La situation politique et économique is the main topic of conversation down here, and not only amongst tourists and ex-pats. The result of the referendum and the subsequent implosion of the two major parties in England and Wales will have implications for the whole continent.
I doubt whether I shall be able to resist posting my own rant on this subject, paying particular attention to the machinations of the Fabian Society and Portland Communications on one side and the behaviour of Michael Gove and Boris Johnson on the other. But not yet.
Jill and I decided to take a break from what was becoming an obsession with endless news updates to enjoy some of the things that Europe has to offer. We needed an away day without wi-fi and iphone notifications pinging into our consciousness. So we drove south.
We started with Chagall and the presentation of his works in a multimedia exhibition held underground in an ancient (since Roman times) cave-like quarry. This is Les Carrières des Lumières at Les Beaux, near St Rémy de Provence.
Chagall: Midsummer Night’s Dreams is a spectacular creation. All the famous masterpieces have been digitized and projected onto the columns, walls and the floor of the quarry. Initially, the experience is disorientating, even disturbing; within moments, however, one eyes and ears adjust: one is inundated with colour, close-ups and creativity.
Every phase of Chagall's life and work is here in one form or another: 100 projectors showing his works from the love paintings and landscapes to the stained glass windows which brought Jill to tears when seeing them for the first time a decade or so ago.
Accompanying the imagery is an eclectic but sympa soundtrack, put together by a friend of Chagall, Mikhaïl Rudy. Through 27 speakers, it moves from circus music to grand opera to Janis Joplin and back again.
We were entranced and enchanted; in awe and in thrall. We were tempted to remain for a second run. But we had to return to St Quentin-la-Poterie because, that evening, Stéphane Reynaud was opening his new restaurant, La Cuisine de Boucher, in St Quentin and we had coveted tickets to the launch party.
It was a great day, a day during which we almost forgot the strife back in the UK and our own concerns and misgivings over the implications for us and our business, and for the future of our children and grandchildren.
Almost, but not quite.
Turning one’s back on Europe is not something for which we voted and not something that should be done frivolously, although that is what has happened. let's be clear: it should not have been done at all. But it has and somehow we must live with it.
How? No idea. But when I've worked it out, I will let you know ...
Today from the everysmith vaults: I am continuing my exploration of Indie Pop with the carefully nuanced and tuneful work of Ultimate Painting, a UK band which owes much to the Velvets, and to which I was introduced by a show in New York recorded by the exemplary nyctaper.