Friday, March 16, 2007


I've been taken to task once or twice for describing Brest as only of interest to 'those fond of post-war architecture, naval history and shopping' in my guidebook to Finistere. Over the years since that was published I haven't changed my mind, but I have re-evaluated the first two items (the third, never). Three things in the last fortnight have combined to bring Brest back to my attention and send it shooting up the list of favoured places. Firstly, a friend sent me articles written about Brittany by journalists around the world and several of these involved talking to people in Brest who gave good value about their city. Secondly, I was invited to a concert of 'schizophrenic jazz' by the duo Nosfell who are rapidly establishing a reputation in and outside France. It was held in an underground cabaret/bar venue, with several hundred young things leaping up and down in a haze of assorted smoky substances whilst the music thundered all around - fantastic 'night in the city' experience which buoyed me up for days (all that passive smoking doubtless). Lastly I went to the chateau yesterday, feeling that my canal journey must truly end in Brest even if the canal itself didn't. From the medieval towers, miraculously spared in the allied bombing that flattened the rest of the city, looking across the Rade and out along the Goulet, all that naval history finally came alive before my eyes and gave me what I hope will be a strong ending for The Long Thought. Thank you Brest.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

canal film

What is supposed to be a quiet time of recuperation after finishing a book has been a frantic whirl of activity. Lots of walking, tarot and website activity to be planned and carried out. This week have taken a group walk at Landevennec (ancient abbey pictured here), along the forest path edging the Rade de Brest - beautifully atmospheric in dripping grey weather, although the open country return route in driving rain was a bit of an ordeal. Kind friends Les and David who live locally provided tea and cakes to restore us all. Keeping up training in current weather is hard and my old left knee problems are exacerbated by the pervading dampness and quite a few slips (and the odd fall) on treacherous terrain.
Yesterday to Rennes by TGV to meet film director Brigitte Chevet, who has funding to make a film about walking the Nantes-Brest canal. She's a very interesting lady and we had a good talk about many aspects of my beloved waterway and its exceptional potential - and I may get a chance to talk about my book on camera. Better get on with writing it then.