Saturday, 25 May 2019

The writing of 'One Summer in France'

When it all started:
1979 (a very good year).

Where it all started:
Keele University: northern England, non-prestigious, apart from renowned Astronomy department –run by Sir Patrick Moore's best mate – name on tip of tongue/impressive English department - gargoyled hall, windows bit too high to gaze out of.

Reason for trip:
To learn French and to contextualise studies.

1. Train to South of France.
2. Put up tent.
3. Go to beach.

Reading/lounging about/flirting/moped mastery/selective sightseeing (pinnacle – Dali’s museum – bonkers).

Places visited:
Lots and lots.

Friendships formed, (in order of importance/in no particular order – bit of a mix, really):
Carol: best friend/totally brilliant/mad/blond/netball fiend, wing-attack/can be trifle politically incorrect/bit sweary/good punch.
Alison: uptight/control freak/all-round freak/not really friend but essential enemy/obsessive milk hoarder – (all property is theft, Alison).
James: hopelessly besotted with Bev – (brash totty)/betrothed to Jocasta – (posh totty)/doomed/dishy/dope/eventual accountant, argh!.
Andy: undergraduate in French/lord-of-manor type if not actual lord of manor/Shrewsbury estate/heart of gold/spotty/def. not shaggable.
Luc: entrepreneurial market trader/south of France poseur/admirer of Bev’s dream-goddess bikini (and contents)/eventual carnal interest of Carol.
Lawrence: (cor!)/French/married – (bummer!) – ambiguity not intended).
Charles: French/pancake chef/bit stinky/animal/non-runner – pity.
Antoine and Cedric:French/caravan-dwellers/benevolent/gallant/(lecherous old buggers).
Others too numerous to mention.

Best bits:
Beaches (normal x 2, naturist x 1)/port – gallon thereof/Jean-Paul Sartre – ‘Huis Clos’ – intellectual stimulant – Carol not enamoured/Spike Milligan – genius - worm verse – best poem ever written - Carol's opinion, not mine/being freeeeee!

Worst bits:
Mohammed’s couscous poison/paranoid, raw-meat-eating Anna (don’t ask).

Summing up:
Totally amazing time.  Love Carol forever.  Best friend in world.  Thanks to Ms. Adams (finance), my father (extra finance), and to Dave (emergency finance).  Have grown as person.  Have brilliant photos.  French improved (beaucoup). Tan – golden. Hair – ruined (in a good way).  Power over opposite sex – incalculable. N.B. government grant/tax payers' money - repaid a thousand times over since adventure, so don't even think about getting on your high horses!  

Wrote book: ‘One Summer in France’, humorous memoir of three-month study break in France (obligatory)

Additional information:
It might be cheaper for a couple of days sometime in July... Can’t wait?  Get it now and blow the expense!  (Best consumed with big smile and bigger glass of port).


  1. People need to know about this one. I found it a lot of fun. And I didn't even need a passport to join in the madness.

  2. Agreed, Carrie. I enjoyed it very much too!