Monday, August 13, 2012

Des pensées décousues

Sipping espresso at a cafe near Gare Vinci, August 9, 2012.

The panhandlers here ask for two euros. "Brother, can you spare approximately 25 dimes at today's exchange rate?" But I have only seen a handful of them, as opposed to the dozens on the streets of Portland.

Outside of Port Orford, Oregon, May 25, 2012.

The first time I went to see the mastectomy specialist at #31 Boulevard Heurteloup, I couldn't find her name or the name of the shop on the list of doorbell buzzers on the stoop of the doorway labeled #31, so I went back to the pharmacy on the corner and asked the woman there if she knew where it was. "It's this way," she said, leading me back down the street past door #31 to the second door labeled #31 on the block. Of course it is.

Kate making a Spock hand through a lava hole, May 12, 2012.

I need to get a cell phone number this week. I have the cell phone already, the one I bought in England back in 2007, but I need to get a new French SIM card. And then I need to get some new business cards made up so that when I meet people I can hand them out. I'll need an electronic version of one as well, to attach to e-mails to prospective clients. Not that I need to go out and find more clients right now, as both Pascoe and Marc are keeping me busy this month, and I haven't even started my own projects. I have now earned approximately as much as I have spent in France so far, so business is good. This just might work, this crazy world-traveling freelance-writing career!

Cheese drying on racks at Rivers Edge, April 13, 2012.

At one of the first markets I went to here in Tours, I met a man selling goat cheese, the St. Maure of the region, both fresh and aged. I asked him if he made it himself, and he said no; that for the last 20 years he had made cheese, but the recent regulations that will go into effect January 2013 requiring all animals to be electronically tagged at birth made him get out of the business. It's an extra expense, he said, and not something that smaller producers had time or money for. Plus it's too much government interference. And remote surveys of your livestock, at any time - they don't even have to come on the property, he said, just drive by. It's not right and I don't agree, he said, so I'm quitting. He told me that he knows of one cheesemaker with approximately 1,700 goats who's also going to shut up shop. He thinks it's driven by the factory cheese producers, who want to drive the smaller ones out of business. It was all too depressingly similar to what I was hearing in the States, when I thought that I'd be going to France to rediscover the small-scale regional cheesemaker's paradise I imagined. Perhaps my independent project will be to document the disappearance of that paradise, if it ever existed at all.

Stub Stewart State Park west of Portland, August 12, 2010.

There was a Perseids meteor shower event at a planetarium to the south and east of Tours this past weekend, but I didn't manage to connect with anyone with a car who was going there. I was out Saturday night watching a movie on a big screen in a park until close to midnight, but there was still too much ambient light for me to see many stars, and I didn't see any shooting stars at all. And Sunday the clouds moved back in, and all I saw were raindrops, and the flickering light from the television in the front room where Seb was watching the closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games.

Amur leopard alone in her cage, Oregon Zoo, July 25, 2008.

The excitement of being here in France has worn off a bit and I'm starting to feel a little lonely sometimes. I'm glad I found the On Va Sortir website, and I have signed up for another hike on Thursday, plus one of the women from the last hike and I will be getting together soon. And it's not like I'm not busy in any event, so I'm not sitting around moping - far from it. Just a little dislocated, out of alignment. I think I'll see if I can schedule a massage for this week, one to put my body back into synch. And I'll go swimming tomorrow morning. That will help.

Lily pond in Monet's garden, Giverny, August 7, 2007.

I've started doing research for next May and Mom and John's trip here, which will involve visiting Giverny, and a self-guided canal barge trip on the Marne through the Champagne region. Fossils, Paris, and the south of France are all still part of the vacation planning process. I think they'll have to be here for at least three weeks. My friend Jean is coming for a quick visit in mid-September, and as soon as I find out the exact dates of the midterm break here, I will be making my plane reservations for Oslo, and my visit with my high school French teacher Bea, who retired to her native Norway and now lives in a small town on the south coast there. And I have all my relatives and friends in Scotland and England to go see ... I think I'll have to be here for at least three years.

The Old Church House, Ashburton, Devon, September 21, 2005.

1 comment:

  1. Hugs to you. And I LOVE the ocean picture in b/w!