Our friend Peter is here helping with painting and decorating which is going at a fever pitch. He brought along some films to watch at night but I swear all I can do is look at the paint surfaces, wood grain, brush strokes on walls and woodwork behind the actors. And to think when we first came here I couldn’t bear to be in the attic – old dust and cobwebs, weird rusty farm implements, ancient poison bottles, tiny wooden shoes – all a little Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte or Baby Doll or Miss Havisham or the French equivalent of any of those for my delicate sensibilities. Now I feel like I know every stone, board, splinter and beam intimately as I’m jointing, sanding and painting all the walls and doors and windows that Eric put in. And it continues – will we ever be done? We know we’re on our way out of this place, getting it ready to sell, but it feels good to keep it alive, make it better than it was. It had been empty for years and nobody (except us) would look at it twice. Now somebody else is going to love it, I just know it.
Mick brought his chainsaw and took down the unruly parts of a half dozen trees so now there are three or four bonfires worth of branches and trunks to deal with. I think I feel a music video (or at least an album cover photo shoot) coming on.
We have a show this week in Angouleme – January 27 at Le Kennedy Irish pub run by a French couple. It’s the first day of the massive Festival International de la Bande Dessinee which is probably a little like Anthrocon but with cartoons instead of furries? It’s my birthday that day and I was picturing a trip to a nice little restaurant, good food and wine – a chance to wear something other than paint-splattered clothes and the baseball hat I need in the attic because my head attracts low-hanging beams. Instead it’s a gig which is how I’ve spent a good percentage of my birthdays over the last twenty-five or so years. It’s probably the most natural thing to do. There is no doubt that playing is energizing and life-affirming, even if it’s telling the people telling us to be quiet so they can converse to get lost. Stomping on a distortion pedal and blowing back what was left of that old guy’s hair probably isn’t on the menu for Thursday – I imagine the apero crowd will stay safely indoors with shutters bolted in place while the comics-mad youth run loose in the streets of Angouleme.
Two days until I go back to the doctor – the place where he hacked now resembles a botched nose piercing. I’m hopeful it’ll be okay but if it’s not apparently it can all be taken care of. Whatever happens with that I’m supposed to have good luck this year – I got the fève from the galette we ate the other night. The fève is a tiny porcelain favor baked into pastry and almond paste, one per cake. I think this one is something special – mysterious and alluring, it’s just the kind of thing I came to France to find. I’m going to treasure it.