Around France

My Name is Deborah

I’ve wondered if I should be called “Deborah,” not ” Debby.” It seems like “Deborah” is more fitting to my age. Now that I’m an American in Uzès, I will switch. My name is Deborah.

Deborah, the Barefoot Blogger

An American in Uzès

The French don’t get “Debby.” They say: “DeeDee” or “BeeBee.” Also, taking a new name when trying to “hide out ” among the locals seems appropriate. “Hide out” is a joke, of course. At 5’9″ 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.

Despite looking and acting like a tourist, I’ve begun to make friends here. Mostly because I was fortunate to meet one extraordinary 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.

Unity the artist and friend in Uzes, France

Since meeting Unity, I have been introduced to several of her friends, primarily British ex-pats like Unity and her husband, Tom. One of the new acquaintances 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 wore a black suit, black vest and tie, and a crisp white shirt. Around his neck, giant headphones were hanging down, tuned to Led Zeppelin, he said. We didn’t start a conversation that day but ran into each other again at Unity the next day. This time, he was decked out in a dapper pinstriped suit, a canary yellow shirt, and a straw hat. He said he has over 60 caps. I’ll have to admit, I was enthralled with his flamboyance.

Friend in Uzes, France

That day Geoffrey, Unity, and I had time to chat. 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. 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.

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 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 Goldilocks cottage!

Friend in Uzes, France

The front room was a big kitchen with a large table, chairs, and a big wooden hutch with glass doors. Inside the cabinet 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 an antique shop. It was then I learned where this interesting person had come from. Geoffrey had worked at Oxford. His specialty there was pottery and ceramic arts. I almost melted in my tracks. Pottery and china collecting is my passion.

For nearly an hour, I toured 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. 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 1900s — 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.


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!

  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!!!!

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

  4. Hey Deborah, I see now that I never needed worry about you! Have fun in Nimes with Jeffrey! 🙂

      • 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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!!

    • 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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