OK – let’s take a deep breath, get out the dry bread and water, take down all the Christmas decorations that I didn’t get round to putting up in the UK and face reality. Well – there are still several cheeses in the fridge and I spotted an overlooked bottle of champagne as I was looking for my hair shirt and gruel recipe book. Obviously I will be laying off the alcohol at least until the 5pm daily review moment. It’s time to face the scales and the facts. Perhaps I could pretend to be a smoker so that I could pretend to have given it up. I am a novelist after all. I make things up.
The noose of toil has tightened and I am back in the UK. Far behind me now lie the memories of foie gras and fig stuffing, Pineau and hot baguette. We decided to give Christmas pudding and custard cultural food parcels to friends and neighbours. Watch out for news features about canine obesity. I’ll never forget the day I tried my neighbours on some lovely English fruit jelly. I don’t think they will ever forget it either.
We arrived back in time for New Year’s eve and ended up dining with friends and their friends. Oooh I did feel a bit out of my depth. There was this guy who has written a book about Shakespeare but it’s out of print methinks. However, I didst a copy find, by time defiled, on e bay. Like an ego-sodden clod I confessed to my own literary output, which as my readers will know, has a similar stamp to that of the bard. Several wine fuelled hours followed during which I kinda recall, the subject was ME. I do have to forgive myself because this was the second Brit who had ever spoken to me about being a writer. In France I count as quite normal but in the UK, folk kinda shuffle away in case I get out an embarrassing poem FOR THEM TO LIKE, read them a love scene or just throw a passionate pink frilled frenzy.
Tomorrow the bus depot shuffle begins. I have missed the kids and all the jangle of other lives. I have seen the New Year speeches of Sarkozy, Cameron and Merkel. As we left France I wondered if things would ever be the same again. Most of my life I have lived in a tepid bath of euro certainty. Now no one knows whether to pull the plug, let in more hot water or just jump out. My guess is that they will do all three together. Probably won’t work.
Emma thinx: April. Yes – April.