Monday, May 29, 2017

The Perfect Place to Write

Rick's post about our favourite place to read/write triggered some very nostalgic memories for me – though not so much the reading bit, because that has always stayed constant. When I can find it, my perfect place for reading has always been in shade, preferably leafy, when the temperature is too high to sit out in the sunshine.

As you can imagine, this doesn't happen too often in Scotland. So by the time you read this, we will be on our annual retreat to France with a massive book-box; to Burgundy this time. I'll raise a glass of the local beverage to you all.

When it comes to writing, though, my practice is much duller. I work on a PC, in my study, with the door shut. At the moment I have wisteria blossoms draping the window and there's a wren shouting its head off in a bush somewhere, but in general it's not exciting.

But years ago, I had a very punishing schedule and my books had to be writtten in snatched half-hours, here and there. When we went on holiday – yes, to France again – my greatest treat was the luxury of three uninterrupted hours before breakfast.

My husband was forbidden to come downstairs before nine o'clock. At six, I would get up, pick up my laptop and go out on to the terrace that looked out over a valley to the hilltop on the other side, with not another house to be seen. We were in the south of France but at that time in the morning it was still chilly and even fairly dark; the bats would just be going home to roost in the roof of the little porch.

I would sit there with a rug over my knees and watch as the sunlight coming towards me turned the valley gold. The only distractions were the golden orioles fluting below and the nuthatch running up the ash tree looking for insects in the bark. I always had binoculars to hand to spot the Bonelli's Eagle that came over on its rounds twice a day.

We were in a hamlet where no one spoke English; I was known as 'Madame l'Ecrivain' and our neighbour thought I was totally mad, so typically British. She would pass tomatoes and peaches across the dividing wall.

It was the most idyllic place. It wasn't a house we owned, but we rented it every summer for eleven years. Then the owner sold it, alas, and we can never go back. So when Rick wrote about favourite places to write, it did make me shed a fond Proustian tear 'A la recherche du temps perdu.'


Rick Blechta said...

Very, very envious!

Sybil Johnson said...

Sounds wonderful.

Donis Casey said...

What a wonderful memory to have.