Based on Victor Hugo’s great novel, Bille August’s film of Les Miserables is a splendid 1998 version of the tale probably best known for the long-running musical production. But then no screened story starring Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush, Uma Thurman, and Claire Danes could be a flop. Neeson is his usual brooding, colossal self; Rush a suitably sinister, cynical, Javert; Thurman a convincing Fantine; and Danes a delectable Cosette. It was good to see Peter Vaughan in a cameo role when I enjoyed watching it yesterday evening.
This morning I walked to within sight of the Dutchman’s house in Ste Innocence, turned, and retraced my steps in order not to be late for the usual excellent Le Code Bar lunch. I sought a mobile phone signal since I haven’t received one for more than a day. High on a hill not far from Pertus, I found one and was able to call Jackie to let her know I was still alive. It was far in the distance on the road that runs through this hamlet that I was drawn by a rich golden glow lit up by the sunshine. As I neared it I realised it was a hedge of blooming rudbeckia. A garden on the outskirts of Sigoules sported some fine Canna lilies.
We began with a noodle and cheese soup so well flavoured with garlic that, had it been pictured in the Dandy and Beano comics of my childhood, would have had wavy lines radiating above it. Although not quite cow pie, the enormous steak and chips that was the main course would probably have satisfied Desperate Dan. I was honour bound to finish the chips, otherwise it would have been such a disappointment to Max, but it was touch and go.
As I walked down rue St Jacques from the bar, a strong caustic smell beset my nostrils. Approaching No 6 I saw that the cellar street door was open. The Renov Conseil 24 team had, wearing masks, entered the cellar and applied liberal quatities of Javel, a powerful cleanser, to the contents. I was masked up and Saufiene, once we had both bent double to get in, gave me a tour. Apart from these nether regions not having been opened for about eighteen months, the pump renewed after the flood does not appear to be working.
Because the street entry has to remain at least half open for airing, in order to prevent unauthorised ingress Benoit applied enough heavy bags to the trapdoor to ensure that no-one, except perhaps Liam Neeson in yesterday’s role as Jean Valjean, or maybe Ron Crabbe, to raise it from beneath. Ron Crabbe was Dad’s young removal colleague and friend of fifty years ago, of phenomenal strength, whose renowned feat was to crawl under a piano and lift it unaided. Dad and I could shift one between us, not always, as reported on 29th August last year, with total success, but Ron’s prize turn was off the scale.