In the Summer of 2003 we joined some friends in a small house in Quinson, in Haute Provence. The friends were super; the house was not.
We’re not homo erectus, you cannot expect us
To calmly behave like a mole in a hole.
If one wants to relax one must sit in the gloom
On a Provencal day in a great darkened room.
While the sun in the sky shines so clear and so bright,
One has to sit there in electrical light.
“There’s the terrace!”, you say, “You can sit there all day!”
My reply is that soon you’ll be fried like an egg on a freeway in June
The concrete is ugly, I at once diagnosed,
If you lay in the sun you’d be over-exposed.
The chairs are archaic, you can’t lie on your tum,
And oh for the sight of a geranium!
And oh (furthermore) for a simple umbrella
Available (in Riez) from an umbrella seller.
Of modern facilities there is a lack.
There’s nowhere for clothes if you want to unpack.
And that is all right for a day and a night,
But after a week one can look quite a fright.
For a minimal outlay you could make it more pleasant;
I have no great desire to exist like a peasant.
Because it’s the countryside it shouldn’t foller
That one pays topmost dollar for this kind of squalor.
No proper wine glasses, we had to make do.
And we showered with reluctance as others walked through.
The kitchen equipment, the fridge and the tray
Must all have been bought for ten cents from E-Bay.
The level of dust is a full millimetre;
The rug is so grim you go black when you beat ‘er.
The vacuum cleaner’s so covered in grime
We didn’t dare touch it for most of the time.
For only two weeks guess this don’t matter much
But someone, I fear, is a tad out of touch.