I have now moved to the Cote d’Azur and my space has changed fundamentally. My wife and I are renting a small apartment on the seventh floor of a block which overlooks the roofs of the town across to the Mediterranean Sea. The light is wonderful and I can well understand why so many artists were drawn to live and work in this area.
Our apartment is very small, only 30 metres square. The living room has a kitchen area to one side, a small sofa and two comfortable arm-chairs. Close to the kitchen is a large table at which I work. In front is a wall of glass, the French windows which lead out to a terrace almost as big as the living room. A large wooden table and chairs sits on one side, green plastic ones to the other. Empty flower-pots hang upon the rail, awaiting the plants we will shortly buy. Despite moving here on the 1 December I have spent some time on the terrace on most days.
In front of the apartment is the railway with trains streaming between France and Italy. Occasionally a TGV sweeps through with a majestic disdain. I can see over the railway to a road which will soon be filled with sculptures made up of Lemons and Oranges, the high point of the Festival du Citron. Beyond that is a large crane, which reminds me of my childhood in London. Beyond this is the Mediterranean Sea, the very same on which I sat and dreamed of ancient Greek triremes sailing westward in search of trade or land.
On Sunday I sat on the terrace and read a short biography of George Simenon, French English Dictionary in hand. My school-boy French is better at reading than speaking so I managed to understand more of the book than the conversation I have to undertake in the shops.
Unfortunately, the terrace is too bright for a laptop but I am able to think about my work, to plan and plot it and to revise. For writing I come back inside the apartment. The light washes over me like a stream. It is what I craved so much in my old room back in England.
The one thing I miss here is access to the internet which we can’t get in our flat as yet. It means that research is almost impossible, testament, I suppose, to how the web has changed our lives. However, the good thing about this is that I have more time to write. Except that the weather is so lovely, the town is so ripe for exploration and I am enjoying myself so much that I don’t write as much as I plan. Never mind, my latest book ‘Artful’ is in the process of its third revision and I hope to publish it soon.
In fact, I’m going to get back to work shortly.