Two Steps Forward, Etc.

We had a nice visit with Marc Riley at BBC 6 Music on Wednesday. Then it was back in the van to drive down to catch the ferry. We camped at the port which allowed us the rare experience of being among the first in line when they start letting people check in.

We'd been scheduled to travel from Dover to Boulogne, but in the time we'd been in England that ferry had gone out of business. So now it was Newhaven to Dieppe. Dieppe's a pretty-looking town and the place was busy with shoppers. Seeing all the store windows full, displays of seafood and meat and pastries, delicious-looking cheese and flavored yogurts - Normandy has the food culture I wished and expected would be part of everyday life in France. It's a big country, and down in the Limousin we're sort of in Kansas.

It took another eight hours of Eric driving and me trying to think up scintillating conversational topics ("...and what was the second Dr. Feelgood album?" "How did Nick Lowe get his hair to look like that?" It doesn't take much to get full-length rockumentary going from Eric, just a few leading questions) to get home. Kind of crazy, considering we're leaving again tomorrow to do the same journey again, only all the way up to Scotland. But we had to come back, to:

- see the golden light at sunset in the Loire Valley

- check if Ratface, the evil checkout girl, had truly been fired from the local supermarker, as rumored. She was at the cash register yesterday, looking extra smug, like "I bet you thought you could get rid of me. Well you CAN'T."

- find a copy of the new Gil Rose et les Hydropathes album in the mail. Eric produced this very cool French group's new record. I got to sing on it.

- Pick up the next season of Cold Feet from the shelf, we are addicted.

- Get some warmer clothes. Still don't know what to wear on stage this fall. My summer dress is now a shapeless rag.

- Make sure the "rentrée" went off without a hitch. The predictability of French life can be quite comforting. The Festival of Wood will always be the 2nd Sunday of July. The Old Car Fair will always be the 2nd Sunday of September. The Celebration of Chestnuts - well, you get the idea.

- Get given hundreds of peaches and tomatoes by our neighbors. Then try to find people who aren't already laden with end-of-summer fruit to pass them on to.

- Be greeted with double kisses by the bank manager. This was before she saw the sorry state of our accounts.

- Have Sunday lunch with friends. Tomatoes, courgettes and parsley fresh from their garden, andouillette on the grill, tarte aux poires chocolat, Salers, red wine, champagne. Then tried to grout the bathroom tile.

- Pick up kitchen cabinet doors from Castorama, before they sent them back for fear of incurring "charges". Life in France is lived in avoidance of "charges".

- Find out the car had been stolen.

That last one, it wasn't planned. The car had been at the garage in a tiny village, where the very nice garagiste had made the necessary repairs for the old warhorse to pass its control. He thought we'd picked it up last week. We hadn't.

So it's back to work. We've still got the ambulance. Two steps forward, etc.

Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby
Two-Way Family Favourites in the UK

Thu 16 Sept Citrus Club Edinburgh
Fri 17 Sept Stereo Glasgow
Sat 18 Sept The Verge Cheshire
Sun 19 Sept Kitchen Garden Birmingham
Thu 23 Sept Prince Albert Brighton
Fri 24 Sept The Lexington London N1
Sat 25 Sept The Met Bury
Tue 28 Sept The Railway Winchester

Come see us and pick up a copy of the new album. MOJO gives it 4 stars!