The Frogmarch

"I've got to pull up my stakes and roll, man." --Jean-Jacques Libris de Kerouac

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Farewell to the Fortress of Solitude

For the past two years, the Fortress of Solitude, a converted gardener's cottage in the back garden of an 18th-century manor house, has been my home. It was meant to be only temporary, for a few months at most, but circumstances change, and I ended up staying far longer, despite the cramped quarters, dampness, mold, crawling things, and lack of a proper kitchen, phone, doorbell, laundry facility or bathtub. The price was right, the setting charming, and the company good.

[photo: vacant restaurant being renovated, much less photogenic with scaffolding in front of it]

But it's time to move on. I've moved (temporarily, again) into the apartment we lived in last summer when V and the boys were here-- a spacious but affordable 3BR/2BA in a working-class neighborhood just over the city limits in Villeurbanne [2nd photo: the line shows exactly where the property values drop off a cliff as you go from Lyon 6eme to Villeurbanne]. The family will be joining me again this summer, date TBD, at which point we'll start looking for more permanent accomodations.

In the process of moving-- no fun at all, with the St. Just funiculaire being taken down for its once-a-decade overhaul-- I've been without internet service for a week or two, and struggling to stay functional despite a nasty cold that turned into a sinus infection. But things are returning back to normal now.

Of course, when you live in a foreign country, "normal" will always be relative.

[last photo: shuttered factory, Villeurbanne]

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