“Bonjour” From Soulac-sur-Mer

Well, we’re here: Soulac-sur-Mer, north of Bordeaux, on the coast:

View from our rental house in Soulac-sur-mer, out over the beach to the Bay of Biscay. [Photo by me, 2016.]
View from our rental house in Soulac-sur-Mer, out over the beach to the Bay of Biscay. [Photo by me, 2016.]

The drive up here from the airport vaguely reminded me of Florida – flat and sandy. Brittany is not like this.

Notre-Dame-de-la-Fin-des-Terres Basilica in Soulac-sur-Mer. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Notre-Dame-de-la-Fin-des-Terres Basilica in Soulac-sur-Mer. [Photo by me, 2016.]

Our lunch yesterday. Yes, a bit of a caricature, we knew:

Lunch at our house yesterday. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Lunch at our house yesterday. [Photo by me, 2016.]

We went out to dinner last night at a pleasant, small restaurant in the town center….

“TerminĂ©?” she asked me with a smile.

“Oui, merci,” I replied as she leaned across me and cleared away my empty dessert plate.

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Endings

Since “Day 1” I have known broadly how Conventions would end. Back on Friday, I summoned up the courage and wrote it in detail – the final chapter. While writing one always also surprises oneself, too: as I worked on it I realized I could toss in an unexpected (and in my humble opinion, great) last twist.

After the dust had settled, re-reading it in its entirety, I found the chapter to be – accidentally – a combination of happy and sad (and poignant). That’s striking a bit of “lucky” balance. I’d “signed off” for the weekend well-pleased with what I’d managed.

Rainbows over Hertfordshire, England, spotted earlier this morning looking out from our kitchen. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Rainbows over Hertfordshire, England, spotted earlier this morning looking out from our kitchen. [Photo by me, 2016.]

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Question And Answer Session

Rahul Singh is doing some social media research. The other day he sent me a list of questions about my social media use. He consented also to my sharing my answers in a blog post.

Screen capture of my other social media.
Screen capture of my other social media.

In fact, he said he was fine with my replying in public. If you would like to help him out, you see the questions below, and he’d love for you to share your own answers with him. He is on Google+ here, too.

So to his questions, followed by my answers in “block quotes.” Enjoy!🙂

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Tell It To Elizabeth I

The contest to be Conservative party leader in the House of Commons, which almost assures succession currently to the prime ministership, has now come down to a choice between two women. So it is almost certain now that the United Kingdom will have its second woman in that highest government office. You may also have read about the debate in British media set off this weekend over comments made to The Times newspaper by one of them.

Both women are in their 50s. Andrea Leadsom, challenging presumed frontrunner Theresa May, stated to the paper that she, Leadsom, has “a very real stake” in the future of the country because she had children. (May and her husband did not.) Leadsom doesn’t attack May directly, but if you listen to the recording of her observations, Leadsom’s inference is plainly obvious: she holds that she’d be a better prime minister because she has had children:

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As Nationalist Walls Go Up Still Higher

This is quite a serious post. There is no levity in it. Based on what I’ve seen – we’ve all seen – in the last week and a half, I simply want to say this.

United Kingdom voters, as you probably know, voted on the 23rd of June by 52 percent to 48 percent to leave the European Union.

That EU referendum, we all also know, has bitterly divided politics here in Britain.

It’s decidedly one thing flinging insults at total strangers you disagree with – “insane,” “idiots,” “racists,” “Hitler,” “old white trash” – on social media. But this? We’ve discovered friends of ours – she, a non-British EU national and staunch “Remainer,” married to him, a British national and vocal Brexit “Leave” supporter – are practically on the verge of divorce over the referendum’s outcome.

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“Conventions” All In One Place

Well, that’s that for the time being. My brief visit to New York and Pennsylvania is winding down. I’m heading back to England today.

It has been good seeing Dad. He’s doing okay now, eight months after Mom’s death, so I’m not leaving feeling lousy about leaving him. He told me, “I’m adjusting to the new reality. That’s what the hospice newsletter said anyway.”

For today, I thought I’d share a brief update here on what I’ve added to the blog. At the top you may notice a new page: Sneak Peeks Into Conventions: The Garden At Paris.

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Grandparent Wimbledon

Father-in-law [on the phone yesterday, speaking to an old friend (also in his 80s) who’d just lost a brother, and now moving on subject wise]: “….You have our condolences. How’s your son? My youngest is doing much better, and his three are marvelous….”

Mrs. Nello [in the next room with me, overhearing, observes like a BBC sports presenter]: “The opening serve from Dad. It’s in. No return. Dad’s up, 15-Love.”

Me: “What?”

Mrs. N: “The bragging about grandchildren is like a tennis match. Back and forth trying to top each other. Haven’t you ever noticed?”

Free Stock Photo: Illustration of an older man playing tennis.
Free Stock Photo: Illustration of an older man playing tennis.

F-in-L [to the man on the phone]: “Well, and my eldest grandson is at Oxford.”

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Great For The Writer, Not So Much For The Human Being

I’m going to the U.S. next week for a ten day visit. Yes, I’ll make sure the house in the Catskills is still standing. Fortunately, we know it is: a helpful friend nearby keeps an eye on it for us.

View of Windham Mountain, upstate New York, March 2016. [Photo by me.]
View of Windham Mountain, upstate New York, March 2016. [Photo by me.]

In any other year, I wouldn’t be going right now without my wife. The true reason I have to is because I want to spend some time with my father in Pennsylvania, who has a birthday while I’m there. It’s his first since my mother’s death in October.

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