Added on Friday 14 May 2004
Having been away filming on location recently has made me a little late in updating this diary. I was filming for a Channel 4 series in and around the Carcassonne area where, very sadly, the weather was not very good, the skies rather grey and dull and still with a biting wind. Not at all what you would expect from the South of France in May. Working with a very intense director was interesting, if hectic, as he had a different approach to what I normally expect. However, filming was completed successfully and the area is beautiful and one of my favourite parts of France with all the mediaeval villages, history of the Cathars and the Knights Templars.
It has been the second time that I have been filming in that area in the last couple of years though, sadly the hotel accommodation this time was not so salubrious. The hotel was set in an industrial zone near the airport with a lot of noise and no views apart from garden centres, DIY stores and hypermarkets. The phone did not work in the hotel room and I couldn't connect to the Internet, the restaurant was rather uninspiring so we ate elsewhere. Not very nice at all! I was very glad to get home to my own bed and the peace and quietness of Salignac. I really do miss the golden stone of the buildings here as well.
Much as I like filming on location it is very tiring with tight schedules, many people think that it is glamorous but it can be extremely tedious at times, especially if you are not actually doing anything while scenes have to be set up. I have, however, been booked for some filming in Paris next week, so I hope that the hotel is much better?.and soundproof!
When I returned home I found that Fiona has had quite a lot of (hopefully) fruitful enquiries and a couple for our Dance for Camera courses but very little happening on my ones. It does seem to be so slow this year in that direction. At least it gives me some time to do one or two essential things around the house. With the coming of the brighter weather, albeit slowly, I realise that all the windows need cleaned, our sejour could do with a lick of paint and the other mundane things that need done. Paying bills, buying new tyres for the car and all sorts of exciting things
After all the nonsense of my 'inflationary' period recently, I am glad to say that I am now back on the road to recovery. I still need to see a specialist once we can get all our paperwork sorted out which is not the easiest thing in the world! With no two offices' opening hours being compatible it tends to make life a trifle complicated, to say the least!
This brings me back down to earth in the sense of having to get back to the keyboard in order to get some more publicity out on the World Wide Web. Although we get enquiries from all over the world, our bookings this year are substantially down for some reason, though I gather that this is a general trend in France this springtime. We have several friends who have holiday homes to let in the area and they say that the bookings for them are down as well.
However, now that I am feeling better, I can escape to the local caf? for my tea-time drink and chat with some of the locals. I have also received many kind offers of sympathy from a lot people after my last article?that, at least, means that this site is being read in the Salignac so the fame of the Glasgow West End spreads to this little corner of France. Battling with bureaucracy has become our major task recently and it is slowly paying off, although it has been a long struggle so far! I often wonder if it would be the same for a French person coming to live in Scotland - my guess is that it probably would.
With the weather being so changeable this year I was somewhat heartened by the appearance of flies in the house last week, normally a sign that the weather is improving, but sadly it is back to being cold and damp again. I don't like flies, incidentally, but they come with the weather and, as long as one is armed with a can of Raid fly spray, they are usually contained. Unfortunately the supermarket had a special offer of this product so we bought a large can and started spraying it about - it took a while for me to realise that it wasn't being as effective as it normally is until I read the can properly - It was for cockroaches, not flies, I must pay more attention next time. However it does mean that we shouldn't be troubled with cockroaches this year! Not that we ever have been!
Rural France? I love it.
Barry Paton ? 2004