Saturday, 22 November 2008

Peter Mayle (itis)



Every so often it's important to take a good long hard look at myself in the mirror. Sticking my tongue out I take a close inspection, arghhhhhhh, wider. The mouth snaps shut and I let out a sigh of relief. 'It's okay' I say to no-one in particular, 'I'm showing no signs of PeterMayleitis.

This is a condition that if not recognised can linger without the sufferer being aware that they stick out like a sore thumb, indeed the carrier feels no pain or ill affects whatsoever, they simply make everyone around them feel sick. After note: carriers are usually of English origin. Effortlessly fanning the flames of this malaise are the constant churning out of articles usually entitled La France Profonde. Now I would be the first one to admit to penning 'hammock type moment' posts leaving readers dreamy and hungry after reading juicy descriptions that can occur in the leisurely environment of the French countryside but then, (shock horror) I'm selling a product, and, dare I say it, I sell it extremely well and everyone is happy but then it's a slice of life you are getting not the whole loaf, so to speak.

Luxurious lingering on cosy scenes of bustling markets piled high with fat saucissons and tables groaning with fresh oozing cheeses indeed exist but the reality is different, you just need the sense and sensitivity to recognise it. I recite my general views on life out loud to His Lordship whilst sitting propped up in bed this morning staring out at the startling blue sky, darling little fluffy white clouds prettily bobbing past whilst the snow on the Pyrenees twinkled prettily. Or rather I sipped my lukewarm tea merely out of politeness rather than pleasure and stared at the blank dreary skyline of endless grey clouds and grumbled I couldn't see any sign of sun.

After demanding a fresh pot of tea I continue my outline for my views on life in general, we scan the latest global news. His Lordship places his cup down firmly. 'You simply can't write that' he says.

'One day I will' I say.

One day I will and there won't be a single solitary crumb of detail left out.

15 comments:

toady said...

I think PM has a lot to answer for.

muddyboots said...

ex-pats do seem to have a lot to answer for, painting rosy pictures tempting people to up sticks a move to foreign parts. Shame that they always seem to miss out on the down side of living abroad or that fact that most do not mix with the locals. Then ex-pats don't seem to use the word 'emigrate', which is what they are in fact doing.

Mrs ElderBerry said...

do you not think, my dear that the English countryside is also sold as being lovely all of the time?

l find that incomers to my village have some very odd ideas about country life which seems to be based upon the imagination of Thomas Hardy.

LittleBrownDog said...

Yes indeed - the dreaded Peter Mayle-itis. I was working for a book publisher when his first book came out, and from almost the week of publication we were suddenly innundated by Peter Mayle wannabes with creative titles ranging from "Another Year in France" to "Two Weeks In Egypt" - I kid you not. It was a truly dreadful time. Yes, Sally. Why not truly tell it as it is (not for a minute suggesting you don't by the way...) Gorgeous looking loaf, by the way. Did that one escape being used to batter Jessica-Lange-type thoughts from HL?

xxx

PS Rose-tinted spectacles on or off, you always tell it beautifully, Sally. x

Tessa said...

I'm very pleased that your sticky-out-tongue-moment revealed no sign of P.Mayleitis because if it had, the mirror lied. And we all know it never does that! Besides, there just isn't a chance in helk you could ever be one of those. You write too well for starters, you love your Chateau and what you do there to make it so special with an infectious passion and you allow us lucky readers share delightful little snippets of your life with such generosity and spirit!

Pondside said...

Sally - I'm always so happy to have stopped by your blogsite and today is no exception. I had to laught at the Peter Mayle-itis. It happens here too - usually having to do with people chucking city life, donnning fuzzy socks and birkenstocks and getting 'back to the land'. All very glamorous in print but damp hard work on a rock in the ocean. Nevertheless, I love to pop by your site for some sunshine and scenery and wish I could pop by the chateau for a holiday.

elizabethm said...

My favourite writer on France is Michael Wright, "C'est la Folie". It is always pretty clear from reading him that you need to speak French and to be prepared to work very hard indeed, although it still sounds pretty good to me, as does your life!
But yes, do spill the beans sometime.

Cait O'Connor said...

Like everything I suppose, it's how you perceive something. Life can be a struggle anywhere and paradise only exists sometimes. Some people think by moving away they are leaving all life's troubles behind don't they?

deborah said...

WHAT!! Do you mean to say that this is not the land-locked version of "Fantasy Island"?
Should this site be
labeled "Sally's Ruse" instead of "Sally's Chateau"? gasp!
Such a decision on your part - to wrestle with the feeling of responsibility to enlighten your readers (and possible boarders)or keep us pleasantly disillusioned...
I vote for the amusement factor....

Françoise said...

Funny!
I find the expats in my village "plus catholiques que le pape." Their pronouncements on the best chèvre, wine, local restaurant, affairs of the mairie are without appeal. Many still speak level 1 French after years of residence and those who do better carry on with an English lilt which is barely comprehensible to the uninitiated.

All mean well and have convinced themselves they love France because if they don't then they must have made a terrible mistake leaving home in the first place.
Many places are endowed with an unreal sense of adventure and romance; you wouldn't believe the rubbish I have heard about San Francisco!

Sally's Chateau said...

Interesting feedback, I did think long and hard before popping on my sourpuss suit but it has to be worn ocasionally because I feel comfortable in it and uncomfortable pretending I don't object to wearing it and exposing some aspects of life that irritate the hell out of me.

Frances said...

Sally, I really enjoy reading anything that you write, because I so like the way that you do write.
Fiction or non-, please put them each on the platter.

I usually do not put excess sparkle in what I write about my city, usually because I just cannot write that well, just stick to reporting the facts.

xo

Grouse said...

Well I would be first to buy the book- that's for sure!
I think my pet hate is the phrase: 'You're so lucky to live here!' as if you have been transported with no choice or effort on your part....
In fact, I think it matters little which hat you wear- its the sense of self and place that exudes from your writing that keeps us all spellbound.

Françoise said...

Me again. Those poppies were growing in a field between Olonzac and Capestang. Some other fields had bachelor buttons and marguerites as well. Quite stunning. Thank you for visiting. Maybe I'll pop in when I am in France next summer, or you could come and see me. . .

Kitschen Pink said...

Have you ever ordered a copy of the tourist board's brochure for your least favourite local town? Pick one you know particularly well and then while away an afternoon laughing hysterically at what a few close ups can do! I especially love the ones for West Norfolk and South Yorkshire! Oh ho ho ho ho hohe heeee he.
I have to say, maybe I'm an oddball, but I thought Peter Mayle was very off-putting - particularly if you were ever likely to need builders or plumbers!
t.x