This morning we were out and about in nearby Bradford-on-Avon. Taking advantage of the sun, I grabbed a few photos:
After getting ashes at church, I stopped in at a small supermarket. At the check-out, the woman cashier – in her late teens to early twenties, I guess – chatted with me briefly. Suddenly, she looked at me a bit strangely.
I’m glad a bunch of you liked yesterday’s post.
I’ve now about finished going through those 1990s 35mm photographs – sifting through them for any that might serve as cover art for the 3rd novel. Of course I won’t use nearly all of them: they may be good shots, but aren’t appropriate for the books. And sometimes I just plain can’t use them: that’s usually when they contain (non-public figures’) easily recognizable faces, and in a couple of instances that’s seriously frustrating stuff because I think they might work well. Ah, c’est la vie.
Regardless I converted a few into .jpg files. I figured just in case I do find I can use them, or even parts of them, I don’t have to go digging them up again later in the year. I thought I’d put up a few more today:
I don’t recall which unit that was. Look closely: there are women in it.
In scoping out potential cover photos for the 3rd book, I paused yesterday to have a dig through old 35mm prints. Remember those (if you’re old enough)? It was called F-I-L-M.
I’d almost forgotten about this one. I can’t believe this is now approaching nineteen years ago. Almost TWO decades!
On Saturday, our ski week in France sadly ended. As all good things do. :-( We flew back to London from Geneva, Switzerland – which is about an hour’s drive from where we’d stayed in La Clusaz.
Geneva Airport isn’t huge. It feels rather “dated” as well. However, it also has corridors covered with wall ads for the likes of wealth management companies, astronomically expensive watches, Dubai, and stuff George Clooney’s hired to endorse; but before we got to any of that, we were in a mob scene at check-in.
In having posted back on Wednesday about those “ghosts” in our lives, one aspect of remembering deserves expanding: it is, we know, music. It stays with us. In many respects, our lives’ passage is marked by a “soundtrack.”
I had one of those experiences sitting in a small restaurant at lunchtime. During our meal, a “background music” radio station blurted out part of Jean-Jacques Goldman’s Quand La Musique Est Bonne. Released in 1982, it was an “oldie” even two decades ago:
I could have dropped my fork. It’s one song that marks, for me, “two decades” ago and especially hereabouts in France. We subsciously associate music with places, people and events to the point that we often barely realize the connection.
Last evening over dinner, our chalet “host with the most” sought to bring together a roughly 10 year old French boy, and two English sisters, who we figure are between about 7 and 10.
They were sitting with their respective parents at tables opposite each other. He gave it his best shot at coaxing them together. The kids did lots of giggling, but that was about all.
Finally he shrugged and declared in his friendly voice loud enough that everyone eating overheard, “I see it all the time. They become friends their last day. That’s sad. It should be from the first day.”
Had a slew of About.me views and new connections in the last few days. I’m still trying to understand what prompts its ebb and flow. Some days so many, others many fewer.
Always intriguing regardless. Some people put A LOT of effort into their profile pages. Makes me feel kinda inferior. ;-)
Actually have time for some writing today. Going to try to take advantage of it. Have a good Friday, wherever you are in the world. :-)
Insofar as writing for the third volume is concerned, this ski holiday has been nearly a disaster. This week, I’ve gotten barely a couple of pages done: honestly less than one decent regular day’s work. However, we’re also having a great time – and, in a sense, I’m getting LOTS of new material I can use once home in England and comfortably at my desk.
The chalet owner is a Belgian, well-spoken in English, and reminds us of something of a cross between a pleasant Gerard Depardieu and my (mischievous glint in the eye) novelist uncle. As you don’t know my uncle, that comparison’s incomplete, but naturally I’ll explain more. ;-)
At breakfast, the owner confirms dinner is acceptable each night. (If anyone objects, the chef will do something else for them.) This morning, as her similarly aged English half was sitting at their table, he asked the 30ish, Scottish, female half who was at the bar getting coffee for herself, “Are you okay with the menu for tonight?” She approved quietly. He followed up by asking playfully, “And your lover? Does he approve it too?”
Her husband at their table next to us turned around to me, embarrassed, smiling, shaking his head. Seeing her expression as she walked back to their table, my wife told me afterwards that her face was bright red as she too embarrassingly grinned.
The owner has told me he used to own an art gallery in Belgium. In the last decade, he has redone what had been a shabby, old chalet. His booming, friendly voice can easily be heard singing or laughing during the day. (We even heard him outside while we were taking a walk our first day.) When I asked him if his chef was French, he joked, “French? No! He’s Belgian too.”
Evenings, they’re assisted by a Polish woman in her early twenties. She speaks French very well (at first we thought she was French until she told us her background), and English passably. The owner clearly relies heavily on her, but she also admits, though, to being a bit accident-prone. “I’ve broken so many wine glasses,” she once laughed to us from behind the bar.
Yes, welcome to France.
The chalet has 14 rooms. The guests so far have been mostly French. But there have been of course some other English-speakers besides ourselves and that English/Scottish couple.
Another, older, Scottish woman, unfortunately took quite a tumble skiing her first day and badly damaged a knee. That ended her skiing week. The other night (her last night), just before dinner, the owner concocted her a drink on the house.
“It’s terrible, she fall on her first day,” he remarked seriously to us. He then winked as he strolled off carrying the sympathetic, surprise glass to her table. “I try to make her feel a bit better.”
Hope you’ve been having a good Thursday, wherever you are. :-)
I got an email yesterday from our former neighbo(u)r in Christchurch, Dorset. Sad news. Another neighbo(u)r, a widowed, later 80s-something Swiss woman we’d all known, died quietly in her sleep at home the other night.
She had been ill for some time, so her death wasn’t a huge surprise. But her passing prompted me into certain thoughts. As you may know, that’s usually dangerous territory.
I was last here in La Clusaz in 2003. Long before that, I knew nearby Grenoble. And Chambery. And Annecy.
We accumulate so much mental “baggage” over the years, don’t we? And we never really entirely forget, do we? Again in a vicnity, much comes rushing back. When one hears, sees, or even scents, we’re struck by a familiarity. You know what I mean? It’s that feeling of visiting an old haunt.
Yet if no one you knew there is around any longer, how does it also feel? Sort of disconcerting. The scenery and towns remain, but all of the people are strangers.
You think back on those you used to know, perhaps pondering on where they are now, and how they are. You may even stop and wonder indeed if they are all still alive? If decades have passed, it’s quite possible some aren’t any longer.
By now you had also already decided to try your hand at writing some novels and infusing them with certain memories of happenings from that old haunt and with those people. And when you find yourself back on that familiar turf, memories may become all the more vivid. In a way, you keep seeing “ghosts.”
If it all gets to be too much, sometimes the best thing we can do, though, is to stop with all of the wondering and introspection….
….and just enjoy dinner. :-)
Not bad to see this first thing in the morning on your phone:
But it has been much sunnier today than that forecast.
There had been heavy snow for about 3-4 days before we arrived on Sunday, but none last night. Currently, I’d say there’s at least 3 feet of it generally. (The town of La Clusaz is at least 4,000 feet high. In comparison, I’d say Windham, NY is about 1,700 feet.) A shot of a lift I took a little while ago, not far from where we are staying:
Oh, like my hat? Yes, I really put this photo on the internet. I must be becoming too comfortable with all of this:
I’m supposed to be writing, mind you. Being creative. Getting on with things.
Not taking ridiculous selfies. ;-)
Far worse would have been the photo I could’ve shared AFTER I’d taken my hat off. I would have frightened most of you. You didn’t deserve that.
One of the main traits of ski resorts is you will always look a bit disheveled. It’s unavoidable. However, I’ve always noticed here especially in the Alps that you must also strive to look smartly disheveled.
That requires a particular skill. A deftness with attire. I’m working on it, but I don’t think I’ve mastered it just yet. :-)