La Rentréeis an enormous psychological experience here in France – the end of summer, the return to school, to work, to putting your socks on again after months in flipflops… You can feel it: Nice is much quieter tonight, as families stay home and the kids go to bed early – no more dinners out or late-night ice creams followed by a stroll, no more idling until midnight.
I went out this morning at about 8.30am because I wanted Joel, in his first official Monday off in our new home, to wake up to croissants, pains au raisin and an English newspaper (a real treat, for the sports news). The streets were swarming with excited small people in shiny new shoes. The ones I really wanted to hug were six(or so)-year-old African-French twins, who were already wearing their bright blue gingham school pinafores, with their names (David and Lucie) written in magic marker in huge letters on their chests.
It’s La Rentrée for me too. I’ve been very pre-occupied with transferring our lives from what shall henceforward be referred to by Joel and I as ‘That Place’. But now I have to get back to The Novel. The due date is approaching. We have virtually nothing here in the new apartment, and not enough money to buy all new stuff, particularly since we already have everything we need and then some – except that it’s all a thousand miles away in London. I hate the thought of buying new candle holders and pillows, for example. We have loads of that stuff! We’ll probably drive to London again in October to pick up things we love (not people, sadly), but for now it’s all very ad hoc, with what people give us and what we find on the street. There’s no going to the local dump or civic amenities site here in France – you leave what you don’t want on the street for the garbage collectors. Or for me to grab and paint, thereby providing myself with yet another method of procrastination.