Another Valentine’s Is Here

Good morning! Well, it’s *that* day once more:

Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a red rose.
Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a red rose.

As a man, you suppose you face expectations. What to do? More importantly, what does she expect? Above all, how do you show her how much you care?:

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Recovery Mode

Over dinner last night here in London, without warning my mother-in-law observed that she believes the week over in France helped me a lot. She remarked that she felt all I’d gone through with my mother’s and my uncle’s deaths in October and the weeks after in the U.S. trying to cope with the aftermath, particularly with my dad’s grief over Mom, had naturally tired me out. She believed that stress had been showing on my face (in a weariness), but felt I now looked better than I’d had in months.

Naturally only others really know what I “look like,” but, yes, I said, I’d loved last week; that I like France goes without saying, but that visit had been a true distraction. It had been fun, restful, and taken my mind largely off the sadness on the other side of the Atlantic. Relaxing lunches like this certainly played a part:

A French pizza. A lunch last week. [Photo by me, 2016.]
A French pizza. A lunch last week. [Photo by me, 2016.]

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How “Happy” Are You?

I must admit I’m in a pretty good mood this morning. My moment of “inspiration” on the road the other day has indeed led to what I had hoped it would. While still in its early stages, the new manuscript is up and running: I finally have the handle on it I desperately needed.

So I do now feel I can indeed write this “different” novel. I believe I should be able to take what had been up to now vague and disjointed story ideas that had been bouncing around in my head and slowly convert them into a form that might make readers, uh, “happy.” Does that make me “happy”?

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“A Frenchwoman in a car….”

During our La Clusaz chalet stay last week, my wife told me she had had a pre-ski chat with a Frenchwoman in the boot room. When my wife’s French finally proved unequal to the Frenchwoman’s, she admitted it. The woman broke into English and continued the conversation. Eventually I came up when the woman (who had seen us together at meals) asked, “Where is your husband?”

“He’s writing,” my wife said she’d explained. “He’s a writer and gets inspiration here.”

Yet “inspiration” sometimes appears from the strangest of directions. A couple of days later after we checked out, we were sort of surprised to find the driver waiting to take us back to Geneva Airport was not the limo guy who’d dropped us. Instead, it was a woman of about 40.

Screen capture: La Clusaz to Geneva.
Screen capture: La Clusaz to Geneva.

As we headed off in her immaculate, small SUV, softly spoken she too revealed she spoke English well. She became easily the chattiest airport driver we’d ever recalled having in France. Soon she was on about the region, the weather, the lack of snow, the scenery….

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“So who would you live with if I died tomorrow?”

My octogenarian in-laws have been thinking more than ever about what happens after one of them dies. After dinner last night, around the table a discussion arose among the four of us about their London house, and where would the survivor live, etc. My father now living without my mother in the same house they had bought together in Pennsylvania, and what he is going through as a widower, was the main immediate conversational catalyst.

However, my father-in-law insisted several times on taking matters too lightly for my mother-in-law’s taste. At one point, she put him on the spot: “Don’t joke,” she admonished him as he chuckled. “What will happen to you if I go first like Robert’s mum? You’re useless. You can’t do anything for yourself. You couldn’t live alone….”

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Recollections Of Spectre

I’ve seen all of the Daniel Craig James Bond films in cinemas. With Spectre, though, I hadn’t had a chance. Last night, we finally got to a showing before it finished its run.

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If you haven’t seen it and are interested in what happens, the first thing I feel I must point out is that it went by so quickly I’m not sure I recall some of it. If you have seen it, you may double-check my recollection below – if *you* remember it any better than I do. ;-)

WARNING HUGE SPOILERS:

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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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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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“International Relations”

I want to share a great find with you: Adele Archer’s blog. She is author of International Relations, and well-worth following:

Screen capture of Amazon.com.
Screen capture of Amazon.com.

Read the full book description. Of course, you’d suspect I’d like that. And considering you’re here, I figured you would as well. ;-)

An amusing coincidence: last year, although neither of us knew the other existed, we’d lived only a few miles apart in the West Country (in England). She’s in Bath:

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