Thursday, March 6, 2008

Back to Blogdom

Having decided that letting my blog go is a sign of letting my thinking go - I will now try to make at least two or three blogdom forays per week - even if no one reads them.

Top of the thought list for today is the death of yet another teenager, this time at the hands, or more accurately the knife, of another teenager, her friend, a girl, high on a mixture of cocaine and alcohol. Maybe it is just my age and long distance contact with current reality, but for me the anomalies in this list are too obvious to brush over with the usual demand for curfews, prohibition, ASBO's and 'good parenting'. No, I don't have any solutions, better or worse, but perhaps these can only come from looking at the source of the problem, rather than trying to attack the symptom. There has never been a golden age, my childhood was as miserable as the rest for a range of archaic reasons, but in spite of all this, I do not think we had reached the vortex vacuum society seems to be careering round today, with the consumer power being the only power available. Am I onto something here? Is the solution perhaps in the very doom and gloom of the economic down turn everyone seems to be predicting? Or do we need an ongoing 1984-style pseudo war to keep us on the right track? Is this why Bush feels the need to be in perpetual conflict? Is he in fact a great less stupid than we think he is? Am I fooling myself that Barak is the answer? Probably.

So, a very fairly random start, but a start nonetheless and a break from our 8/9/10 hour days spent working on the guide book - which can be a fairly mind-numbing process. Nevertheless, volume one - Canterbury to the summit of the Great St Bernard Pass - is with the printers, proof expected back in about 15 days, and Vol 2 - Great St Bernard Pass to Rome - is halfway done and people are clamouring to buy them, so it's not all a wasted effort. No, far from it, in fact those nights spent dreaming about cover designs and typos seem to be paying off, because the PDF version really look quite good, something to be proud of. No matter how small a drop in the ocean of publishing and guide books it may be, it is our drop and someone out there will benefit from its existence.

Meanwhile the rest of our life is in flux, as usual. Yesterday, we bought some light fittings and dropped them off at the apartment, along with coffee, cups and toilet rolls, in preparation for the days we will spend there painting and putting our stamp on it. As we slogged up the shabby staircase, bringing back memories of my student squats days, it occurred to me that such a basic accommodation choice is strange for a couple of our ages to make. In fact, most of our friends, especially our Rotarian friends, would think we are completely mad, if we let them see it, but actually we, Paul and I, are probably as excited about this move, as we were when we initially came to France. Fougéres and our apartment are a bridge to the place we have been hankering after, without even knowing it - regular social contact, shops, cinemas, the theatre and in particular the Coquelicot bar - all within five minutes walking proximity. A lifeline for this ageing hippy who once said that only a desert island would suffice. How times change. Given enough sun, I suspect we would forgo all plans of moving south (post voyage to Jerusalem and back) and buy something here, but these are only the emotions of the moment and no doubt I will be recording something completely different in my blog a few tomorrows ahead.

So, as finger fatigue sets in, I feel a minor sense of accomplishment because I have managed to write reasonably freely and a sense of guilt, because I have spent all of ten minutes away from the guide book, but I cannot close without mentioning the Rosebud Blues Sauce band ( saw at the Coqueclicot last night. Too big for the venue, and only a small, though enthusiastic audience, but a great rendition of old blue numbers nonetheless, with a saxophonist who left me vowing to find a teacher in Fougéres. Thank you Patrick (Coqueclicot owner), another great evening.

And to close …. A blog recommendation for anyone who needs to be reminded that there is another worked out there Dr Mona Al Farra, physician and human rights and women's rights activist in the occupied Gaza Strip.

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