37 – Fickle Weather

Weather can be very fickle, but no more than here. After coming down from the mountains last Monday, it was warm and pleasant sitting outside a café early evening enjoying a coffee. By Tuesday morning it had turned into The Cairngorms in April. I remember going on a walking holiday there with my father in spring and it was like hiking in the Arctic. Driving sleet, snow, ice, and hail. The sky as dark as space with a wind blowing at full power from every direction known to man or beast. Quite unpleasant. If it hadn’t been for the food at the hotel and the go-carting, my one and only time in Scotland would have gone down as a disaster.

Walking to work on Tuesday morning after my glorious sun filled, snow sparkling weekend in the mountains, was like walking to the gallows. My thin pathetic brogues were wet, my carefully styled hair all out of shape, my core frozen to the bone.

Later driving to my class in Dardilly, reminded me of the time when I lived in Plymouth and had to drive to Dartmouth every morning. Six o’clock on a February morning driving for one and a half hours to teach English to Algerian Airline pilots at the Royal Naval College – don’t ask. I only did the job for four months but I remember that it rained for virtually the whole time. I even stopped looking out of the window in the morning to check the weather. I simply got dressed into my oil skins and galoshes without a second thought. Funnily enough, the day I quit the job the sun came out, and it turned out to be a glorious summer in Plymouth. The same summer incidentally I acted in the disastrous Pinter play I wrote about somewhere in this erratic ill-conceived journal.

It’s Sunday afternoon in Lyon and it hasn’t changed all week. Greyness meets greyness meets greyness. Even the neon lights they recently erected in the streets for some upcoming event look dull and lifeless. There was a glimmer of sun on Friday afternoon but it was quickly blocked out by a gigantic mass of dense cloud swarming in from the dark side of hell. It’s difficult to know what to do on days like these. I’ve been for my mandatory run/pollen breathing session and eaten my traditional Sunday lunch of Wiener Schnitzel and beans. Now I’m sitting here writing this and wondering what to do when it’s finished…

‘And make it quick Oggers for fuck sake. We’re busy people, we have lives to live, mouths to fed, chores to do. We haven’t got time to hear you carp on YET AGAIN about the weather…’

But wait. Hold your horses. There may not be too many more entries left, for I have decided against returning here in September.

On my first weekend here exploring the city, I didn’t get that buzz of living abroad like I had in the past. No racing of the pulse of being immersed in another culture. No wild abandon of escaping my rain-swept country for another year. No particular desire to mix or mingle or to swap tongues, metaphorical or not, with my French cousins. In short, I wasn’t really up for it, and eight months later, the feeling remains.

I have two weeks holiday in May and I might feel different when I return. But I doubt it. Maybe for a few short weeks, but the lid of the coffin of my time here in France is creaking shut. The nails bought, the hammer forged. All that is left is to throw my memories into it and bang it shut. Next year, there will be an entirely new Blogley. Blogley in …


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