About Uzes

My Name is Deborah

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For years I’ve wondered if I should be called “Deborah”, not ” Debby”. It seems like “Deborah” is a name more fitting to my age.

Now that I’m in France, I think I will switch. The French don’t get “Debby”. They say: “DeeDee” or “BeeBee.” Also, taking a new name when I’m trying to “hide out ” among the locals seems appropriate.

“Hide out” is a joke, of course. At 5’10” tall and with blonde hair, I hardly look French. Plus, the new clothes I’ve fallen for — all ruffles and flowers–are definitely tourist duds.

Uzes

In spite of looking and acting like a tourist, I’ve begun to make friends here. Mostly, because I was fortunate to meet one very special and talented lady, Unity. I met her a few days ago at the “popup” gallery on the main avenue of town where she is exhibiting her artwork. We hit it off immediately.

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Since meeting Unity, I have been introduced to several of her friends, mostly British ex-pats like Unity and her husband, Tom.

One of the new acquaintances, in particular, has made quite an impression on me. The most eccentric “Geoffrey”.

The first time I met Geoffrey was at Unity’s gallery. He was wearing an extremely broad, black beret. Even though it was close to 90 degrees in the shade that day, he also had on a black suit, black vest and tie, and a crisp white shirt. Around his neck, huge headphones were hanging down, tuned to Led Zeppelin, he said.

We didn’t strike up a conversation that day, but we ran into each other the next day, again at Unity’s. This time he was decked out in a dapper pinstriped suit and a canary yellow shirt and yellow straw hat. He said he has over 60 hats.

I’ll have to admit, I was enthralled with his flamboyance.

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That day Geoffrey, Unity and I had time to chat a bit. Soon we were carrying on like old friends. The conversation came around to their suggesting places I should visit during the rest of my stay in the south of France.

Geoffrey offered to let me drive his car to nearby Nimes where he would give me a guided tour of the city. The invitation seemed perfectly ok and safe to me, especially because of his friendship with Unity.

He then invited me to join him on a short walk from the art gallery to his home so that he could check his schedule. I said “yes” knowing that Unity was expecting us both back at the gallery shortly. Geoffrey had committed to taking photos of her paintings.

So off we went, down the wide, stoned-paved alleyway to Geoffrey’s house. it was less than two blocks away.

When we arrived at his four-story stone house, Geoffrey stopped to point out the posters that were plastered on both sides of the front door. He explained he had put them there as a ruse. The place was supposed to look abandoned, or lived in by gangs, “to ward off intruders,” he said.

It sort-of worked. It did look unpretentious. But then he opened the door.

I was first surprised, then amused. I had walked into Goldie Locks’ cottage!

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The front room was a big kitchen with a large table, chairs and big wooden hutch with glass doors. Inside the hutch and hanging on almost every inch of the walls was one of the most delightful and collectible assortments of pottery and china I had ever seen– outside of an antique shop.

It was then I learned where this interesting person had come from. Geoffrey is a retired professor from Oxford. His specialty was pottery and ceramic arts. I almost melted in my tracks. Pottery and china collecting is my passion.

For nearly an hour I toured through Geoffrey’s home, viewing his life’s collection of art and ceramics. He showed me rare platters made from a unique type of clay found only near Uzes. I saw magnificent majolica pieces and early flow blue china.

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Some of his most prized possessions are family pictures, including one photo that particularly struck me. It was a picture of his grandmother — a showgirl in the early 1900’s — dressed in her show business finery. i knew at once where Geoffrey got his flair.

But wait… it gets better than that. Geoffrey’s grandmother married a circus lion tamer.

Now, that’s a story I’ve got to dig into.

Note: To view Unity’s mesmerizing artwork, visit unity4art

For today’s best sound byte, click here.

13 replies »

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  2. Dear Aunt Deborah, I cannot believe your luck! I know you must have enjoyed your conversation with an Oxford pottery expert. So excited for you!

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  3. Hi Deborah! I am so glad that I found your blog. We hope that you are having a blast in France! Larry, Brielle, the doggies, and I miss seeing you and Bentley on our walks to the green! Enjoy yourself!!!!

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    • Glad you like the blog and my adventure here. You would love Uzes. Miss my Beaufort friends (and animals!)
      Thanks for the note.

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      • Nope, though I am sure it’s one of those where, now that I know of him I’ll be seeing him. Actually, I don’t know any expats in Uzès, not even any Danes and supposedly there are a few. My crowd has been native.

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  4. Deborah, I am deeply happy for your experiences with Unity & Jeffrey (divine intervention, I expect), and I am deeply wishing I could be a tag-along!

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  5. Love Unity’s artwork, your new flamboyant friend with the hats and pottery and your new ruffled clothes. You are the perfect person to be making the most of this adventure. You go, Deborah!!

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    • It’s hard to believe how comfortable I feel here . Problem is, I need to get out sightseeing more. Going to Nimes today, then renting a car for the weekend. Should be fun !

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