Is it Heaven . . . or is it Hell

22nd March 2017 |

There should have been trumpets and a drum roll, but the trumpeter sloped off months ago and somebody turned the drums into lampshades. Nevertheless, it was a momentous event. That beautiful piece of brass I have been rabbiting on about for ages did finally arrive. So today it is OFFICIAL. I have finally got the brass plaque. The names are on the plaque. The plaque is on the door, and the door is open.

It’s just over a year now since I moved into this house, thanks in part to a long list of people, the ones on the plaque, who liked my idea of a retreat for travelling writers, and in fact it has been operating unofficially for a while now.

It’s a nice spacious room, with a lot of light, a useful table, a rustic beam, and a very comfortable bed. There’s room in the garage for a bike and there’s a bar/restaurant just round the corner. Jupiter’s Travellers have priority but I’ll be happy to consider anyone with a serious purpose, even if all you’re doing is trying to figure out what you’re doing.

Is it heaven . .  or is it hell?

What kind of a time you’ll have in that room just depends, of course, on what kind of writer you are. For me writing is purgatory (well, I exaggerate, as usual) but getting it finished is a high like no other. Some people, I’m amazed to hear, actually enjoy the process of writing. But whether you love it or hate it I’d like you to take advantage of me. The cost will be minimal – just enough for laundry, light and heat– maybe a few euros a day.

There are two other bedrooms as well. If you’re not a writer but just a nice person I wouldn’t at all mind if you want to come for a holiday. I’d ask you for some money and we’d have to talk about it, but it would help to keep the place up. You could think of it as an AirB&B. Thirty minutes from a really good beach, and about the same distance from mountains. There’s a baker and a grocer in the village. Big shops and supermarkets are ten minutes away, in Clermont l’Herault.

I would also like to hear from someone, preferably a woman to keep the balance right, who would be interested in living here for an extended period through the summer in exchange for keeping the place clean and tidy.

So we’re here and in business. If you’re interested, let me know. Send an email to

Here are some notes about how to get here. No doubt some might be on their own wheels, but that’s not always  possible so let me explain how to get here by public transport.

MONTPELLIER has an airport and a train station. Getting here from there is a bit long-winded but quite easy at reasonable times of the day. From the airport you get a shuttle into the city. Its the 120 bus and they call it a Navette. It goes to the Place de l’Europe. From there you take a blue Number One tram (the trams are great – and cheap) to the end of the line at Mosson. From Mosson there is only one bus to bring you to Aspiran. It’s the 305 and it leaves at 17.45.  To get to Mosson from the airport this way you should allow an hour and a half, so you should have a flight that arrives at 4pm latest. The bus ride is a pleasant way to to be introduced to the area.

If you come by train (which is how I like to come) it’s just a couple of hundred yards (or metres) up a gentle hill to find the same blue tram Number One. The ride will be a little shorter from there – about 30 minutes. If you arrive early without too much luggage you can walk on up the slope to the Place de la Comedie, a huge open square surrounded by cafés where you can watch life go by, and take the tram from there.

The tram stops have ticket machines which take coins and cards. A single ticket is €1.60; buy at least two. Ten tickets cost €10, and the same tickets work on the buses.

BEZIERS has the cheaper flights with Ryanair, but getting here from there is a little harder.
There are two flights from England on Thursday and Saturday that will let you get here by bus, and two from Germany on Tuesday and Saturday that will also work.
Again you have to take the shuttle into Beziers, then a bus from Beziers to Pezenas, and then another bus from Pezenas to Aspiran. If that’s how you’re coming let me know ahead of time so I can help.