that last week as it was not the best. In retrospect I think I may have had a bug or been abusing my body by drinking too much coffee. Most of last week, I would feel very woozy, shaky, had a stomach upset and was frozen all the time (finally finding a pharmacy that sold hotwater bottles helped). The upshot was I was very tired and very consumed with bodily processes rather than inspired to do much writing which in turn was a bit of a downer. Sunday was a bad day with all of this, the saving grace being Jacques invited me to have lunch with his son, wife and baby and his daughter who were all visiting for the holiday wekend. What interesting and warm people. At one point we sat around the table while I held the baby, Thomas, the son, played the guitar and everyone sang a song. This is how it goes. Everyone sings to one person in turn and sings the same line: Person’s name – I love you. Among my friends you’re the one I will never forget. So when it came to my turn – Diana (and everyone is looking and smiling at me) je t’aime. Parmi mes amis, je ne t’oublie -I could hardly contain my missing of all of you, my family and friends. So after a few tears in my own space, furious writing in my journal and coming upwith the theory that it was the coffee – regular which I never drink – that was the culprit casuing my health to go wonky, everything has gone well. Or it might have been the catharsis of tears and writing!
So yesterday morning, no coffee! And a request in for decaf which arrived this morning. Et Voila no more problems! Plus it was incredibly sunny yesterday so I was warm and when Jacques arrived with an armful of letters written by an Englishman during the 60s and 70s to a person he had met in this village in the month before the Battle of the Somme my day was definitely looking up.These letter ( about 2 dozen of them) were so eoquent and full of the feelingn and experiences of a young man in 1916 who witnessed so much horror. What a treasure and a stroke of luck for me. As Jacques said, “I think you find the right place here, yes?” I was so inspired to write after that. I have 3 chapters mapped out and wrote like a fiend yesterday all day.
In the evening I was invited in for dinner again. So another wonderful evening with good food, wine, new friends, appetizers in front of a fire, and even some real French converation it was a great and fruitful day.
My apologies for not including photos here but I apparently did not pack the cable I need to upload photos from my camera but thanks, Sharon, for the helpful hints anyway.
More writing today and maybe Jules Verne tomorrow.
My heartfelt thanks to all of you who have sent emails and Skyped. It truly is because of you this special time is possible.