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Leonard in Lucca

July 10, 2013

The campsite in Lucca lived up to its name. Il Serchio proved difficult to find, but once the Serchio was over, and Bluebell the camper was tethered, we are able to walk the kilometre or so to the old town. What you can do in UK when it is 15 degrees takes a lot more effort when temperatures are pushing 40 degrees. It was so hot that it triggering a brief and violent afternoon storm, which forced us (unwillingly, honest) into a bar whilst we waited for it to abate.

There are two reasons for this trip to the lovely old Tuscan town of Lucca. The first is That Nice Lady Decorator has an old friend, the lovely Joanna (who looks as young as the Decorating person, which would not be unusual as they were at school together in the early 70’s but are both still only 37), who has a house nearby old town of Lucca, and she alerted us to the second, the appearance at this festival of the outstanding Leonard Cohen. Last night then, it was into the old town for an exquisite dinner outside in an old piazza until the unmistakable sounds of that dark brown voice were heard from across the square.

It was a fabulous place at which to witness a reasonably intimate performance from a one of the greatest living songwriters who has sold out the O2 on his current tour. A fraction of the numbers, some 3000 or so, were treated to beautifully staged outdoor show against a magnificent backdrop of an ancient square in this lovely town, encompassing many of those great songs from the sixties right up to date. I am a fan and there were songs that I did not know, that sounded as good as the classics.

Lucca, Tuscany

A piazza in Lucca

Amongst our party, married to the daughter of that old school friend was the actor Skeet Ulrich. He has appeared in scores of films such as alongside Jack Nicholson in “As Good As It Gets” and “Jericho”. He was also in “Scream”, which is almost what he did when I told him that I am often mistaken for Jack Nicholson. I don’t know why I mentioned it, I guess it must be OCD kicking in.

After a few more beers than was wise, I was able to give him some tips on acting which, to his great credit, he listen to attentively, but then again he is a well established actor so it could have been him exercising his acting powers.

Having woken up the whole campsite with a late night-cap that went on until 2.30 in the morning, I was surprised to find myself up and about at 8.30, writing this daily missive for you, my fan, but the services of Currencies Direct for all your foreign exchange transfers is just so good that I could not stay in bed.

Today, we shall depart Lucca on search of a nearby tower, which, I an told, should not be a pointer to Italian building standards. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is some 20 miles away, so it would be churlish not to go over and have a look and see if I can straighten it out. Then back along the coast for another overnight and possibly another on the way back to a meeting on Friday with the French tax people. What joy. Even less joy that a visit to Vingtimiglia just inside Italy, which has a market, which has been spotted onto my schedule a long time before, presumably so I can get used to the whole wretched idea.

Must go now, am going to try to sell Skeet a copy of my book. He is good-looking enough to be considered for the major role in the film of it I have told him I am making…

Chris France

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