I like to walk around barefoot. Given a chance, I’d always walk barefoot – but one has to act normal sometimes! This hot weather’s got me in no-shoe mode and thinking about last summer: A shoeless trek through Avignon in the scorching midday heat, looking for a phone repair shop with my son.
With no shoes on, I headed out optimistically, thinking the shop I was told was just around the corner was, well, just around the corner. One hour later, having long left the historic walled city for areas that tourists don’t explore, seeking out the shaded pavement and avoiding glass and sharp stones, we found the repair shop.
It was shut! My feet were seared, smouldering and raw, but “It’s ok; there’s another one!” pipes up a voice, “It’s called Dr iPhone, and luckily it’s near our apartment”. I keep my cool; I’ve got something out of this. I have a physical connection with the outskirts of Avignon that I suspect no one else ever has.
So, a bus ride back in the right direction and a walk in the wrong direction leads us under a bridge and up a funny little street of mainly run-down houses. If we are in the right place, Dr iPhone works from home, and he’s not a real Doc!
My map app is struggling to give me a house number; it must be the iPhone down the loo finally taking hold. But I don’t need the AIs; I’m tuned into my environment. While spending less and less time in contact with the tarmac, I scan the houses. One door stands out: A smart dark wooden door, polished and clean. Solid looking, set into a shaded weathered stone porch with one of those euro doorbells with little space for a name tag. “Let’s try this one I said.” I was drawn to this house. It was the home of a Doctor.
The shaded quarry tile porch floor felt cool and smooth on my scorched feet; I rang the bell. “Etes-vous Docteur iPhone?” I rattled off in my best French accent. “No, he is on holiday. We are house-sitting for him.” said one of the somewhat nervous-looking young Dutch couple. But I’ve lost interest in them and phone repairs; over his left shoulder and through inward opening French doors, I spy a fantastic courtyard, dappled light through the leaves, small potted fruit trees, a burbling fountain, a little yellow table and chairs and a cat curled up in the shade.
In the hall is an ornate stone staircase leading up to where our doctor does his work. Perfect, the adventure was worth it just for this short but intense view into the privacy of a beautiful home. I remember to ask if the good “Docteur” would return anytime soon. A nervous shake of the head, so I wish them a “Bonne vacances.”
A glass of something cold
We headed back to the safety of the walled city. Found a nice bar in a shaded place and guzzled down an ice-cold Monaco whilst recounting our adventure. Constant replays of my ‘Docteur iPhone’ seemed amusing, as did the apparent links to his drug-dealing cartel! How else did a bloke who repairs urine-saturated phones manage to live in such a beautiful home? “Because he has taken the time and care over many years to make a home”, I reason. “It’s not money. The connection and love for where you live make the difference.”
Some links below to places that have taken my fancy this week, something I’ve made and an answer to “What’s a Monaco?” Any comments or suggestions you can get me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This Week’s Links
I made this last weekend. Don’t leave the eggs in as long as I did.
I’ve stopped going to Waitrose. Southsea Local is closer and better.
If this comes back on the market, it’s worth a look. My office was in this building on the floor below. The views of the Solent are the best.
Who’d have thought to put a screen like this across a bedroom like that. (scroll down the page)
Create a Mediterranean garden to make you feel on holiday.