Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Monday, 21 June 2010

Zach's entente cordiale


LANGUEDOC AND ZACH – Part one. Now four, he follows a morning routine at the Holiday Home (his label) that is immutable. While Big Grandad shaves he discards his PJs, puts on his new tee-shirt, pants, shorts, hat and flip-flops. Together they then set out for the Windmill (“It’s not a real windmill”) Shop, otherwise the boulangerie. There, in a clear voice, he orders Cinq croissants, s’il vous plait. plus a varying number of pain au chocolat. On the last day he’d been programmed to say, Au revoir, à l’année prochaine but stumbled over the words. As Big Grandad prompted him, a French woman customer in her fifties almost wept in sympathy at his struggles and applauded emotionally when they were over.

LANGUEDOC AND ZACH – Part two. Walking round St Jean de la Blaquière with Zach opens up unheard-of social possibilities. Smartly dressed women in their thirties, who would normally avert their eyes from such a ramshackle self-evidently English Englishman, greet the pair of us with roguish vivacity. One scorching morning an old man in a heavily knitted sweater, barely capable of locomotion, asked me if Zach was my grandson and we chatted aimiably. As we parted he groaned after me with profound feeling: “Look after him well, your grandson.”

LANGUEDOC ASLEEP. Don’t do dreams – they usually please the dreamer more than the audience. But this may amuse Plutarch given his knowledge of my interests. I’d been given a column in a gardening magazine but was at odds with the editor. I favoured literary allusion whereas he wanted more on aphids and systemic weed killers. I’d been struck in particular by the familiar but still beautiful:

Did you not see my lady,
Go down the garden singing…?


and it seemed my further employment was in jeopardy. And then, gentle reader, I awoke.

8 comments:

Plutarch said...

The dream is intriguing. But it needs to be filled out, a vain hope of course, unless it recurs. The interview for the job would be of interest. I desperately want to read examples of the column, meanwhile. "A garden is a lovesome thing, God wat!"

Julia said...

Did she give him a bonbon for his effort? I do appreciate the many bakery ladies we have met in France who have encouraged C in her French. They understand the value of training children young.

Might your dream be about your blog content? The editor is your conscience dictating that you keep your posts within the established Works Well subject matter, yet your heart says "rhyme."

marja-leena said...

Adorable young grandson you have there, BB! And learning his French and good manners already, thanks to Grandad.

Barrett Bonden said...

Plutarch: The amazing thing is I wasn't amazed to be writing about gardening. As if my life had slipped a cog or two, and flowers had entered my consciousness in my youth and replaced, say, an interest in torturing my brothers. The simplicity of those two lines, sung in an amateur yet clear and in-tune voice, returned and returned.

Julia: As one of my éminences grises you have an unerring knack of making suggestions about material I have reluctantly had to miss out through space restrictions. In this case the boulanger was a truculent young man with the powerful body of a weight lifter, seemingly depressed to find himself condemned to the dawn-to-dusk task of baking bread. Pre-Zach he smiled at nothing. But when Zach finally stammered out his "Until next year" message the young man smiled wonderfully and wished us Bonne route.

Your second comment is eeriely prescient. I am, of course, the dichotomy you suggest though my heart isn't saying "rhyme" (Verse still remains an unexplained Damascene moment, as if I'd suddenly been endowed with an impulse to go tight-rope walking) but rather "write" (ie, write without restrictions). Psychoanalysis - another string to your polymathic bow. Is there no end to your revelations?

M-L: Many would laugh hollowly at the idea I might be teaching anyone good manners. Where I come from that quality is considered effete. Another language - now that's something I am in favour of.

Rouchswalwe said...

Oh! I very like seeing the Zachster running down the road with purpose in the main photo.

Lucy said...

That's spooky. My last ear-worm of that song(you will probably now have triggered another), finally left me at about the time you had this dream. (The only one I find more persistent is 'What is Love?' from Gluck's Orpheo and Eurydice). Did the song depart my brain to lodge itself in your sleeping one? Who knows...

Zach is quite the star. Does he call the other one 'Small Grandad', and if so what does SG think of this?

Barrett Bonden said...

RW (zS): His mother was greatly taken by this new nickname you've come up with.

Lucy: I'm flattered that we share - perhaps even transmit - this musical tendency. The great thing is that both are fabulously good tunes. Such a phenomenon would be harder to bear in the hearing of "How much is that doggie in the window?"

Big Grandad is a leftover from my elder grandchild whose other grandpop (there's been a divorce that complicates things) was much smaller but didn't seem to mind this gallling sobriquet. As it is, Zach's other grandfather is younger, handsomer, fitter and politer than me and has been accorded a name that's more appropriate but which presently escapes me.

Avus said...

It is a lovely song and brings to mind times of decorum and courtesy