It was thirty-two degrees in the shade, or thirty-five degrees, if one was to believe the car thermometer, but it always exaggerates. The hypermarket was an attractive place around which to meander for half an hour, not to buy anything, but to experience the air conditioning. Browsing fishing bait and car parts, neither of which would normally be of the slightest interest, passed some minutes.
Contemplating the brilliant blue outside, the thought occurred that it would be good to be shopping in such a supermarket even at those times of the year when heating rather than air conditioning would be desirable, but that would, of course, require some source of income.
It is thirty years since an aspiration developed to become a writer, not a famous writer, not a wealthy writer, it would be enough to be able to write bad novels, making just enough to get by. The meagre living would enable the purchase of a small stone cottage deep in southern France, a place within walking distance of a village which had a bread shop and a cafe. The sea would not be too distant, though the area would not be so popular that the roads became congested in the summer months.
The aspiration was detailed to the point of envisaging driving a dusty silver-coloured Peugeot, a car that would have seen better days with wires hanging from below the dashboard. It wouldn’t be a car that one would take on a long journey, but what need would there be of driving long distances when everything one might desire was nearby?
The only flaw in the plan was the inability to write in any way that might earn an income; writing commercially is an extraordinary skill, to be able to write the sort of fiction that people might buy really is a rare talent. Of course, there have been plenty ideas for plots and characters, plenty of storylines that might have been developed, it’s just that when the words are typed, they fall apart, sentences become badly formed, paragraphs have to be forced into shape, there has never been a complete page. Bad novels required considerably more ability than anticipated by someone who would have casually dismissed such literary efforts.
Perhaps the attractions would quickly have paled, perhaps one winter would have been enough. Anyway, without the freedom a writer’s life might have offered, a life deep in France never became a possibility, though one can still dream.