Showing posts from August, 2010

Letter from Les Landes, Saturday 14th August

Our lunch was rudely interrupted yesterday by a youngish man in camouflage-patterned combat trousers and T-shirt enquiring who owned the land next to us. We told him it belonged to the 'commune' (i.e the Mairie, or Mayor) and politely enquired why he was asking. He didn't seem inclined to tell us, so when I said that, actually, a part of the land was ours (true enough, though sadly only a metre-wide strip the other side of the stream) and that therefore we had reason to know, he informed us he was looking at buying some suitable 'parcelle' of land to make a botanical garden. The piece of land in question, full of natural springs, would, of course, be ideal and save a lot of watering...

Although, to the outsider, this may seem an admirable enough idea, his plan was to encourage tourists and schools visits which seems a little inappropriate in a narrow residential lane squeezed between two houses, thus ruining the privacy and tranquillity of both. When there is miles …

Letter from Les Landes, Friday 13th August

And so I have moved my charabanc to France. The last time I was here the call of the cuckoos and the drill of the woodpeckers reverberated in the woods around us; now it is the soft coo of the woodpigeons or the harsh drone of hedgetrimmers and strimmers which accompany our daily rhythms.

The days pass easily enough in a mix of sunshine and clouds. When sun prevails we are on the beach, when clouds win the battle we find other amusements. There is always a wash to put in, a floor to sweep, a meal to prepare, a bed to change or a visit to be made. N has had work trickling through since we arrived nearly three weeks ago and as I sit on the beach writing this, he is at home taking a conference call. All this annoys me greatly as he is never truly allowed to rest, it seems. He deals with it by putting his head in the proverbial sand and saying that it is only 'normal'. I, meanwhile, yearn for the days pre fax and email and mobile and Blackberry - the days when you couldn't be c…