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Friday, 29 August 2014

Friday 29th August: Contes d'Ankou‏

I was busy editing the last section of my interview this morning when Celine turned up. She had just been to care home in the area; interviewing the residents about Breton folklore, recording their stories from childhood.
While I made coffee she told me about the legend of Ankou who she dramatically described as the personification of death.

He appears as a tall, thin man wearing a long black coat and a wide-brimmed hat which covers his face. He has a cart pulled by two black horses; one young and strong, the other old and thin. Two skeletons walk behind, tossing souls into the back of the cart. Celine told me how many of the residents were familiar with a story of three friends who came across Ankou when they were on their way home after a night of drinking. Two of them threw stones at his cart, breaking the axle, then ran away, leaving the third friend to help fix the damage. Finding a branch he replaced the broken axle and gave Ankou his shoelaces to tie it to the cart. The following morning the two friends who had ran away were both found dead. The one who helped Ankou was alive, although his hair had turned white and he never spoke of the incident again.
Celine was animated as she recounted these stories and seemed moved by them.
I cut her a slice of my chocolate cake and that seemed to do the trick.

She went on to tell me about the Bugul Noz, a kind and gentle fairy spirit who lives in the woods of Brittany. However, due to his hideous appearance, he is a reclusive creature: so ugly even the woodland animals avoid him. I sensed Celine has a soft spot for this spirit. She showed me a book about Breton fairy and folk tales which she'd found at a market for only two Euros. She left the book with me to look at.
Pepin came bounding in and persuaded Celine to donate half her slice of the cake (He really is a greedy dog). Benjamin and Maggie also came knocking on the door. I was about to tell them the couldn't come in as I'd put down ant powder everywhere but - too late - Celine said invited them in (she's far too soft). She'd been on the beach at Ty Bihan early this morning and showed them the bag of sea glass she'd collected. There were all different shapes and sizes, mainly blues and greens. She's really after reds and purples.

I made pasta with tuna and salad for dinner and Celine left at about eight. (Still haven't got the edit of my interview finished!) 

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Tuesday 26th August: Un Enlèvement

Went with Karl to pick up a bureau from a house clearance just outside Quimper. The house was owned by an elderly lady who'd recently died and her son met us and also showed us a mahogany sideboard which he asked if we would like to take at no extra cost.
Karl seemed happy to take it and sang tunelessly to John Lee Hooker all the way back. He dug out a CD of SeasickSteve which his daughter (who lives in Munich) sent him and asked me what I thought. I said the album is similar to J J Kale; a thoughtful choice, adding that the photo of artist also has a resemblance to himself: Karl wasn't impressed. I told him about Jean-Luc and Hilda (the magic cow), suggesting we call in on the way back. 

When we arrived, the farm had a desolate air about it. I thought it unlikely that Marie had returned from her mother's. The front door was locked and bolted which was odd as, on my last visit, I remembered it being open. Jean-Luc peered at us through the crack in the door and told us to hurry as he ushered us in.
The kitchen stank: a stale musty smell fused with an aroma of cowpat and body odour. The floor was scattered with hay and half-chewed corn cobs, swarms of flies darted around the dishes piled up in the stone sink, and cups of untouched coffee had been abandoned around the room, some starting to gather a layer of green mould.
Hilda didn't budge when we entered, but stood gazing placidly at Jean-Luc whilst Bruno sulked behind the threadbare armchair. Worst of all was Jean-Luc; dark shadows under his bloodshot eyes, his skin a deathly pale. He beard was a straggly mess and his hair stood up in tufts. He told us that two nights ago he had been woken at about three in the morning by loud whispers coming from the kitchen. He crept downstairs and discovered two of Marie's brothers, "Imbéciles stupides!" were attempting to lead Hilda out through the front door. He chased them away claiming they were trying to kidnap her. We said nothing to this. Karl filled up the sink and started to wash up the dishes and I collected up the coffee cups whilst Jean-Luc ranted on, calling Marie a traitor because she must have given her key to her brothers. He said he'd phoned her earlier that day, trying to convince her of Hilda's powers.
Karl suggested that perhaps the brothers had made their kidnap attempt so that Marie could return home. Jean-Luc considered this, but dismissed the idea. He shook his head vigorously. "They have always been jealous. They are ignorant peasants!"
We tried to reason with him, telling him he must put Hilda back in the field, but he was paranoid about another kidnap attempt. He told us he has to keep the door bolted otherwise Marie will use her key and try to snatch Hilda away.
Karl searched the cupboards and fridge: no food in the house. Jean-Luc asked him to take some money from a jar near the sink to buy milk and bread. He then pulled out a tattered piece of paper from his pocket and showed us a list of numbers he'd written down, insisting Hilda had told him the numbers. He folded the paper carefully, handed it to Karl, and asked him to buy a ticket for next week's lottery. Karl was reluctant but Jean-Luc pleaded with him, saying he could no longer leave the farm. The man was close to tears so we agreed, but only on condition that Jean-Luc attempts to clean the kitchen and speak to Marie.
Karl stopped for a coffee when we got to my place and we both agreed that Marie has to return and Hilda has to go. The problem is, how to convince Jean-Luc.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Friday 22nd August: Gig en terrace.

I decided to stay in today and get some work done. I spent some time looking at other author's accounts on Amazon, I just can't understand how some of them have thousands of reviews. How on earth do they get so many?
Pepin came bounding into the cottage this morning, followed by Solange, calling his name. Had to laugh at the expression on his face when he saw her -- he's in love with her!
"He has, how you say, a girlfriend! We get him to be father for baby dogs," she laughed.
I told her about Laura's cat, Buzz, who's supposedly been neutered, but humps her old teddy bear at lease once every hour. The teddy bear greets him with open arms and a fixed grin! (I think some of my Franglais was lost on Solange as she seemed a bit confused).
The gig with Rodrigo went well last night. We played on the terrace of a very nice hotel near Dinan. The place was packed. During our break I told Rodrigo what happened at the restaurant in Carnac.
He said I shouldn't go back there. He told me about the accordion player and the singer who play each Saturday at the campsite restaurant. The only people who seem to enjoy their performance are the campsite owners and their family who turn up each week. Rodrigo imitated them by linking arms and dancing around. He kicked his legs and placed his hands on his hips, swaying from side to side; "They are Louco!".
Rodrigo has classic Brazilian looks which attract a lot of attention from admirers. I pointed out that a couple of women at one of the tables had been gazing at him throughout our playing. He started to get worried and asked me, if they should come over, to tell them he's gay. This has happened before and it's so funny when he puts on his camp act: so hard to keep a straight face.

A few of the guests came up and asked about the pieces we played. A very nice couple from Arlington in Massachusetts came over. It was their first visit to France, to celebrate their 25th Wedding Anniversary and asked for a request (normally this would be difficult to oblige as all our music is rehearsed beforehand). However, they happened to ask for TheGirl from Ipanema which is an easy one for us to do. We were about to play it when someone else came up with another request: The Girl from Ipanema, would you believe it! So we ended the evening like heros. 

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Tuesday 19th August: Yellow Roosters‏

Had my three-month appointment at the Dermatology Department in Vannes this morning. Arranged to go round to Celine's afterwards. I told her about my Bullous Pemphigoid and said if she wants to see what it looks like she should have a look at my video on YouTube. Just like everyone else, she's never heard of it.
Her little cottage is packed with so many interesting things. She has an old oak dresser filled with Quimper pottery which she inherited from her grandmother . She showed me how the pieces are all signed by HB Henriot. They're so distinctive, particularly the design with the yellow rooster on several of the plates and bowls.
She has saucers filled with sea glass and assorted seashells lying around. She told me there are five beaches near Carnac, the largest is Carnac Plage but the best for collecting are the smallest, Ty Bihan and Legenese. 

I asked her about her stamps and had a look through the albums whilst she was making us coffee. She has an interesting collection, mainly from the former French colonies (although I was horrified at the way the stamps were all crammed between the pages!) When I asked if she'd been to any stamp fairs, she told me not since she'd had a bad experience with one of the dealers. He wouldn't leave her alone; kept texting and turning up at the cottage. I asked how she rid of him. She explained that her brother had been staying at the time and answered the door, pretending to be her boyfriend. "That made to stop him!" Celine laughed.
She made some more coffee and brought a tray of gelettes (Breton shortbread biscuits) into the lounge. Napoleon was snoozing on the sofa. It was so peaceful.
I decided to tell her about Adele. I explained how I'd had a brief relationship with her which all started off well but after a few weeks became increasingly concerned at her possessive and controlling behaviour. Having learnt how vengeful Adele was about her previous break-ups, I decided the best tactic was to find ways to put her off me. This seemed to work and we finished the relationship a few months ago. I didn't go into more details at this stage, but told Celine how Adele turned up the other day at the cafe-bar in my village and spoke to me as if nothing had changed.
"It is simple, non? You must tell her your true feelings. You must be direct!"
I admitted that I've never found confrontation easy.
Later, as I got up to leave I noticed a set of three framed pen and ink prints on the wall. They all depicted beautiful elf-like characters with long flowing hair. The first picture showed one of these creatures peering from behind a fountain, the second showed another sitting near a tree combing her hair, and the third was was of one perched on top of a Dolmen (similar to the standing stones at Carnac).
Celine told me these creatures are called Korrigans; French spirits from Breton mythology. They have red flashing eyes and, similar to mermaids, they haunt fountains and wells singing and combing their long hair. At Halloween they hide near Dolmens and lay in wait for victims.
"I'd better be going before it gets dark," I laughed.
Celine smiled. "My Grandmother used to tell me tales of them when I was a little girl. If I was naughty she warned that the Korrigans would get me. But I was always good !"
Celine told me they are from pages of a book she found at a market in Dinan, around the time she was researching the subject. She said that, although she disapproves of plates being torn out of old books, she couldn't resist framing them.
Glad I told her about Adele. It's good to have a sympathetic listener.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Sunday 17th August: Coco's Return‏

There was a scratching at my door at 5.30 this morning. I dragged myself out of bed wondering why Pepin was up and about so early. But when I opened the door, it was Coco. I gave him a couple of biscuits and let him sleep on my bed until a civilised hour. I guess he might have been shut in a barn or shed somewhere for the last three days. Better let Laura know as she keeps asking about her. 

Benjamin and Madeleine came over this morning, pushing more flower petals through my letter box. I taught Benjamin some more words in English; flower, butterfly and cat. He was keen to help me stake up the hollyhocks which have blown over in the wind.
Practised this afternoon at Alexander's. Rodrigo brought Tatiana and Paulo along, plus Kieran, a young English boy of about fifteen. Rodrigo and Tatiana have a habit of both speaking at once and whilst Kieran and Paulo were kicking a ball around the garden they explained he's has been living with his mum and younger brothers and sisters on the campsite for around six months. Two weeks ago his family returned to England to sort out some business, but left Kieran behind. Rodrigo and Tatiana felt sorry for him and have since basically adopted him. They have enough to deal with themselves, but this is a typical example of their kindness.
Kieran was very quiet at first but became quite animated when the subject of music came up. He knows a lot about metal and heavy rock, particularly Nirvana, Foo Fighters, and Alice In Chains, even earlier bands such as King Crimson and The Pixies. He had brought his guitar along so he played Under the Bridge by The Red Hot Chilli Peppers - very talented.
We had a quick run through our pieces; just Alexander Rodrigo and me as Ines is away for the whole of August. This seems to really annoy Alexander; "Bloody singers - always got an excuse!" Even when we took our coffee break out in the garden, he continued to moan about her and then started to complain about his job. No wonder Simone was out shopping for the day.
Tatiana complained about how crowded the campsite has become. The entertainment every Saturday night is the same accordion player and singer; probably friends of the owners. With so many camper vans and caravans on the site there is hardly room for them to move. A few nights ago she woke up about three, looked out of the camper van to see floodlights and police cars everywhere. There seemed to be a raid taking place. She was sure the Dutch woman with the poodles is somehow involved; convinced she's an "international drug smuggler". Rodrigo laughed and told her not to be so silly.
Kieran joined in with the next practice session before we packed up. I later wondered what his family are up to, and when (or if) they will be back.

This evening I went through my twitter account and updated my Facebook page. I had to spend a lot of time uploading the interview with Laura as some of it got cut off when I first put it on You tube. Finally got it sorted it out now. 

Amatore InterviewPart1Part2Part3

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Thursday 14th August: La Vache Magique‏

Today I've got so much work to do. What with the interview to sort out and my Twitter account to build up, I don't have a minute to spare: and then Paul turned up! He asked if he could play the piano
and I felt I couldn't turn him down. During his practice Paul kept hesitating and seemed to be distracted. This is out of character for him, so I suggested we go for a drink in town.
We drove to town in his car; a new Renault Megane. (They must pay professors well in Paris).
It was when I asked if Isabelle and Mathilde were okay, he told me that Isabelle is pregnant. However, they're both feeling stressed as she has had three miscarriages since Mathilde. They decided to spend the holidays at the gite, thinking it would be a peaceful break, but neither of them can relax. To make matters worse, Mathilde has been playing up; complaining she's bored. I felt sorry for him. I tried to take his mind off his problems and told him about Coco missing for the last few days. I think she's sulking because of Pepin.
When we arrived at the café-bar Jean Luc was on his way out. He seemed distracted; racing past us and running up the road in the general direction of his home. Although he doesn't usually say much, it's not like him to ignore me. Pascal was chatting to a group of men at the bar and they were laughing. I was sure they were discussing Jean-Luc so I asked if he was all right. To which Pascal shrugged and turned to the others making a mooing sound. This produced a round of hysterical laughter. I couldn't follow all that Pascal said but when we were on the way back home, Paul filled me in.
He explained that Jean-Luc had dreamt one of his cows had spoken to him, reciting a list of numbers which he wrote down. By using these same numbers, Jean-Luc apparently won 500 euros on the Francaise des Jeux: the lottery. This was over a week ago and since then Hilda the Cow spends most of her time in Jean-Luc's kitchen, even sleeping there, with the result that Marie has walked out and gone to stay with her mother in Nantes. Paul told me that it was a choice between Marie or Hilda. At least he seemed to have cheered up a bit. 

On the way back we decided to call into Jean-Luc's place. I tapped on the door and after receiving no answer, pushed it open. We found him sitting at the big oak table with his head in his hands. The place was a mess; unwashed dishes piled up in an old stone sink, an ancient stove encrusted with remnants of burnt food, stale baguettes piled up on the table, abandoned coffee cups filled to the brim, and chipped stone flagstones littered with crumbs. The threadbare curtains were pulled shut and a sense of gloom pervaded the place. There was a peculiar musty smell.
But the most surprising sight was Hilda the cow. She was standing next to the table chewing from a heap of grass which was piled up on the floor beneath her. Bruno was slumped at the other side of his master's feet, glaring up at the cow.
Jean-Luc seemed pleased to see us. He became quite animated as he explained how Hilda had won him 500 euros: at last he would be able to carry out the repairs which needed doing to the farm.
However, at the mention of Marie, he came close to tears as he told us how she had packed her suitcase and was gone. Until Hilda was returned to her rightful place in the shed she refused to talk to him. Paul suggested this might be a good idea, but Jean-Luc would not listen. He is convinced that Hilda will bring more luck.
I thought about him this evening and hope he comes to his senses. I have also been thinking about Paul and Isabelle and hope everything works out for them.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Monday 11th August: Restaurant Blues‏

Played at the restaurant last night. Philippe had a birthday party booked but after what happened last time I was taking no chances, so I phoned and checked that it was still on before I left. Philippe reassured me in his usual Franglish that the restaurant was definitely open. I told him that my car is making a clonking noise so I didn't want to drive all that way for nothing.
When I arrived he was sitting at the bar, nursing a cognac. I asked him how things were. When Philippe speaks in French he talks very fast with constant hand gestures and the odd mispronounced English word thrown in now and then: very difficult to follow. I managed to make out that, although Jose is back working in the kitchen, he's moved out of the apartment and is staying elsewhere.
"What does he want with an old man like me?" Philippe kept repeating as he stared into his Cognac. I asked him if he could somehow work things out between them. He threw his arms up and let out a loud sigh, stating he will die a sad and lonely old man, unloved and unwanted.
The two waiters setting the tables nearby pretended not to hear any of this, however, I did notice they were taking an extraordinary long time with the task. While I was growing tired of these dramatics, I was concerned that the restaurant business might be suffering. For the next five minutes I kept reminding Philippe not let his guests down.
The party turned out to be a rowdy group of middle aged Brits who were obviously expecting the musical entertainment to be something along the lines of Chas and Dave. I tried to adjust my programme as much as I could (replacing the Chopin in favour of Fats Waller) but still this was not enough. One of the party, a loud-mouthed geezer with a football shirt stretched across his pot-belly, came over and asked if I could play a piece called Rabbit-Rabbit. So to remind me, he gave his own rendition of the opening bars of the song. I gave him a warm friendly smile and nodded saying, "Ah, oui Monsieur! J'aime le Chas et Dave. Cinq minutes?" I held up my hand signifying that I would be delighted to play it in five minutes time. (Of course I would have done just that, if I could have remembered how tune went.) But, instead, I took a chance that, after a lapse of five minutes, either the party would have forgotten all about the request or accept that it had been lost in translation. I just prayed none of the staff would give the game away (Philippe lost in his own thoughts to notice what was going on).
Predictably, after the main course was served, the group started to complain about the food and demanded to see the chef. Very soon, Jose was at their table arguing with them in Spanish while I tried to calm things with my rendition of Taking a Chance onLove. It seems funny now, but it wasn't at the time. Even worse was to come. Two of the women lit up cigarettes and one of the young waiters politely asked them to put them out. This produced a stream of obscenities followed by an invitation to "give her one." The waiter declined the invitation and moved away. One of the group appeared to be upset by this. He picked up a potato and threw it at the the waiter, who then flung off his apron and marched out slamming the door behind him.
While I was playing Are You Lonesome Tonight  one of the women (the one that looked like a haggard version of the Barbara Windsor) came over. It was when she started weeping and attempted to climb onto my lap that I decided that I'd had enough. I collected up my music and asked Philippe for my cash. He handed it over without noticing that I was leaving early. As the guests were in the full throes of a food fight, I suggested that he should ask them to leave.
I went into the kitchen where I found Jose smoking, with his feet up on the worktop. I told him what was going on. When we got to the dining room, two of the guests, entwined together, were rolling across the floor, while the others were reciting a tuneless version of Happy Birthday. I left Jose shouting at the top of his voice and I went to search for Philippe who had buried himself away in his office. I managed to persuade him to call the police and left.
During the drive home I made up my mind that, if Philippe didn't get the restaurant back on track soon, I will finish with it. I can still survive on my income without all this hassle.
Had a nice message from Laura this evening. She's received the earrings and is very pleased with them. Getting a few people looking at my website now, so must put the rest of our interview up.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Friday 8th August: A face from the past‏

I've been thinking about what happened this morning; so distracted it's taken me ages to get any work done when I need to sort out my Twitter page.
I'd been to the market in the village; courgettes, tomatoes, potatoes, etc and decided to stop at the café bar for a coffee. 

I was sitting outside enjoying the peace and quiet when I heard someone come up behind me. I recognised the voice immediately and, before I could answer, Adele had invited herself to sit down at my table. She asked me how I was but, without waiting for a reply, said she'd buy me another coffee. I should have got up and left while she went inside to order, but my ingrained manners wouldn't allow it.
She was soon back, telling me that she's been in Bordeaux for three months as her mother has been ill. She then launched into a five minute monologue; how difficult it is being on her own, how she gets so lonely. I said nothing. She told me I was looking well and said she would love to call around and see me some time. I tried to put her off, saying my daughter is staying over from the U.K - the first thing that came into my head. She put on her usual expression; head to one side with a wounded look in her eyes (how well I remember that look!) I quickly finished my coffee. As I got up to leave, she made a comment on my shirt, saying how well the shade of blue suits me. You may well think it was nice to give me such a complement, however, in this case, there is a hidden meaning: the words gave me the creeps. I walked back to my car, wishing I could have told her not to come around, and to leave me alone. Why on earth can't I be direct?
Seeing her unnerved me and took me back to that time last year. I wanted to tell someone so I stopped off at Karl's place. He was in his shed, stripping down a dressing table (Robert Cray blasting at full volume from his CD player). I told Karl how I'd met Adele at a wedding I'd played at six month ago. Karl is a good listener. He stopped what he was doing and made us coffee in his kitchen. I told him how the relationship started off well enough and we seemed to be getting along fine, but after a while she became so possessive and controlling.
Before I left we went down to the lake and said hello to Gary. I'm sure he's got bigger.
I hope Adele doesn't come over to the house. She reminds me a little of the character of Netta in Hangover Square, which I finally finished reading a few days ago: totally self-centred and so demanding.
When I got back to the cottage Benjamin and Madeleine had posted a few flower heads through my letter box. My garden will soon be bare at this rate, but I don't want to say anything because it's their idea of leaving presents for me. While I was watering the herbs this evening, they came running over to see me, saying they'd been to the beach at Carnac today. I'm trying to teach Benjamin a few words of English, he's only four but he remembers everything.
Working to get second part of the interview with Laura linked together, so I can put it on the website. Trying not to think about Adele turning up. Good job she doesn't know I've got a blog on here. There again, it could solve my problem if she did. (Nah - she'd never believe it's her I'm writing about)

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Wednesday 6th August: Le Fromage‏

Useful discussion with Laura on Monday about how to promote my book. I've already set up a profile on Goodreads, hopefully this will help. Laura thinks I should finish my historical novel, I've posted a short extract from it on my website. She seems to like it. Must remember to send her the earrings.
Glad Paul and Isabelle invited me to "Le Picnic" in their gite yesterday. Some of the cheeses they had were delicious, especially the one from Normandy, a creamy cheese I think was called Pont-l'Évêque

Isabelle had labelled all the different cheeses and laid them out on a tray in the garden. It was nice to sit outside. Mathilde emptied the gite of all its cushions and rugs, carrying them out for us to sit on.
Solange came along and brought Benjamin and Madeleine. She mentioned Pieter is working very long hours at the moment, she's hoping he can take some time off soon. Mathilde was very good with the two little ones, even though she's only nine herself, she was playing the big sister and chasing them round everywhere. Pepin joined in barking like a fou. Isabelle brought out the warm baguettes from the kitchen, didn't take long before they vanished. I always think food tastes better outside (particularly when prepared by someone else). We all had a glass of wine before Paul stood up, cleared his throat, straightened his cravat and began what could only be described as a lecture in a strange mixture of French and English on the delights of cheese.
I took a large piece of Saint Agur which is a blue cheese from the Loire area (I seem to remember seeing that on the supermarket shelves in Brighton). I assumed it must come from the village of Saint Agur but Paul explained that's just a made-up name. This cheese was delicious. I've always loved blue cheese. The problem with Paul is that he does tend to ramble on in a flat monotone voice, (wonder what his students think of him). Isabelle is very quiet - somewhat overshadowed by her husband. There was also Brie and Camembert, which I'm not too keen on. Paul made a big thing of explaining to us about the local Breton cheese, Cure Nantais, they had bought that morning which he explained is a Muscadet wine refined soft cows cheese. 

I liked it, the children were funny, they all took a small bite and immediately spat it out. The French do not like putting butter on their baguettes, so I had to go without. Paul wanted me to try the goat's cheese, but I think it's an acquired taste, not too keen on it. I liked the hard cheese called Comte, which comes from the Eastern region of France, near the Swiss border. 

Paul explained that this cheese is still produced in villages using traditional methods. One thing I love about France is the sheer choice and variety of produce to be found in the local markets. I told Paul I'm interested in learning more about French food. And when I mentioned that I'd plan to include this in my blog, he said he'd write it all down for me (hence my vast knowledge - otherwise I wouldn't be able to remember a thing!)
I found Coco sulking behind my sofa when I got back to the cottage. She's not at all happy about Pepin, I'll have to get her a special treat, maybe some fresh fish (I know it's a bit of a myth about all cats liking fish, but this one certainly does!)

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Sunday 3rd August 2014: Bout du Monde Festival‏

Completely forgot I was going to the Bout du Monde music festival with Karl until he phoned yesterday morning. He sounded very enthusiastic about it. He's got me a ticket and won't tell me how much it cost. He said I can come and help him look for baby boars soon and also give a hand to pick up some furniture next week. I told him about the pancake festival and meeting Celine. He had an extra ticket which he said Celine could have. He told me he'd asked a woman he'd met to go with him but she'd made some excuse. I got the feeling he didn't want to talk about it.
Celine sounded pleased when I phoned and suggested we pick her up in Karl's van. She lives just outside Vannes in a pretty little cottage in the grounds of a large maison. Karl asked her if the owners had any antique furniture to sell, but she doesn't see them that often as the landlord is a politician and spends most of his time in Paris.
On the way to Crozon in Finisterre Karl played his old tapes; Muddy waters, BB king, Robert Cray, etc. Celine asked if he'd heard of Madeleine Peyroux, a Canadian singer, but neither of us had (I had to look her up when I got home). She asked Karl what he thought of Seasick Steve, but he hadn't heard of him either. I think he likes to stick to his old stuff.
The festival was packed. We got a couple of local beers each and watched Finlandia; Brazilian cellist and an Argentinian accordionist/pianist - Rodrigo would have been interested! We had a while to wait before the next act (Maya) came on, so we got something to eat. I told Celine and Karl about my time in Brazil when I worked for the Booth line and used to sail up the Amazon (I think their eyes glazed over a bit). I had paella, Celine had crepes and Karl had two kebabs. He told us about the woman he had met when picking up a dressing table and bureau. They'd ended up in her four poster bed that first time but whenever he phones her she always makes excuses. She told him she was divorcing her rich husband and selling off all his furniture. Celine told him to forget her. I think Karl is quite sensitive about these sort of things, and finds them difficult to talk about.
I liked the next act, Maya. When she sings she plays a kayamba (looks a bit like a washboard) which she explained comes from the Mascarene islands, somewhere between Mauritius and Madagascar. Karl said he liked Ben L'Oncle Soul and Monophobics and Celine seemed to be into Lisa Le Blanc; Canadian singer/guitarist. She told us she had lived in Montreal for a few years, teaching in a girls school. I asked her what she thought of her namesake, Celine Dion. She shrugged her shoulders."She is - what is the word, ennui, boring!"
I shared the driving on the way back with Karl. Celine said she was tired and fell asleep between us. I had to wake her up when we arrived at her place and she asked us in for a coffee. Her place is small and packed with stuff; paintings, sea-shells, candles, books, old maps of Brittany, but couldn't see any stamp albums amongst the clutter. A very old tabby cat appeared from somewhere which Celine introduced as Bonaparte. Her sofa was so comfortable I thought I was going to fall asleep.

Karl dropped me back at my place and I watched his van speed off with John Lee Hooker pumped up to full volume.