The Winter Blues

Added on Monday 3 Dec 2007

Photo: barry. As I sit here in front of the keyboard on a rather grey Friday afternoon with the fog and drizzle drifting about over the valley below us I cannot help of thinking of an e-mail that my brother sent me a couple of weeks ago. He was happily telling me that he, and my sister in law, was leaving for six months in Muscat where my niece and her husband live. It turns out that he has bought, or rented, a flat out there in order that they can spend six months in The Gulf every winter time, now my brother is not one to boast and it does seem sensible for them to do that, getting away from middle England for that time of year and I suppose that I would do the same if I was retired, but even though we live some thousand miles south there is a sort of envy on my part. We live in a beautiful part of the world and although the weather is rather gloomy today it is normally bright sunshine, cool but not cold, with no bracing easterly winds blowing everything, and everybody, about. I suppose that just because December is coming in it is a normal feeling this time of year it seems to effect me more as I get older, the shops, the cafe and the streets seem to be so much quieter and as for the early darkness...don't start me! I don't know why I am complaining as we have warm house, several pussy cats and it is peaceful and quiet, maybe it has something to do with the fact that work is not so plentiful, I don't feel like going out to much these days and I have also had a couple of weeks of sleeping badly which has put me in a thoroughly bad mood. There are still plenty of things to do, of course, fixing another leak in the toilet, getting the car sorted once again! Getting our advertising arranged for next year, battling with all the junk e-mails that seem to come down at this time of year and of course paying the inevitable bills! All so tedious! Anyway enough doom and gloom for today.

Photo: snoopy flying. 2 Wheels on his Wagon!

Just after writing the above rant, Fiona and I decided to go up to the cafe for a little glass of wine, or two! Shortly after our arrival in breezed our friend Alain full of the joys of life and quite a few beers by my guess. In the course of his monologue it transpired that he is going to buy a moped and was going down to Biarritz in order to continue to do some work with his boss who has just moved there. Now all this came as some surprise to us as Alain has been banned from driving some four times by now but it was explained to us that that you do not need a driving license for a small moped of less than 50cc and has a maximum speed of 45kph. In between the telling of this story I noticed that Alain was wearing a brown pseudo flying jacket and I immediately thought of the classic Shultz cartoon of Snoopy being a WW1 air ace with a flying scarf behind him and my imagination immediately ran wild with a vision of Alain putt-putting down the road over several days heading for Biarritz down on the Spanish border! Not only that but my imagination went completely into overdrive when I remembered that Alain is at present living in his caravan, after a fall out with his mother, and of course I wondered if he was going to tow the caravan with the moped. Don't laugh at this as he towed the caravan earlier this year some 20kms with a lawn mower! Coming back down to earth I realised that the monologue had changed onto a completely different subject and I began to wonder if I had heard all this properly and it was only later that evening that I asked Fiona if I had heard it correctly. "Oh yes" she said. Knowing Alain and his occasional flights of fancy when he has had a few beers I hold my judgement on this one but my imagination remains with this image definitely in my mind!


I write this at nine am because I still have the problem of sleeping properly for some reason but I have decided to just ignore it and get up when I cannot sleep and to Hell with the consequences. I don't know if this is correct or not but I am willing to take the consequences and see how it goes. It does give me the opportunity to get on with other things that need done, including getting this article finished! Because it was Sunday yesterday we ran out of gas for our cooker, despite the fact that we have several gas canisters but I constantly forget to get them refilled so that we have a spare one. No matter when it they are replaced the gas always runs out on a Sunday! However, with the new cooker being a hybrid with electricity for one of the rings and an electric oven/grill so we are not stuck this time. This at least means that we don't have to get the camping gas burner out! I have just taken a break from finishing this piece and went upstairs to try and fix a dripping tap in the bathroom, which has been getting slowly worse over the last few days. I have done a temporary repair until I get a new washer later today. This was effected by using a British 1 penny coin in order to stop the water dripping from the tap, unfortunately it means the water is not flowing into the basin just for the moment but at least it is not draining the hot water from the tank. I hope that Fiona will forgive me when she gets up but it was getting on my nerves with the constant dripping!

Rural France. I love it!

(c)Barry Paton. December 2007.