Monday 16 July 2012

Fidelma Cook

Fidelma Cook is a well-known journalist who moved to France some years ago and writes a weekly report for the Glasgow Herald about her life there - it appears on a Saturday and I always look forward to reading it.

In my opinion, she has a perfect prose style and  she is writing about France - enough said.

Last Saturday she reflected upon the demise of the traditional French lifestyle - at least that bit which revolves around alcohol and cigarettes.

She writes:

"The old men who came to the bar for strong coffee, Armagnac and cigarettes are dead or dying."

When I was 17 or 18 I hitchhiked to and throughout France. When I got off the ferry at Calais or was it Boulogne I suddenly lost my nerve. I didn't know where to go and found myself staggering across railway lines which served the port and then ever deeper into the back streets of the town.

I spotted a cafe/bar and went in - full of men drinking coffee and small alcoholic drinks. I mustered enough lingo to order a cup of white coffee and boosted by this success sat down at a small wooden table to drink it - colossal rucksack on the floor beside me. That coffee was like adrenaline - I can still smell it. My spirits lifted, I paid for it in francs and never looked back.

That's the image of France I love.

But, Fidelma Cook ends her article with these telling words.

"Life is changing in La France Profonde. The locals accept the changes; welcome most of them. But we didn't come here for that. Did we?"

Somewhat before my time.
Today's Listening:

Sandy Wright

And Lee "Scratch" Perry

Last night's dinner:

Spaghetti, anchovies, mushrooms and artichokes.

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