I’ll erupt if it hits my travel!

Isn’t this volcano thing a pain?

Suddenly the vulnerability of our way of life is brought into stark relief when mother nature gets busy and this volcano with the unpronouncable and unspellable name is causing all sorts of misery.

However, as I sit here in the south of France where the good weather and lack of hoodies on the streets makes life seem all lovely, I find it rather interesting that suddenly our freedom of movement is restricted, and while it may be somewhat irksome to people relying on air transport I can’t help thinking there are, perhaps, some benefits to this volcanic ash cloud.

I bet the skies above Berkshire and south west London are quieter and I suspect there’s plenty of good environmental benefits to a shut down of airspace.

Having said that the unpronounceable volcano better not be erupting when I want to travel.

It’s interesting the snippets of information that filter across the channel and the ancient English possessions of Aquitaine to the uplit sunlit rolling countryside of the Haute Garonne where I have made my home in a Toulousain flat with street views (immediate) and ceilings (high).

I understand an election has been called, I note that Prince William went to Wales instead of Wattisham, I picked up a rumour that some cloud is playing havoc with aeroplanes, I even managed to hear that they want to build a Tesco on the old B&Q site in Grafton Way. In today’s world you’re never really cut off.

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And, this week, I was most interested to hear from Suffolk media moghul Mark Murphy of BBC Radio Suffolk fame. Mark tells me, I heard a rumour you see from a friend who heard my name mentioned on the airwaves as she was in her dressing gown one morning, that I am being serialised on his breakfast show.

I’m not alone in being serialised. The same thing happened to other famous people, the Hitler diaries - he was a nasty man from Germany, Peter Mayle - he wrote about Provence when it used to be French - and John Major - he was the prime minister who liked peas I think - to name a few.

So naturally I am delighted my exploits in France are being heard over the county’s cereal bowls.

Talking of breakfast it was after I finished my Toulousain breakfast - a tiny cup of strong coffee and eight cigarettes - on Sunday that I decided I really ought to get out more. Toulouse is an attractive city - though there are a lot of dogs - but sometimes you need to escape and see a bit of countryside.

Thankfully my American friend Lorian, she’s from Alaska, offered to take me out for a ride. Naturally I jumped at the chance. I spent the afternoon in a town called Villemur-sur-Tarn. Translated it means Walled-town-on-the-Tarn. The Tarn is one of the ancient grand rivers of France.

The walls and the castle that once stood over the town don’t really exist anymore so I had to do a lot with my mind’s eye. But the place was quite charming and in the town a jazz band was playing and a market was in full swing and I even spotted a game of petanque underway.

From a vantage point above Villemur you can see stunning panoramic views of the south west of France which would have been even more interesting had I known where was what and what I was observing.

However, Villemur is notable, according to the exhibition in its defensive tower that still stands, for never losing it’s honour by being taken by the English in the 100 years war. This is a source of great pride although I was able to walk round it without too much difficulty.

I hear from my Felixstowe playwright friend Susan that her next play is just round the corner.

This time she’s written about Bawdsey Manor and its role in the development of radar.

Apparently Susan’s playing a WAAF.

First In The Field opens at the beginning of May and if you’d like to go along you can find our more and buy tickets by calling the bow office on 07821162879.

It was one of those what are you up to this weekend conversations.

I happened to mention to my colleague Sophie, she’s the one who’s French but eats Pot Noodles anyway, that I wasn’t sure what I’d be up to this weekend.

“Why not go to ze beach and tan yourself, “ she said, “We ave some pretty beaches of France.”

I replied that I couldn’t possibly take off my top on a beach not with everyone being so thin.

Sophie looked pensive for a moment, she was thinking, I think.

“Don’t worry,” she said “Not heveryone ere is zin, zere are other gross people in France.”

Well that’s alright then.

As regular readers will know in the street next to mine there is a wig shop.

By day it is an ordinary retail establishment but in the evening the shop becomes a popular bar with hair extensions a mere sideline. It is a strange metamorphosis and one which puzzles me.

Now the weather is getting better the wig shop is drawing more of a crowd. The festivities are spilling on to the pavement and I have even seen a spot of dancing as I popped to the local shop for an emergency pain au chocolat.

How a wig shop, which also sells “exotique alimentations” - strange foods I think - has such a dual personality is a mystery I have yet to solve.