I’m on my own in a restaurant – something I like to do from time to time. I was having an evening stroll in Howard Davis Park and happened on a restaurant nestled in a little walled garden called the Marquis de Caçeres. Moules à la Créme was on the specials board, and as Lou said last night, the benefit of staying in a doss house is that I can go to a restaurant from time to time. Nicer than just having instant noodles in a hotel with a jacuzzi that’s closed because of Covid. And anyway it’s not really a doss house. It’s just very competitively priced for the market. Good on them for making it possible.

Wherever I go in this island, beauty follows me. The sun came out in the afternoon, and I drove through the little lanes after lunch, looking at the displays of flowers outside the houses. Living here is a bit like living in the Cotswolds though. They force you to make yourself look presentable. I guess tourism was a big part of the industry here before the crumble. The rules about painting your house only in certain colours and making it all look pretty are still being adhered to.

I mostly drove randomly, but occasionally switched on Google Maps to laugh at poor robot Fiona as she tried to pronounce Jersey Street names with their irregular spellings and grammar. Rouette de la Pontlietaut. I grew up on Rue au Blancq, and I remember being laughed at in front of the class by my French teacher for spelling “white” with a q on the end in a test. I can’t remember which teacher. Just my rage and indignation. “Dammit, I’m hyperlexic and this is a word I saw every day for decades!” That’s what I didn’t say. And the mussels have arrived.

I scoffed the mussels.

Last time I came to this island with my brother we had moules on the first night and then we were both up all night in that very peculiar kind of hell that only comes from shellfish. There was no “r” in the month then, and there isn’t one in “May” either but it’s close enough to apRil that I’m hoping I’ll be safe. It certainly feels like Spring now at last. The sun came out. I’m going for a walk in the park.

Glorious. Many hours later and no trouble with the mussels. A contented sleep ahead of a solitary weekend. I’ve got so used to not seeing anybody I’m pretty much convinced it’s the norm.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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