Scent of Jazz

Kitchen table, two stations south of restaurant in Beaune, Burgundy region, France

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Autumn is here. Starlings (?) are getting chummy in preparation for their annual migration to wherever the French go in the winter.

The little train from Chagny north to Beaune is too comfortable and the countryside is too pretty to want to step off when you get there.

Beaune is another lovely French city with twisting streets and fascinating shops, meandering rooves and cobbled roads, but the most interesting bits are in the back alleyways and small lanes behind the beaten track.

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You may find jazz in beaune (do they play trombeaunes here?) and a display of glass spheres filled with flowers, or leather, or mosses, or fruits, which you take a whiff of through an open neck, reproducing some of the fragrances which you’ll find if you sample the regional wines, Burgundy.

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The good thing about going in a complete circle when you’re lost, is that you can get lost without fear, knowing you’ll end up back at the point where you started. The only hitch is in just where your brain believes it started from. Much like a GPS, dare I say. If it latches onto the restaurant where you had lunch rather than the station from which you need to catch your train home, it is a relief the first time you arrive back there early in the afternoon when you’re exploring, frustrating the second time when you’d like to explore a different bit of Beaune, and downright worrying the third time when you were actually trying to go home.

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You eventually find a sign with a map on it and a big dot saying “you are here” . Because the dot on the diagram is in the middle of the road, however, you can’t tell which side of the road it is on so you still have no idea whether the station is to the right of you or to the left. You know where it is in relation to the dot, but it is very difficult to determine which way the dot is facing, dots being what they are.


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If you do ever find the station, you might decide to avoid the electronic ticket-dispenser because somehow it’s easier to deal with a human being, but people in front of you may have complicated questions for the human so you may wait quite some time. When you do get your ticket, you compost it casually like an old hand at this (zapping it in a machine that dates it), then cross under the line to your “Voie” #2. You may ask the railway man in your best French if this is the right platform for Chagny and he will answer you in English. Whenever this happens, never mind.

A TGV (Very Fast Train) may thunder past and it may be really exciting as the ground under you trembles and you may decide to video the next one on your little camera, but another one may not come. Poop.





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