Masseuses on the Beach

Instead of the younger Belgians we now have, in the room next door, Ouen and Ouennetta and their babies.  Ouen and Ouennnetta are doggedly determined parents.  Today they set out with a carful of plastic impedimenta designed to ensure that the babies have everything that they need and at the optimum temperature.  There was no room in the car for – and they left behind – what looks like an artificial lung but the better half says is probably a swimming pool.  I can’t believe that it was the same for my parents and me, except bakelite instead of plastic.  If my National Health orange was a little too warm or a little too cold, then bouf!  That was their idea.

They have just gone out laden down by extruded plastic and returned half an hour later with a Big Mac and a large Cola each.  It was a Big Mac and a large Cola each last night too.  To judge by the sounds through the wall, Frogmilla was hoping for something different.

Today was even hotter so it was the beach again.  The café that closed on account of the arrival of winter had sublet a room on the beach to a masseuse or possibly two masseuses.  A schedule of prices is tacked to the gate.  It includes ‘gommage’.  I don’t know what ‘gommage’ is but I don’t think that a gentleman would ask for it.

Today the masseuses (or if only one the masseuse and the masseuse’s friend) returned.  They sat for an hour or two on the beach chatting.  Then with a sigh they went to the room and cleared out all the stuff that shouldn’t be left there all winter.  Having done that, and overcome perhaps by a decent nostalgia, they pulled out the old table one last time and gave each other one.  Whether it included gommage I couldn’t see.

We had a picnic on the beach: oysters with a baguette and white wine.  I put sand in one of mine for an experiment, but no pearls materialised.

Driving through the maquis on the way to the beach I remembered The Song of the Partisan, the French song, I don’t know who by, recorded by both Leonard Cohen and Buffy Ste. Marie: probably others too but those are the versions that I know (Songs from a Room and She Used to Want to be a Ballerina respectively).  Back at the chambres de hote I listened to them both on the iPod.  What a great song and what performances, though I believe in Buffy taking her gun and vanishing more than Leonard Cohen, who seems fonder of his creature comforts.

The better half has spent much of the last month or two dealing with Foxtons, the estate agents.  Among numerous other failings Foxtons owe her client some money and won’t pay it.  To be fair they have paid it, but into a total stranger’s bank account.  Now they are refusing to return phone calls or emails – or the money.  In fact they are behaving like a venal and badly-brought-up six year old, who believes that if he shuts his eyes everything nasty will go away.  Shouldn’t recessions sort out useless organisations like Foxtons?  Isn’t that what they’re for?

As I type this on the better half’s laptop my thoughts go to Microsoft.  How long have they had to get Word right?  Shouldn’t the recessions sharpen up Microsoft too?


Wilder’s Hand by Sheridan Le Fanu.  Still.  What a clumsy book.

Listened to

Leonard Cohen

Buffy Ste. Marie

Morton Feldman: Why Patterns?

Liszt: Gran Mass


Oysters on the beach

Mozzarella cheese and tomato.

Les Vignerons de St Hippolyte: white

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