old salut!

Colin Randall wrote here on France, things Anglo-French and more......but has moved

December 31, 2006

Small town blues, lucky red smalls

This site has now moved to Salut!

Tastier baguettes for under 50p, sunshine instead of freezing fog and a view with room taking the place of a room with a view.

One of the things I liked even less about living in the heart of Paris than the high cost of everyday purchases was that in common with most others sharing the experience, I had no outside space.

Of course the Tuileries were opposite, the Luxembourg gardens and other parks were within easy reach and Paris lives up to its City of Light image in splendid fashion.

But there is something about being able to go outside and still be at home.

A terrace, as we have here in the Var, is one great asset - and it was almost warm enough to eat lunch on it today. A modest garden, like the one we left behind in London, is another.

In Paris, even a small balcony would have sufficed provided we could have sat outside on it.

If the terrace here, with its uninterrupted view across the hills, is something for which to be mightily grateful, small town life may take some getting used to.

I spent all but the earliest three months of my first 23 years in Shildon, County Durham (being born in Hove is naturally a source of both shame and constant impudent reminders from friends).

Then I had short spells elsewhere in Durham - Darlington, Hobson (though not by choice, I used to say) and Newton Aycliffe - before moving to London. And for the past 30-odd years, it's been the big city: Bristol, another stay in London and finally Paris.

Wandering around Le Lavandou today, I was impressed as ever by the palm trees, the lovely bay and the sea air.

But lots of bars, shops and restaurants had congés annuels signs up. Tonight's fireworks display drew a fair-sized crowd to the promenade, but it still did not truly feel like a place that was "lively all year round", as my wife was assured the last time she had her hair done here.

Time - and the occasional reference on Salut! - will doubtless tell.

But I should add that things did look up a little on the marina, where a poster for the Equateur nightspot promised a hip réveillon. Customers were offered two bits of advice: book early and wear red underwear "for good luck".

It wasn't until I switched on the news an hour or so later that I discovered that the second part of the advice - red knickers for New Year's Eve fortune - was a recent tradition originating in Italy.

If, in the coming days, anyone comes across a beaming Bill Taylor - Salut! regulars will know he is spending tonight in Rome - they may be able to guess what he packed before leaving Toronto.

Bonne année to all.

This site has now moved to Salut!


At January 01, 2007 6:16 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Black with a red waistband (I just double-checked), if it's anyone's business, but I'm still beaming. Partly because I had a phone chat with Colin & Joelle a couple of hours ago and they sound well and optimistic for the New Year.
Rome is delightful, as always; very mild weather. Dinner and midnight champagne at the "Roast Donkey" restaurant last night was terrific.
We flew British Airways to Rome by way of London. BA was not bad at all (I was the first to board the Rome plane and was greeted with a handshake and a "Happy New Year!" from the purser) but Heathrow is a hellish place. We had a fairly tight connection to catch and had to get from terminal 4 to terminal 1. They don't make it easy. To judge from the lineup at the lost-luggage desk in Rome, no one who connected to the flight from elsewhere in the world (the guy behind me in line was from New York) had their luggage put on the plane. My bag was delivered 21 hours later. They knew exactly where it was (still at Heathrow) and what flight it would be taking and I was able to monitor its progress on the laptop that this wonderful apartment we rent is now equipped with. I was still without a change of underwear (red or otherwise) for rather too long.
Buon Anno to one & all.

At January 01, 2007 6:16 PM, Blogger Louise said...

Bonne et heureuse annee to you Colin and your family, and I hope you enjoy your new home.

Now we know why Bill was so interested by the google ads. on your site for Brazilian thongs!

At January 01, 2007 6:28 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Brazilian thongs...that'll be the day! Plain & simply Jockey brand, if you must know. But what a salacious way to kick off 2007, Louise! Is this what we can expect from you throughout the year? (Not that I have any objection...)

At January 01, 2007 8:05 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

Happy new year Colin. You have certainly got yourself into an agreable spot. Now is this to be a retirement home or will there be industrious activity down there in the Var? I will be interested to find out. You certainly know how to manage the suspense.

At January 02, 2007 4:19 PM, Blogger Colin Randall said...

New Year's greetings to Richard. There has been no deliberate attempt to maintain suspense, just a bit of prudence on my part. But it is no great secret that I am intending to freelance from the south of France, not least because I cannot afford to retire. What that freelancing will entail remains to be seen......

At January 08, 2007 10:28 AM, Blogger Sarah said...

Happy New Year, Colin. I hope that 2007 proves to be a good one. It has started in a most encouraging way with your move down south. You'll see a lot more sun, that's for sure!


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