An Interview with William Glover, author of Cave Life in France

Okay, I've got to ask, how did you end up moving into a cave? It 's all Aprille's fault. She is a sculptor and wasn't that interested in giving up her studio to come eat in France with me. She sculpts in stone and we went to see our cave originally on a lark; just to see what a cave looked like inside. I walked in. It was dark because the electricity had been disconnected and the fireplace looked filthy and the garden worse. I was ready to leave immediately. She stood in the middle of the room and said "Here or nowhere." I thought about a good Bordeaux and fresh brie after salmon with beurre blanc, and said "Sure Dear." It is a good thing the real estate agent couldn't speak English.

You are not putting us on are you? It's really a cave, like a bear cave? Yup, it's a real cave. Some of my own family didn't believe it was a real cave either until they came to visit the first time. Seeing is believing.

Can readers see pictures of the cave so they can get a better mental image? Sure, My web site will have a virtual cave tour with pictures.

What is your favorite part of living in a cave? To tell you the truth my favorite part is how it helped me break the ice with my neighbors. We have American and English friends who have lived in France for years and speak perfect French but have less interaction with their neighbors. Cave dwellers tend to be sociable and gregarious. Just living in a cave has the collateral benefit of helping you fit into the fabric of village life. Even in France, living in a cave is unusual enough that it gives me something to talk about after the weather.

Are there any windows? Yes, like some brownstones or condos all the windows are on the front wall. What a view though. I can look out at a ruined Chateau while I wash dishes.

How about creature comforts, I mean isn't it uncomfortable and damp? Surprisingly no. We are as snug as hobbits in a hole. Our cave is high on a cliff face so it's dry year round. Our neighbors think we keep our cave way too hot in the winter We have city water and sewage. Everything you would have in a regular home. Telephone. The Internet. Electricity. We are even cable ready if we had a TV..

This is a pretty unusual combination, most of your book is a typical travelogue about France but then midway we discover your wife who seems so energetic has AIDS? What gives? The book started out as email to friends. My wife is very open about her HIV status so it isn't a daily issue for us. Then friends began forwarding it to other people. Pretty soon strangers were writing me to get on the list directly. The book came to life very naturally. After I finished I thought of putting more about her illness up front but it felt forced. Anyone who has met my wife knows how easy it is to forget her health status.

How has AIDS affected your life? It rewrote my life story so completely I can't imagine any part of my life it hasn't affected. It's always lurking there in the background. Yet I certainly would never have moved out of my comfort zone and done something like writing a book or moving if I hadn't married Aprille. I've always had the fantasy to move to France but I never did anything about it. It was daydream over the Sunday travel section. After my wife recovered from a particularly serious bout with the disease, she lost her patience with me. She told me either make a decision or stop talking about it all the time.

Are you HIV-positive? Thankfully, No

Can you give advise to a American traveler in France? First of all remember to smile a lot and very widely. The French don't smile as often but they know friendly Americans do. Also throw away all your preconceived ideas about the French. The French are no more rude than we Americans and they are certainly less rude than American TV. Get out of tourist traps as quickly as possible. No one who works at the Eiffel Tower has much patience left, so take a left on a side street and get lost for a while. Better yet take a left out of Paris and get lost in the countryside.

Would you still prefer that quite farmhouse you went looking for originally? No way.

Press Release for Cave Life in France

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