Added on Monday 16 Jul 2007
As all readers of this column will know it is headed by a photograph of me, not because that I am vain or the fact that Fiona plays no part in this all, just the fact that when I started this Pat had asked me for a picture. So there it was. What I hadn't realised in those early days that it would be so widely read, not just my unworthy efforts, but the whole of Pat's website! So many years later when I sit at the caf? having a wine or a meal in the evening I should not be surprised when complete strangers, after they have rather shyly looked over at me, come over and ask me if my name is Barry? I am somewhat used to it now and I usually retort "Do I owe you any money?" and after the initial embarrassment on their part they explain that they have seen the photograph at the top of the article when they have been researching Salignac for a holiday, a house or even a film course! The power of the web has really hit me because of this. I don't know why I should be surprised by this, but I am constantly am. Especially as I am a rather private person but obviously I want as much exposure as I possibly can for our business, so if I can say this rather cornily, a great Pat in the back for this site and, by no way that I underestimate the great power that the web brings to people. Including myself! It has done both Fiona and I a great deal of good being a World Wide Westender, so thanks to you Pat. It has also saved me from including a picture for this paragraph!
The other day when I returned down the road I came across this vision outside our door. Nothing too extreme, just a swimming pool being lifted into position at the back of the house opposite. The thing that struck me was the positioning of the men watching; from right to left is the parish priest, the boss and the worker, all suitably placed. I presume that all was catered for in case of an emergency! Needless to say no emergency was involved but it just goes to show that the French do not take things lightly, nor slowly, as about twenty minutes later it was all suitably installed in a rather precarious position in our neighbours garden and where it has remained while Mr Lacombe does the necessary plumbing and bits and bobs that are required for it all to be up and running for future use. We have yet to be asked to come and have a "splash" but as I guess the size is more meant for children, there is a good chance that we won't be. I just guess that the slide bit would be a little small for me anyway!
There are so many things that I want to write about this time around that I don't know where to start and finish. My life has been a bit upside down after my last fall, now thankfully recovered from, but it has all been a bit strange, to say the least. Several things that I have noticed, which I hadn't realised before, is that the village has a strange cyclical rhythm about it. One minute it is very busy with the caf?s and bars being full, the next time all are empty, and the next time are full again. It is the same with the shops. For example there were two weddings (sorry no funerals) the other day and there were lots of people about and the next minute the village was empty. Almost as though no one existed! Very strange. Next thing lots of hustle and bustle.Do I get the feeling that I am in a time warp situation? Maybe I am and have just lost the plot completely or am I undergoing a new situation in my life? Who knows but my life has changed dramatically for some reason or another.
I just wrote the above some two weeks ago, the reason being slightly late with this piece was that I had two students for a very intensive 10 days course in filmmaking. It involved a project that they want to make a training DVD and needed to get hands on experience on using the camera and sound kit. Unfortunately the weather during their stay was, to say the least, dire but I am glad to say that they still managed to shoot over three hours of footage despite the constant rain and wind that was there for most of the time that they were here. Happily the weather has now reverted to normal summertime with the temperatures back up to 25/28 degrees.
As I write this on a Saturday afternoon, on Bastille Day, the doors are open and the sun is flooding in. Such a great change. And as I write someone came to the door to see about the repair work for the ceiling. This is supposed to be a national holiday here in France, a fete national no less, however I don't knock things when they happen. I just wonder if I could have had a tradesman on Glasgow Fair Saturday come round to give me a quote for work needed? I somehow doubt it! The end result is that the work will take about six hours next Sunday after I buy the materials with his discount card, will be all clean and professional and done perfectly. Do you believe it or not? I for one do but keep reading the update to see if I have been proved wrong. It is rural France after all.
RURAL FRANCE! I love it.
? Barry Paton. July 2007.