July 2008 Archives


We've been back in France for a couple of days, and it's a strange mixture of old and new, familiar and strange.

Habibi was cowering in a dark place next to the computer earlier tonight, scared by a thunderstorm. So far, so normal, except that Habibi, computer and thunderstorm are now all in France.

It's the same computer as at home (the joys of having your main machine be a laptop), and I've brought the external keyboard and mouse, but I only have the one screen. The desk chair and desk are different, but they're also the chair and desk from my childhood. Except that they're in a different room; we've been shuffling furniture around this evening like a very, very heavy and unwieldy sliding block puzzle.

I tried to fend off a fly, and hit my wine glass instead. It smashed quite spectacularly (stone floors will do that), but that's OK, I knew where the kitchen roll and dustpan were, so I tidied it all up. Eventually I'll smash enough of these things that I'll have to choose replacement glasses; something that will both fit the house and our taste. I wouldn't necessarily go for something that I'd have chosen in Glasgow; this place is more than just "my house". It's got a history of its own, it's the result of a series of decisions by my parents that I was never really aware of at the time, and while I know the place because I grew up there, I don't necessarily know why some things have been done as they were.

So it's a strange patchwork. Sometimes, when you're talking to other people, you're in your element (our builder and plumber are both people that I've known for 25 years); other times, it's anybody's guess (my father was the electrician, and I have no idea who we'd turn to for basic joiner work).

But we'll deal. We're here for 2 months, which means we don't have to do everything at a rate of knots, we don't have to accomplish at least one of the things on the list every day.

And despite various setbacks (the guy we hired to put a tombstone on Margaret's grave has flaked out something appalling, and the local post office won't cancel the forwarding to Scotland, which is a problem as I've started post forwarding from Scotland to France, which will kick in any day soon...), the piano room now has a large shiny white desk with a MacBook Pro on top of it which makes me occasionally think that I should have an iMac instead, the wireless works, the dogs have settled right in (Berkeley followed me around when I was cutting the grass earlier today), etc., etc.

When it comes down to it, I'm in the family home, the shorts I use to wear as a teenager and left in a drawer still fit me, it's gorgeous weather outside, nothing is obviously wrong with the place; I should probably admit that things are, despite weird existentialist musings, pretty damn good.