Saturday, October 13, 2007

Vive La France.

It's a sunny Saturday, and I'm just about to go for a walk by the sea, and explore a new deli-type shop and cafe which has opened nearby. I bumped into a friend of my new neighbour this morning, who told me that it was worth a visit. It turns out she used to work in Advertising too, and knows Charlie Saatchi well. (I knew Charlie, but not very well, and he is completely out of my league now.) Anyway she is planning to start a new career here, probably working in film, and we are going to get together and look at possibilities, over a bottle of wine. Hove is full of interesting people who have both a past and a future - people whose families have grown up and moved on and who now want to do something interesting with their time. Also, we need to earn some money to live on. But of course, not many people want lively and interesting fifty or sixty-somethings working for them, do they? It would seem too much like employing your Mum or your Dad.

More news about my ex-Arundel Best Friend's new house in France. It sounds a good project, with some extending and refurbishment needed. It is near Cordes-sur-Ciel, in glorious countryside and with great views. She encountered some problems this week with the French legal system, but managed to sort them out fairly quickly and everything is now going ahead. She is going to rent somewhere nearby for six months, while the work is being done. I'm full of admiration for her, and really looking forward to seeing the house and staying with her. As soon as Son's flat is sorted, I'll be there.

My French lady is here for her weekend of teaching at the European School of Animal Osteopathy, in Brighton. She has what seems to me a pretty exotic lifestyle: she lives in Val D'Isere, so she skis a lot, and she teaches courses both here and in Switzerland. She is fifty-something, divorced and has two youngish children who live with her. And she has a 60 year old boyfriend who is a business man with homes in Paris and the South of France. He has a yacht, and they spend their time together between Val D'Isere, Paris and the Riviera. Not for the first time, I'm forced to notice that only in England is there this ageist attitude to women. She is quite obviously a mature, intelligent and desirable woman, who is enjoying a really good relationship with a mature man who appreciates her. If he were an Englishman of 60, he would be poncing around with some airhead 20 or 30 years his junior, dying his hair, and getting heart problems trying to keep up with her. Every time I go to France, I can't help noticing that I magically become visible again. In this country I'm completely invisible, and it seems to be entirely because of my age. In France, however, people notice me, speak to me, and seem to actually listen to me too. No wonder I'm considering leaving these shores for La Belle France. Apart from the lack of ageism, there's also the food, the climate, the health service. I could go on, but not many people would be listening...

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