On… summer in France 3 Replies So, at the end of June we spent a week in Barcelona for a family wedding. Wow. I heart that city. Why the sweet hell didn’t I go there before I got hitched and knocked up and had a delicious-but-demanding baby in tow? I had a blast. That city was made to lose 48 hours in. Then we drove to France, to Autignac, yes, village in A Girl Like You, and also, yes, the village my parents have a place in real life. (I used a fake village for the first few drafts, then I thought, fuck it, I’m thinking of Autignac, may as well be honest.) So far, so classic family holiday…. the day starts with croissants and ends with rose, in between we take little trips to nearby towns and lovely lazy lunches. Well, I am not having that much rose, alas. I am drinking a lot of coffee and writing writing writing every moment the baby is sleeping. (No, writers don’t really get vacations. Someone once described it as constant homework, a nagging I-Should-Be-Writing feeling. One day I will take a month off. Maybe.) My parents are besotted with Errol. First grandchild syndrome. They may try to get him bronzed. Errol ate anchovies for the first time and has never loved anything so much. Foxy was loudly horrified. (Foxy is generally loud, by the way. We have been asked to keep it down in restaurants all over the world. For a long time he convinced me that he was only loud because he was partially deaf in one ear, but he’s not. He’s just from a big family and knows how to get attention: be the loudest. I find a gentle ‘inside voices, darling’ helps. It’s so deliciously patronizing, too.) What else have I done? I cried about Nora Ephron, then told myself I had no right to be so upset as I didn’t even know her, and then cried again anyway. I went through all my childhood books and picked out my favourites to keep forever. (Anne Of Green Gables, comment je t’aime.) I contemplated cutting my hair, which is insanely stupidly long at the moment, but then I decided to just put it in braids after the shower and enjoy a sort of Splash-Daryl-Hannah thing the rest of the time. I cut the sleeves off all my tshirts and flannel shirts and am utterly delighted with the results. There’s a touch of The Outsiders about it, a touch of Rob Lowe in St Elmo’s Fire, and I get to show off my baby-honed guns. (You want guns, my friends, pick up and put down a 10-kg 10-month-old baby eighty times a day. Incidentally, why did I waste so much time at the gym in my 20s? I swear it actually made me fatter as I was just so damn hungry all the time.) Rob Lowe in St Elmo’s Fire. By the way I have watched this film about 80 times. The Outsiders poster. Look at Tom Cruise trying to buff his guns. Hah. Dork. Let’s see, what else… I just finished The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John LeCarre. I am totally digging the whole spy thang right now. I also just read Restless by WilliamBoyd and The Expats by Chris Pavone. I decided to go through a spy phase, as it’s so different to anything I would ever write and I thought it might teach me a bit about plotting, but I think I might be already over it. They were great books, particularly the LeCarre, they just lacked a certain something that I like in my novels… (If you have a favourite spy novel, by the way, please let me know. I’m still in the market for them.) Right now I’m reading The Star Machine by Jeanine Basinger, because I like me some Old Hollywood stories and I love her informal, witty tone of voice. And I’m about to start Paris In Love by Eloisa James which looks delicious. (All of those links take you to the Book Depository, by the way, a website that sends books anywhere in the world for free. It rocks. And no, I’m not being paid by them, I’m just tired of paying exorbitant delivery fees for things. Although, while we’re on the subject, if anyone wants to pay me to mention their brand in my books or blog, I’m down with that. Yes. I am a total whore.) ANYWAY. I could blather on for hours like this, my friends, but I am sure you have better things to do. I know I should pick a topic and blog on it, you know, have opinions and shit, but honestly, sometimes I’d rather just have a chat. Here are some photos of Autignac, taken this morning as we went to get bread, croissants and coffee. Just in case you’d like to see what it looks like. (I’m a terrible photographer. Good at spelling, though.) (Do you like the totally arty croissant? Yeah. Thought you would.) And in case you’d like to see us, here’s Errol and Fox and me in the pool. In black and white, because we thought it looked cool. And Errol and me, alone. Sorry for the horrific hat. I bought it from some dude on the street in New York. It rolls up flat in a little cone. It’s my grandma hat. Read more about French pharmacy stuff here. I am currently trialling a bunch of products so I will report back to you guys in a few days on more French Pharmacy Must Haves. God, I love me some French pharmacies. PS: Edit. I read Paris In Love and my friends, I do not recommend it. The writing is fussy and self-indulgent. Every sentence is crafted to be as irritatingly long and flowery as possible. The tone of voice attempts arch and witty but is actually snide and superior. All in all, a cold book that is more in love with the idea of itself than Paris. I got to halfway through, the writer used the word ‘behoove’ and I thought ‘this is a joke’ and put it down. I don’t normally post negative reviews of books, as I know that it is so upsetting to the writer. But this book has had so many bizarre rave reviews, and this woman has such a high opinion of herself, that my little narky one won’t matter.