Monday, 28 June 2010

Journeys end.

I am sorry I have been such poor value of late. I wrote loads then found the connections failed when away or the post became so out of date when a connection was found! So much for wi-fi when out and about.

We are home now and when the weeds have been tamed normal service shall be resumed.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Final rays on the beach

One day sick as a dog, next good as new.

All the signs of summer are starting just as we are about to leave. Julie is delighted because she looses energy in the heat while I love to bake like a lizard.

A group of Americans came to the restaurant in the morning for a cooking class and we joined them for a long lazy lunch to eat all that they had prepared. I am going to miss these spontaneous surprise gatherings.

Last chance to visit the paradise beach so I took it. Must have set a record time for the walk because the iPod was set to an album by the Killers with a driving beat. Along lazy float in the sea, much easier with my larger behind, was followed by soaking up the late afternoon rays and a little exercise helping the lifeguards get their boat up the beach, you never know when you might need them. Then someone came over and tried very hard to chat me up! Flattering in a way but I had to let them down gently with persistent firm refusals, he finally left with disappointment in his voice, quite a cute guy as guys go. For a while there I was wondering what I would have done if it had been the right kind of woman in that situation. Probably the same answer, partly because not having any practice this century out of practice hardly starts to describe my condition.

Just time to get back for a quick shower before the local people who had pictures to collect came for a meal. What else?!

Midnight and the last have just gone home. All that remains is to spend some of the proceeds on a few cases of wine, throw everything else on top and head off north towards Conques.

May not be connected for a while...

Monday, 21 June 2010

Party over

After all the work in putting together my exhibition of photographs of France and getting them here it is all over.

I thought my last visitor would be my nephew who visited at midnight last night, then he went out… Several found their way in as we were packing up!

There is a bug going round and I got it. Sick as a dog and weak as a kitten which has made todays packing up a slow drawn out affair.

I Hardly slept for a minute last night so lay in a reclining chair half dozing all morning with random music in the ears waking t keep rehydrating after the horrendous night. A strange dream woke me, someone was licking my leg where I ripped it on the rocks in Spain, nobody that I know would be trying to give me any kind of sensual pleasure let alone this. What a disappointment to find that it was only the sex mad dog indulging in a bit of foreplay, he has fallen in love with my leg and does not understand why I am not too pleased. Why can’t he just amuse himself like he often does and leave us in peace. Had to laugh last week when he got too carried away and bit himself and put out a bloodcurdling yelp!

Julie realises that Wimbleldon tennis has started and really wants to be in charge of the remote, not possible when you are staying with your little sister.

In some ways we seem to have done a lot and in some ways there seems to be loads we could have done. Weather has been really changeable and cooler than usual so fewer trips to my paradise beach and less skin damage than expected. With uncontrollable access to the net I have failed to write up many of the soap opera events from staying here in real time, perhaps I shall write up the trip later.

Wednesday we set off slowly taking nearly three days to cross the country which the atlas says can be done in nine hours something if your credit card can stand the toll fees. The ferry is booked as is the first night stop somewhere we have been wanting to revisit for nearly thirty years, a sort of pilgrimage.

The weather forecast says that now we are leaving summer weather starts on Wednesday!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

I was a great disappointment to my father, no real surprise there.

Yesterday we were out for lunch, research purposes only you understand, then off into the countryside to find some interesting wines for the restaurant my French relations run.

We went to Beziers about an hour away, a city on the top of a hill but they still managed to create a wide long promenade shaded by plane trees in the centre where by some miracle we found two parking places close together. The French can be quite civilized at times and often do not charge for parking at lunchtime! This was such a place but we paid a little to give us a relaxing time with no rush back to the cars. Last time we came here we parked much further away and lost the car!

Christian and Louis strode on ahead. In a flash it suddenly struck me what a father son relationship could have been and I took a quick snap to try and capture the moment with the two of them so comfortable together. Later that evening they were playing ball kick together inspired no doubt by all the balls being kicked on TV at the moment.

A moments sadness for a father who was always distant and for a relationship I never wanted! I did not have one to replace it with my mother either though my sister did tell me recently that she was a strong supporter for me against my frustrated fathers wishes for his strange “son”. For some reason she did not show this support to me directly.

A week from now we shall be on our way back home though not in a great rush. It looks like the warm weather we expected to find here will start as soon as we leave!

I have no idea why everything keeps getting under lined!

Monday, 14 June 2010

More hot girls!

A jet is on final approach back in the UK as I type. With a heavy heart I gave Lisa and Lucy a final hug as they were the last to pass the departure gate at our tiny “international” airport.

The inaugural Hot Girl support group meeting here in France has been a 72 hour whirlwind success. Even though we had never all met except on line it was not long before the word “next” was regularly being used!

Their seamless acceptance as the feisty girls they are was a joy to see.

The weather here has been changeable to say the least! I had arrived to collect them from the airport carrying an umbrella but by the time I found them waiting for their luggage it had started to clear. Seconds after we closed the car doors to set off back to the airport, only minutes after sitting outside to eat a meal on the restaurant terrace, it started to rain and hours latter it has become a settled steady drenching. Talk about “window of opportunity’! Sadness of departure was also lessened with this change. Snails are streaking across the sodden terrace, I think Lucy was a little disappointed not to eat frogs legs or snails.

What started as a spontaneous idea when we set up a three way chat late one night. Lisa said to me that it would not be too long before I would be setting off to France to set up my exhibition, the months were clicking by quickly, suddenly there was the question, “can we come?”, how could I say no to such an idea and ticket prices were checked while we chatted and were purchased not long after before anyone could change their mind!

I am going to leave it for the others to post their honest opinions of how the trip went so all I am going to say is that it was priceless to have two others arrive and just be!

The ever changing fashion parade was a joy to see and there were many trips out to shop in Perpignan, visit cute costal towns or cavort on the beach, interspersed with countless meals, especially that at the fish restaurant rebuilt each year on piles on a deserted beach practically in the sea. We posed for several photographs to prove that we actually got together.

To have those here see that we are just getting on with our lives with no fuss while willing to have conversations to answer any questions anyone might have has been priceless.

While the three girls may not have been quite as hot as you would expect at this time of year we had a near perfect compromise of temperatures to suit us all.

Till “next” year...

Saturday, 12 June 2010

The bells of the chapel are ringing out nine o’clock over the village and two more hot girls are needed to come and have breakfast out on the terrace in the sunshine.

Perhaps we should not have eaten and sipped wine so late into the night but how could we help it. Even though this is the first time we have all met up together you would have thought we had been life long friends the way we got on.

Their late afternoon flight into our tiny local airport was spot on time and their luggage for two weeks stay was easily spotted and whisked out to fill my wee car then they were transported from the edge of civilisation ever deeper into the back of beyond.

They arrived happy due to the gin and tonic on the plane and we settled down to tea and coffee in the sunshine on the terrace before the request to have a look at the exhibition before it closed at eight. I don’t think their enthusiasm was faked, nobody can fake it for that long. Nearly and hour flashed past as we chatted about the pictures, life the universe and everything. Lucy was taking so many pictures her camera was glowing pink then they decided to walk back to fill the rest of the chip and that was the last we saw of them. They do remember saying that the food smells wafting out from here were really good as the headed out of the village! It was an age before we got to use modern communication devices but by then I had to say I can see you out in the street!

The worst thing about the meal was trying to make a choice, naturally we were the last to leave the restaurant with another bottle of rose, so girly.

I think I hear voices. The request is to visit the city to go shopping. Twice in one week! Twice in one month!!! Those bags are already full, where will they put any purchases?

If a bug had not just bitten me I would have signed off from paradise.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Three hot girls in France.

Finally I may have something to blog about. It is only hours away now when two girlfriends fly out to spend a long weekend with me. How more honoured could I be? watch this space for words and pictures.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

cherries and potatoes

Violet potatoes just for Anji and Cherry festival Ceret

I am being absolutely rotten value for money at the moment. All that I have tapped out has been rubbish or got deleted by accident! The upload of a video of my exhibition chugged on into the night then failed!

A few interesting moments this last wee while:-

A mothers day card from my friends daughter now in her twenties who chose me as a reserve incase of disaster and used to send fathers day cards. A bangle stating the intensity of her adoration was a bonus

A slinky Goddess statuette as a present from Babette who has been calling me by her version of my old name for years, she was thrilled when I said that it would probably be my official name even though Caroline has been with me for most of my life. Friends were a little surprised when this woman came to visit while we were hanging the show and embraced me so passionately.

Presented with a bouquet of flowers at the exhibition opening, a definite first.

Bonjour Mesdames when we went to buy a box of cherries at the festival.

Visiting an art museum and seeing sketch books of mainly naked sunbathers on the beach caused such a yearning to join them I rushed off to my favourite beach as soon as we got home to even up my pale tan. Interestingly a few years ago it was the place I was most happy but now part way on the journey I am even happier there in my strange in-between state and no one seems to notice or care.

We have one of the few cars with any colour, I parked it as far away from crazy drivers as possible but still some halfwitted driver of a silver car scraped the front while I was in a shop. Only twenty million suspects then!

Must have done other things but like today it is mainly oysters for lunch on the coast and a swim the back home to eat and drink with whoever drops by but even we don’t eat as well as my sister in law’s dogs who got foie gras last night.

Strange weather, usually warm but occasionally a bit wet and windy but not like the rest of the country. Julie cheers when the forecast is cooler. Warmer weather is increasing the numbers of visitors to my beach day by day.

This is a strange in between time where my old name is on the poster as organised a year ago. Some know about the change and others don’t, why should I have to tell? Names and pronouns have been all over the place especially when the friends and family were here but I am not stressing out about it. The next visit will be interesting to see what happens with a bit more of a physical change mixed in and a bit of time for folk to have absorbed what I have known for a lifetime and I have suddenly sprung upon them.

More visitors on their way, three days and counting! That should provoke an interesting post.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Finally get the wifi connection!

The strange sound of silence.

The house has been full of people for over a week, sweeping in from all over to be here for the opening of my show, at least that’s what they used as an excuse. I waved goodbye to my sister and brother in law, damp eyes and lump in throat, yesterday evening, the last to leave. Everyone has been great about my announcement but Yvonne and Robert have really taken to the project which would be wonderful if Robert would just shave closer!

I had started to keep up a diary when we arrived then life became hectic with my simple, but tedious to carry out, hang for the gallery. Various visitors helped as they could, an artist / architect couple from Scotland demanded to assemble the colour collage on coloured ribbons, just as well since it took ages and we ran out of ribbon so the took a day off to visit the same shop in Spain to get another 25 m. Shame we did not anticipate it’s low stick properties! A small glitch soon overcome. A friend for over 40 years is waiting for a neurological appointment to see why he has become so slow shaky, we worked together for the first couple of days in the gallery letting his wife and daughter have some time together, daughter had come from Germany to be with them for the week. We managed a good days work in two days but Malcolm felt wanted and included in the project but happily passed on the baton to Martin who stopped off in Paris to see Eric Clapton play. By the end there were many hands at work all ignoring health and safety rules as usual.

The opening drew a fair crowd who seemed to be very appreciative, even sold a few which was a surprise. Near the end, Martin my “official” photographer was asked to make a one shot movie with his “still” camera showing the old chapel and the show in the style of Kubrick. The boy did well for a beginner, I shall see if I can get something up for you to see soon.

The real draw was the post opening party back near the house where 44 guests, someone did a count!, helped devour a small buffet of roast pigs, oysters baked in creamy sauce, whole poached salmon, well you get the idea… Everyone seemed to enjoy this part of the evening too.

Just to make sure that the trip was memorable all the house guests got the little talk about my official change of status soon after their arrival. Most reactions were along the lines of so what or not much change then! A little sadness that it had taken me so long to make that final step to openness from some. One couple arrived fresh from Hawaii and we sat and chatted for an hour or so before they decided they had to leave to unpack, I walked them to their car and said that I had some interesting news for them, “oh we know, Sophie told us when she picked us up at the airport”…

So there you have it, an enjoyable but undramatic coming out. Nobody had really ever bothered to join up all the clues, had accepted me as a bit strange and different, I wore women’s clothes, so what, lost facial hair, so what… Guess I just had a nice group of open minded friends.

I have a week or so to recover before Lisa an Lucy jet in, perhaps I can now even spend a few moments out in the sunshine.