Thursday, February 16, 2006



February is a shit time for many and it seems everyone and everything - particularly the God of car maintenance - has really got it in for us this year.

We started off in our trusty nearly new Renault Megane at the beginning of the month towards Avignon to see a movie. Just outside of the village there was a frayed little putter and the car dutifully coasted off the road. The motor was fucked and the bill three weeks later after tow number one was 2600 euros. Then the gaggia chrome coffee machine broke. Then Julian got the most horrendous flu. Then he chopped the handle of the wood-burning stove in half instead of the oversized log he was aiming for. Then, returning from Lyon together(where we happily consumed lots of strange tĂȘtes and innards of things in great bustling bouchons) after the last performance, thinking "We are finally on route home", J filled the petrol engine of the loaned car with the habitual deisel. Tow and drainage (by pastis swilling mechanic) and cost number two ensued.

Then there was the nasty cat who, taking a fancy to our pretty striped Manon, was squeezing through our hand crafted dogon style cat flap and eating all Oscar and Manon's vitamin healthful Cat McNuggets, making their hairs stand on end with terror and leaving the very undesirable odour of Ambient/Erotic Cat room-spray everywhere. J lay in wait for the rogue's next visit, caught it at its antics, locked the flap and, ignoring the advice of our friends to squirt it with a water pistol, he beat it around the room with a broom, venting all his rage on the poor creature. The next day there were 9 inches of snow and we never saw the cat again....Ouch.


We got our own car back two days ago with its spanking new wotsit head, and in celebration decided that I would drive home from Valence after the two gigs this week, and that we would have lie ins, lunches and breakfasts together like normal people. That God of mechanical things, however, decided he hadn't prodded us nearly enough with his fork. The car started veering noisily to the right on the motorway and I was left with a tyre burst waiting for tow number three.

There have been other little things but I won't go into that. You get the idea.

The thing is, it could have been much much worse and,though our mini break plans in Skye have been buggered, we won't be able to put the gallery window in or get the floor down until next year, or the new computer for J's web-design, no-one died. The other thing is that people will die, including us, so the question is, are we reeds weathering the storm or are we brittle sticks being broken by every gust of wind?

Yesterday, standing behind the crash barrier in the freezing rain waiting to be towed for the third time in two weeks, I managed to laugh. However, my poor battered husband is not laughing.

Can I be a reed with his rage just as I am becoming reed-like about matters Megane? Can I accept and not judge another person's 'undesirable' emotion about being torn to shreds on his journey just as I accepted a tyre ripped by something hard and unexpected on the road? Can I keep laughing? Can I still see the beauty around me which he has taught me to see even if he is blinded by anger right now?

Today is the First birthday of Shifting Light - Julian's phenomenal Postcards from Provence. Stop by if you have a moment, admire the beauty and wish him well. He could do with a boost right now.


Blogger Jean said...

It's a great gift to be able to be so warm and witty about it all(even for the time it took to write this!).

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anna said...

Ruth! Make sure you keep the loo seat down at all times! (Feng shui -supposed to stop the money draining away.) We were thinking of buying a Megane - we like the quirky shape - but maybe we should stick to reliable but extremely boring Clio.
I've just had a rather large financial shock - so dispiriting: I really sympathise.

1:58 PM  
Blogger RedLady said...

Seems, like you said, that February is bad for all. I too have had financial disaster, emotional exhaustion, a job I hate so much (it's been building up) that each morning I seriously weigh up the pros and cons of running away, and a brother who just suffered a very serious head injury. I believe, however, in your reed theory more than the broken sticks. These things are all parts of moments which will pass. We will still be standing, perhaps a little battered around the edges, but isn't that what gives us character?

Your life seems to exude such beauty, even when things are not running so smoothly. As for Julian, when he is feeling down just remind him that to have such a gift (I regularly look at his 'postcards' site and hope to treat myself to a painting one day) is to hold all things wonderful in your hands. He masters colour, light and texture in such a way that when I look at his work, I actually FEEL the painting, his work actually provokes a physical reaction. And that's just looking at them on the screen. Such gifts that you both behold are truly that: gifts. No bill, burst tyre or broken oven will change it.

I hope that March will be an easier month for you both!

2:46 PM  
Blogger granny p said...

Oh dear... sorry Ruth. Maybe the Megane's the problem - it does too easily what's promised in the ad - ie 'shakes its arse.' (Has to be one of most inrritating commercials out.) Sorry about Skye too. None of the right people earn the right money.... xx

3:14 PM  
Blogger Buffy said...

I love February. Its short and cute and to the point. Also, Spring is on its way.

4:39 PM  
Anonymous beth said...

Flexibility shall be the watchword for February! Hang in there, Ruth, and Julian too. Things will change for the better and I'm sure you will look back on this month and be able to laugh about it - both of you. So sorry about the financial shock and the disappointments though.

10:51 PM  
Blogger Dale said...

Ruth, lots of love to you. "Quick, now, here, always" --

11:24 PM  
Blogger Jean said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Oh, Ruth, what a horrible string of bad luck. Sorry I missed Julian's PfP anniversary; checked in here yesterday morning and haven't had a chance to drop back again till now. Reeds, you're definitely reeds. This, too, will pass.

3:20 PM  
Blogger Jean said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:50 PM  
Blogger MB said...

Much love to you, Ruth.

10:11 PM  

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