Driving in France or The Day Nothing Else Worked

It’s been a for-real, gosh-darned hair-puller of a day, I tell ya.

But first, the good news: The Frenchman had me drive. It was my first time driving in a foreign country, and it’s been a very long time since I drove a stick shift. Despite this, I apparently shift like a race car driver. However, the roads are very narrow and roundabouts are, for the moment, a tad terrifying. But I did it, dammit. I droves with the crazy French drivers! Woo!

Onto the not-driving madness.

Ye Olde Internets have been up and down more times than any dirty joke can do justice. The week days seem to be fine, but weekends and nights are now a horror. We’re constantly rebooting the modem. I’ve practically been making The Frenchman cry with my worries about this and potential Internet problems on our two weeks away in October. He was thinking that I write offline and then go online just to blog and send email. I told him that I’m constantly online to research, as well as to use the dictionary and thesaurus. I might have problems, then, in Paris later this month. But we’ll see.

Then, Ye Olde Laundry was as fun as a puke and a holler. My spider senses said to do laundry today while The Frenchman was around. The Landlady had put a sign on the usual machine saying not to use it but instead the other machine, which normally sits unplugged. Long story short, it didn’t work. We couldn’t contact the Landlady, whose phone was down, and wound up hauling all our wet, sudsy laundry to the laverie automatique.

(Yes, we’re both having nasty Mercury transits today. Why do you ask?)

And I have hives. I suspect I have them in response to what we were eating last night because my roseacea is acting up, too. At first I thought they were mosquito bites, but then more appeared spontaneously on my arm as I was writing this morning. Go me! I suspect it’s because I indulged in a bowl of butter- and garlic-smothered mushrooms. The Frenchman guessed it was the large shrimp, but my money is on the fungus.

I did, however, manage to finish the timeline for Out of Body up to the present point in the book. I’ve found some weird gaps that were relatively unnoticable in the script (which is what I’m adapting from), and I’m already pretty sure of how to fix them. I had to do one of these timelines for Mr. Wicker and am very happy with the results. It’s sort of a somewhat less anal version of what Tim Powers does when writing his books, where he envisions where every character is and every single thing they’re doing every moment of the day. I do the same thing — eating, sleeping, main chunks of action — but not quite as detailed.

Just to pique your travel envy, I also managed to upload photos from yesterday’s trip to Arles, where we saw the medieval Cloister of St-Trophime and the Church of St-Trophime. We then continued onto Les Baux de Provence, which was largely a tourist trap with bad crepes and an “armor” store that would thrill any SCA fighter. However, it had a spectacular view of Hell’s Valley. If I were a medieval duke living there, I’d feel pretty damned posh overlooking that valley with the crows soaring between the peaks and towers. Oh, yes.

We even saw Daudet’s windmill. This is the famous landmark of Daudet’s collection of short stories entitled, Lettres de Mon Moulin, published in 1869. The Frenchman says I should read them. I see they’re on Project Gutenberg, although they’re in French.

The most spectacular thing we saw all day I couldn’t get photos of. It was Le Cathedrale d’Images, a massive cave wherein they were projecting Cezanne’s paintings on the walls as they played various deeply moving classical pieces. Supposedly it was 12C inside, but I never felt cold, just awed by the beauty of his work and the artistry of the projections. Some of the photos were static, but a lot of them were projected as moving pieces on the walls. To think, Cezanne was a “failed” artist…

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