Seasons

63 – Halloween

It’s amazing how quickly things come around. Like Halloween, Bonfire Night and ‘The shortening of the hands of the clock,’ as one student put to me this week.

I’m off on holiday later tonight. A trip to Provence. On Halloween of all nights, with Bonfire Night a mere toffee apple’s throw away. Not that any of this is celebrated here. Continue reading

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Writing and Books

62 – Point Conseil

Point Conseil is the English advice centre I work at a couple of afternoons a week. A windowless, airless room so inspirationally bare that even when I have the chance to do some writing, my words are sucked up into the creative vacuum that is room 87D. Continue reading

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Food and Drink

61 – Figs

After a cup of green tea in the Gadagne museum and a cake that tasted of chalk, I wandered up to the deserted Parc de Hauteur to pick figs. What would I have been doing on a Sunday afternoon ten years ago, apart from washing back post-party-pints in a dirty pub in East Nottingham? My mind is hazy of that period, but one thing is sure. There were no fig trees. Continue reading

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Writing and Books

60 – Sixty

I could have written a book in the time it took me to redesign this blog. What I thought was a good idea had me sitting in my office until seven o’clock last night staring into a screen like some fast-food addicted, techno geek. A man who’s lost all sense of purpose. A man with no hope. A man who thinks an apple is a computer. Continue reading

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Places

59 – Aqueduct

It’s amazing how you can miss things. Walking up to Fourvière on Sunday I was looking for the Roman Aqueduct that once supplied the city with water over 2000 years ago. I wasn’t expecting much, but looking up at the two surviving columns that once held up one of the thousands of arches that formed the 78 kilometre structure, I was a touch disappointed. Continue reading

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Writing and Books

58 – Nationality

It’s not easy to switch nationality. You can apply for citizenship, get a passport, fly the flag. But if you can’t kill a bull at nine paces, sluice back vodka and milk for breakfast; eat rice with chopsticks; fold a pizza in half and still call it a pizza; or wear a beret without looking totally ridiculous, then you’re not from the country you think you’re from. You’re an outsider at best. Continue reading

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Food and Drink, Places

57 – Walnuts

My dinner on Sunday evening consisted of wild roasted walnuts and chestnuts accompanied by sautéed wild porcini mushrooms followed by wild fig, apple and quince pudding. Not a meal for a carnivore and not normally enough for me. But all of the above was provided by nature during my walk through le Bois de St. Clair last Sunday. Continue reading

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Food and Drink

56 – Tea

‘This is the best cup of tea you’ll ever drink,’ I told my host last Saturday night.

She looked at the coppery brown liquid in the delicate China cup with utter disgust. My eyes bored into her willing her on. She gripped the cup, brought it to her lips and nervously took a sip. Her eyes shut.

‘Mmm,’ she replied forcing the liquid down her throat. ‘Nice. A bit sweet. And we don’t normally add milk. And I use Earl Grey as a rule. Or mint.’ Continue reading

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