House Of The Rising Bun

The House Of The Rising Bun

In England I just don’t think about bread. In France, for me bread is the new chocolate. Sadly or luckily, a crusty baguette or pain does not carry a nutritional value label. In a town of about two thousand souls, how many bakers can co-exist? Well, within walking distance of my house there are a mere four. In addition there is a mobile bakery parked at the station and a depot de pain – which is a grocer’s shop which sells bread. All the bakers loosely cooperate with a rota for holidays and week day closing. Of course, they mostly close for lunch just in case the tourists want something to eat.  

Much fun was poked of the Mcdonalds University degree. In France you can go to the Ecole Banette. No one would jest about the importance of the artisan baker I can assure you. As I groan my way back to full speed back at my UK desk I can still dream of the house of the rising bun in Saint Savinien. Oh yes – it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy/girl – and god I know I’m one. 100 grammes of lettuce for lunch it is then.

 Chat – Oh

About on a level with bread is the French love of pets. When they ask me if I have any animals in England I tell them I have a rabbit called Casserole. Etiquette requires them to smile and glance quizzically at any other French person present. However I have some new neighbours who have a cat. I took some photos just so you can say Ah. 

Even in mid France the weather is most un-seasonal. The natives huddle in overcoats and scarves as the North wind blows in June. Brave poppies grow from any crack in any wall. The swifts (les martinets) still swoop and turn.  For some reason all the fields are planted with cereal crops this year. I guess the sunflower seeds went on strike and refused to come out. At least there will be running wind shadows across the oceans of barley at harvest time. 

Emma Thinx:  North winds speed a fledgling swallow. Accept.

Coming Out Of My Shell

Someone once mocked a political opponent by saying that they “could not run a whelk stall”. I don’t think I could either – because I’d eat them all. Whelks are far too good to serve or sell to other people. I’m not too sure how well known they are in the USA but I think Italians may call them Scungilli. If you fancy some nice juicy yet chewy snail type food here is a link to a NY Times article

Here in France they are called “bulot”. As I write this little blog a background fantasy of sea food is playing in the middle of my mind.  The attached You Tube clip is just to show you how to be sure to add enough salt to oxidise your cardiac pacemaker.

The only reason Fruits de Mer and bulots are going round in my head is that I have just seen some at la poissonnerie and denied myself even a single lick. Today is a fasting day  on the 5:2 diet so it’s all about sacrifice. I still don’t think I could run a whelk stall though.

Allowing myself to look at whelks was a special treat to celebrate the completion of the final story for my forthcoming collection of shorts and novelettes which will go out under the banner Love In A Hopeless Place. They are all stories of love among poorer people in urban settings. The final story has probably been the most difficult thing I have ever tried to do. I know it will shock and appal many people. In the end I thought I had to write it because it is more or less a re-creation of true events without too much intervention by me. I’m never afraid of putting sex in my stories and in cases where this is what motivates characters, you just cannot avoid it. I am a bit nervous of the contents. There are advisers around me of the Disney tendency who have turned a ghostly pale on first reading. Might be a good sign eh?  Good job I’m an orphan. The title is indeed a lift of the Rihanna song because in the story, a couple of the characters sing it. 

Emma thinx: Freedom Air – calorie free seafood to inhale. 

"Wow – I’ve lost a stone!" Emma ejaculated.

Merely 4,250 calories = 8 days food

I originally started blogging when “Knockout” was published. Seemingly it was the thing that all aspiring scribettes needed to do. For the first six months I performed every day. Since then I have progressively reduced the output with surprising results. Yesterday for instance, some 200 hundred applauding fans flocked to worship at the shrine of my wondrous words. Or – perhaps not! 

My suspicion is that most of the views are conducted by some kind of Spam-a-vision. They leave anonymous comments about my genius and the need for the world to ejaculate more fully by using the tablets only available from their website. I’m with them on the assessment of my genius of course – but the other matter is rather beyond me.  Does any one else have blog issues with genius and ejaculation?

I am in France and sticking to my 5:2 diet. Yes, five different types of cheese and two glasses of wine to lubricate the follicles. Luckily I never omit an accompanying  substantial meal laced with blood purifying vampire slaying garlic to complete the evening. Oooh – you should have seen me at dinner with friends last week denying myself a third serving of full fat ham in liquid butter served with potatoes in melted cheese. I was so proud! Luckily there was some left for me to bring home.

Saint Saviinien  is so beautiful – even on a diet day there is loveliness

Of course, those are the five eat as you wish days. I have been ruthless on the two days of fasting. In France I have learned one thing. Denial is purely relative to temptation. We could call this the  DT index. Instead of all the statistics about financial inflation, happiness and climate we just need to know the DT ratio. Some places should warn that only experienced self deniers should enter. All French bakeries and cheese vendors would have to show their DT index on their shuttered shop windows. Oh why oh why is the best stuff so bad for you?

As big and as wide as a fasting novelists stomach

The good news….on the scales this morning I found that the world of Romantic fiction is now a whole stone (6.35 kgs) lighter. Accordingly I’m downsizing all future heroines by one size.
This diet is liveable and it works guys – it really does.

Emma thinx: Eat, shrink and be merry. 

Watercolour Postcard From Saint Savinien

A River Runs Through It

Oh – do we have eau! Saint Savinien carries the tag line – village between water and stone. Well dear me – there sure is water and luckily plenty of stone for folk to stand on. Although I have not seen a drop of rain myself, the natives assure me that it only stopped about an hour before I arrived. Not even a cloud has entered my sky but seemingly this has been one of the wettest ever winters. Last year was definitely the coldest ever. Oooh – I’m starting to sound like some old granny over the garden fence.

Relax – put your feet up. 

Nothing can hide the beauty of this place and a slight surplus of water merely adds to the quality of reflected light. It is oddly comforting for me to know that the only way to travel between the village of Taillebourg and the opposite bank of La Charente is by means of a causeway built by the Romans using hand tools, eye sight and pots of red wine. The tarmac road built by helmeted sober technoids with lasers and 4G connection to Head Office is under water and crumbled into pebbles. It  fully exonerates my Luddite follicles. 

Time to reflect.while reflecting on Time.
Which one is the real me?

The French were of course, never conquered by Les Romans. They were merely a band of heavily armed civil engineers who were allowed to stay on condition that they did some building work in exchange for the recipe for Moules Marinieres. Believe me, the Romans got a good deal.

 Oooh – last night we had the neighbours in for a sea food blow out. Today I feel like the last of the red hot mollusc mamas. If you’ve not tried harissa paste cuisine get some and get stuck in! I was gonna ask for advice on pruning my vines……but in the end I chickened out. I can’t deal with information overload. Vine pruning is a kinda genetic gift from the jolly green Gallo-God. I got up and just had a chop. Usually I do Oscar’s hair. He’s getting a bit woody but still alive. 

Baguette in the flow of life  in search of a back story

When I was a young temp in London I once worked in the art world. I actually helped to organise a surrealist exhibition. It was a difficult job because the gallery owner thought he was a fish and only communicated in speech bubbles. I made up the last sentence because I’ve allowed a couple of glasses of Chablis to pass my lips. The memory entered my sozzled brain as I snapped a passing baguette. You know in any narrative there is the problem of back story….

Emma Thinx: Stop wine on empty stomachs. Prohibit stomachs.

Springtime Postcard From Saint Savinien

My wonderful home.

I cannot hide my joy at just being alive here in France. Springtime is special of course, wherever you are. It represents something of a forgiveness to me – that the great generous heart of the universe has  once again let me have its warmth. Surely, this is how pagan folk must have felt.

Brave tiny blooms – your beauty is stronger than my self important life
Oh – thank you thank you for your gorgeous push and pulse

I set out into Saint Savinien with my camera to take some pix of the first push of Spring. Oooh – it made me feel quite frisky – and at my age….no risky. God knows how many progeny I would have borne if I’d not lived in Republic Bar of  Urbania.  Springtime in South London was when they changed the revolving lamb kebab lump-a-stuff in the Istanbul Delite Tonite Takeaway window.  Here, the season pushes out its cry of new life. It’s orgasmic and I love it! 

So, all in all it’s romantic novelist and poet goes OTT with vernal lust. Here are a few images:

Reach and reach and reach and reach. I offer only my open shouting beauty. I AM ALIVE.


You just cannot beat these simple little blooms. I think of them as cherub kisses planted with a wink. Oh – joy joy joy!

Emma Thinx: Life sometimes shit. You always seed. GROW!

A Romantic Love Poem From My Heart

OK, I went down to the water and jumped in. Well, not quite. I went down to the river and made a bit of a film. I had decided to write a poem after many years abstinence. Then, never content to do something simply, I shot some video, did an audio track, badgered some fabulous young innocents into being actors and musicians and splashed it up on You Tube. The footage is from my beautiful home town at Saint Savinien in France.

Now the reason for all of this is that I am writing a novel in which the heroine re-finds love after a long period of both sexual and emotional uncertainty. She looks back to first love as a way of recapturing a standard by which to measure her current feelings. In order to write this up as well as I can, I needed to get my own mind back to that place. As a young writer, I wrote many poems. I was a short story writer who enjoyed poetry by true poets. All the same, when it comes to love, nothing works like poetry. I believe this is because in times of emotional overload we cannot provide any objective view of our own state. Poetry scores by taking the love victim outside of themselves by talking to them about what is inside them. I think this makes sense. I am always in love at some level. I don’t think I could write Romance if this were not so.

Here it is then; my poem from the shoes of my heroine through the eyes of my own life. 

Emma thinx: Love gets better, but seldom stronger.

Horny Popcorny – Geddit?

An Emma cow shot of a local French horny lovely

I arrived back in the UK to rain and gloom. Work tomorrow but before the horror of the pre-dawn stumble to the depot, I wanted to share with you a truly wonderful piece of cinema directed by Emmanuel Gras.

At the “Florida” (the local Saint Savinien cinema) on Thursday night, there was an entertainment which probably could only happen in France. It was a folk concert, followed by a silent film about the life of cows. Entitled “Bovines, ou La Vraie Vie Des Vaches”, it is a beautifully photographed one hour and five minutes all about a herd of Charolais cows. French critics have awarded it many accolades but to me it says something about the unseen beauty of these animals. I have always loved cows and often photograph them myself. Of course, there is a sadness in their lives; always the menace of the livestock trailer and the abattoir. After a short period with the herd, the young males  are taken for slaughter. We eat them. Then we take the milk from the mothers for ourselves.

In the wild, the old, lame and young would be dragged down and devoured by predators. I do accept all this and often reflect upon it in a ridiculous hypocritical sirloin loving, leather shoe wearing angst. This film is not any sort of vegetarian propaganda or butcher’s promo. It is about acceptance, the cycle of existence and a  reminder of the power wielded by man over his fellow creatures. More than anything it is about the notion of mind and consciousness. Watch the clip and I guess some will be surprised about what cows might think and their power of reasoning. 

The music, (please note my selfless struggle with the devil in the pundergrowth of obvious quips), was fresh, clear and completely out of my normal territory. They are brilliant musicians and I loved it. Following such a wonderful evening I was forced to reflect how lucky I am and how diverse we are. My main luck is to savour life in two distinct cultures and amongst such talented international people ranging across romantic novelists, poets,musicians, world commentators and thinkers with brains that must wear out their neck muscles. You know who you are and I love you. But when will you bloody well save me from the banal tosh of it all?

Emma thinx: Acceptance is both sanctuary and prison. Hide a key.

Autumn In Saint Savinien

Anything I can babble on about today is quite pathetic as I watch the drama along the east coast of the USA. My heart goes out to all those affected. We are so weak and small when Nature bites.

I heard the news today – Oh boy, they’re gonna sell New Scotland Yard. Yes, they are going to sell the iconic HQ of the Metropolitan Police, the centre of Detective Inspector Anna Leyton’s world. Who would buy it? Perhaps a couple of Mexican drug cartels have the cash? Sometimes I cannot believe what I hear. Earlier this week they sold Admiralty Arch to a hotel chain. We have already sold our energy and water companies, all our public housing, our railways and airports. All our automotive brands have gone and all our ships are built abroad and mainly sail under foreign flags. Maybe there’ll always be an England but for sure, we’ll have no democratic control over it. You know what will control it don’t you….yes MONEY. 

Sold! Perhaps her majesty may pass.
For Sale. No parking issues for owners

Still, why should I care today? I am at my own home in France. As far as I can tell, the French resist all attempts to lure them into the total fluidity of globalised moneydom. In my village, you need the local accent to buy a baguette. They tolerate me because I am a cranky old Doris who knows enough local people to be seen in public kissing clinches. 

sun sets over CharenteMaritime

So, I went out with my camera and took some postcard shots of autumn in rural France. Although I’m fairly much in work ethic melt down, I have been writing. Just between us I’m getting to that lovely state with my current book where I’m kinda in love with the hero. This sent me into a frenzy of poetic remembrance of past amours and you’ll soon see the ripe fruit. 

Today was calm and mellow with the river full and reflection rippled. The shots are from the river bank at Taillebourg. This place is truly paradise.

Emma Thinx: Romance is not a love story. It’s a fictional truth. 

A Life In Harness

Ding bloody dong

Finally the hands of the church clock are counting down the last hours of my freedom in my wonderful home in France. The U.K school bus awaits my tender touch. The final apero hour with neighbours approaches. Starlings click and whistle their autumn castle tower census. Why do they gather up into flocks like this? Is it just to count each other? Is it to see who has the most iridescent show off feathers?

OK, I know my life is wonderful and undeserved. Millions of folk live short lives and find no reward, let alone a proper diet. We all want more I guess.

Lucky the blinkers hid the romantic novelist rolling on the ground.

My last postcard from the paradise of Saint Savinien Sur Charente embodies my own sentiments as I return to toil. Because of the narrow streets and alleys, the bin trucks are of little use. The answer is simple and noble. You use a horse. A couple of days ago as I went to the boulangerie, I came across a beautiful grey mare pulling the town refuse trailer. I asked the driver for his name and he told me in French style “She is female.” Well, to honest, I had not inspected the gender department of the beast for fear of being over inquisitive. The driver understood my Anglo Cavalleria Rusticana ignorance and told me the name which was something like “Chiche-Noix”. I did not like to ask again and in any case they clip clopped off into the distance. If you look at the photos you will also the bin man’s mate who is a dog. I did not ask for its name but a working title is Fido. 

He is a She Madame!

Does anyone actually call their dog Fido?

It was a beautiful morning and a lovely sight. The beast only does two days a week and I did not ask if he closes down every day for a three hour lunch. I hope he does!

And on the subject of long lunches, Anglo-Americano Shoppers will thrill to the news that more and more French supermarkets are staying open all day. If you hate crowded shops; go at lunch time. The only customers will be Brits. The check-out girls all look like they have lost the will to live and cluster at the end of the tills for a kind of low calorie chat-lunch. I think they should return to the proper French lunch break. Anyway – who needs all this stuff?

Emma thinx: There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but there’s still liberty at lunchtime.

Night Time Post Card from Saint Savinien

I’m still here in my beloved Saint Savinien Sur Charente. I know that beyond my time horizon lurks the cold darkness of the British winter. The swallows almost hovered in my face today as I walked up the narrow road past the castle. A journey lies ahead for them and now they must risk and gorge to put in the calories that will sustain their fragile lives on their pitiless migration south. I do know profoundly that all for my huff and puff, one of their lives values no less than mine and I have lived and gorged for so long.

I am posting a few pictures of the town at night. The Mayor, Monsieur Godineau, has pushed through a massive project to turn the town into something of a unique spectacle. I always have an admiration for folks who can do this kind of thing. Take a look and judge for yourselves.

As a writer, I guess that the thing I admire most about writing is a book that makes me forget about writing. I have just finished reading “Rebels On the Mountain” by Jack Durish. It is a ripping yarn about adventures during the Cuban revolution, a love story, a deeply educational piece of history and beautifully written and researched. To save repeating myself, here is my full Amazon review.

I have no hesitation at giving this book five stars. It is one of those stories that gives you a fix of everything. Having been born too late to be aware of the Cuban Revolution and all that followed it, I found this book to be educational and fascinating. Clearly the narrative owes a lot to careful research and also the military experience of the author. Beyond history, there is the fleshing out of historical figures and of course a part for Ernest Hemingway. In amongst all of this is a strong love story of Nick and Lucia set against the background of the period and confronting racial attitudes of the time. As I reached the last words of the book and I began to think of the review, I realised that I had hardly noticed that I had been reading and had not paused to take note of the style. The book romps along and reads itself as it goes. Whether it is an adventure, romance, history or everything combined, it was a joy to read.

Here are the links:

Emma thinx: Labour bears fruit, but not always the juice.