I stopped in at the Fresh store in Bonneville first thing and man do I love that store. As the name suggests, they only sell fresh items, so no canned goods, washing powder or stuff like that, but all their goods are reasonably priced and absolutely beautiful. After picking up a few other things in my regular store I stopped down at the Thursday morning market in town for a wander and then walked up to the home of my former neighbours to drop off a gift for their new baby. A couple of years ago they moved into central La Roche, just a five minute walk from the train station which, in retrospect was a very smart move. When I first visited their house I didn't really like it from the outside. In fact, seeing only the outside I wouldn't even have bothered to set up a viewing as it looks really drab. However, once you get inside the house it is spread out over three floors, with really quiet, spacious and airy rooms and the back garden has a lovely view of the River Foron and the mountains behind my house - and I'm really impressed. It just goes to show I guess, that you really can't tell a book by its cover. Sylvie and Pierre have two older children (currently staying with grandparents) and the latest little one who is just 12 days old and a real little peanut. Very pretty but so tiny! So I asked Pierre how it was working out for him catching the train into Geneva every day and was blown away when he said that at the moment he's cycling in!!!! Say what??? It's 30 km from home to work and he says it takes him about 75 minutes in the morning and around 90 in the evening, the advantage of where they live being that if he is tired he can always catch the train back in the evening. It's so weird because I was telling him that I was getting fairly frequent dreams (well nightmares actually) for a while wherein I had cycled in to work in the morning (ha, as if) and then was really struggling to ride home! If there's a significance to those dreams I haven't figured it out yet. Anyway, Pierre was telling me that he had bought himself a new, lightweight bike to take advantage of the offer being made by the town of a €400 credit to all locals in order to encourage them to cycle. Now I had read vaguely that La Roche was offering a credit to all taxpayers (which includes me) on any new bike bought at one of three local cycle shops, but I hadn't given it much thought. Who knows - maybe I will look it up. This year, cycling from my village to the next (about 5 km) and next year - who knows - Tour de France here I come!
On Tuesday we were forewarned that the mains water was going to be turned off as they were replacing all our water meters. I was told that they would be coming to my place at 2.15 p.m. so I was rather glad that I had got up and showered early as they knocked on my door at 8.30 a.m. I was also glad I had filled up a few bottles of water the night before, as well as a bucket to flush the toilet with as I was without water until 4 p.m. It only took 10 minutes to change my meter but the young man that did mine realized I was a Brit and wanted to practice speaking English so off we went. Now his English was pretty good and he was really sweet, but maybe his English wasn't quite as good as I thought because going on for 4 p.m. I mentioned to my neighbour that it was taking a long time to put the water back on and she said "it's been on since mid-day" - he hadn't quite got the message across that after they'd turned the mains back on I had to go down to my basement and turn it back on myself!
Then last night I actually got round to watching the final episode of The Sopranos. I enjoyed the series although my goodness it was violent and their treatment of the women in their lives - whether it be the strippers, their mistresses or their wives - was truly appalling. I suspect that was the way it really was - and maybe still is. Who knows! But apart from the violence I enjoyed it for the most part and while Tony Soprano was a sociopathic monster James Gandolfini managed to portray a more vulnerable side to him as well. But the point of mentioning all this is that in the very last episode they are in the middle of all-out gang warfare and Tony Soprano is just waiting for them to come for him. In the last scene the Soprano family are meeting up to eat in a diner and Tony Soprano finally gets killed - or maybe he doesn't! You don't know because they leave you on a cliffhanger. Quite by chance I happened to see a couple of Youtube clips explaining what this last scene was all about and it was really interesting. They pointed out that every time a new person walked into the diner the bell over the door rang - and Tony looked up because he was on edge. When one young man walked in, he walked full-on into the camera, that being the way (apparently) that the director shows the importance of that particular character. Then they changed camera angles and showed where Tony's daughter should have been sitting - and indeed would have been sitting if she hadn't had trouble parking her car, and the fact that she was delayed left any would-be killer with a free shot at Tony. I guess I had always just kinda thought "oh you point the camera and the director shouts action", but the way they explained all these Hitchcock-esque manipulations and how they lead the viewer down one line of thinking or another was really interesting. I suppose I hadn't given it much thought before but I never realized just how much goes into making a good movie!
And finally, a US blogger whose blog I really enjoy has started putting out Hallowe'en decorations (!!!) and said that she had already received her first Hallowe'en catalogues in the mail! Say what??? I can't believe it - surely not. Here's me sweating cobs in rural France and now I'm being reminded it's only how many days to Christmas?