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Monday, 30 June 2014

Monday 30th June 2014

Went round to Karl's today to check on Gertrude. Funny to see her swimming around the lake, she seems to be having a great time. Karl showed me a rare chest of drawers he's working on which he picked it up for fifty Euros at a house sale near Quimper. He told me the maker's name but I can't remember now - must ask again when I see him. At some stage it had been painted white. He's now removed half of it away and the wood is a deep rich mahogany.
We had a coffee in his old farmhouse kitchen and I mentioned about the problems I'm having with my car. I also said about Laura having to meet Laura in St Malo. He said he has to go to Dinan on that day to pick up some furniture from a manoir and so he offered to drive me up there if I didn't mind helping load up the van - so relieved.
Rodrigo phoned this morning to arrange a band practice. He and Tatiana are still living on the campsite. Can't be easy for them there; very crowded in the summer. He's desperate for some gigs, even though he's a very good drummer. Said he'll contact Ines and Alexander and try and arrange an evening practice, over at Alexander's place. (He must still have his kit there).
Spent this evening looking at Laura's suggestions for the blurb. Sent her a couple of e-mails. It'll be so much easier discussing things face to face. 

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Thursday 26th June 2014

When I got back from visiting visiting Karl yesterday I tried to put Amatore's Restaurant onto Kindle; got so frustrated that I had to take a break and go out for a beer. Managed to get to the village in the car, despite the clunking sound - seems to be getting louder.
The bar was packed out, of course I hadn't realised France were playing Ecuador. Put up with some good natured teasing from Pascal about Les Anglais and the state of the England team. Jean-Luc was there, drinking on his own, eyes glued to the television screen. I bought him a beer and went along with him when he mentioned l'oie. I'm going to have to tell him Gertrude has escaped, or maybe I'll have to buy a ready prepared goose for the dinner and pass it off as Gertrude.
I was thinking about Laura's visit quite a lot today. She's coming over on the boat from Portsmouth. Checked the distance from here to St Malo on the internet: 158 km which works out at about 98 miles. But not sure the car will make it that far. I could ask that guy, Michel, at the garage in Lorient to take a look, but I've got a feeling it's going to cost a bit.

Can't work out how to get my Amatore's Restaurant contents page from OpenOffice onto Kindle. I managed it with the Five Interludes - can't see what the problem is? (There's no way I can afford Microsoft Office). It's driving me crazy! 

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Wednesday 25th June 2014

Solange brought Karl around this morning to take Gertrude to her new home. After several chases round the house and garden we bundled her into the back of his battered old van. On the way Karl told me about his travels, back-packing through India, Vietnam and Thailand and later living in Canada for two years. I told him about my time at sea and Brazil. He speaks fluent English, which certainly makes things easy for me.
When we reached his lovely old farmhouse, I carried Gertrude out to the lake and set her down. Several ducks were on the water and a group of geese at the edge eyed him suspiciously. Gertrude pretended to ignore them and Karl assured me they would all be the best of friends by tomorrow.
Karl is a carpenter and also restores antique furniture. He showed me his workshop where he has a beautiful pair of 18th Century armchairs which he's working on. He already has a buyer for them. He told me how he built and installed all the kitchen cabinets in Pieter and Solange's kitchen. We had a coffee and after watching Gertrude take her first dip in the lake he drove me back home.
Didn't get much work done this afternoon but feeling relieved now Gertrude's found a good home.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Monday 23rd June 2014

Started reading through my Hove novel today. After about an hour it was so hot indoors I opened the front door to let the breeze in. Gertrude came stomping through and started eating Coco's biscuits. Had to shoo her away and shut her out, she then started banging against the door. Probably thinks I'm her mum.
Paul (from the gite) came over. I'd told him last night he could come round to try out my piano if he wanted. He's a visiting music professor at l'Ecole Normale in Paris and plays piano and violin. He certainly plays Debussy well! He wanted to run through a piece (l'Isle Joyeuse) which he will be playing for a recital when he returns to Paris.
He asked me about my writing and said his his wife would love to write a book. He said she has so many ideas but never gets any further than the second chapter. I asked him what he liked to read but he told me he never has any time for anything other than teaching and playing. Managed most of the conversation in French - must be Paul has more patience than most. 
Sat out in the garden this evening and read some more of Hangover Square. Such a brilliant portrayal of obsession. What a monster Netta is! 

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Sunday 22nd June 2014

Had a good time last night. The neighbour's bonfire was impressive. Pieter told me Solange thinks it's important to keep local traditions going. Told Pieter about Stonehenge and the celebrations there, he doesn't think they have anything like that in Holland. Don't know if they've got any celebrations up in the village, but must be some in Carnac.

Chatted to the couple staying at the gite with their little toddler, they live in Paris and both speak good English. Solange had made plenty of food, warm baguettes, chicken, prawn and cheese dips. Whilst Pieter kept everyone's glass filled. So lucky to have good landlords.
Solange asked about Gertrude (she's obviously seen her honking away). Tried to explain, but my French wasn't up to it. Had to get Pieter to help out. Turns out they know someone with a lake who might be willing to take her on. They said he's already got some geese. Thank goodness! Just hope it'll be a good home for her.

Managed to work through Laura's revisions for the Toby story. Feeling very positive about the book. Nice to get back to historical fiction - one area which really interests me, although does involve so much work with all the research. Can't imagine what it must have been like for writers before the internet. 

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Saturday 21st June 2014

Hoped to get lots of work done this morning but constantly interrupted by Gertrude's hysterical honking. I managed to revise the first two chapters of the Toby story; still think there are a lot more changes to be made. Sent the revisions to Laura just before 2.00 pm. Have to wait and see what she says.
Gertrude seems intent on terrorising Coco but the cat doesn't seem to be bothered at all; just sits twitching his tail with eyes fixed on his prey. Gave Gertrude a bowl of cereal which she snorted up happily. No idea what I'm going to tell Jean-Luc. Does he really imagine I could kill her? I could tell him she's escaped, I suppose. 
I noticed a unusual butterfly this morning near my front door; beautiful colours. Wanted to take some photos of it but just remembered my camera's broken. I found a picture in the internet which looks very similar, but there wasn't any information about it. 

Played a few jazz pieces this evening. Think the piano needs tuning; too expensive to do anything about it at the moment. Might include Smoke Gets in Your Eyes to my pad next time I play at the restaurant. Pleased with the way it sounds. Always liked the version Roxy Music did back in the seventies. Funny to think that I was in Somerset at the time (trying to make a living from painting watercolour landscapes -- must have been mad). Should really get some of them out and put them up on the wall; a bit of nostalgia (shame I sold most of the best ones).

Solange came over and invited me to their firework celebrations tonight (see: Feux de la Saint Jean). Forgot it was the Summer Solstice.  

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Wednesday 18th June 2014

Woke up to hissing sounds this morning. Then I remembered -- Gertrude! I got up and looked out the bedroom window and there she was, strutting around the front garden with Coco meowing and watching from a safe distance. I can't ask Jean-Luc to take her back. I never thought he'd bring me a live goose for the dinner.
Last night when he arrived dragging the thing along on one of Bruno's old leads, I was stunned. I've never seen Jean-Luc so pleased with himself. Like a complete idiot, I ended up taking the bird and thanking him. Didn't have the heart to refuse.
Still trying to think of a title for my anthology. Laura's sent me a few suggestions. Sitting out in my little garden with the geraniums thinking about her suggestions.
So hot today, hope it cools down tonight. Gertrude drove me mad this afternoon honking and hissing. Maybe I'll be forced to assassinate her if she carries on. Hope she doesn't bother my landlords too much. Must remember to ask Solange if I can borrow her vacuum cleaner before Laura arrives. 

Had two slices of my chocolate and coffee cake. Excellent! 

Monday, 16 June 2014

Monday 16th June 2014

Not sure about the cover illustration for my short anthology. I need something which has the right colour tone and style. Laura's revisions have arrived, not too much to alter. Her main point concerned the chronology in one of the stories (Neighbours). She pointed out that two of them are ghost stories and wrote to ask if this is a subject which particularly interests me. I can't deny that the whole subject of the supernatural does interest me, but so do many other subjects. Right now, I've been thinking more about writing a story from the point of view of a psychopath.
Took the Peugeot out this afternoon. Went to the village, got some bread and rolls from the boulangerie and then stopped for an espresso in the café-bar. The television was on as usual. The Pascal and his daughter were cooking and serving. So hungry, I ordered a croque monsieur which was very good. I didn't talk much to Pascal (he speaks too fast), just made a few comments about the weather.

The Peugeot's developed a new noise; a sort of clunk-clunk sound. Just hope it holds out for Laura's visit. 

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Thursday 12th June 2014

Woke up around 5.30 this morning. My first thought was of two of my characters, Luisa and Mercè. I can't think why it was those two. I must have been dreaming about them. I'm so relieved to have finished the book but the characters stay with me.
Still trying to work out the best way to get my short stories onto Amazon Kindle. I'm not exactly a computer wizard and not having Microsoft Office makes things difficult. There must be some advice on the internet somewhere. I'll have to just keep looking.
Got so fed up with it all I went out for a walk around the lanes. Chatted to Jean-Luc who was still painting his fence. Why on earth did I ask him to dinner next week - he never says much, just stares at everyone. I'm not too sure what Jean-Luc was saying about the dinner, he doesn't speak any English and my French is not so good. Bruno, followed me half-way down the lane, tail wagging, as if he was desperate for a bit of company. Must remember to send Laura an e-mail to find out what she does and doesn't like to eat. 

My herbs are coming along well, cluttering up my hallway. The Basil especially is doing well. Must look up some Breton soup recipes where I could use them.