Saying Uncle

I never thought I'd say this, but I simply cannot eat any more oysters and foie gras, or drink any more wine.

That's what the holiday season in France can do to a person. The rare delicacies you see only a few times previously in most of your adult life become so commonplace that you want to go in hiding until it's safe to show up at someone's house again and not be offered such luxury as a matter of course.

Now I'm all about (damn - I swore I would never use that phrase. But at the same time, as I wrote it I felt such a part of things! Maybe I'm alright as long as I stop myself from putting a "the" in front of the next part of this sentence?) I mean I'm concerning myself with exercise, getting my financial mess in order and coming up with that magical list of goals I want to achieve in the coming year. Just like Oprah, and everyone else.

In a few weeks it'll be time to get back on that touring horse. We're heading to Germany, Austria and Switzerland next month and I think we found a new vehicle. It'll save having to wash the old one, plus we're seriously in need of more space. There was a gig we did for a group of attorneys in Birmingham last month and afterwards Eric packed a P.A. system, 3 amps, 5 guitars, a keyboard and various stands and stuff into the back of the humble Ford Escort wagon as the whole law firm looked on in admiration. When he'd finished, one of the lawyers asked if it would seem sarcastic if they applauded - and then they did. I suddenly felt like I was in Chariots of Fire or Goodbye Mr. Chips or something.

We went to look at a van yesterday in La Creuse, one department over. Now we're in a very rural, quiet part of France. So sparsely populated that for the first year or two I was often thinking "These villages are so charming, and it'll really be nice when the people get here." But La Creuse is really empty! Colder, and beautiful,up in the mountains further into the Massif Central. We got to the address where the guy with the van was supposed to be, an old garage, but there was no one around. We walked through the village, Eric, our friend Nick and I and there was nobody. "Look, there's a hotel over there! Maybe we can use the phone." (of course we didn't have a mobile. Remember, we're the only people in Europe etc...) Hotel was closed. "Look, there's another hotel, Hotel Moderne! I bet they'll have a phone." This one was boarded up, and for sale. We finally saw a guy who let us call the van guy and we walked back over to the garage. We had the feeling that our arrival in the village may have been the most exciting thing to happen around there for many years.

We liked the van (an ex-ambulance so that's perfect). If it checks out okay, it's ours. Just the thing for zipping around Europe in. After all the excitement I broke down and had a glass of wine.