Monday, March 16, 2015

On stuffed mice, Southwold, and road trips in France

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. - Rilke 

OMGYOUGUYS. So much has happened these past few weeks:

1. I made the world's most terrifying taxidermy mouse. He is my mangy little treasure and clearly the stuff that nightmares are made of:

I love him so much.
Also, I'm supposed to cut the wires now that he's stiffened, but I can't bring myself to do it. I suspect they're the only thing keeping him upright. (He's so jazz.)

2. A weekend in France indicated that spring arrives there sooner than here. We CYCLED. In the SUN. And we didn't die or need a jacket or ANYthing:

If you follow the lane to where it winds around to the right, you'll come to our back garden!* 

3. We also spent a weekend in Southwold! I'd like to say it's because I can't get enough of coastal England, but really it was because I bought an armchair on eBay and didn't notice until it was too late that it was listed as 'collection only.' 

'But think about how much money I saved!' she justifies, as she reserves a room in a seafront b&b. 

Luckily, Southwold has everything an English seaside town should: 

A pier with a retro arcade in which all the machines have been handmade by the town inventor:

Beach huts:

Village confectionary that advertises via vintage bicycle:

Seafood sold out of harbour-front shack:

Again with vintage bicycle. It's like this town was designed by Instagram.

And Lighthouse:

So really, I don't know HOW one could say I messed up here. 

France update! We officially did the Mega Move: we hired a van here in the UK, packed it full of random furniture and miscellany, and drove it the ten hours down to Bergerac. And I think it is safe to say WE WILL NEVER DO IT AGAIN. For one, our sat-nav apparently likes the scenic route, and the van barely fit through tiny village after tiny village. We suspected that nearby there was a highway - there had to have been! - but our garmin refused to guide us there, and our Michelin road map was unfortunately crammed somewhere in a box in the back of the van. Two, an old man in a truck totally took off the van's side mirror when he barreled past us (while we were pulled over, mind), before promptly disappearing into the wind like so many old men going renegade in the French countryside. All we could see was his wild, white, bush-like hair retreating into the distance, his own mirror clattering along. 

It also turns out life in France is a lot like camping. Like how you have to bathe with a garden hose because your builder has gutted your bathroom in the process of installing a new shower. You would think a hose-shower in the cold dawn of early spring would be romantic, except you're also doing it while standing barefoot on what feels like frozen concrete, overlooking the back lane that the neighbors also enjoy. The same neighbors who - after months of being nowhere to be seen - started to appear en masse over the course of the week. (I refuse to believe there is a connection. Also, they are WAY friendlier than stories would have you believe.) Luckily, I've been practicing Not Showering for years, so I handled seven days of filth like a pro.

Also, I think Alan tried to kill me in the act of gardening. There was a thorny little tree climbing up the side of the house (and more importantly, scratching heck out of the top of the rental van) and finally, in a fit of agitation, I decided it needed to come down. We had intended to trim this tree 'eventually, down the road' - but after two days of it attacking us every time we approached, I had enough. I grabbed the hedge-trimming shears, and with a strength known only to enraged hulks, WENT TO TOWN ON IT. It didn't stand a chance. Branches are flying everywhere. And as I was nearly done, Alan grabs the tree and gives it the final yank that will pull it from the wall. And DIRECTLY ONTO MY HEAD. MY HEAD YOU GUYS. A THORNY TREE ON MY HEAD. And as my face and bare arms are being scratched to pieces by this barren twiggy tree completely enveloping my person, I'm pretty sure Alan just stood there, possibly smoking a cigarette. He claimed later that he reacted immediately, but I think we can all agree I was encompassed for about an hour. By the time I emerged, it looked like I had been attacked by a pack of wild cats.

Thank God I could at least clean my scratches under a bone-chilling hose shower.

But it's coming together. Trials and tribulations aside, with each visit down, it starts to look less like a skip and more like a dusty, dirty, box-filled home. We haven't been able to unpack anything yet - our contractor has dust-clothes and plastic draped over every surface - but soon. Soon our stuff will be laid out to collect dust the good-old fashioned way.

I can't wait.

Big hugs and lots of love,

*I didn't say we cycled FAR. I'm still ME.


  1. Had a good laugh at this one. Only i cant picture Alan smoking a cig. while Sharona was suffering. Mind you if all that about the cold water from the hose is true you both must have suffered. All worth it in the end I'm sure.

  2. I'm not sure what I laughed at more- the description of the back of the head of the French man who took off your van mirror, the idea of a pack of wild cats attacking your face in the guise of a thorny tree or what spurred you on to make a white mouse saxophonist (who, by the way, needs a name).