Beautiful Provence

Jan Leeming

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Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.

 

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Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

BEAUTIFUL PROVENCE

Date: 17th July 2013

These days, so disliking airports, if possible I travel by train.

Last time I visited my friends in Provence, it was possible to take the Eurostar and, with an easy change of platforms at Lille, board the TGV to Avignon. On this occasion I wasn't so lucky and had to change from the Gare du Nord to the Gare du Lyons in Paris which included a change on the Metro. 

Although I prefer the French Metro to our Underground the French don't make it easy for the traveller with luggage. I lost count of how many times I lugged my case up and down staircases. Haven't the French heard of escalators!  If there were lifts, they were well hidden. By the time I reached Hall 2 at Gare du Lyons,  I could have done with a shower. Oh! For the days of yore when porters were everywhere. I would have willingly paid a King' s ransom for some help. I am not looking forward to the return when my luggage will have  increased in weight with the addition of books on the Cathars, Toulouse Lautrec, Albi and some wonderful old copies of L'Ilustration and Le Mirroir from 100 years ago.

On the first day of my visit we went to the Avignon Festival. My friends are very considerate and chose two performances from the 'Off' - the equivalent of the Edinburgh Fringe - which required very little comprehension of French.  I've not laughed so much in an age. Our first offering was WOW.  Whilst waiting for the show to start, one of the performers came down the steps by me and on asking whether I could take photos, he not only posed for me but took the camera on stage and took photos of the audience. The show began with 3 men cleaning up the stage obviously after a performance. One came to front stage and said 'Après deux minutes - WOW' when we thought the show would begin. It never did!!! The whole act was the three clowning around and constantly repeating the phrase 'Apres deux minutes- WOW' which became our catchphrase for the week.

The other show was not really a mime but acting without words the same little scene - the performer, Paulo Nani, entered again and again in a different guise - as a drunkard, sleepwalking, lazy - I can't do it justice. However he had done a bit of business with a lady in the audience.  At first I thought she was a 'plant' especially  when he repeated the scene as if a man without arms and needed to pick up his drink, the lady went to help. However, this was definitely not part of the act and he had a hard job to stop himself laughing whilst saying 'This is a first time - I don't know what to do'. 

There are also many free shows at the Off and we visited a delightful performance of Brazilian music, dance and song.  The female dancer seemed to float in her movements.  After the show I saw her on the pavement outside the de-consecrated church and asked if she'd been Classically trained - she had and it definitely showed.  Her male companion looked like an amateur compared with her.

We returned home and had a delightful light supper on the terrace embraced by the warm Provençal night.

The three performers from WOW.

BEAUTIFUL PROVENCE

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