Tuesday, February 23, 2010


From France0210

With Britain in political ferment, football in freefall and an apparently endless winter gripping the country like Glenn Close grips the rabbit in Fatal Attraction I thought it was best to leave town.

For six years now Hazel and Adrian have been living the expat lifestyle in Maureillas Les Ilas which nestles in the Pyrennean foothills. They've been kind enough to let me crash their expat idyll for a few days while I recover my sense of humour after the joint depradations of snow and newsroom.

Walking up hills is very much in vogue here, and a good deal of the day can be spent sitting in the garden reading and stroking their knee bound cat Margaret. Red wine remains ludicrously cheap despite the parlous state of the euro and the sun has come out. France. It's bloody superb isn't it?

Holiday reading has included some Ed McBain which Wallander's creator Henning Mankel says is a big favourite, the well received Ian Dury biography and Evelyn Waugh's Put Out More Flags. I think I enjoyed the Waugh most but I keep reflecting on Dury, the bitter brilliant wordsmith who awakened me and lots of other people of my generation to the terrible pleasures of Rock and Roll. The book's a good read if slightly too populated by a big changeable cast of session musicians. Dury, a twisted gifted raucous bully, shines through the pages. How we still miss him.

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