No, not the skateboarder. That's Tony Hawk.
Tony HAWKS is an awesome travel writer who, even when he's slightly off his game, never fails to make me giggle like a little girl. His travel books Round Ireland with a Fridge and Playing the Moldovans at Tennis are not only two of my favorite travel books of all time, but also high on the list of most favored nonfiction titles in general.
So I was very, very excited to browse Amazon and find that he's recently published a new book: A Piano in the Pyrenees: The Ups and Downs of an Englishman in the French Mountains. I immediately got it from the library and started it that afternoon (although, yes, a number of my other books are coming due first and a responsible person would have read those first).
Screw responsibility. This is Tony Hawks!
So, although I am not sure where he gets what must be a generous cash flow, I was amused to find Tony wanting to buy a house in France, and move his piano there himself. That goes about as well as you'd expect, complete with his purchasing his own rundown moving van and enlisting the help of friends to move the piano. When he finally buys his house and moves into it, there's no shortage of interesting stories about meeting the neighbors, learning the culture, and bringing in a handyman friend from Great Britain to help him build his own pool.
Bottom line? It's good. It's not as good as Round Ireland or the Moldovans*, but I still laughed out loud at parts of it. Although I don't think he'd turn down love and romance, I'm also pleased that Hawks remains a single man in his forties who always has a keen appreciation for companionship but seems more than happy making it through life with his friends and his interests. For some reason I'm completely enamored with bachelors (although Hawks points out that the French word for his status, "celibataire," is not cool), probably because I'm completely jealous of their lifestyle. Particularly those bachelors who can afford to buy a house in the Pyrenees.
*Yes, I'm juvenile, but the part where he gets caught peeing outside his house (he just enjoys peeing outside, okay? Evidently it's a guy thing--as he says, "periodically I felt the need for an occasional wee in my own garden") when some new friends come driving up just made me laugh and laugh and laugh.