One thing about the back of beyond in Normandy and a well-insulated and double glazed hotel in a remote suburb of Paris is the lack of noise. By God I realize the difference now that I am back home!
The day begins with the Dogwoman next door taking one of her brood for a walk and thus provoking one of the others to bark in the monotonous threnody of loss that marks her departure – and which tell us that it is time to think about getting up. Which we don’t of course, it being holiday and everything and so we endure the heartfelt howls of loss and then wait in tense expectation if the bloody animal suddenly shuts up, and then there is relief mixed with exasperation when it starts again.
We then have a neighbour opening and closing his gate which can only be done by slamming the thing and letting it vibrate metallically and loudly – and which of course stimulates the dog to an ecstasy of barking.
When this dies down we then have to endure our shouty neighbour on the other side of the road driving the white van over a strategically placed piece of metal so that it make a hollow ringing sound which is louder than anything that has gone before.
And then, if you are lucky, the planes start.
Then normal life starts and cars, vans and lorries pass.
As soon as we are up we move to the other side of the house and are within earshot of the swimming pool. There are now four or five phases of noise. The first is the French. This comprises two ineffectual parents and two repulsive children the youngest of whom after shrieking for the first ten minutes or so then starts bawling.
This is then followed by the basso profundo of a grandfather calling his errant grandson to order. Constantly. He (the child) then starts crying too.
A recent new level of sound has recently been reached by the addition to our motley crew of a horde of Indian lads who yell their way around the pool and dive bomb the water and then spend the next few hours trying to push each other in. At this point the discordant symphony of sound has reached the sort of intensity where it can only be dealt with by joining it.
Swimming with earplugs and under water only the most piercing of childish shouts can penetrate! Tranquillity!
Another day of cloudy skies in the morning and bright sunshine in the afternoon. Suits me.
I have started the tasks of the summer and spoken to someone in Cardiff about my finances. He was patience itself in trying to get me back onto the website that catalogues the mismanagement of my funds since I put them there five years ago. The only people who have done well out of my savings are the fund managers. The Investment Bankers. The people who have done their best to destroy the western banking system. The bastards as they are know to the rest of us.
However, their Internet voice in Cardiff was courtesy itself and turned out to be a member of an old ice cream making family in Cardiff, now long gone. I have a good mind to contact the organization and give the guy the credit he deserves. It is little enough that one has reason to be thankful for an anonymous voice on the so-called help lines! One should celebrate true help when one finds it!
At least my savings still exist even if the “steady if unspectacular growth” is hardly a feature of my so-called investment.
Ah well, these things test and improve character. Probably.