Added on Wednesday 12 Apr 2006
The last month has been particularly hectic for me, as I have struggled to complete the jewellery photography. The client kept on coming with more and more pieces to be photographed; I fortunately have managed to complete them all just last week. All in all this has amounted to more than 400 pictures that will now go to his web designer and his printer. The reason that there has been so many is that there are various different sets of jewellery and each had to be photographed as a complete set, sets of 3 pieces and close up of individual pieces, the idea being that his prospective clients will click on an overall picture, then click on the design to get a pic of a set of 3 and finally go to the close up of the chosen design details. This has been quite intense as the lighting and placement has had to be done very carefully, each picture taking about 20 minutes to do! I am so glad that I am not going to be involved in the web design as it all sounds like quite a headache. However, Fiona is very glad to reclaim the dining table at long last! All I need now is for the client to take away the many boxes of jewellery, which has more or less taken over our sejour.
In between all this activity several of our cats went down with 'flu and, as this was just at the time that they discovered in Germany and France that cats were catching bird 'flu, naturally we were very worried about it all. After several trips to the vet and suitable treatment being given (at no inconsiderable cost I may add) they were given the all clear and after a couple of weeks they have all recovered and are all bouncing about enjoying the spring weather. It was, however, a worrying time while we watched their progress and recovery.
The new owners have now taken over the bar/tabac along the road and it has had a fresh coat of paint and a large screen telly installed for the 'footie'. This presumably is to try and attract a different type of clientele as it used to be frequented by slightly older people. I am glad to say the web site that I designed and the photographs that I did contributed to the sale. The new proprietors seem to be very amiable and efficient but Marie-France, the previous owner, was in tears on her last day, hardly surprising, as she had been there for 28 years. A big change for her to go into retirement after such a time. Apart from the freshening up of the bar it seems that business will continue as usual with the petrol pumps, the Lotto, tabac sales and every thing else remaining 'as is'. Whilst Fiona and I tend to go more often to the other caf?, which is closer to us, we wish them every success with the business and it is good to see that the village continues to evolve in a healthy way.
With the coming of spring, the cherry blossom is out and the birds twittering, there is a new attitude in the village, the start of the Tuesday morning market this week, the sun showing up all the grubby parts of the house, there always has to be a downside! people are out and about much more, the tables and chairs are back on the terrace at the caf? and a lot more activity around the village. Fiona has become involved with a large arts event at the chateau of Le Buisson which is nearby and is re-creating a dance performance that she did at the Edinburgh Festival some 15 years ago. This will be the first performance that Fiona will have done for many years having said that she didn't want to perform again, just to teach and choreograph, but she always had a dream of dancing in a French Chateau, so how could she refuse? We have been watching the original performance that I filmed at the time and, most surprisingly, we still have 90 % of the props used then. I just hope that when the time comes she has overcome the stage fright that she always used to have just before a performance. Unbearable but understandable! It will be interesting to see how she has developed the piece since then, I have not seen any of her rehearsals as yet but I shall video them next week and see how it all looks then. The performance takes place at the beginning of June and is being accompanied by a son et lumiere, jugglers, acrobats, theatre etc. all within the chateau, a true French style 'spectacle'.
Another bonus of springtime, although I am sure that it is not connected, is that after a three year battle with the French authorities Fiona and I received our 'carte Vitale' which gives us full and complete access to the French health system. For so long we have been sending forms about our status in the E.U. as regards our health entitlement within the great European Union, this had been constantly returned to us with the requirement that we did not have the necessary paperwork from the UK. Despite contacting, and receiving certificates from department of whatever it is in Newcastle it seemed to be a bit of a deadlock. Only after sending a rather furious letter to the authorities about all this all (all in French) did we get the go ahead with all this. It all reminds me of when I worked on a film for an American broadcaster and they sent me my payment from California by direct transfer to my bank. My bank here managed to lose this money for two months and after a time of constant faxes and phone calls I lost my temper and went into the bank, thumped my fist on the counter and shouted 'Zut Alors'. The money suddenly appeared in my account the next day. Surprise, surprise!
Rural France. I love it - honestly.