THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Garda to Cannes
A pause

Aix and pains

The Babička has a rare-as-hens’-teeth ticket tomorrow to the Anselm Kiefer monumental art installations near Barjac, so that was our destination today. We had only 3.5 hours of driving so decided to time it to arrive in Aix—en-Provence for lunch. The Babička is used to tours based around sights and entertainments and does not buy into the “road is the destination” ethos of my trips, so I wanted to accommodate her today.

The Yurt that was almost my home for a while
The Yurt that was almost my home for a while


What a mistake. Aix (which is lovely — I’ve been before) was a time-consuming bitch to navigate. The Babička’s chosen destination had a car park with spaces but proved further from the sights than she wanted to walk in 31° heat. I have a sore foot, so just wanted to camp out at a café near the car park while she took her pleasures. Sadly they didn’t materialise so my sacrifices were in vain.

On returning to the car, it was boxed in on either side and we could not get in. For the joy of being able to tell people she’d driven a Ferrari, a passing young French lady offered to climb in from the passenger side and reverse Speranza out! I am very grateful to her.

Back on the road we soon left the fast autoroute and were briefly on the “Route National 7” famed in chanson. Then we cruised through countryside to our home for the next couple of nights. My plan had been to stay in a yurt but I looked so forlorn in the heat that Babička negotiated an air conditioned room for me with a bathroom that isn’t across a gravel yard.

It’s a B&B not a hotel and we’d not booked food so there would have been none without the Babička’s stern approach to dealing with French service-providers. She has lived in France and adopts an approach that makes me cringe with embarrassment but is undoubtedly effective. It came in very useful today, for sure. 

Tomorrow I get to rest while she visits the institute. I plan to stay cool, still and barefoot to give my poor damaged toe a rest.

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