So, we left Rainbows End and Rosalind. And the Americans, looking as though they were about to spend a couple of weeks in total isolation, eating dinner at midnight and listening to the same drunken tales over and over again, trying their darnest to look even the slightest bit interested in a story of how someone once said something to someone, which, in fairness to them, is exactly what was going to happen. We headed straight to Carcassonne airport and picked up a delightful Lebanese lass, who was waiting for us to show her the best the South of France has to offer……. poor girl. The first port of call was Super Ed’s 100% discount store, for 2 hours of budget shopping at its most budget! Imagine Iceland, strip down all the glitz and glamour and then poo on it and you have Super Ed’s!! Actually, you can get some right lush bangers in there… and some dogs cheese…
After showing her the best time in a crap supermarket that she’d probably ever had, the following series of events ensued. RAIN. RAIN. RAIN. RAIN. RA…. You get it? The only time since we’ve been in France that Arc building skills would have come in handy. Then, the day before her departure, we thought we’d try out a beach in the town of Narbonne, South of France. And, hey presto, no rain whatsoever. Just a 469 mile an hour gale, peppering my eyes balls with sand, sea shells and driftwood. However, if you want a great exfoliant, go to a windy beach, I came off it looking 12 years old albeit it one with lumps of turtle and crabs in my hair. And just to top it all off, the day that she had to fly home, 28 degrees, pure sunshine and not a breeze to speak of. So me and my fellow biped went back to Carcassonne and sunbathed on the banks of the local river and got tanned up to the max-i-mother. Life, eh? Still, in between that, we had a night on the Razzle McDazzle in Carcassonne, got hammered on Pastis (a digestive, I should point out, which is another mistake I learned not to repeat as in the morrow, bowls needed a respite and facilities weren’t numerate…. the fool I am), went to a club, most of which in France tend to be free to get into, probably because the lack of a) people and b) decent music of any description, went to an 800 year old historic town, woke up at quarter to 8 to leave so as not to pay the 5 euro parking charge, drove 1 minute up the road, parked in a lay-by, then slept for another 5 and a half hours whilst tree’s fell down all around us, went to a market and spent 10 euros on 5 saucisson, a great deal one thunked, until I saw the same saucisson in a supermarket, 5 for 7 euros 50 (and they’re crap) and stayed in a Butlins style holiday camp, hiding our guest in Bruce’s Penthouse so as to avoid the extra 5 euro charge for her. All in all, a pretty eventful visit, considering the rest of the time we sat in Bruce, our guest learning to play Cockles and Muscles on the mouth harp, FOR 9 STRAIGHT HOURS!!! Oh yeah, and we went swimming in a local baths. Well, all but me went actually, as in France you’re not aloud to wear shorts in swimming pools and long hair is frowned upon, so whilst I showered, the BFG entered the pool wearing what amounted to a pair of borrowed hot pants from the back office and a swimming hat that looked like an old school blue rinse. He loved the tightness of everything against his svelte figure. I pissed myself laughing for half an hour in the shower. The best 2 and half euros i’ve ever wasted!!!
So, I’m on the farm (www.aveyronretreat.co.uk), I’ve done my 9-1 shift and so finished for the day (how good is that, and weekends off too!) finished lunch and our host has just given us our first Alexander Technique lesson (named after the founder Frederick Matthias Alexander). Now, if you’re not sure what that is, I’ll give a brief summation:
“What is universally constant in our living is the way we use ourselves. Our use is the way in which we do things in our everyday lives, from the way in which we get out of bed in the morning, the way we stand up, sit down, or walk around, the way in which we do all of the activities of the day, to the way in which we lie down and go to sleep at night. Everything we do can be done in a good way that promotes healthy functioning or it can be done in a way that is harmful to our good functioning; that is we can operate with good use, or we can misuse ourselves (not in that way, Higgy). The Alexander Technique aims to provide us with a means to use ourselves in a good way, thus reducing the possibility of physical malfunctions within the body”
And I’m telling you, it is very beneficial, me thinks, to a proper worky body. Even paying attention to how you stand up, makes you realise you put unnecessary pressure on your body. STANDING UP!!! From now on, I’m gonna hover everywhere, its supposed to be much better for you and think of the money you’ll save on corn treatments. There should be a link on this Blog to a page that might explain more. If there isn’t, tuff, get a book you lazy buggers. But its reet proper good and stuff so check it out, may change your life betterer.
Anyway, farm life is ace, yet again. We have a wicked host, Lucy, totally down to Earth. Myself and my cohort are staying in a Gite, like a big converted barn-house, with a couple of bed and breakfasters, Will, 62, Belgian, totally cool dude, and Maria-Jesus, 40, Spanish and completely hilarious and a wee bit mental. How mental? Check this out. The other night we all went to the local pub for a few games of pool and a pint of Guinness for 6 FRICKIN EUROS’!!! And this dude was a scouse!! Says it all I s’pose. Anyway, we’re playing pool and its Maria-Jesus’ shot. Now, there’s no dollar on the game, just a friendly li’l competition. But obviously, there’s a li’l stress involved when you haven’t played before and everyone’s watching you, right? But just how much stress, I guess, depends on the person. However, I’ve never seen someone so stressed at a game of pool to actually STOP BREATHING!!!! This woman actually got so worked up in a game of pool, SHE STOPPED BREATHING!!!! If this wasn’t in public, I would have literally pooped dans mon pantaloons and wee wee’d at the same time, it was so vomit inducingly hilarious. She had to go outside so she could breathe again. Which I’m sure coincided with my co-workers decision to put on the jukebox one of his favourite songs, a Dire Straits number that was not only a crap live version of a relatively crap song but also some kind of mega-mix special that went on for 38 minutes or something. Dudes and dudettes, to see someone stop breathing, I’m sure, is a frightening experience. To see someone stop breathing due to stress/excitement during a game of pool is heart-attack inducingly funny and I think it brought on a hernia in my pants!
So, tomorrow, I’m having a mono-e-mono Alexander Technique lesson and I’m monster excited, it’s a really fabulous way of spending half an hour plus its another notch on the bedpost of things I’ve done on this journey so far that I hadn’t and maybe never would have done had I not undertaken it. And the food we have eaten at these farms, especially this one, has been something out of the Lets Make Some Proper Lush Food then Tell Everyone How to Make it in the Form of a Book Cookbook. Yesterday, Nettle Soup, massively good for you, not massively good for bending down in front of strangers soon after eating, unless you have a trumpet at your lips and can pretend that the Earthy smell must be coming from the mud-bath face-pack you had on that morning. Today, Lentil Lasagne with Carrot and Celery (amazing quick Man Experiment for all you dudes – eat 3 sticks of celery a day for 2 weeks and watch your sperm increase ten fold – its amazing…. Someone told me about it…) and rice pudding for desert WITH THE SKIN ON TOP!!! Lush guff…….
Whilst here I’ve read L’etranger (The Stranger/Outsider, depending on the translator) by Albert Camus, a second visit to an amazing book and I’m about to read a book called Humanure, about composting your own faeces and another book called The One Straw Revolution, about how this Japanese guy is changing the way people farm by introducing something or other into things. I’ll tell you more next time.
Oh No, a bit of Philosophy is creeping into my Blog, I cant stop it, its just well natural and that…….. check this.
Today, whilst sitting and generally being contemplative, I was watching the seed heads of a dandelion. You know Dandelion seed heads? Well, if not, they’re the finished little flowers of a Dandelion, with the round heads that you used to blow when you were kids and all the fluffy little seed heads would float away on a breeze. Well, believe it or not, in nature, when there’s a breeze, the same thing happens. And as I was sat on this huge boulder, contemplating the events of the past week, I watched as the breeze blew the seeds off of the old dandelion flower and get carried off to a new place. It made me think about how random this little piece of life’s cycle is, how some of the seeds only blew a matter of centimetres before getting stuck on a cobweb and therefore ceasing to give their now short lives any meaning (possibly, possibly not?) And I watched as others blew into a nearby field, got stuck on a piece of grass and fell to the ground, probably to fulfil their places on Earth by germinating and becoming a Dandelion, thus giving it meaning as a giver of new life (definitely). I thought of the journey of other seeds, some ending up in water someplace, some on the back of a cow, one possibly finding its way into the F cup of some farmer woman’s bra that happens to be hung on a washing line somewhere. And my concluding thought on this diminutive and trivial seeming event, on this amazing journey we call Life was thus:
‘Isn’t it strange how most everything we do is of such great magnitude to us, seems to have so much significance to our thoughts and overall well-being and yet the journey of a single seed across a field in a random part of a random country at any given time on any not so particularly special day has as much significance in the World as we and the insanely complex and intricate lives we decide to build for ourselves?’
I met a girl on my last night in Meribel, a lovely girl. Actually, it was almost the day I left cos I think it was nearly midnight that I met her on the Saturday before our Sunday departure. How’s that, I’m in Meribel for two months and I meet a deluxe French girl 10 minutes before the end of my last night!!? Anyway, details, schmetails. I liked her a lot and after only spending a few hours with her, left and carried on with my beautiful life. But I kept thinking about her, I just couldn’t shake the thought that there was something special about this girl. Then last week, I went to see her, the day after she got back from Meribel, in Bordeaux. I had a great time and thought she was well ace but alas, this time I wasn’t the cup of tea she wanted and I guess I lost out. And since then, I’ve been kinda melancholy and I’m not sure whether it was cos I really liked her, which I did or because she didn’t like me, at least enough anyways. But then I saw the Dandelion seeds today and I realised that, although I am pretty disappointed nothing really worked out, life is just so random and we don’t really control as much as we think we do. For example, if you want to go to Spain for 6 months, you can plan to go but when you leave, you don’t really know whether you’re gonna be back in a month or 5 months or never cos you don’t know what’s gonna happen to you. You can plan up to an extent, but stuff happens that you don’t control. Therefore, we should really be open to any situation occurring, no? There was a chance that this girl wasn’t gonna think I was the bee’s knees that I so clearly thought I was and so I should have been open to that possibility, right? Just like the Dandelion seed that may get stuck in a cobweb almost immediately after being released by a random breeze on a random day in a random place. When things don’t work out exactly as you’d hoped, think of those seeds. They’re as Important to the world as you are, they have as Important a role to play. But sometimes, it doesn’t work out for them either. I’m still disappointed. But a little less so. And all thanks to the humble Dandelion.
My love and blessings to you all……