We continued to have extreme weather with hurricane force gales blowing a trail of destruction across Eastern France and South West Germany, depriving us and 400,000 others from the Vosges to the Black Forest temporarily of electricity. Although the Barbara Hepworth installation in the garden, Trampoline after the Hurricane, actually survived the latest assault and remained in its deconstructed static state, I was at last successfully persuaded to dismantle it. This was a belt and braces, monkey wrench, and elbow grease job. I thought that leaving it where it was might have offered scrap metal thieves a bonus as they looked for another sculpture to half-inch for cash, or have created a minor tourist attraction in Leymen to rival the holy well in Rue de Heiligenbrunn, not to mention the confusing conceptual quintuptych hanging on our lounge wall. The turning end of the month featured truly arctic temperatures and heavy falls of snow, so perhaps we are going to have a proper winter after all.
Trampoline after the Hurricane, January 2012
Jessie and Ella went back to England for the new university term, occasionally reporting back with photos of parties they had attended or food they had cooked, while Gwen went back to school and became adept at Twitter. We went to friendly and sociable parties at Roy-and-Fiona’s in Basel, at the Anthonys on New Year’s Day, at Andy’s 50th birthday, and at a memorable Sunday roast lunch at the Marsdens of Hagenthal. Also notable was a meal in Basel with Alli, Gwen and Ella at Vapiano, a counter-intuitively fast food fresh pasta place which should have been thought of years ago before the invasion of McDonalds, Burger King et al. I started experimental social and virtual networking, as well as energetic tweeting and self-promotional blogging, and generally going straight against the grain, but it’s now or never to make a success of my proposed consultancy enterprise, Clement Reputation. To this end I paid visits to potential collaborators in Zurich and Geneva, where I attended an entertaining Burns Night put on by the British Swiss Chamber of Commerce at the Hotel de la Paix. I also spent a few days in the UK looking for new business opportunities and generally reviving or expanding my professional network. I also saw Debbie in Battersea, Fionnuala and Andrew in the City and in Godalming, Claire in Walthamstow, Steve in Holborn, Geoff in Victoria, my parents-in-law in Burgess Hill, the Miles in Luxembourg, and Jessie in Brighton. Earlier, I had also visited and enjoyed the Surrealism in Paris exhibition in its last week at the Beyeler Foundation Museum in Riehen.
Bonnie has become a partially accomplished mole catcher, and is huntress-like when lodger friends visit, such as Tequila the nervous Collie and Posh Bertie the Spaniel, who trotted proudly into the house with a dead mouse hanging between his teeth at one stage. We have also noticed an albino stoat which regularly gambols about in the field next to our garden, a flash of pure snow-white with a black tip on the tail, enraging Bonnie who scrabbles at our fence to catch the little blighter and tear it to pieces. In Bonnie’s theoretical defence, I am sure the stoat would do to the same to our chickens if it could.
Yours a rebours