Books.

August 12, 2017

I own hundreds of books. I have bookcases all over the place, and books up the stairs because I have run out of space for any more book cases.
Am I a book hoarder, you might ask yourselves?

When I moved here twenty-five years ago I came with about fifty books, some of which I had already read, but I had by then discovered the fact that some books are very much worth re reading.

But since I can go through five books in a week when the mood takes me, they didn’t last very long. This was utter catastrophe. English books were impossible to buy in France in those days, so I read them over and over again. I can now quote the opening sentence to far too many books, and not just Rebecca.
And the last sentence of  The Sun Also Rises. “Isn’t it pretty to think so.”

I didn’t have a computer, so no chance of Amazon, which I didn’t know even existed.

In truth, I went to England to visit my children with the only intention of buying books, but they don’t know that. And at three hundred pounds a throw for ferry fares, these were very expensive second hand paper backs, although I did inadvertently pick up a couple of First Edition Hard Backs, which I will never part with.

Intermarche in Pontivy eventually got around to displaying about six up to date titles which I would gaze at longingly, but at the equivalent of ten pounds a throw I couldn’t afford more than one of those. Oh the agony of deciding which one.

It was a long time ago, and things have changed. Other expats gave me books, and I went to Amazon for the real goodies.
I now have every book ever written by Nevil Shute. Every book written by Elizabeth George. And every book written by Diana Gabaldon in The Outlander series. Plus a few more. Too many to mention now. But all worth rereading. I will never again be without a book to read.

But I will never forget the agony and the fear of never having a new book to read.

I sometimes think of The Pioneers who went out into the Western Hinterland with nothing much more than a Bible. No wonder they knew their Scriptures.

Actually, I know a few quotes from The Bible, Old and New, but that is more to do with my Grandmother and a desire to soak up words.
That is what it is really all about. The passion for words. Even if they are the words of other people.

Tien.

July 26, 2017

I briefly rescued this horrible kitten.  Flea ridden, worm ridden and starving.  It spent five days shitting absolutely everywhere, despite trying really hard not to do this.  She actually sat in the dirt tray for quite some time each day.

My really horrible Pug took a shine to her, and for a minute I thought it might work.

Charlotte, the horrible, blind and demented Pug found her own good thing to do, and she was brilliant.  She tried so hard to look after this appalling scrap of inhumanity.

Charlotte was lying beside the kitten when it died..  I will forever now see Charlotte in an entirely different way.  I thought that Charlotte had lost the plot.  But she hasn’t.  She actually has more time and patience than I have.

Tien?  It is just a name.

 

An Epiphany.

July 19, 2017

I am not frightfully sure of what that means.  I think it is meant to mean that one changed one’s mind for some reason or another which was fairly serious.  You know, like a flash of light.  Oh God, didn’t I ever get that one wrong.  But I suspect that it is much more complicated than that.

It is actually changing a belief that has for so long been held.  I believe in God.

And then one day I thought, which God.  Is there a God?  Is this God my God.  No, he isn’t.   I am not sure if I  even like Him.  I don’t even know what such people are talking about to so believe.  Jesus Christ apart, of  course.

And No, I don’t believe that Jesus Christ was Devine, or the child of the Virgin Mary.  Come on, how daft do you think I am?  But that doesn’t mean that He wasn’t a bit special.

For 2 thousand and 17 years we have been singing His praises, give or take a couple of years, and nothing much wrong with that, excepting that no one got around to writing about this for something like 300 years, despite the fact that The Old Testament was already written.  So they were hardly incapable.

So Yes, I have had a epiphany which has been a bit painful.  I now only believe in The Universe, but even that might be a crock of shit.

 

England from the shores of Brittany.

June 19, 2017

What an inglorious mess.  I know I left a long time ago, but I have always gone on hoping.  I was once vaguely proud of being a Cockney, until Stepney went down the pan and ceased to exist.  And now The Ghettos are situated in High Rise Blocks.  So much easier to contain, don’t you think.  And a pox on the houses of those who had such contempt for human life to so do this.

But now, I don’t know what to do anymore.  Not that it matters all that much, because it is all only in my head.  I never did like England very much and often wondered why I was born there, although there were much worse places in which to be born at the time.  France being one of them.  But England never felt quite right to me.

Scotland would have been really okay. I love Scotland with a passion.  I just couldn’t afford to buy even a hovel their.  So I eventually bought a hovel here, and I have been back to England only four times in 25 years, when each time I could hardly wait to get out again.  Oh the relief when I got back on that boat.

I won’t be renewing my Passport when it runs out this year.  In excess of 100 Quid for what?  So basically I will be stateless.  Not that I care about that.  No one will be throwing me out.

I am rambling now.  But I would like to know which misbegotten God put me in England, and for why.  It almost certainly wasn’t Allah, although it might have been Buddha.  I am enough of a stoic and a failure to be a Buddist.

Oh My God, does that mean that I might come back again?  Could you make it Singapore on the next occasion, s’il vous plait?  But not in one of those high rise blocks, and with enough money to employ a servant.  I promise to rescue loads of Cats.  I like Cats.  My best loved Cat ever is buried in Singapore.  Just a storm drain runt, but oh how I loved him.

And now I am getting maudlin.  Always the best time to sign off.

Voila.

May 30, 2017

I am distraught tonight, although God know why.  Tis just the same old same old.  Voila.

I have spent my entire life appeasing absolutely everyone, not least my own family. but they persist in treating me as some sort of a demented idiot.

So I have told them all to fuck orf.  Hopefully they will never speak to me again., ever. But since they never spoke to me much anyway, I don’t suppose I will notice the difference.

God preserve me from sanctimonious, arsehole children.  They are only who they are by courtesy of me.  Although they never seem to quite get that one, do they?

Australia.

April 22, 2017

It is nearly sixty years since I first began a love affair with Australia when I read my first Nevil Shute book. Although I have never actually been there, and probably never will now.This is almost certainly a good thing as I doubt it is the Australia today that I first fell in love with.

It was still a brave, new world in those days. Tough and often dysfunctional families who somehow managed to survive in the outback, with nothing much more than sheep for company.
Most of them managed to make huge amounts of money eventually, which they often didn’t know how to spend.

That was the time when I should have gone there. I guess that I simply didn’t know how.

Stepmother thought about it because her brother had gone, but poor old Daddy nearly had a fit. He had lost his Irish thing by then, and preferred boring, grey old England.
His forte was mathematics, and he would never have made a sheep farmer.

Interestingly, I inherited his love of mathematics, but then I apply it to everything. I would have known how many sheep we had, and how many acres we owned.

In fact, I have probably got more relations in Australia than in Ireland. There aren’t many Mitchells in Ireland these days, not even in Mitchellstown. On the border of Tipperary, if anyone is interested.
The Mitchells are a wandering race. I only managed to get to France before I ran out of money for boat fares. And besides, I like it here anyway.

But this Blog is more about Nevil Shute. What a glorious story teller he was. I have read them all now, and several times, and will no doubt read them all again when I need a lift to my spirit.

Read a Nevil Shute book today. You could start off with, “In The Wet.” I guarantee that you will be hooked.

Circumspection.

April 1, 2017

Hi All,

Now that is hopeful, if nothing else.  But I only found my way here by route of Bill Sticker.  He’s a laugh and a half if ever I saw one.  And his Blog gives me access to mine. So there you go.  Word Press is incestuous.

But I really did have to talk about the night sky early this morning.  I was actually only up and about at 2am because the rotten little rat bag had been on the piss and left all of the bloody lights on yet again.  And I was worried in case he had fallen down the stairs, and left the lights on.

Oh My.  It was glorious.  Stars that I didn’t even know existed.  Millions of them.  Pitch Black. After I had turned off aforementioned lights.

Sadly, I am entirely incapable of explaining just how glorious it was.  But it is permanently imprinted on my mind’s eye.  I am never going to forget that one ever.  It doesn’t matter if it never happens again.  The first is always the best and only.

Thank You to my particuliar God for such a beautiful thing.

The Dog.

February 18, 2017

Okay, here’s another one.  I think I am suffering from withdrawal symptoms of getting to talk about Me, Me, Me.

This what Blogging is.  So don’t kid yourselves.

However, The Dog.  The Blind, Demented and Incontinent Pug staggers on.  Actually, it is me who is staggering.  I mop up rivers of pee every day.  But what can I do?  She has forgotten where the garden is.  And I simply can’t have her put down for something quite so unimportant.  And I do have a tiled floor.  I might feel differently if I had a carpet, but I don’t.

I knew you see, when my lovely Rom died that there would be some ghastly dog that needed rescuing.  I just didn’t realise how awful this could be.  But I deserve nothing better.  Fifty years of wonderful dogs, and never a bad one, so this is par for the course.  It’s Pay Back Time.  Karma at it’s best.  Karma isn’t always bad.  Sometimes you get the chance to earn a few Brownie Points.

I have never trained a dog in all my life.  They just behaved.  But then I treated them and my children like recalcitrant puppies.  Please don’t do that.

I suspect that the children weren’t all that keen ultimately, but it worked when it mattered.  And I don’t care anyway.

They are all good kids.

I watch her most of the time these days, just in case.  But she isn’t looking like dying any time soon.  She no longer flinches when I stroke her, but I don’t want to go into that.  There is nothing even remotely unpleasant about this dog, so I cannot imagine why anyone would have wanted to hurt her.

I don’t know what I will do when the day comes.  But I will never rescue another dog.  Just too much that I don’t know.

 

Oh My.

February 18, 2017

I have finally managed to get back into My Bog, sorry, Blog.

The afore mention son messed about with my laptop, deleted the cookies and locked me out.

He also locked me out of every other Blog.  Sorry about that, Last Furlong, Bill Sticker and Legiron.  I haven’t actually abandoned you all.

But he and me have had a hilarious time trying to get him registered in the French System.  Really not easy.

However, because he lives with me The French System wants to know the ins and outs of my particulier cat’s backside.  And are now trying desperately hard to throw money at me, which I don’t actually want or need.  Although some might think I do.  The French State thinks I do.  The British State Pension always was a joke around here.

But they have decided that I can’t afford the 69 Euros a month that my Health Insurance costs me.  And I do reluctantly agree.  So I might accept that for free.

And then there is The Banque Alimantaire.  That’s The Food Bank to the uninitiated.  So I went.

This is a howl a minute.  It’s a Social Club.  We all queue up outside smoking  and chatting while we wait our turn.  And then they give you Free Food.  But I do have to say that the four extremely old ladies who are in charge are never anything other than totally pleasant. Probably because they don’t have much idea either.

The first two weeks I didn’t get very much, but free food is always welcome.  So no complaints there.

And then came the First Week of The Month.  Just too much for me to carry.  I stood on the step bemused, thinking how on earth am I going to carry all of this.  Until The Queen Bee, there is always one of those in these situations, told someone to help me.  And a very nice man did just that.  He carried my stuff back to my van for me.

They have all sussed that I am English by now, but this appears to be a bonus.  Even some of they Brits are poverty stricken, as it were.

I am not sure that I am.  But after two horrible van repair bills, I suspect that I might be.

This has been one of my better experiences, although France has always been good to me.

Actually, I am a bit schlushed by it all.  You find kindness in the most peculiar places.

 

Ex Pats.

October 17, 2016

Of which I am one, although it has been a long time now.

Some are really okay, and some are effing awful.  And I have had a bit too much of the latter kind of late.  Not that it matters all that much to me personally.  I am an old hand at that game.

But my youngest son turned up here a bit back along, and in some distress.  Nothing much to write home about.  He will be okay, because I said so.  And it was just the same old same old anyway.  Anyone who is a parent has been through this.

However, suddenly, the worst of these people saw fit to put him down.  Not ever directly to me.  They circumvented me and read him his fortune.  He is a waste of space.  He needs to grow up.  He needs to get a job.  In other words, “Go home.  We don’t want you here.”

Mind you, I do have a bit of a plum in my mouth.  And suddenly I have produced proof that it isn’t just me.  He is well educated, and erudite and with the same ghastly plum, although he does try to hide this.  God alone knows why.  Meanwhile, most of them can’t actually string a sentence together in English, let alone French.

Me?  I take any old rubbish.  I don’t fall out with anyone for my own sake.  But they have made a very serious mistake on this occasion.  Don’t ever attack any of my children because I am lethal.  It might take me a minute or ten, but I will wipe the floor with them, and they won’t even see it coming, or perhaps even know why.

I simply don’t understand unkindness.