The La Clusaz Chalet: A Year On

The chalet staff is much the same as last year. The major change is the young Polish woman who worked in the bar, and whose French was so good we’d initially thought she was French, is gone. She had told us the job was only a stopgap until she got one in her field, so her departure isn’t a shock. (I don’t remember her field, but she was a recent graduate.) A similar aged Frenchwoman is in her role now.

Looking out from La Clusaz, on Monday. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Looking out from La Clusaz, on Monday. [Photo by me, 2016.]
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And Where The Heck Is That Accent From Exactly?

At Swiss border control at Geneva Airport yesterday, I ended up within earshot of a “middle aged” American woman as I heard her explaining herself to the border agent. Apparently he had questioned her as to why she was in Switzerland. She stumbled a bit over words as she replied that she was here for a week’s vacation and lived in London.

Before she even said “London,” I’d had a feeling that was her “home.” For years I’ve heard her “accent” on most Americans long-resident here. The exception seems to be if they hail from the Deep South: that American accent seems to take a little longer to “Anglicize.”

Corner of my UK driving licence. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Corner of my UK driving licence. [Photo by me, 2016.]

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Escape To Haute-Savoie

Good grief, it’s so early! We’re up at this time because we’re going across to France from this morning until Saturday – to La Clusaz in the Alps. After all that’s sadly happened since October, we can use a getaway to a gorgeous spot and this one more than fits the bill:

Street in La Clusaz, France. [Photo by me, 2015.]
Street in La Clusaz, France. [Photo by me, 2015.]

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Under The Streetlights

We’ve moved around so much in recent years our dog now lives with my in-laws. While walking him last night, I snapped this guy slinking around under the streetlights. You see them all the time after dark in outer London (the other night, I saw two of them together), and they always keep an eye on you from a safe distance:

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Geography Questions (With No Incorrect Answers)

Good morning! A group participation post. Don’t you just hate those?

Don’t groan, I won’t be going around “the room” looking to each of you individually, putting you on the spot. No need to avert your eyes or slide down in your chair; there are no wrong answers to these two simple questions. You may share your replies in the comments if you wish – which would seem obvious, I suppose, given naturally I can’t compel you to answer, of course. ;-)

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Letter To 230 Years Ago

Outside of Bristol England 22nd January 2016

DEAR SIR

I write to you in the 18th century thinking I might dispatch this to you in Nantes post restrante, but we don’t do that commonly in our time & consigning it to the English mail is not what I wished to do either not because it will be opened and read by some scoundrel as in your time but because now the price of a letter has become so great as to cause one to need to secure a bank loan first & you are long dead anyway. I have decided it is best placed on our inter-net which is easily found & we accept our governments to-day read every thing we write on there. Centuries passing have not changed everything.

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Were Those Corpses Driving Motorcycles?

I watch new films only intermittently. Looking for something last night, we all agreed to try Mad Max: Fury Road. As it started, I joked, “Remember, it’s Oscar nominated….”

Uh, we managed about 15 minutes of it before all four of us gave up. (For one, it was the second time he’d tried to sit through it.) I’m sorry, “Best Picture?” Seriously?

We’ve seen a “diversity controversy” erupt around the Academy Awards as well. I haven’t followed it closely, other than I’ve noticed it argued the films Creed and/or Concussion should have been nominated for “Best Picture,” and that African-American actors have been largely ignored in other categories. I haven’t seen either film, but frankly, given that Mad Max was nominated, it seems indefensible one of those wasn’t.

Free Stock Photo: Illustration of film.
Free Stock Photo: Illustration of film.

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Telephone Time Again

I dread this: I have to call Dad in Pennsylvania – I haven’t spoken to him in about 5 days. I want to work as usual of course, but my mind will be pre-occupied until I get this over with once more. I can’t really ring him before 12 noon UK time.

My phone, and a coffee, a little while ago. [Photo by me, 2016.]
My phone, and a coffee, a little while ago. [Photo by me, 2016.]

For all the years I’ve been living over here, in fact since I was a college kid, my mother was the one with whom I did most of the parental talking on the phone. She was the center of it all: information was shared with her, and she then told him. Only rarely did I talk to him for any length of time; he was never a big phone user.

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South Gloucestershire At Dusk

We were in Chipping Sodbury earlier. Just prior to sunset (about 4:30), I grabbed this photo of the parish church:

Dusk over Chipping Sodbury. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Dusk over Chipping Sodbury. [Photo by me, 2016.]

I try to avoid acting too much like an American. I’ve been here for over 16 years, and I want to be a British citizen someday. Yet I admit I still do have an occasional “silly” moment….

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The Evolution Of A Routine

Well, I’ve got the Google+ page up and running. (With a bit of help! Thank you, Adele!) Setting it up jogged my memory back to this post from what now seems so long ago December 2013. In it (back when almost no one was reading this blog! ;-) ), I wrote in part:

….Having previously worked in education, and then as a consultant, I have been used to working on my own and sometimes at home. While writing fiction is new to me, my new routine is not much different from previous ones.

A long-published writer relation of mine years ago told me he even found it difficult to avoid being bothered during the day. The assumption was that, being home, he must be “available.” He reached the point where he would rarely answer the phone (his answering machine always picked up), and never answered his door. “If I was in an office somewhere,” he said, “I wouldn’t be home to answer the door. When I’m working, I’m not here.”

He would write early in the day, and then head out to the gym or meet friends, and then return home to write more in the afternoon. It worked for him. That was also then pre-social media….

That “long-published writer relation” was, of course, my now late uncle. I remember visiting with him a bunch of times when I was a graduate student – when the rest of the “adult-world” was mostly out at their places of employment. I recall too how my now late mother used to poke fun at “Hemingway” (her nickname for him): “Is he actually writing anything?!”

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