I crossed the Loire at Pont Aristide Briand & walked downstream. The water was muddy & tidal-looking. I saw an old fashioned boat, painted white. I saw a magpie fly up into a tree. I looked into the sunlight where it dissolved the Rue Alain Barbe Torte & made the world seem both ended & endless. There were yellow leaves everywhere. I felt free. I felt like 1948 in my denim jacket, ready to write what I saw. I saw the neat cobbles & the little cars & the neat French all around. I crossed back by the new metal footbridge. By the river the sun was all over the wet morning air; but in the town the streets were dark and chilly. I walked down the Rue d’Alger to Notre Dame de Son Port, a church with an impressive dome. I observed that there is a lot of dog shit in Nantes, much of it of distinct colours, brick red, yellow ochre, autumn tints. A whole street smelled of petrol. Every street I looked down seemed more interesting than the one I was on. I looked up at the sign “Rue Belle Image” & thought of you. Eventually I entered a cul de sac, with fallen-down walls and buildings that leaned in towards one another, which narrowed to an alley. A cat came out on to the cobbles in the sun to say hello. 10:30 am next morning, it was fog. The aeroplane spent some time waddling to and fro across the airfield like a pregnant duck. We might have been in Britain already: the fields, the little copses brown with autumn and soaked with dew. Finally the duck lurches upwards and the fog proves to be a thin, Atlantic layer. It sprays off the wing like water from a car tyre. We’re in the light that awaits everyone, the real weather of the world.
People strive to preserve the truth of the observed experience, but that’s what locks the material away from you.