Le Maryland Bar, Brive de la G.

We stopped off here for a quick beer and were informed that there’d be music later on… Blues. Marvellous! The bartender had explained this with an air of apology and seemed quite surprised when we were so enthusiastic. We quickly downed our bierre blanches and rushed out to find a restaurant first as we were both starving. We stopped off at the first we found; Le Correze. It was cheap and superb. The best food we had had so far. The town of Brive was a real surprise – I had been under the distinct impression form the tourist office that there was not much to the town. They had seriously undersold the place. In fact Brive turned out to be a delightful French town  – narrow streets opening out into unexpected little squares.

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Plaigne, Languedoc

Just been for a lovely drive to Belpech on a Sunday afternoon to find that both boulangeurs were closed. We ventured further to Fanjeaux and were rewarded with some wonderful views from this historical town.

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On the train to London with Sarah and thence to France. We’re both trashed on Mojitos and G&Ts already and in the holiday spirit. We both love the views from train windows and fight (in a fun sense!) to get the best shots.


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New technology

I’ve acquired an iPhone, and really appreciate what I can do with it!


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Walking back to the village was weird this evening. It was dark and cold, but fresh after the recent heavy rain. A pale mist was rising from the river, even though it was so far below the level of the road, and the night was still and bright, even without moonlight, and I was overcome by a sudden desire to be ‘back with nature.’ It’s so long since I camped or walked in the hills and I remembered a description of bivouaccing in the Canadian wilderness in the novel ‘The Tenderness of Wolves.’ I wanted to do the same; to take off into the woods or forest and sleep under the trees. A primeval instinct maybe, or a need to escape from my (ever) present woes?

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Old Haunts

It’s a place I know well and there are no welcoming smiles, but then of course it’s been a while. Maybe they think I’ve neglected or even abandoned them. Most likely they simply don’t care. Still, I can find a nice quiet corner and sit down with my thoughts and a good pint of Black Sheep Ale – that at least is consistent (and welcome). There isn’t the strange and exciting buzz of being in a Parisian café or bar – that wonderful feeling of strangeness and promise. It’s all too familiar here; I could never write about it properly – that needs the constant exclusion of an outsider, you need to be more of a voyeur – always looking at the inside from the outside chill. You need to feel totally absorbed in your subject but with a clinical detachment. I’m too full of my own thoughts and distractions at the moment. I never think of myself as a traveller but maybe it’s the only way to achieve that state of mind where everything is fresh and there are no everyday distractions. Maybe I should try travelling alone again and thereby refresh my perspective on life.

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It’s summer. Night time in the city. I walk through the subway with sodium lights yellow and orange. There’s a constant rumble of traffic and the sudden warm, heavy presence of others. The couple sit yards in front of me; intense, unknowing, beleaguered. They hear the approach of unsteady feet and scramble upright, startled by the sudden intrusion. They scurry away through the subway exit and I am left standing in the underpass with an unwavering yellow glare and the tang of stale urine.

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