Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bye bye Blackbird mon pied


Exciting last night in V/franche. Thought I'd better sweep the terrace before I leave, and there he was - a very large, very dead, seagull. Thought I ought to do something - avian flu and all that, so I went to the police. (Check out the vocabulary first - is he mort [male] or morte [female]? How do you tell the gender of a seagull? And, since mouette is female, are they all morte, whatever their sex?) It doesn't matter anyway: the police don't deal with dead seagulls of any gender - you must call the Gendarmerie (Municipal Police), Monsieur. But they don't work after 5pm. Then you must call them tomorrow, Monsieur. But I'm not here tomorrow, I'm in England tomorrow. Shrug. I shrug him back. OK, then, have your bloody epidemic.
You heard it here first.

Here we are back in jolly olde – now that spring has arrived on the Cote d’Azur. What I want to know is how the blackbird knew. He's here!

No 1. son has given me this book about Liverpool – and it’s frightening. It’s autobiographical, and the author could be me, five years earlier. He was born in Walton, the same Liverpool suburb as me, went to Queens Drive Swimming Baths – as I did - and won a scholarship to go to Alsop’s High School – as I did. He remembers the same teachers as I did: Mr Preece (French) who used to bash you on the head with a book and say 'Pour encourager les autres!' The writer went to see Sir Oswald Moseley, the leader of the British Fascist Party, speak on the piece of waste ground opposite the school. I didn’t: my Dad wouldn’t let us kids go - he said there might be trouble. He was right – Moseley was hit by half a brick (we throw a mean half-brick, we scousers) and went straight to hospital (Walton Hospital, of course, where my cousins worked) before he could say ‘Heil Hitler’. That was the end of Fascism in Liverpool. Can’t write any more: No. 1 son might want to read the book and he may see this and I don’t want him to know the plot. Plus I have to go read some more - can't wait to find out what I do next.

5 comments:

Ed R said...

Are you back in Villefranche yet?
I have a book recommendation for you, it's called 'There and Then', and it's a good book. You might also check out some of his other titles. I've recommended him to your son, I don't know if he's ever gotten arund to getting anything. I read Least Heat-Moon's 'Blue Highways ' in trade;)

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1593760736/qid=1147178449/sr=8-14/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i14_xgl/202-7515652-2885451

Ed R said...

ARg. The author's name is James Salter. How did THAT get left out?

riviera writer said...

Hi Ed
Very many thanks for that - I'll check it out. Using daughter's PC right now - been blogless for 9 days because of problems between my ISP and our national telephone supplier, British Telecoms, which will continue for at least another 36 hours. You know the problem: ISP say it's BT's fault - BT say it's aol's. To me it's simple - you pay the ISP and right now he is providing neither I nor S. Miss your concise comments and hope to be back in business soon.
Best, Ted
Bryan Appleyard please note. Thanks vm & will respond

riviera writer said...

PS. No - still in UK and as things are not likely to see V/F until fall.

Ed R said...

Wow, that seagull's going to be pretty ripe by fall.