170 – Saint Émilion

Yesterday I bought the most expensive bottle of wine I’ve ever bought. A Château Labatut Saint Émilion at €9.50. Three hundred percent more than I normally pay. But I had no choice. It was the cheapest in the shop. I was in Saint Émilion.

Famous Saint Émilion: a roadshow of geriatric Americans plugged into their tour guide headsets like they were life support machines. Tiptoeing down the steep cobbled paths cautious in the knowledge that one misplaced step could be their last. All desperate to drink a bottle of 1996 Clos de Menuts at €350 a bottle before they expire and their sons and daughters gobble up their cash to spend on Hummers, Botox and Dr. Pepper. Continue reading “170 – Saint Émilion”

169 – Bud Pint

Like most people I enjoy a beer at around six o’clock. And luckily that alcoholic alarm call of two hands to the vertical is as respected here in Bordeaux as anywhere else.

The best price I’ve found so far is €3 for a pint of Budwar at the Vintage Bar on Rue Saint-James. Which having lived in a variety of European cities over the years is as good as you’re going to get.

Although saying that there was a bizarre place in Salamanca I remember that dispensed litre bottles of Mahou beer from a vending machine in the corner for a couple of Euros. But looking back I’m not sure that was a bar. More a room glued onto the side of a student nightclub where people could sit on the floor, drink heavily and then pass out. Something like that anyway… Continue reading “169 – Bud Pint”

168 – Job Centre Interview

For thirteen months I saw the same view every morning from my hideout in Queaux. While incredibly beautiful and pleasing to the eye, the physical contours of the image never changed from day to day. Month to month.

Now in Bordeaux every step throws up new scenes. Every corner awash with right angles and curves. Every street exhibiting a new set of uprights and horizontals for my mind to gorge on. There’s so much information. So much data. I feel like a computer plugged into the internet for the very first time.

And that’s just the architecture. Throw into the equation a quarter of a million people walking, running, fighting, drinking, smoking, thinking, laughing, dying, burping, shouting, crying. And it’s no wonder my mind is having a sensory overload and my blog is running out of paper.

On top of all of that I’ve burdened myself with looking for work. Or rather my bank has burdened me. My balance popping up on the screen last week saying OGGERS OLD FRIEND, YOU’VE RUN OUT OF MONEY – JOB TIME!!!! Continue reading “168 – Job Centre Interview”

167 – Victor Hugo, Ice Creams, and Lyonnais Waiters

The Bordeaux tourist guide quotes Victor Hugo on its front page:

‘Take Versailles, mix it with Anvers. You have Bordeaux.’

I know nothing about either town but from what I’ve seen here there seems enough good cheer and sparkle to go round both of them with some to spare. Furnish Lyon with a bit perhaps? Continue reading “167 – Victor Hugo, Ice Creams, and Lyonnais Waiters”

166 – Velos, Homelessness and The Great Escape

What’s the first thing I did in Bordeaux?

Drink a glass of wine? See the sights? Take a coffee in a leafy square? A small beer in a courtyard bar? Eat a Charolais steak?

No. I hunted out places to sleep in the unlikely event of being made homeless. It’s an odd obsession of mine and stems from a childhood dream of escaping from boarding school and becoming a fugitive. Steve McQueen from the Great Escape, only in this version it’s Oggers on a 30 year old Peugeot cycle haring up the Welsh Hills being pursued by Potter the housemaster in his 1970s Citroen waving his walking stick in the air like a demented general. Continue reading “166 – Velos, Homelessness and The Great Escape”