Today is one of those glorious autumn days in la France Profonde.
The sort the dream followers are always waffling on about on forums or in the hundreds of blogs spawned by simply living here.
You know the kind: pulled the pumpkins out of the potager for an afternoon of soup-making; walked 10km with the dogs and had a cheery chat about farmer suicides with M Duval - such fun; knocked off a watercolour which will be this year's Christmas card; spent day in garden pruning; market shopped for dinner for six after picking mushrooms in the old wood at the back of the house; renovated the 16th-century barn using handmade nails. And so on.
The expats actually do all this and will be doing it today.
They will have been up to see the dawn - showered, shaved and dressed for breakfast with Radio 4 and had the day's activities mapped to the second.
For most live in a tailored world drawn from The Archers, The Good Life and a belief in Home Counties values in the late 1950s.
And France and the French are, in many ways, merely walk-on players in this isolated life that could be played out just as easily among the Wiltshire lanes or the Dorset hedgerows. Well, apart from the sun and the cheap, good wine.
No, no, honestly, I am really not having another sour day. I do truly envy them in so many ways. They have structure and order to their lives, something I have never attained, unless on a story, although I understand the concept in the abstract.
I am trying. For example I have been thinking about creative things to do with conkers for the past two weeks now. Come on, it's a start.
As my chestnuts shed tons of the shiny beauties, which are of no use to man or beast, I had an idea of putting them in huge glass vases and sort of dotting them around the house. Arty installations. Amusing little/large things.
They are all still there clogging up the drive and bouncing on my head every now and then when I venture out.
I'm here, as usual, slumped over the Mac; at the end of the kitchen table, staring out at the sun-drenched parc, counting the tractors out and counting them in.
I am dressed - a bonus - and I have walked, to the postbox, over the conkers, and back.
Actually, I'm even more frozen to the spot than normal, for I have discovered Twitter. Having railed against it in Luddite disgust on these very pages, I have been dragged late to the party.
And I love it. I am a convert. I leap out of bed in the morning to see if I have added attracted another follower to my still small, but perfectly formed, merry band.
I try to formulate some exquisite bons mots to send but rarely think of any. Instead I retweet the thoughts of the great and good I follow; or usually, the ugly.
Between that, my two to three hours per day "reading" UK, French and American papers, and my need to update, through the day, all worldwide news channels, I have little time for, well, living.
OMG (as we say in the netty world) I'm not, am I, actually living?
I realised that last Sunday when I went for a late lunch with friends 10 minutes away. No French people, of course.
After 15 minutes of polite chit-chat about bugger all, I was bursting with soundbites from all over the world which I spewed upon them. Cyclones in India, murders in the US, Piers Morgan and gun control, the Front National on a possible route to victory, the Booker Prize: I ground to a halt in the face of both indifference and, frankly, boredom.
Apart from my host and one of the guests, I was in a cyber world.
Nobody was up to date; nobody had clicked on a news channel before coming out, never mind read a tweet.
Ultimately, it seemed to me that nobody at lunch really cared what was happening outside of our tiny, tiny world.
Well, I care. Just because I'm in the middle of a field (I know - repetitive) in France bloody Profonde (I know - repetitive), I still care.
And the web allows me to still be part of a vibrant world. It allows me to be in touch, giving me a daily contact impossible to have here.
I couldn't live without it. I couldn't spend a day without it.
Perhaps those who don't spend their lives chained to the web have a better, more real life. Discuss?
Perhaps they no longer want to think or know about all the horrors? Perhaps they have come here for some form of peace and cut-off?
I think most of them have. It's why I (half) envy their lives. It is the only way to live here and be content.
They really don't care about much unless it personally affects them - tax or local problems, for example, or finding a man to do the strimming.
Me, still slumped at the kitchen table, I want more. Much more. Even if it's only via the web. Tweet me.
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