Monday 24th September
I am sure that it is some sort of an illusion, a trick the brain plays on itself, but time itself seems to move slower here. During the working week I am always hurrying, scurrying here and there – there never seems a moment of quiet. I usually go to Walton-on-the-Naze at weekends, and although the hour and a half journey can seem particularly tedious, the time seems to go quite quickly there too. London, of course, runs on its own time. It is almost impossible to amble along London streets, and there is a momentum in the crowds on the Underground that forbids tarrying too long. And you just get swept up with it. But here, in France, and particularly this long weekend has unwound so slowly. I keep glancing at my watch and thinking, surely it must have been longer than ten minutes since I last looked at you. Perhaps it is the close vicinity of the town; it is literally less than five minutes to the square, or the river, or one of the bars that you are back home almost before you set out. Perhaps it is also to do with the time difference. Our TV has a UK Sky box with freeview, so you keep getting caught out; switching on to see the football results at 4.45 on Saturday to discover that it is still 3.45 in the UK. So you are also thinking in two time zones, which can be a bit disconcerting to say the least.
But none of that begins to explain the languid atmosphere that has overtaken me these few days. I have just been out for a walk along the river, and I thought I had walked for ages, but it was only a half hour and I was back home. There was hardly a soul about, just a few ducks gently swimming on the water. And it was really idyllic, the trees not yet affected by Autumn winds were still in full leaf, and hung right over the river in places. One always forgets how vast France is, they have so much land, and a smaller population than us, so there seems to be much more left to nature.
As I said maybe it is all an illusion, but one I am prepared to enjoy as often as possible.