Just about the first thing that everyone notices when they get their dream house in France, and I base this on an admittedly unscientific but extensive post-prandially-conducted survey, is the damp. Unless they have bought in the Midi, of course. For those further north or west, it is a big issue.
Ask anyone yourself. You’ll soon see that this is the case. You might be forgiven for thinking that parts of France were perpetually under water, from the stories you hear. They’re not; it just can seem that way.
In order to get some sense of perspective on this, let’s examine a few facts. Large areas of France are indeed very wet. A quick glance at the map will show that weather systems coming in from the Atlantic under the prevailing westerly wind have a choice; they can either swing up north and east and drench Wales, Ireland, the north west of England and of course Scotland, or they can slip in over the Bay of Biscay and take up residence in France, where they will be nicely bottled up due to the fact that from the Med to the Rhine Basin there is a rampart of mountains which prevents any further progress.
I understand that this is to do with the exact position of the jetstream, a system of ferocious winds at very high altitude.
Normally, summers in Central France are reasonably dry and very warm. Just what the holidaymaker likes, apparently, and perfect for ripening all that lovely plonk.
So you’re planning to meet some ladyboys in Pattaya? Read this.
The whole of south-east Asia is remarkable for its highly visible populations of transsexual women. These are not at all the same as you may be used to thinking of, if you are a Westerner. They’re not like Bruce ‘Caitlyn’ Jenner. (See my discussions on Ray Blanchard for more details.)
Ladyboys in Thailand and across Asia are not like that at all. They are
beautiful and very sexy. They are extremely feminine in appearance and manners. From their early teens they use female hormones, often birth control pills which are freely available without prescription. These can turn them into staggeringly beautiful women. And the fact is that many men are powerfully attracted to them.
I have one fiddle that is over two hundred years old, which I found in bits, with all her varnish stripped. She would surely be worth more financially if I had had a restorer fix her, but I did it myself, she sounds and plays wonderfully, and I get a real kick out of the fact that I saved her myself. Because, believe me, she was kindling-wood before.
That brings me to an important point. There is one rule which you should bear in mind whenever you touch an instrument with a mind to fixin’ her.
After a little while in the violin world, I know you will have seen this reaction: you have just gone into your friendly music shop and said, “My fiddle needs a new bridge. Can you sell me one?” You are shocked as the light outside dims, the interior of the shop becomes gloomy and the owner, in a voice that would render the bravest heart weak, intones, “You must never, ever, attempt to do any work on your violin yourself. Oh no. That is for the luthier to do. Now get ye hence and practise your scales.” And he refuses to sell you a bridge blank and you scuttle off with your tail between your legs thinking that everyone else in the shop must now consider you an uneducated oaf.
Plenty of men find transwomen attractive and will seek them out and even pay in order to have sex with them. Why? The travestis of Brazil and South America might show us.
Brazilian natal women are unquestionably amongst the most beautiful in the world, but South American women, including Brazilians, tend to be rather short in stature, at least on average. However, many South American men are very attracted to the classic Anglo-Saxon standards of beauty—tall, slender, blonde, blue eyes, pale skin and so on. Enter the travesti, as transsex women are often known in Latin America and parts of Europe. With her naturally greater height she has an immediate advantage in this marketplace. If she began taking hormones young, as manydo, there is every chance that she will be naturally pretty, and she will certainly do everything she can to maximise her assets.
Prostitution is, they say, ‘the oldest profession in the world’ and, as far as the historical record goes, it’s at least close to being so. The first mention of prostitution that we know of was 5,500 years ago, in the city of Uruk, in Sumer in Mesopotamia, where priestesses in the Temple of Inanna performed this service.
The religious connection with prostitution, of course, is one that has long since been lost — though we might discuss it in another piece; yet of course, the practice continues. Until recently, in fact, the major push to suppress prostitution was itself religious, coming from, in particular the Protestant Christian traditions and notably the Anglican one, which has always been a pillar of sex-negativity and repression.
Of recent decades, however, the attempt to prevent women from engaging in prostitution has come from other women. Indeed, it has become a bastion of modern feminism. But this throws up a thorny moral question: do we or do we not have the right to do as we will with our own bodies?
Not for the French the quaint Anglo-Saxon habit of neighbouring towns staggering their half-days—or even taking half-days in the first place.
On Monday, the whole of France is as dead as that chap they poisoned on St Helena. You know the one. In fact, I think he was responsible for it. And of course, the reason is quite fair; all the shops are open on Saturday so that the people who don’t work in shops can do their shopping, and why should the commercants and their staff not enjoy a proper two-day weekend?
“No,” I cried, and summoned up the best of my then limited French, “Cas d’urgence!”
But this made no impression on the battle-axe, who shook her head again, pointed to her watch and mouthed “Quattors heures et demi.” Whatever my emergency was, it would have to wait another 150 minutes.
Aghast as she began to turn away again, and now completely at a loss for words, I was once again reminded of the sheer brilliance of my wife in situations like this. Knowing that she could not hope to plead her case in French, she had slipped over to the car, unstrapped Calum, and now appeared with him in her arms; when she knew she had the dame’s attention, she lowered the towel wrapped around him to show the lad’s bare bottom, and just said one of the few French words she knew by heart, because she needed it so often. “Couches!”
Transsexuals are people born male who are attracted from childhood to men, who then change their physical appearance to more closely resemble women. (This phenomenon occurs in females, in reverse, but that is not the subject here.) Transsexuals are naturally extremely feminine in appearance, comportment and other factors, as I have discussed elsewhere and for them, being masculine is difficult. They find life easier as women and the deciding factor in whether or not to transition is often ‘Will I pass convincingly as a woman’. People like this know that straight men are attracted to women, not to other men, and their desire is always to be the submissive sexual partner of such a man. Depending on the level of social intolerance they have to face, if they think they can be more successful as women than as men, they will follow that path.
My plan had originally been to make my trip to Asia after Christmas, but Crissy had told me that she was unlikely to be available then. I was in contact with a number of girls, but only she had that spark, and I knew I wanted to meet her. She was lively and enthusiastic, but had an edge about her and a depth too, that I liked. She had a way of just knowing what I was thinking, even before I said it, that always bodes well for a new relationship.
So I rearranged my schedule. In fact, November is the best time to go to southeast Asia in any case. The typhoon season should have come to an end, and the temperatures are relatively low, with lots of sunshine. In addition, flight prices are twenty per cent or so cheaper then, than in March or April. I readily persuaded myself that making the trip sooner was justified on a whole raft of counts; other, of course, than my interest in getting to know Crissy a whole lot better…