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Gemini 21 May – 20 June A week of mixed fortunes and complicated affairs lies ahead. Try introducing a little order into your life
5.05 Ouch. Shin actually device for finding furniture in dark. Must relocate exercise bike, or will be permanently crippled.
5.17 Coffee tin empty. Drink 2 glasses of orange juice. Make tea. Open shutters. Wave to cats.
Open Bloodbath in Limoges/Strangulatioin in Strasbourg.
Capt. Apolline Faubourg starts brainstorming session with murder team. Bawls them out re lack of progress, women dying while detective Neroes fiddling etc. Partneress fiddles with false fingernails, team look blank. Ap. sends them out to find clues, murderer.
Apolline’s boss summons her to his office, bawling re lack of progress, Rome burning etc. Questions being asked in parliament, press hounding him. Has noticed all victims law students. Perhaps Perp a guy with grudge against lawyers? Some sleazeball who thinks there are already too many in world? Apolline laughs, dismisses theory, too far-fetched. Sir. No one thinks like that, not even in novels.
9 a.m. Make bed. Bedroom more warehouse than boudoir. Hundreds of years’ worth of accumulated junk. And rodent (whereabouts, species unknown). 3 huge computer boxes, must put away in loft. Hmm. Loft full of spiders, possibly other livestock. Will get downstairs Tarzan to deal with same. Make list of Jobs Must Do.
change bedding, alarm clock sock
vacuum salon (floor of)
clear bedroom of junk, empty boxes
find, exterminate rodent
locate artisan willing to travel to hinterland (repairs, decorating)
locate Yellow Pages for artisan details
Find compiling list great therapy. Also less effort than actually doing jobs thereon.
“Only place I get to hear some heavy breathing.”
8 p.m. Ask Martine how things with Jerome these days. “Not good,” she shrugs. “I sink maybe ‘e ‘as zuh affair. What can I do?” Bites lip, eyes brimming.
“Have an affair back.”
Gemini 21 May – 20 June Someone you’ve been relying on doesn’t quite come up to scratch
01.10 Rescue Gizmo from depths of computer box
02.30 Woken by bed dipping violently. G. apparently practising pole vault.
03.10 G. under quilt, licking soles of feet
03.45 Turn over. Start dream re Limousin Motorcycle show. Amazing soundtrack.
03.48 Push purring cat off pillow.
04.10 Woken by thunder. Remove ecstatic cat from face. Throw out of window.
9.30 Start translating by-laws for French corp. creating subsidiary in Rumania. More disloyal outsourcing. At this rate, will be no industry left in France by end of month. PM useless, has ignored all my emails on subject.
Still, at least by-laws easy job, v. restful.
11.30 Am rudely awoken by inconsiderate boss. “Just having a power nap. Like Churchill, Mrs. Thatcher.”
“Hmm. I hope, for everyone’s sake, you’re not planning a career in politics…” Am almost tempted to tell him about Saturday’s demo.
Gemini 21 May – 20 June Romance is in the air – give free rein to your imagination
5.15 Apolline and partneress visit law faculty. Get lost. End up in mile-long corridor, somewhere in bowels (of building). Ask for directions from v. helpful young man (as in not old. 32ish, say). Tall, blue eyes, hair falling charmingly negligently over one eye. Is a dish actually.
Find office of administrator. Knock, walk in purposefully. Administrator v. minor character, so no lengthy descriptions needed. Looks a bit like woman at health board, Mme Poulet. Obviously cannot call her that.
Mme Dinde very efficient. Clucks sympathetically re victims while waiting for Monsieur de Villeneuve to arrive.
Ratatatat. “Ah, Henri,” Mme Dinde breathes. Puffs up like I-survived-Thanksgiving turkey as he enters. Pats hair, pulls lips into heart shape. Stupid bitch. (Ahem – Ed)
Apolline turns slowly, recognises helpful corridor dish. Gazes into soft, piercing, clear, pale knowing blue eyes. Heart beats wildly in chest, thorax, ribcage, breast(s). Hmm. Difficult. Not sure how liberal one can be with human anatomy.
Gemini 21 May – 20 June Early optimism fades. You hear something later that will surprise and disturb you
Have 3 numbers + bonus in Loto!! Check pay-out excitedly. Yesyesyesyes!!! €82,460.80. Wow. Can now have that special €399 all-in-Thalasso-in-Tunisia-hol. Cocktails by pool. Massage by dusky Adonis. Hairdo by Dessanges.
Check to see how few other people as clever as self.
Oh. 25,769 winners. Surely some mistake. €3.20 each. Merde.
5 p.m. Have quick walk before God hoses Limousin again. Notice Martine’s car in Maison de Scumbag drive, drop in, find women head to head over coffee table, deep in discussion.
“We’ve decided to have an affair,” Martine announces. Bernie beams.
Wham. Just like that.
Not what I had in mind for Martine at all.
“Er, right. Well…I hope you’ll both be very happy.” What else could I say?
“Huh? Oh. You dope…we’re not planning to have one affair…but two.”
Dear God, is even worse than I thought.
7 p.m. Banner session in gym hall. Reject Grizzelle’s pink candy-striped flannel sheet as unsuitable for serious message to political gods in Paris. Besides, has two v. large yellow floral patches thereon.
Notice Martine and Bernadette operating placard production in corner. Keep close eye on new we-are-an-item-now couple, do not want any public hanky-panky.
Gemini 21 May – 20 June Enjoy some quality time (take in a show?). Avoid putting your foot in it this afternoon
2 p.m. Am forced by J. to go to ridiculous agricultural show in village. “We sponsor it, don’t we?” Blathers re major local event, showing presence, loyalty etc.
Notice most visitors bovine. Hundreds of identical brown cows munching, chewing, crapping our €30. Show used to be on Saturdays. Thanks to 35 hr nonsense, weekend now begins on Thursday. Browse stalls, find nothing to raise blood pressure.
Bump into Huguette “I’m here to smile at Bernard’s constituents,” she says, unsmilingly. “No, he hasn’t told me what the decision is. You’re the seventh to ask.” So no No, but no Yes either.
Mayor talking to J. by OK Corral, moves away when I approach. Smell rat. And cows.
Cow reversing without using mirror steps on J’s foot.
Extricated foot unerringly finds poo reservoir.
Remind him said merdy-merdy-bloody-poo-everywhere-fat-dinosaur is local asset, needs our presence, loyalty etc.
7.55 p.m. Second time in a week smug weather forecaster has slipped in sly bombshell. Cold wet weather to last for at least a month. How does she know? Has MÃ©teo France got hotline, acquired leaked information?
8.50 Nadine phones. 2 coaches booked to take us to Brive for Great Limousin Demo tomorrow. Meet at La Poste at 9 a.m.
Gemini 21 May – 20 June Savour today, take up a new activity – you’ll feel liberated later
Bright sunshine, MÃ©teo France wrong again. Decide to cover all eventualities, body parts. Don scarlet anorak with pink stripe, €1.99 impulse buy from Save U Loads last autumn. Have not had chance, courage to wear before, but feel must be visible in case get separated from herd. Put on sunglasses, shove Balaclava, gloves in pocket.
8.55 Arrive just in time to see coach pulling away from La Poste. Explete. (Deleted. This is a family publication – Ed.) Have missed both coaches.
But Lo! Group huddling in postal porch, cars still arriving. Hug Martine. “Zuh uzzer coach is ‘ere any zecond, cherie.” Notice new determination in eyes. Still, am not sure she has picked right sort of partner for affair. Big age difference for one thing.
9.15 Demonstrators still dribbling into car park.
“Transport must be costing a sou or two, Martine.” Apparently is funded by Gazelle end-of-year-booze-up-and-nosh dosh. The mayor refused to pay, refused even to attend national protest against public service cuts. He won’t be re-elected, she snorts.
9.17 Stamp frozen feet, re-read postal restrictions for parcels over 20kgs, destination Bulgaria.
9.35 Martine tries phoning Françoise, half-way to Brive on first bus. No signal. No number for bus company, Yellow Pages inside La Poste. Closed on Saturdays, soon to be permanently consigned to public service bin. Have collective rant, rave.
9.55 Elderly 30-seater trundles into car park. Frozen activists pour on, interrogate surly driver. Coach ordered for 10, is early therefore, so shut up. Bastard clearly lying through yellowed teeth. (Please – Ed.).
11.05 Wonder why driver ignored Brive exit 9kms back? Am certain have had tour of same roundabout twice before. Pull on balaclava, suspect bus moonlights as refrigerated truck on weekdays.
11.15 Driver cursing, is lost.
11.45 Join rear of heaving, roaring cortège at last. Threatened lemon-sucking driver with guillotine if he did not let us down near centre ville. Poured insults and exhaust fumes on public-spirited passengers as bus farted away.
Still, am buoyed by air of excitement, solidarity. Link arms with Martine on left, unknown snorting Gazelle on right. Endeavour to keep step with her as she paws ground. Discover Jacquette lives in adjoining hamlet, last threw paving stones in May 1968.
March to Hotel de Ville, singing Marseillaise. Okay, humming same. Shout slogans, heart warmed by applause from bystanders. Speeches inaudible through squelchy PA system, wind, rain etc. Spot TFI camera. Smile, wave, just as lens pans left.
Martine grips my arm tighter, nods towards left. “CRS…zuh riot police…”
Din, shoving, insults increasing. See village banners few metres ahead, behind bobbing helmets. Swarm forward, part crowd like Red Sea. Rejoin sisters-in-arms.
3.10 Am very hungry, cold. Have been in cell for 2 hours with fellow political prisoners. Do not believe detention will assist application to be court translator.
Think trouble started after chanting directed at riot police. Not convinced CRS appreciated references to wankers, jerks. Remember Grizzelle handbagging policeman, officer staggering back. Grizzelle going in for kill with sabre-umbrella; Martine laughing, cameras whirring.
5.30 Am free woman again. Crocodile-tearful Grizzelle claimed officer tried to touch up defenceless 92-yr-old. “Wishful thinking,” Martine mutters as we leave Commisariat. Gazelles United released with stick-to-washing-dishes-ladies caution. Police interrogator rather pale at end. Jaw seized up when Grizzelle placed dentures on his v. elegant, highly polished desk. Looked slightly faint as she cleaned same with rag from bag. Realize is perhaps not usual procedure in polite circles.
At least have hands-on experience of Commissariat, cells, interrogation process. Invaluable for writing detective novel.
Gemini 21 May – 20 June Misunderstandings reign today. Don’t dwell on them, all will be resolved in the weeks to come
Am slightly in dog house. Accidentally forgot to tell J. re demo. Was not terribly amused to see hitherto respectable spouse on TV news climbing into CRS van on arm of uniformed keeper of peace. Is upset arrest and detention also slipped mind of senile delinquent.
“Sometimes, you know, I think your sole purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others.”
Well really. There’s no pleasing men.
Decide to escape overcast atmosphere, take walk. Next door deserted. Am troubled re proposed infidelity of Bernadette and Martine. Is understandable, but cannot understand why they need 2 affairs with each other.
Wander home. Have profound ponder in salon. J. still sulking, has developed peculiar head-shaking condition. “Still can’t believe it. Honestly, you live in your own little world.”
Well, at least they know me here.
© Madeleine Dickson