I’ve spent a lot of my week fusing my two web sites into one. The logic being, why am I paying for two web sites that nobody ever visits, instead of just one? So I’m raising a glass (please join me!) to the launch of the all singing, all dancing, Ann Isik Arts!
To accord with my various interests and activities as artist, writer, walker, singer, vegetarian, animal lover, bla, bla …I’ve added some pages for reviews; of books, software, web sites and exhibitions and my début review is one of a series I’m going to write, about Life Journal journalling software. I’ve been using this software for over 5 years now and on close to a daily basis.
Because I’ve been using Life Journal for such a long time, I have many entries and each is usually over a thousands of words. I write for about half an hour each day and the word count tool in combo with the timer tells me that I consistently write at roughly 1000 words per 30 minutes. That’s 365 x 5 x 1000 = 1,825,000 words. That is staggering!
40,000 of these account for a manuscript that’s a daily record of my 5-week writing retreat – in isolation – well, with the cat – up the side of a mountain in the French Alps (strictly, Les Alpes-Maritimes). No I didn’t live in a cave in a hair vest, but a lovely little gîte (holiday cottage) called Manon. My husband and I had stayed there for a week already, visiting Nice, Cannes and Monaco and other places within driving distance.
The gîte is a 10 minute drive down to the little medieval village of Tourrettes-sur-Loup. If you click on the name you’ll get to the English version of the town’s web site, which describes itself as an Arts & Violet Village. No, they don’t mean Arts & Violent. It’s not a spelling error. The village is famous for its violets and you can get anything from violet sweets and perfumes to violet ice cream (absolutely delicious) and liqueur (also absolutely delicious). Though I read that the village suffered an earthquake on 2nd March, so perhaps violent would not be such an inappropriate description of the village at this moment in time.
The gîte is named after Manon des Sources, the sequel to Jean de Florette – movies after the two-part novel written by Marcel Pagnol. Jean de Florette starred actor-singer Yves Montand who maintained a home in the nearby village (even further up the side of the mountain!) of St Paul de Vence.
My gracious hostess (Josyane) drove me up once to St Paul de Vence and once a week, to a little open market in another village, where I bought fresh veggies and a cheese called Tomette de Montaigne. I suspect it was because she thought I might get killed driving myself around the area! Returning from my first trip to Tourrettes, she found me white-knuckled and grey-faced after a close encounter with a speeding motorbike. I was creeping up the road – steep, narrow and winding – to the house in first gear and had I been going any faster, when I swerved to avoid a head-on collision with the bike as it hurtled down the mountain, I wouldn’t have been able to slam on the brakes fast enough to avoid wrapping the car round a telegraph pole! Or make a spectacular plunge over the side of the road!
I’m still in touch with my hostess, who would love to have me back again and even – or especially – without a car. She’d pick me up from Nice airport and no doubt, take me to buy my veggies and cheese in the mountains again. Rather than having a dead guest to dispose of, I suppose.
The cat and I had a wonderful time among some of the most magnificent scenery I’ve ever encountered. Here’s Manon where I stayed. The picture of the flower is from a nearby mountain walk. The mosaic of the cat was made by Josyane, who is one very arty-crafty lady. She also gave me this beautiful framed embroidery as a gift – a memento of my stay. It’s blue and white because she found out during a conversation that I had a collection of blue and white china.
Getting back to Life Journal, if you want to know how Life Journal can alert you to hidden medical conditions, you can read the review on my new all singing, all dancing website here. No scary cobwebs. Lots of buttons to push, so do hop along there and have some fun!