Caught beneath the landslide

By way of another Manchester band (well, I’m on a roll and it would be rude not to…) today’s Much Love Monday is brought to you with the laid-back Manc swagger of Oasis with Champagne Supernova. 

This is the sound of post-Smiths Manchester, where we’d all stopped the ironic sarcasm of The Smiths, the shoe-gazing of the Inspiral Carpets, the drug-fuelled craziness of the Happy Mondays and seriously believed we were the best in the world. My sister and I went to see Oasis in about 1996 at the old Manchester City stadium… I think you’d be hard-pushed to find a band who had bigger egos or more self-confidence. Sometimes, we all need a little bolshy self-confidence to get us through a Monday. Amazing to have gone from Morrissey and his epic ode to shyness and coyness, right the way through to Liam Gallagher’s overwhelming lip-curling arrogance. I seem to recall he had a hissy fit back in 1996 and Noel had to sing a few of the songs. I could be wrong. My memory is appalling.

So, what do I have Much Love for this Monday, apart from the wonderful phrase ‘champagne supernova’?

Sadly for me, my divine helpxrs have gone on to a nearby vegetarian spa. I’ve been up past the place a couple of times, and drop Living Poitou-Charentes off there. It’s an amazing place and the owner is a complete inspiration. You know how you just meet people and you wish they had a blog and you’re really sad that they don’t? I wish Nikki did. I’d be an avid reader and she’d have about a million regular readers. Her place is 27 acres (I know… mine is just a small garden at an acre!) and she has turned it from a kind of ruin to a tranquil haven. She’s just one of those people who you spend some time with and you feel a hit of energy. I love friends like that. Funnily, about a couple of miles away is another lady who would also make a great blogger and also makes me feel like I need to get productive and creative. Neither of these ladies ever seem stressed or uptight… the life is good over Cellefrouin way, obviously!

Much Love, then, to Marcus and Shannon, who have put up with my weird English habits, my love of caffeine and my terrible swearing. I wish I were 20 and travelling around Europe. I think I might never have settled down. Ironically, given my current lifestyle, I wanted nothing more to be in employment and to be ‘adult’ when I was around that age. I wanted a regular pay-cheque and a reliable job. In the end, it was a great decision because it gave me skills that allow me to live out here.

I took Marcus and Shannon into the big city of Angoulême on Saturday night (for anyone who knows Angoulême, you know this is a joke, because my French friends call it ‘une ville morte’ or a dead-town) which is a shame because it was totally beautiful. The bars around Les Halles and up through the old town make it a fairly laid-back, mucho-relaxed kind of place and we went for big walks around the ramparts after filling up at the Chinese all-you-can-eat buffet. I guess that’s the nice bit of helpx and schemes like that – you end up with friends. It does make it awfully hard to let them go, though.

The next helpxr is arriving in two weeks, which gives me a little breathing space. I’m such a solitary odd-bod. I would be quite happy never to see or speak to anybody. Is that weird?

We went to a huge bric-a-brac jumble sale thing yesterday – seriously the biggest I’d ever been to. I’ve scored some totally hot stuff to help celebrate Eurovision – or at least get us in the mood. I almost gave myself a hernia trying to reign in the tears of joy. I also scored some less usual varities of heirloom tomatoes at a troc for plants – and at 80 cents a pop, I am pretty pleased with myself. Going to Nikki’s also gave me some more ideas for raised beds. Sylvie and I share a love of the old tyre and I’m well jealous of her raised beds – but Nikki’s are a bit more manageable in that they don’t involve spirit levels and tape measures. I’m chronically rubbish with tape measures and spirit levels. It’s given me some ideas about how I can do some quick-and-dirty raised beds for all of those curcurbits that love to crawl all over the place. This year, I have melon, squash and pumpkin, along with cucumbers and gherkins, and not a one of those things likes to stay in one spot.

I think that’s the nicest thing about having an extra pair of hands – being able to plan and undertake projects that you wouldn’t have got round to otherwise.

Anyway, enjoy Oasis and hopefully you find as much inspiration from the people around you as I do from the people around me. It is definitely one of the perks of living out here – finding so many like-minded ladies and gentlemen. Seeing previously-ruined houses restored and renovated in interesting and unusual ways is also a massive bonus. Maybe one day my house will inspire someone too. I’m off to work on my garden. Glorious day and glorious weather for planting!

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