Added on Tuesday 29 Nov 2005
When I woke up today I suddenly realised that we are almost at the end of November and I hadn't updated this column for some time. Part of the reason for this is that Fiona and I have been very busy with our various projects, Fiona has been starting new dance classes in Montignac, as well as here in Salignac, I have been very busy photographing jewellery and designing some web sites. Fortunately for me this has meant being inside as the weather gets a bit colder and working with the studio lights has kept me warm. The website for our local bar/tabac has been quite successful with over 200 hits to date but it has been a little embarrassing because every time I go in to report on the progress they insist on giving me a bottle of wine and or some cigars. This is despite the fact that I have been paid for the job some weeks ago! Incidentally, the site is on if anyone is interested in buying the business.
The jewellery job is a bit like Topsy, it has grown and grown, and I have now over 300 pieces to photograph. Phew! Very time consuming, but enjoyable at the same time. The deadline is for the end of next month in order to get the brochure printed and then the web site up and running for the client?should be interesting. I asked Philippe, the client, to come and have a look at what I have done so far and, thankfully, he was over the moon about my images. He then proceeded to tell me that he had several other photographers try but none had come up with anything like mine! All very gratifying for me but a bit daunting as I now realise that it is to become part of a very large, very well known, international design company and it is not only to be a catalogue, a web site but huge posters and glossy magazine adverts. Pheww! Amazing what you can do with a 'Blue Peter' type set up with sticky back plastic, an old sheet and a few lights!
The cold weather, which we do get here in the Dordogne, seems to have come much, much earlier this year. Fiona is suffering from a 'flu like thing and I have been trying to combat a 'leaking nose? type of cold, if you know what I mean. No snow here as yet thankfully and we are awaiting the delivery of some wood for our stove and for the heating although I am not sure about my ability to chop it up with my arm injury this year. However, we have plenty of friends who will be able to help should I fail in that direction. I am amazed at the progression of the work on the house opposite that was on fire. The workmen were there today in the very Scottish weather of driving rain and strong winds working away on the new roof quite happily. No gloves, hats or heavy clothing, must just be me getting older and my blood thinning, as I seem to remember the oldwives tales of my youth. It took a struggle for me even to go out to the bar today! Inside out brollies etc. and all that sort of weather that I thought I had left behind. In the last few days there has been a lot of media attention about global warming but I don?t see it arriving in the next month or so! At least there have been no recent dramas here in Salignac, most people, sensibly, close the shutters (who said it was to keep the heat out?) and retire indoors for a few wines and convivial company. Anything has to be better than watching the popular French TV channels, while the technical side of transmission is excellent, the programme qualities are ***p and go on for an eternity. Who would ever want to watch a chat show that lasts 3 + hours with the same boring people every day on them? No wonder that DVD sales have gone through the roof. Fiona and I have now discovered the joys of being able to access radio through our broadband connection and we probably spend as much time listening as we do watching. Mind you, I always preferred listening to radio than watching TV. Strange that, as I have spent most of my life producing work for TV and the cinema but then I was brought up in the radio era.
Once again I have been asked to do some film work but it all seems to fall down at the last minute, I guess it has a lot to do with this fear of travel with some companies..I get the feeling that someone comes up with a good idea for a programme (probably in the pub) and then get financing and then realise that it takes them out their own environment which might involve travel to such dangerous countries as France! I understand that the recent riots in France has caused a lot of concern but is there anywhere in this world that is safe? Maybe I am just using my 'dodging bullets' experiences to justify why I live here?I don't think so though. We still do 'dodge bullets' but that really is down to the bureaucracy that we (as incomers) and the French have to live with. All terribly tedious!
Rural France? I love it.
Barry Paton ? November 2005