Across the street

The back of our little flat looks out over a long, empty courtyard and onto a wall that is getting greener and greener every day as the Virginia Creeper gets going. There are three flats on our floor, one of which is two very muscle-y gay guys who keep to themselves when we see them, but are very vocal with Misha, their cat. I assume it’s a cat: there’s lots of cooing and oohing whenever I hear the door open. Could be a boa constrictor. The other apartment must be empty: the third electricity and gas meters have been removed from the cupboard in the hall. We can see right onto the empty flat’s balcony. At first I imagined myself flinging open the shutters at the back every morning and chatting with some sweet old dear having her croissant. But there’s no one there, for sure. Ted eyes that balcony up all day, I can almost feel him sizing up the leap.

London bedspread

On the other side, we tend to keep the windows closed because of the noise. It’s a pretty busy little one-way street, a bit too close to the building on the other side for modesty’s sake. The flat has net curtains, but I’m not a net curtain kind of person. At least I don’t trot about with nothing on, which Joel does, for all the world to see. The other day I was looking out the window with Ted and the man across the street appeared to hang out his bedclothes. He smiled at us. I’ve seen him before; he’s an orthodox jew and sometimes he dries his pots and pans on the windowsill. He sits a lot by the window, working at something. I assumed he was a serious type, until I saw him in his boxer shorts – and look at his duvet cover! I wonder if he bought it himself on a visit to London, or was it a gift?

Well over 1,000 words this morning! Then I had a tedious day at the Velobleu office re-subscribing to the free bicycle system here. It was so tiring I had to end up back at the restaurant, where I had dinner with my niece (veal kidneys, courgettes and frites). Joel is working tonight as Michele is going out – quite a step for both of them.

Manou and me

My niece Manou is a hoot, she really is. Thank God she speaks idiomatic English for when my brain gets tired. And Sonny was there, of course, Michele’s dog. He does move aside for customers, but only if he really must.



About Suellen Grealy

In 2011, a series of coincidences led my husband Joel, our cat Ted and me away from London, where we lived quite happily for 30 years, to Nice, where Joel grew up. While he and his sister ran their restaurant, I wrote a novel. Family being family, Joel and his sister no longer work together. Writing being writing, the novel lingers on... Meanwhile, we've found ways of living a completely different life from the one we had in London, including running our own restaurant together, 7 Villermont. The only constants are our Ted, our now-battered Peugeot, and each other. Everything else is a complete surprise
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