September 19: a restaurant and a novel…

I know, the word restaurant comes first in this blog’s name, and lots of people probably come looking for interesting stuff about the restaurant, and they get me and my crap old boring novel and a cat instead. I really should have called it a restaurant and a novel and a cat, but I didn’t think at the time…

The thing is, I’m a bit timid about the restaurant. A restaurant is about people. One one side, it’s customers having a good time (we hope!), and on the other it’s people working hard. The customers go all soggy when I point a camera at them, and the restaurant staff are often just too busy to stop while I bring my posy magazine habits to them and try to rearrange the coriander for a pic when they are in a rush. So, I can’t really show you the incredibly tasty souris d’agneau (lamb shanks) that the new chef Elie serves on couscous, which I had yesterday.
However, I can show you a bit of restaurant life that happens all the time. I love this pic, not arranged at all. It’s Sunday afternoon: Mika and Manu the waiters plus Yen the barman are hanging out with a drink after a good lunchtime service, they’re taking home the leftover baguettes, and they’re smoking cigarettes chatting. They’ve got their bread and wine on the table, and it looks like this.

Christie and Shena gave us a beautiful bougainvillea for the balcony

We’ve had visitors from London this week, and how convenient to have a restaurant as a focal point! While Joel slaved away, Christie and Shena and I visited wonderful places, which reminded me how beautiful this area is. I think I had forgotten, or may be just gotten spoiled, about how special it is to end a good day with a swim at a pretty beach. Shena gave me some very consoling advice about writing, too (she knows… her novel Orchard on Fire was shortlisted for the Booker Prize): she said – writing is hard.

Joel agrees, but from a less well-acquainted angle. When I sighed to him, writing a novel is hard, he trotted past on his way to watch the sunset from our balcony and said, ‘Of course. If it was easy, I would have done it.’ I love it when the truth of things is as obvious as this.

Sunset last night, from the balcony. The rooster on the tip of the spire of the Joan of Arc church is just visible


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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4 Responses to September 19: a restaurant and a novel…

  1. Deb Brenner says:

    Suellen – I love these. I check for a new one every day.

  2. Thanks Deb! I’ve been going out without my camera now and again, but you’ve reminded me to make sure it’s always with me. Kissous.

  3. Harriet Salisbury says:

    Writing IS hard – but you make writing a blog look easy and it continues to delight me. I think (am tempted to say at this point, imho) one of the hardest things is finding, recognising, and settling into your own voice. If the voice in your novel is as clear and humorous and gently analytical as the voice in your blog, it cannot fail. Onwards, courage! (publisher feedback tomorrow – cross your fingers for me?)
    Much love,

  4. I’m blushing, Harriet, thank you for saying such encouraging things. Fingers, toes, legs, eyes, all crossed for you tomorrow – but I’m sure the publshers will have only minimal comments and lots of grateful appreciation. Have you started on the next one? Sxxxx

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