Troubador Another Side of France

Released: 28/07/2017

ISBN: 9781788032773

eISBN: 9781788030991

Format: Paperback/eBook

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Another Side of France

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In 1966, Dave Taylor-Jones met a French girl in Paris who became one of the most influential people in his life. Christine and her family introduced him to the French lifestyle, food, and their unique way of looking at the world. Through them, he learnt to speak French (almost), bought a flat near Nice, found a job in Monaco and moved to live in France, all of which helped him to dispel the stereotypical image that some British people have of the French. Another Side of France records some of his experiences of French life in a humourous manner, and contains both essays and stories, presented like two sides of a coin, alternating slices of fiction with his life experiences. The fiction includes ghost stories, with the haunting of Nice’s Terra Amata Museum, the Parisian Metro, and a local medieval chateau. There are also stories are about working in Monaco, the joys of air travel, auctions of Impressionist masters and knowing your own limits of compassion. Dave’s essays capture how he has tried to get to grips with the French medical system, country life in the foothills of the Alpes-Maritimes, wine, beekeeping and his love of dogs and birds.

On the 17th September, the village of St. Blaise, where I live in the South of France, will take part in the national Fete de la Patrimoine, the day when France opens the doors of its museums for the public’s free entrance. We will do this by holding a Medieval Fete in which a play will be held in the ruins of the Chȃteau of St. Blaise. This play is a dramatisation of one of my stories contained in ‘Another Side of France’ called ‘If Only Stones Could Talk’. My daughter Colette has translated the story into French and it is now called ‘Si Les Pierres Pouvaient Parler’.
The play has been dramatized by a local theatre group called ‘Cie Ni d’Eve Ni d’Adam’ who are a talented, young and enthusiastic. I have been helping them with the dramatisation and have been attending dress rehearsals. Apparently, I might even have a small part!
The story tells of how a ghost has come to haunt the ruins of the Chȃteau, which is found lost in the forest above the present Village’s site. An Association which has been formed to look after the Chȃteau has worked to stabilise its walls and cut away the trees around it. Now the Chȃteau appears to have sprung out of the forest and is becoming a part of village life. We tried to find out the history of these ruins which date from the eleventh century, but it’s not an easy task as these parts of the world have been in the hands of both Italy and France over this period. Some academics from the University of Nice found a little data, in Latin, and it is on this basis that I was inspired to write this story.
The Medieval Fete will include knights in armour making sword combats, medieval music concerts and medieval cooking.

August 2nd 2017: Rehearsals have now started in the grounds of the chateau and I attended them last week. The French theatre group is called 'Ni d'Eve Ni d'Adam' and are young and enthusiastic. The play is of short duration about 30 minutes, but looks very promising. It's exciting to see something you've written acted out in the crumbling magnificence of the Chateau of St. Blaise. Although the story is necessarily shortened it is really filled out by the actors and scenery.
Exciting times.

On the day of the Fete 150 people bravely walked the two kilometres through the forest, up 200 metres in altitude to arrive at the Chateau. Logistically, it was a big challenge to put on a play at a site that was so remote for access roads and electricity supply. We had to carry all the props, costumes and sound system one kilometre from where we could drive on forest fire roads and park the 4 x 4 cars. Electricity was supplied by a petrol generator.
The play went off very well until about five minutes before the end, when one of the actors tripped over a cable that fed a loud speaker which then cut out and was unable to be repaired. So, the last few lines of the play were lost, but the audience applauded strongly and the ending of the play was told by the dramatic group’s director. I guess there will always be something that is not quite right.
The play will probably be repeated in February within the confines of St. Blaise village. I have to say I was cock-a-hoop at being involved in its success.
If you want to see a 5-minute video of the Fete Medievale, please click on the Youtube link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAfgwmyFMes

In July 2018 'Another Side of France' was selected by the ebook supplier KOBO to be part of its World Cup FIFA Football promotion. This was a pleasant surprise and resulted in twelve people giving the book a 5 star rating.

Book Review

THE ENGLISH BOOK CENTRE, VALBONNE, FRANCE
Review of ANOTHER SIDE OF FRANCE by Dave Taylor-Jones By Helen Meehan
Would you like to go on a highly entertaining expedition though Europe, with an emphasis on your visit to France? If so, read Dave Taylor-Jones’ eclectic suite of stories called ANOTHER SIDE OF FRANCE. These loosely-linked stories and vignettes are partially autobiographical, so you’ll get to know Mr. Taylor-Jones. He’s a friendly, intelligent writer with a fine command of his pen, an observant ear and terrific sense of humor.
There are cultural gems and amusing descriptions of Europeans: the organized Swiss, the economic prudence of the Dutch, and those exceptional French. When a cursing German traveler has his plane ticket taken away by the authorities, he simply can’t believe it. This anecdote is amusing; Germans often comment about an inconvenience such as a long queue or, in this case, a delayed flight by saying Das gibt doch nicht – This can’t be real. Precisely the way it’s so humorously presented here.
There is a masterful story about Monet’s paintings narrated by an art teacher at an engineering school. Another story asks the question “What was the most cherished moment in your life”? You are prompted to find the answer and imagine it. When you die, you’ll live out that image eternally in heaven. This thought-provoking question is revealed with great pathos and nudges the reader to think about what really matters in life.
There is beautiful language describing southern France’s fragrant and colorful foliage, with the stunning backdrops of blue sea and white-capped mountains. We travel here and learn about other worlds: a macabre visit to a haunted old chateau, beekeeping and the glories of honey, dog personalities, and the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi. Never heard of it? Maybe you are just graduating from feng shui and hygge comfort? Well, they’re old hat and you might want to add wabi-sabi to your home decorating wish list. Wabi-sabi is about the beauty found in imperfection and transience. This story was also interestingly communicated and lent a poignancy to ANOTHER SIDE OF FRANCE as it served as gentle reminder of how fleeting life is.
The tour de force of ANOTHER SIDE OF FRANCE are the visits to Terra Amata paleontology museum in Nice and the ensuing stories. The museum includes a footprint of a 400,000 year old man and has evidence of man’s earliest use of fire. With clever inventiveness and lots of local color, Taylor-Jones serves his readers a plate of intrigue here. Spoilers withheld. This is one book to relish.
The English Book Centre recommends: ANOTHER SIDE OF FRANCE by Dave Taylor-Jones
Would you like to go on a highly entertaining expedition though Europe, with an emphasis on your visit to France? If so, read Dave Taylor-Jones’ eclectic suite of stories called ANOTHER SIDE OF FRANCE. These loosely-linked stories and vignettes are partially autobiographical, so you’ll get to know Mr. Taylor-Jones. He’s a friendly, intelligent writer with a fine command of his pen, an observant ear and terrific sense of humor. There are the visits to Terra Amata paleontology museum in Nice. The museum includes a footprint of a 400,000 year old man and has evidence of man’s earliest use of fire. With clever inventiveness and lots of local color, Taylor-Jones serves his readers a plate of intrigue here. Spoilers withheld. This is one book to relish.

taylorjonesdavid@gmail.com

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David Taylor-Jones

Dave Taylor-Jones was born in Carpenders Park, near Watford and worked most of his life as a chartered structural engineer in the oil and gas sector. He left England in 1970 and has lived and worked abroad in Belgium, Holland, Germany and Australia. In 1980 he settled with his wife and family in the South of France, near Nice. He has written memoirs, poetry, and specialises in short story fiction.

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