I fantasize about living in the mountains with big stinky dogs and maybe a donkey. It would be so easy, there are mountains right behind us, and we could easily buy a big, isolated place with lots of land, and a huge fireplace. But Joel says I’d panic without a cinema, a bakery and a pharmacy within walking distance, and I expect he’s right.
I’d love to never give a damn about what I look like. When we went to Italy last August I wore a little black dress with trainers because it was the coolest thing I had and it was terribly hot, we were doing a lot of walking in the heat, and I knew we were unlikely to bump into anyone we knew. If only I could feel like that all the time.
I like where we live. It’s really bright and quiet, we can see lots of sky, and there’s a park right next door. I even bought a little chair in a junk shop specially for sitting by the window and watching the sky and the park. I never get a chance to use it, because we work too much, but maybe one day…
Even things that make me happy simultaneously make me feel inadequate. There are so many beautiful doorways in Nice, so many little architectural details that I discover every day on routes I’ve been taking for a couple of years. When I see them, I love them, but then I think I should photograph them all, make a project of it, and share them. Damn Instagram, Facebook, WordPress… Why can’t I just look at things, love them, and pass on by?
Sometimes Nice really does just take my breath away.
I wish everyone, everywhere, could spend a couple of years living in another country. I’ve lived as an adult in three countries now, and the French don’t realise how good they have it, the quality of life here, the health service, schools, the social protection in the form of pensions, benefits, unemployment insurance…I might be considered ungrateful saying so, but it’s true.
I drink too much. I don’t know whether that comes from being English at heart, or coming from a family of addicts. Both, I suppose. But I’ve noticed, even during prolonged sober phases, that people who don’t occasionally drink to excess just aren’t as endearing as those who do.
The death of my brother Nicholas earlier this year triggered a rapprochement between my sister-in-law Jan and me. Our friendship dates back to 1982. It makes me happier than I can possibly ever explain to be close to her again, and makes at least some sense of the confusion of time, age and mortality.
I wish I could have a picture like this, four generations, of my own family, but I’ll have to settle for one of Joel’s family instead.
I love this man.
I’m fed up with being unwell. I might have done them slowly, but since we’ve been in Nice I’ve run two semi marathons and several 10kms, and I also taught myself to do a creditable crawl swimming across the bay of Villefranche. That’s all over now. The only reason I’ve found the time to update this blog is because I’ve just spent 48 hours on my back after an epidural injection with a 5-inch needle into my spine, for a herniated disc. I hope it means I can get back to being healthy again. Meanwhile, I’ve been going twice weekly to a physical therapist with the swankiest waiting room, with rams in her ceiling rose.
I’m a fibber, because I told my friend Mary Zawalick that I wouldn’t put this photo anywhere online, because we had both just woken up and didn’t look our best. But I made a special trip to London this summer to see her, and some of her kids, and her sister, when they came from Virginia and rented a house on my old street. I love the Zawalick family, they’re all beautiful, and that’s all there is to it.
There are lots of good people in Nice. I complain all the time, but I shouldn’t. I’ve been part of a charity for a few years now, we befriend elderly people in precarious positions. I did something similar in London, and it’s just as rewarding here, and in fact it’s much more sociable. We’re always going out for teas or dinners. This was at a tea when we made slightly dubious table decorations for the Christmas eve dinner. I won’t be there as I’ll be in London, but I know lots of people will be very happy.
This will be the second year I haven’t sent Christmas cards that I’ve made myself…which, hmmm, coincides with how long we’ve had the restaurant. I’ve started making them though – a linocut this year. Idea, execution, production, completion. So far still only on phase two.