October 25: Waiting in the rain

The trunk of the Chilean wine palm in our driveway, partially wet from the rain

I think the wind's coming from the north-east, wrapping rain round the trunk

It’s been pouring with rain this morning. Joel called from the restaurant to chat. To chat! There were only two customers for coffee huddled under a parasol, smoking. Because the restaurant is near the market and – usually – in the sun, the coffee trade roars from 10 till 11.45am, when they start to turn drinkers-only away in favour of diners (it is a restaurant, after all). People can get so hoity-toity when they see free tables but can’t sit at them. Joel’s usually pretty patient about it, but once two men started going on at him about how that was no way to run a business etc etc. Instead of explaining the logic behind the policy, he just said, OK, when you’re running a restaurant and bar, come back and let me know exactly how you’d handle this situation. Meanwhile, no coffee. The two huffed off in great indignation. As an ex-smoker, I think that the people who make a fuss are smokers themselves. They want a nice place to sit and have a cigarette and when they can’t, they have nicotine meltdown. The incidence of lung cancer is 20% higher among men than it is in the UK. I’m sure that’s because the British climate isn’t conducive to sitting on cafe terrasses and smoking, as it is here in the lower half of France.

In any case, I was quite happy to chat with Joel. He doesn’t usually call me in the mornings, as that was Novel time, but now… It’s become waiting time. I was furiously making some changes to The Novel so it could arrive by yesterday in the in-box of A Very Influential Person, who asked to see it. This person will know in the flick of a page whether it’s a dud or even a remote possibility, so… I may at some point in the future be cured for ever from my afflicition, advanced caniwriteanovelitis.

Looks like this old Peugeot down the road from here has been waiting in the rain, too.

One of the many really stupid things I noticed when going through The Novel was that a dog that was a Jack Russell at the beginning was a Yorkshire terrier by the end. I knew he was a Jack Russell, but the find-and-replace tool in Word didn’t. Another stupid, stupid thing was using the same tool to replace Mme (short for madame) with the full word Madame, which left me with incidences of iMadamediately and iMadamemense, and many more (like iMadamemorial), which made me snicker. I guess this is not a problem Jane Austen faced.

Joel has received his Carte Vitale, the French health card that allows him (mostly) free access to doctors, dentists, specialists and such like. Youpi! (That’s French for Yay!) It was a six-month-long exercise in dealing with French bureaucracy, and feels like a major achievement. Now, as the little wife, I’m allowed to move on to getting mine. What sort of specialist treats novelitis?

Ted on the chair Toni gave us, which she found on the street


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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2 Responses to October 25: Waiting in the rain

  1. paula says:

    Love the autumnal colours in the photograph of Ted sitting on the chair.

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